You’re eating well and exercising regularly but the scale is just not moving! You’re not seeing body changes and your clothes are still too snug. What’s up with that? There might be a few things you’re doing to sabotage your weight loss efforts.
Eating Too Much
It’s so hard to estimate what an actual serving size is for a given food. Portion sizes have gotten bigger and bigger over time and we don’t even recognize that we are eating way too much food. While weight loss and body composition changes are not entirely a matter of calories in/calories out; over all calories matter and regularly consuming more than you need will keep you from losing weight and will cause weight gain.
Eating Hidden Sugar
The recommendation for health and wellness is 25-28 grams of sugar a day. If you look closely at many of the foods you eat, you’ll find a lot of hidden sugars. Breads, rolls, peanut butter, pastas, and many other foods have sugar. Often low-fat foods are loaded with extra sugar for taste. Other names for sugar include: cane sugar, beet sugar, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, HFCS, glucose, fruit juice, and sucrose just to name a few. Be a label reader so you can make wise choices. Check out this post to get the skinny on sugar.
Eating Too Little
Your body is like an engine. You must fuel it in order to keep it running. When you don’t eat enough, your body slows down and doesn’t run properly, thus stalling the weight loss process. By not fueling your body properly, you begin to use muscle as fuel which further affects metabolism. You must fuel the engine!
Over Estimating Calories Burned
If you’ve ever relied on a piece of cardio equipment to tell you how many calories you burned, you probably haven’t gotten very accurate information. Body composition (muscle mass/fat tissue), weight, age, and type of exercise all effect how your body burns calories. Don’t put too much stock in the number on the treadmill or stair climber. Likewise, if you are using a food tracker such as myfitnesspal, calories burned are simply estimates and are not necessarily very accurate.
Eating the Wrong Foods
Eating “diet” foods often leads to over eating. After all, the food is low-fat, low carb, low sugar, low calorie…which leads to a false sense of security and over consumption. “Diet” foods are often full of artificial ingredients with low nutritional value and leave you feeling unsatisfied.
If your food choices are based on counting calories, you can be eating the wrong foods as well. If you simply look at calories in/calories out you can justify eating just about anything, again leading to low nutritional value and lack of satisfaction. Lack of satisfaction often leads to bingeing. It’s a vicious cycle!
So…What’s the Solution?
For weight loss and over all health, fitness, and wellness, there really is no trick. Eat real foods in their most natural state. Have a balanced, nutrient rich diet, avoiding nutrient poor foods. Nutrient rich foods (lean meats, healthy fats, vegetables, fruits, and un processed grains) will help you feel more satisfied and not wanting. Minimize what you eat that comes out of a box and limit “treats” to once in a while. Be mindful and aware of portion size and don’t get sucked into the diet mentality. Eating small, frequent meals often helps with hunger and therefore, can help with weight loss. Drink LOTS of water. Invest in a small kitchen scale so you can get an accurate idea of how much food you are eating, and it will help you determine proper portions.
Move every day! There is no magic workout plan, however, it’s a good idea to tailor your workouts to your goals for maximum effectiveness. Find an activity you enjoy and will look forward to participating in. A personal trainer can help you develop a plan that will maximize your time and efforts as well as provide accountability and encouragement.