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Here's Why You Aren't Losing Weight

We have ten days left in the year. If you haven’t started already, now’s the time to reflect on your year and set goals for the year to come. This includes your fitness or weight loss goals. "New year, new me!" You know what I’m talking about. If you’ve previously failed with your weight loss goals and want this to be the year of the “new you”, I can help. This post was created for you.

I’ve tried losing weight a few times and failed. I’ve lost weight and gained it back, plus more. For this post, I used my journey to consider why I failed. I thought about the habits I had to change for me to see continued progress and those I’m still working to change.

I hear often from people how different diets they’ve tried didn’t work for them or how they’ll count themselves out before they try to do the work. From these conversations, I recognized similarities in the reasons for our failures and compiled a list. Then, I chose those that I find most important to help you lose weight and keep it off.

Here are five things you’re doing that's keeping you from reaching your goal weight and what you should do instead to be successful with weight loss.

You Won’t Lose Weight If You’re Inconsistent

There is this thing that I battle with when I start seeing progress with my body goals. I inadvertently wreck said progress by slacking off. Ok, so I’m not sure if it’s inadvertent, but there are times when I cause myself to regress. My workouts decrease and I’m less mindful and lose balance when it comes to choosing foods to eat. I’ve made progress, and instead of continuing towards the prize (my goals), I kick back and chill. I may over-indulge for a few days. There are times when I celebrate my progress and set myself back. There’s a two-fold reason for this. The first, inconsistency. I’ll explain the second later.

When you reach your goals or get close to reaching them, please know that is not the end. You are not done. You have to remain consistent and as you make progress, your goals should grow with you. Meaning, once you’ve reached that goal, make a new one. Engage in a new activity to remain active. Set a goal to be more active than you were previously. The idea here is to keep the weight off. Temporary changes produce temporary results. Maintaining weight loss is a lifestyle change.

This means you, first, have to develop a plan that is realistic so that you can stick with it. If you’re too uncomfortable in the beginning, you’re less likely to stick with your plan. This is why drastic diets and setting unrealistic goals don’t work. They strip you of everything you love, leave you miserable, and then you quit. Make small changes initially. Slowly remove foods you shouldn’t eat and increase your activity. Don’t nix your favorite meal or snack. Save it for a cheat meal. Not a cheat day, a meal. A cheat day can turn into a start over. Allow yourself a cheat meal once or twice a month. Also, learn to cook your favorite meal more healthily. Choose a way of eating and being physically active that works for your life (keep reading, I explain this down there). Something that you will enjoy. Read more on goal setting here.

You Won’t Lose Weight If You Self-Sabotage

The second reason that could be causing a setback with my progress when I get lax is self-sabotage. Self-sabotage is actively or passively taking steps to prevent yourself from reaching your goals. There are many times we get in the way of our success. Fear of success, yes this is a real thing, can cause you to either turn back on your journey or not even begin. The same for fear of failure. Humans tend to stick with doing things where they have control of the outcome. Even if it means not putting in the work to improve your health. You don’t have total control of the outcome when you’re working to lose weight and if you’ve had previous failures with it, you may shy away from trying again. The mind is tricky. It will give you every reason as to why you should stay where things are comfortable and when you have the mindset that you won’t succeed, you won’t. So even if you’re seeing progress, you can find reasons to talk yourself out of continuing.

If you’ve ever avoided what needs to be done, procrastinated, focused on self-defeating thoughts, not prioritize self-care, or prioritized instant gratification (had a few cheat meals back to back) you’ve self-sabotaged.

Focus on controlling what you can; your actions and your mindset. The rest will fall in place. Try self-talk. Tell yourself you can do it. Ingrain it in your brain and it will become a part of you. If you find yourself stuck in your comfort zone, read more about stepping out of it here.

You Won’t Lose Weight If You’re Not Managing Stress

Stress can cause sleepless nights, headaches, stomachaches, heartburn, and tension in your body. It affects your eating habits, either causing you to under-eat or over-eat. Stress or emotional eating involves craving and eating comfort foods that provide us with a rewarding or relieving feeling. Choosing comfort foods is a response to overwhelming feelings. This leads to poor eating habits and fat accumulation.

The body releases the hormone cortisol in response to stress. It produces cortisol when it feels it is in danger and is a way of fueling itself to help you respond to danger. In return, cortisol releases glucose (blood sugar) in your bloodstream. An increase in cortisol leads to an increase in glucose in the body. And so, your body is storing this as energy to use later. That energy turns into body fat if it is not used. Constant stress leads to an increased amount of cortisol in the body, which can lead to weight gain. This can erase any weight loss progress you’ve made. This is why it is important to continue your fitness routine when you’re stressed.

Give yourself a day of processing and feeling (of course this may take longer in different situations). Use this time to eat your feelings and after that, let it go and work on redirecting your thoughts. Maintain your exercise schedule. It will take your mind away from the stressor.

Other ways to relieve stress:

· Meditate

· Listen to music

· Read a new book

· Watch your favorite movie

· Go for a walk

Do things that you enjoy, remember your fitness goals, and practice mindful eating. To read more about managing stress click here.

You Won’t Lose Weight If You’re Not in a Caloric Deficit

You must be in a caloric deficit to lose weight. No matter how you eat (keto, Weight Watchers, etc.), you have to create a deficit to lose body fat. Weight loss is hindered when you’re not in a deficit. f you are not tracking your meals, you may not be in a deficit.

Creating a Deficit

You can create a caloric deficit through diet (food intake) only or you can do it with a combination of both diet and exercise. Each person has a specific daily caloric need based on their age, weight, height, gender, and level of physical activity. The internet has many calorie calculators, but this one is my favorite. This calculator gives you the number of calories you should eat daily to maintain or lose weight.

Here are my results from the calculator. When I use the site, I like to click on clear before I enter my stats.

Along with knowing your daily caloric needs you should use an app like MyFitnessPal to log your meals. You will not only be keeping track of the foods you eat, but apps like these will help you to get an idea of the amount of energy in the food that you eat. Use this to help you adjust your portion sizes and choose foods that allow you to meet your caloric needs and sustain you throughout the day. You can meet your caloric goals just by drinking a milkshake from Chick-fil-a. Should you eat another meal you will go over your needs and store the extra energy as fat. Make sense? If you balance your meals with vegetables, a source of protein, and some fat you will be able to eat more meals in a day than if you were to choose to eat a burger and fries, a milkshake, or the cup of coffee from Starbucks that you have to start your day.

Things to Remember

· If you consume more energy than you need, you will gain weight.

· Your caloric needs change as your weight and age changes, recalculate after changes occur. Not making these adjustments could be the cause of plateaus.

· You don’t have to track your meals forever, just until you’re used to managing portions.

· Have a cheat meal once a month or once every two weeks. NOT A CHEAT DAY.

· When you have snacks, including the good stuff like cookies and ice cream, make sure they fit in your total calories for the day (unless it’s a part of your cheat meal).

· Don’t create too much of a deficit by working out extra hard, eating too little, or both, it could cause you to retain weight, lose weight fast and regain it and more just as quickly, or harm your health. No, you won’t get to your goals quicker this way.

· Don’t only rely on the scale to track your progress. Take full-body pictures, watch how your clothing fits, measure yourself, wear waist beads.

You Aren’t Losing Weight Because Your Idea of Eating Healthy is Skewed

Before I get into this one, let’s determine what eating healthy means. The simplest definition, eating to maintain your health. I was taught not to use the word in the definition, so let’s look at the word health. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “complete physical, mental, and social well-being - and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Let’s say the definition of eating healthy is the consumption of food that nourishes, maintaining your physical, mental, and social well-being. Now, let’s explore how to do that.

Nix eating super small meals. Don’t be restrictive with how much you eat. Your meals should be at least 275-300 calories, nothing lower. If you are having a smoothie or shake as a meal replacement, the same applies. Of course, snacks will be lower in calories than this. Remember, your body needs fuel to operate. Determine what it takes to fuel your body and eat accordingly. Feeling hungry after a meal is not a good feeling and it’s not good for those who have to deal with your hangriness. Hungry + angry= hangriness.

Don’t restrict what you eat too much. Maintain your sanity and find balance. You can enjoy your favorite foods every now and then, even the desserts loaded in sugar. Make sure you stay within your daily caloric needs. Eat smaller amounts of your favorites and cut back and enjoy them once a week or once a month.

Don’t believe everything advertised as healthy. When choosing foods, especially those in the aisles of grocery stores (the perimeter of the grocery store offers the healthiest options) read the BACK of the packaging. This is where the truth is. Terms like organic, fat-free, natural, and sugar-free are misleading and leave out integral info about what’s in the product. These terms are only highlighting one or two ingredients.

·Look for the list of ingredients. They are listed in order by quantity with the most being at the top. Pay attention to the top three ingredients. Also, if the list of ingredients is long and has long words that you cannot pronounce it’s more than likely not in your best interest to consume.

· Pay attention to the type of fats. You want to eliminate trans-fats and decrease your saturated fat intake. Increase your polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat consumption.

· Look for 100% on the label. Unless the product says 100% it is processed adding unhealthy ingredients like sugar, fat, and sodium or removing fiber, iron, and vitamins. Ex. 100% whole grain bread and 100% real fruit juice.

· Convenience. Frozen and other meals that create convenience are mostly processed. Pre-chopped or canned (in their own juice) fruits and vegetables are foods that are two exceptions.

· Expiration dates. Foods with a long shelf life have preservatives, fillers, and artificial ingredients.

· Fiber Content. While the calorie count in food is important, fiber content is more important. Looking for fiber in food helps to eliminate a lot of foods high in sugar.

Sugar Content. The American Heart Association recommends 25 grams of sugar a day. Sugar has codenames too! Look out for terms such as sucrose, maltose, cane, dextrose, fructose, raw sugar, turbinado, syrup, agave. I really could go on. Sugar has about 56 aliases.

In this new year, go for the “new you” and choose yourself! Choose your health. Practice self-care and make your health a priority. Set fitness goals and develop a plan to help you reach those goals. Trust that if you stick to your plan you will achieve your goals and more. Be gentle with yourself. Learn what eating and being healthy means for you. Don’t be afraid to try new physical activities and foods. Never restrict yourself from your favorite meals; learn balance. Delay enjoying those foods instead of denying yourself them. When you grocery shop, get the majority of your groceries from the perimeter of the store. When getting groceries on the aisles, read the back of the packaging. Check for sugar, fiber, and fat content. Remember sugar has many names. Learn your daily caloric needs and put your body in a caloric deficit based on your activity level. Track your meals to ensure that you are in a deficit until it becomes natural to you. Most importantly, believe in yourself and remain consistent. But first, begin. I promise you will appreciate yourself for doing so.


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