If I had a dime for every time someone asked me how they could lose X number of pounds in X number of time, I could probably make enough money to earn myself a spot in the Shark Tank cast. Everyone seems to have extra weight they want to lose, but yet very few of those people actually want to do something about it. Interesting.
Why aren't you meeting your weight loss goals? Here are couple possibilities as to why:
- You're not tracking your intake. There are a million and-a-half different diets and cleanses on the market. The one thing that virtually all have in common is that maintaining a caloric deficit is paramount. To lose weight, you must be consuming less than you are expending. That's it. It's pretty simple! People say you shouldn't eat carbs, you shouldn't eat fat, you should eat carbs after dark, you should carb cycle, you should eliminate sugar/gluten/dairy/etc., you should drink lemonade everyday for a week, blah blah blah. I could continue. None of that is necessary. Just measure how much you're eating and make sure you're moving a lot. You wouldn't load an arbitrary weight on the bar and try to squat it, right? So why would you neglect to keep track of how much food you're consuming? Weigh your food portions, track everything in a food tracker (I use My Fitness Pal), and find out what a good amount of food is for you to start losing weight.
- You're inconsistent. You eat "clean" or you track your intake Monday through Friday, and then you go hard and go out drinking and eat whole pies of pizza (guilty as charged) on the weekends. I admire your 5 days of dedication, but you're absolutely destroying all of your hard work over the course of those two days. If you feel inclined to have a day where you don't want to track your calories and just have fun, try to make sure it's not twice-a-week, every week. Make those days fewer and farther between so that you're not sabotaging your progress on the weekends.
- You're stressed and/or sleep deprived. Adequate sleep and relaxation are underrated as methods of improving bodily composition. If your body is operating in the sympathetic, "fight or flight" nervous system, as it would in someone who is sleep-deprived and/or overworked, you are constantly in survival mode. Your body is going to instinctually hold on to excess fat (or possibly store more food as fat out of fear) if you are in a constant state of stress!
- You aren't moving enough outside of the gym. Your NEAT is your Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, or the calories you're expending during your other hours of the day. If you work out for 1-2 hours a day and spend the rest of the day sitting at work, your NEAT is going to be pretty low. If you have a physically demanding job or you go on walks/runs during the day, your NEAT is significantly higher. What you do during the rest of your day is important! Now, I understand that not everyone has the option to go on a 3 hour hike during the day, and people do work desk jobs, but try to move whenever you can! Even if it means getting up and walking around your office every half an hour. Maybe you can walk or bike to work. Take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator. Play with your kids outside when you have time. Just move whenever you have the chance and increase your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure)!
- You aren't eating enough of your micronutrients. This is one huge mistake I made. I was carefully tracking my macronutrients (protein, carbs and fat), but I was forgetting about the micronutrients: my fiber intake, calcium, iron, potassium, Vitamin A, etc. Some of these numbers were much lower than I'd expected. It wasn't until I started monitoring all of this on MFP that I was able to increase my intake. A lot of people aren't hitting these numbers, and the foods they consume are nutritionally devoid. More nutritionally dense foods will keep you full for a longer period of time and they will help improve overall bodily function so you can go crush your workouts.
- You're not working hard enough. It would be fantastic if we could just take a bunch of magic pills and maybe workout once every week for 20 minutes and miraculously have the body of a Victoria's Secret Angel or Brad Pitt in "Fight Club," but unfortunately I'm going to have to pop your bubble: weight loss doesn't work that way. No pill can substitute hours, weeks, months and years of grinding at the gym. No expensive shake is going to allow you to eat a double bacon cheeseburger with a side of fries and still look like an Adonis. Hard work is the only solution to your weight loss woes. Go to the gym as often as your schedule allows and put in the time. Dedication will help you become stronger, faster and leaner (if that is what you desire).
|My Fitness Pal has a large database, and it's easy to use.|
If you're serious about getting in shape, stop talking about tomorrow or next month. Quit making excuses and finding reasons not to do it. The truth is, none of this is easy. I'm not going to sugar-coat it. Some days I'm absolutely exhausted. There are times when people offer me free donuts or candy. Life is a constant struggle filled with temptation. Sometimes I choose to indulge, but often I just tell myself to quit whining and go to the gym anyway. This type of mental strength is the only way to see progress and achieve a lifestyle of health.