You’ve been working out and you’ve been eating right but you still can’t get that last 10 pounds off. Here are the top 6 things that may be holding you back and what you can do about it.
- You are not eating enough. If your metabolism is not peaked it will instead store all the calories you eat making you gain weight as opposed to losing it. Do not dip below 1200 calories. If you are still gaining at 1200 calories bump up to 1600 calories for a while. You need to ensure that you are consuming enough calories to cover the nutrients your body requires. Here is a great guide from the USDA to figure out your ideal. Ensure you eat every 2 to 3 hours to keep your metabolism burning all day not in starvation mode. (Eat within 1 hour of waking, at least 300 to 500 calories and high protein and fiber)
- Diet products that contain artificial sweeteners! They raise insulin levels and lower real blood sugar which will cause your body to move its calories into fat cells.
- You are facing calorie creep. Over time we start to fade on our diet consistency and our calories slowly creep back up. Be aware of what you are consuming. Go digital! When you write down your intake on a food log you lose more weight. This is because it forces you to think about and reflect on what you are consuming. The same is true about your exercise and being aware. You can get even better results with going digital. Apps like MyFitness Pal, My Net Diary, Strava Run, Strava Cycling, SHealth, Moves, provide support and positive feedback as well as articles and suggestions tailored to your profile.
- Are you completely no carb and fat free? You need those for nutrients and energy. Your diet needs to be varied and have a mix of healthy fats and good carbs like fruits.
- You may be over exercising. If you are exercising a ton and eating minimal calories the way should just come right, off right? Not so. If you are exercising a ton and calorie restricting, you are likely not meeting nutrient needs and that tells your body to conserve and slow metabolism. In addition to that your hormones shift with exercise. (your body views exercise as stress and that leads to release of a hormone known as cortisol. Cortisol collects and builds up in the form of belly fat.
- You may have hit your Weight Loss Plateau. (Same weight for 3 weeks or more) You should get your body to burn fat again by creating an energy deficit by eating even less or substantially increasing activity levels. As your weight comes down so does the bodies calories needs as it has learned and adapted to burning fewer killers as you lose weight and diet.
What can you do about it?
- Cut out soda and refined sugars. Many people lose 5 pounds quickly just with this one change.
- Slow down when you eat so your brain has time to react and feel satisfied. So you do not think you are starving, and your body believes it too.
- Get enough sleep- lack of sleep secretes more cortisol and triggers fat store.
- Work out for 30 minutes to an hour a day only and vary your exercise between high and low intensity so you don’t’ get a buildup of cortisol. So, high intensity 3 days a week and the day cardio for an hour the other two days
- Eat nutrient rich and high fiber, high protein foods. This will leave your more fulfilled and less likely to go into starvation mode. Add back some protein and a few healthy carbs whole grains and veggies. (For men, you need to eat a minimum of 1600 calories with a sedentary life, women its 1200. This varies based on size or age.)
- Change your workout. Muscle burns more calories than fat working to ensure your exercise includes muscle building activities.
- Shake up your calories. If you have hit your weight loss plateau, you either look at cutting your calories by an additional 200 calories a day. That is as simple as a second bowl of cereal or that bowl of ice-cream after dinner. Speed up your weight loss by dropping calories 500 a day. Cut the dressing and skip the Burger king and have Subway. Small and simple. Or if you are already at 1200 calories a day increase your activity to burn an additional 500 calories a day. Another great way you can get over that is Calorie cycling. Built Lean Magazine suggests alternating 3 days’ low carb and then one day high carb “cheat day”.The more weight you lose the more weight loss slows and gets harder. Continue to check your calorie intake with your calorie burn every 10 to 15 pounds.
- Have continuity in your exercise program. Exercises should remain the same but increase in intensity and difficulty.
People are so consumed with instant gratification that we get upset if we are not seeing it. The healthy amount for the body to lose is 2 pounds per week if you are looking to shed 20 plus pounds and 1 pound a week for that last 10.
Weight loss is a journey and it takes time, dedication and work to achieve your goals. Don’t quit, we got this!