Have you been working hard in the gym, eating healthy and you’re just not seeing the results you want? You just can’t seem to lose the weight no matter how long you spend in the gym and no matter how many salads you eat?
The solution isn’t intermittent fasting or green tea. It’s not because you aren’t trying hard enough. It’s most likely because you still aren’t in a calorie deficit, and might just not be aware of it. Let me explain.
A calorie deficit means that you are consuming (i.e. eating) less calories than you are expending (i.e. burning). We burn calories through existing, eating and digesting, fidgeting, walking around the house and exercising.
When you are wanting to lose weight, you either want to drop the caloric intake (i.e. the amount you’re eating) or you want to increase how much energy you use up during the day – so, basically: eat less or move more. Sometimes both at once.
Now, if you are already doing these things and the weight still doesn’t seem to want to budge – there could be a few reasons why. You might be awesome, but you’re still human and your body still follows the law of thermodynamics – if you want to lose weight, you need to burn more than you chow. Here are a few of my thoughts on maybe why you aren’t seeing the weight loss results you want:
1. You’re eating more than you think
You could be actively seeking healthier foods, but they could be calorie dense foods. Nut butter and avocado are great examples – they are super delicious and nutritious, but they are quite calorie dense. So if you’re heaping the nut butter onto your oats, you’re adding in some extra calories where you might not need them.
Tip: track your food for a few days. It’s super easy to snack unconsciously or to be adding in some slightly higher calorie options without realizing it. When we track our food, we can see exactly what adjustments we need to make to our daily intake.
Note: we don’t need to fear foods that are calorie dense. They provide energy and nutrients. Just be aware of how much you are eating, that’s all. We also don’t need to obsess over all the food we eat all the time. We just track for a few days so we can get the just of what we’re really eating vs. what we think we’re eating.
2. You aren’t moving much during the day
Let’s face it – the majority of us sit at a desk all day. This means that our NEAT (Non-Exercise Energy Thermogenesis) is low. So we don’t walk around a lot, we don’t fidget to much and when deadlines are tough we don’t even get up to go to the bathroom or to get more water very often.
Our body uses energy to do all kinds of things, and the more general movement we have means we use more energy throughout the day. We want to increase calories burned through exercise but also what we burn through movement during the day. (Plus, not sitting at a desk for hours on end has major health benefits too.)
Tip: keep a water bottle next to your desk, which will a) keep you hydrated and b) get your bum out of the seat when you need a wee! You could also get up every 30-45 minutes if you can and go for a short walk. It can literally be 2 minutes down the corridor to tell Susie you need that report STAT instead of emailing her. Or take the stairs once a day instead of the elevator.
Note: We never want to over-exercise to compensate for food. We want to create daily movement and eating habits that causes sustainable change.
3. Maybe you’re going a bit too ham on the weekends
You can be eating on track all week, and then Friday comes around and we loosen our laces a bit – which is great, because we want balance, but we might be doing this a bit more than we think. Our weekends (Friday – Sunday) are 42% of our week, and if we aren’t being conscious of what we’re consuming, then for almost half of the week we aren’t eating (or drinking) according to our goals.
Tip: stick to one or two dedicated meals that you know you aren’t going to be thinking about the grams and macros of what you’re eating. This allows us to not be that person at a dinner party with our Tupperware of steamed chicken, and we can actually be present, socialise and enjoy the food.
Note: we don’t want to create a restrict-binge-guilt-restrict cycle here. This is all about just being mindful of our behaviors so we can adjust them according to our goals. You don’t need to track every calorie to see progress, but we do need to be conscious of our habits so we can keep progressing.
4. You’re stressed, tired and overwhelmed
These things play a huge role in our health and fitness. We don’t treat ourselves very well when we stress. We also don’t have a lot of energy to give our training when we are stressed and tired. So maybe we feel that the training session was really hard, but we were only going at about 60% (which isn’t a bad thing – we don’t need to be adding in more stress by doing 900 burpees when we should actually just be getting some sleep). We could also just not be recovering enough to give our training our all because we didn’t sleep very well last night.
Tip: sleep is so important for mental and physical health. Try get to bed 15 minutes early or put your phone away 30 minutes before bed.
Note: as I mentioned earlier – if we can’t go 110% at the gym because it’s been a really hard week, sometimes that’s OK. We are after consistency and every now and then we just can’t give it our all. But if this is something that is happening more often than not, it’s in your best interest to address the stress and find healthy coping mechanisms or looking at your sleep hygiene.
So, if you aren’t quite getting the results you want, maybe track your food for a few days and see what comes up. Or be a bit more conscious of the food choices you make over the weekend. Or get a little more sleep so you can rock the socks off your next workout!
Yours in health and fitness
Did you know that I offer personalised, one-on-one health coaching? Whether you’re looking to get fitter, eat better or just feel better in general – send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’d love to help you out!