There is nothing worse than focusing on eating well and exercising only to find the scales refuse to budge. It is demotivating and frustrating and can be enough to see many of us throw in the towel altogether. So before you lose complete faith, keep in mind that in many cases a slight tweak to the mix of meal timing, calorie intake, type of diet and focus is all that can be required to give you the weight loss results you desire.
Here are some of the most common reasons my clients find they are not losing weight, and the simple changes you can make to get your weight loss back on track.
It is the wrong diet for you
We are all different which means that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ model for weight control. Some of us will need to eat relatively low amounts of carbs, others more protein while others more calories to adequately fuel their body for training. If you are not enjoying your food, if you are not feeling full and satisfied after meals and if you have a lot of difficulty sticking to something, chances are it is the wrong diet for you.
Solution – take time to consider which dietary approaches have worked for you in the past and what will fit into your lifestyle. Generally speaking lowering your carbohydrate intake is a good starting point but if that is not giving results maybe it is time to try fasting or a low calorie plan for a couple of weeks to get things moving.
You are not eating enough
When clients are keen to drop just a few kilos, often the issue is not eating enough simply as we have been programmed to equate losing weight with eating less. When you are already quite active and only have a few kilos to lose, often we need to eat more of the right foods at the right time to adequately fuel our bodies and not leave ourselves vulnerable to hunger and overeating later in the day.
Solution – if your diet contains fewer than 1200 calories it may be too low in energy, and remember that you need to add in at least 100-200 calories for every hour of training you include.
You are being too strict
You know what I mean – no alcohol, no sugar, no dairy, no gluten – the more ‘no’s’ the brain tends to hear, the more you are likely to feel deprived over time and crave these things. While there may be some individuals who need to follow specific diets, many of us equate cutting out things to weight loss which rarely works long-term.
Solution – rather than focusing on what you should not be eating, instead focus on nutritious, balanced meals that include foods you actually enjoy eating and most importantly factor in 1-2 meals off your diet each week. A restaurant meal, dessert or couple of glasses of wine each week goes a long way in creating balance and makes it easier to stick to you healthy regime the rest of the time.
You are being a little slack
Time to get the mirror out and be honest with yourself. Have you been preparing healthy meals and snacks in advance or have you been picking food up on run? Have you exercised as much as you need to or lose weight or have you been skipping workouts? Have you been indulging a little too much on weekends? Poor food decisions add up and ultimately it is only you who knows the truth about what goes into your mouth each and every day. Humans often take short cuts and are then indignant that they are not getting the results – ultimately you need to step up, work harder and make an extra effort every day if you really want results.
Solution – time to get honest with what you are really eating, drinking and actually doing in terms of exercise each day. When you have an objective measure of calorie intake and exercise output it is much easier to see what is really going on with your weight loss. So, if the scales are not moving, log a few days’ worth of calories and start to track your steps and exercise – the results may surprise you.
It is not the right time
Life is busy and often overwhelming and we know from neurological research that the brain can only handle so much stress and pressure at any one time. This may explain why we are able to follow a diet when we have very little else to worry about but as soon as stress or extra work or family drama hits we fall off the radar.
Solution – timing is everything. If you have a lot going on and cannot give full focus to your weight loss, at least for a few weeks to get yourself on track, it may not be the right time and you are better to press pause and wait until you have the time, energy and focus to help you get the results you are looking for.