Weight loss isn’t easy, and sometimes no matter what we do, it seems like the scale doesn’t cooperate. Trust me. I’ve been there. Sometimes I feel like I’ve taken up residence there. So, what do we do in those situations? Here are a few questions to ask yourself when you just aren’t losing weight like you think you should be.
1. Are you eating the right foods?
We hear a lot about calorie deficits when talking about weight loss. The more I study, I’m finding out the less this seems to matter. Research is showing that the type of foods we eat matter more than an overall calorie deficit. Of course, this flies in the face of all we were taught for so many years. Back when they said weight loss was nothing more than a simple math equation. Calories in versus calories out. We just needed to create a caloric deficit equivalent to 3500 calories and we would be one pound lighter. This works well sometimes but not so well the rest of the time. Our bodies get used to running with fewer calories and they become more efficient, although not in the way we want them to.
The latest research shows that the type of foods are more important than the quantity, because we want to put our bodies into fat burning mode. In order to do this we have to make sure we don’t want to overdo the carbs and sugars, the foods that have a high impact on blood sugar, we need to change the hormonal response our bodies have. The Calorie Myth (affiliate link, see disclosure) by Jonathan Bailor is a really great book if you want to read some more in depth on this subject.
2. Are you eating too much or not enough?
If you are eating the right type of foods, and still not losing weight, the quantity could be the issue. More food than your body needs will obviously keep you from losing weight, even if it’s healthy food. I have to pay special attention to the high calorie healthy foods like nuts and nut butters. Although these are certainly not going to cause someone to become overweight, not measuring these types of foods can keep you from losing the weight you want to. That doesn’t mean they don’t belong in your meal plan. Just keep the quantities consistent. Measure. Know what you’re eating.
Conversely, if you aren’t eating enough, your body is going to hang on to weight. It will go into starvation mode where your metabolism slows down to a crawl and it doesn’t let go of any fat because it thinks there is a famine and that food is scarce. Good a few hundred years ago, bad today. Make sure you aren’t decreasing your calories too drastically. If you feel like this may be the cause, eat a larger quantity of healthy foods for a while until your body understands that it is not in danger of going hungry. Then work your weight loss magic by eating the right kinds of foods, not by eating decreasing quantities.
3. Are you being honest with yourself?
There are a lot of areas in our lives where we aren’t completely honest with ourselves. We give ourselves a bit of a pass or make excuses for ourselves. Your health should not be one of these areas. Are you working out with intensity or phoning it in? Are you being honest about portion sizes or just estimating them? Are your cheat meals turning into cheat days and then cheat weekends? And then cheat vacations and maybe even Cheatober?
When you say nothing works, is that because you are giving it only half of your effort? I have been guilty of all of these things as well. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Just be honest. There may be nothing wrong with your program. You just might not be following it. You may be in denial about it. I’ve been there too. Get real with yourself, be honest about your workouts and portion sizes and get back in control.
4. Is the rest of your life conducive to weight loss?
Are you getting enough sleep? Making sure you are managing your stress well? Taking part in activities that you enjoy and that relax you? Enjoying your life not just living it? All of these things are important. Not getting enough sleep makes it very difficult to lose weight. Lack of sleep affects the hunger hormones and the fullness hormones in the body, throwing them both out of whack. Being tired, stressed out, and cranky can almost always lead to a lapse in judgement and willpower and not only increases carb and sugar cravings, but makes it next to impossible to combat them.
5. Has it been long enough?
Have you given your weight loss plan time to work? You may not see the results you want right away. This isn’t “The Biggest Loser” where we lose 20 pounds a week. Sometimes it takes a while. We think we’ve plateaued and then all of a sudden there’s a huge jump on the scale. The scale doesn’t tell the whole story either, so there are plenty of reasons why this might occur.
All I can say is, stick with it. Be patient and know that the results will come to you when you have the right behaviors are in place.There is nothing worse than getting discouraged when you’ve seen too many weeks with no loss. Just know that this isn’t a race. This is a long term change. It’s a lifestyle. There’s no rush and there’s no need to compare yourself to anyone else’s results either.
If you are having difficulty with weight loss, take a good look around. Look at your daily diet. Look at the quality and quantity of foods you are eating. Then look at the rest of your life and make sure you’ve made room for weight loss. Lastly, make sure you’ve given yourself the time you need. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your amazingly perfect weight won’t be either.
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