Eight reasons why you aren't seeing the weight loss results you want
Belfast-based Trainer Alan Waterman takes a look at why you might not be shifting the lbs as quickly as you'd like.
You're doing everything you know you should be doing in order to lose weight, but you're not seeing the results you want - this can be frustrating.
You've made numerous big changes in your lifestyle, you're following a training programme, and you're tracking your food intake to make sure you're eating a calorie deficit. So, why aren't you losing weight?
If you're struggling with weight loss, even when you think you're doing everything right, there's a number of reasons why you might not be seeing the progress you'd like.
So, to help out, here's 8 of the most common reasons why your fat loss progress might be slower than it could be:
1. You're eating more calories than you think
As weight loss is a matter of energy balance, first thing's first, you have to rule out the possibility that you are in fact still eating too many calories.
Milk in your tea, that biscuit you lifted as you walked past the tin, the leftover chips you ate off your kid's plate- it all adds up.
If you haven't already, try tracking your food intake thoroughly for a week (MyFitnessPal is a great tool) to determine where your calorie intake is sitting. It's often higher than you might realise.
2. Your expectations are too high
When all the cogs are put into motion, fat loss can happen very quickly at first. However, many people get disheartened once that progress begins to slow.
The 3 or 4lbs you were losing every week soon maybe only becomes 2 or maybe only 1lb, and it suddenly seems like it will take you much longer to reach your goal.
Pushing for a high rate of fat loss every week often leads to fad diet approaches and is a much harder process to sustain. Be realistic with your targets by aiming to lose 0.5-1.0% of your bodyweight per week.
3. You're not being patient
Stuck to your diet for a week? Great! But it'll take many more weeks to get to where you want to be.
People want results overnight, but fat loss takes time and consistency. We can't expect huge results across short timeframes, so it pays to be prepared for the long haul, and to make sure you're following an approach you can keep consistent with across the coming weeks and months.
4. Your metabolism is slowing down
Believe it or not, as you lose weight and get leaner, your metabolism actually slows down.
A lighter body requires less energy to keep itself running than a heavier one, so the calorie intake you had been eating to successfully drop weight may no longer be effective.
To kick fat loss back into motion, try dropping your intake by a further 10-15% and monitor progress from there.
5. You're less active
Feeling sluggish? As weight drops, the body tries to conserve energy to prevent it losing more, so you may find your general activity levels start to decrease.
Unfortunately, less energy burnt means less fat loss.
Consider setting a minimum target for daily general activity, to help sustain those levels - a daily goal of 10,000 steps is a great target.
6. You overcompensate with your diet
When we train, our level of calorie burn increases. After a hard training session, we will often go and eat a large, calorie dense meal in order to "refuel" and begin recovering.
However, people often mistakenly assume that they've burnt a lot more calories in their session than they actually have, so that post-workout feast may be unintentionally cancelling out your negative calorie balance.
7. You're not training hard enough
Ever realise how after a couple of weeks of doing a workout, it starts to feel easier and easier?
Your body naturally adapts and begins to become more efficient, so you won't find it as challenging.
However, an efficient machine burns less energy, so that workout may no longer be giving you the calorie burn it once did.
Continue to challenge yourself in your workouts in order to keep your energy output high.
8. You are losing bodyfat, but you've convinced yourself you're not
Checking your bodyweight weekly? Sometimes it's not enough to give an accurate idea of how your body is changing.
Bodypart measurements and progress pictures are two additional ways to keep tabs on your progress. You might be disheartened if you see very little change on the scales and be tempted to give up, but your progress pictures might show a noticeable change in your bodyshape that the scales won't pick up on.
Think about it, if you lose 2lbs of fat but gain 2lbs of muscle, the scales show no difference, but you've become leaner.
Don't rely on just one gauge of progress - it's often deceptive.