Updated: 2 hours ago
I want to start off by saying that weight loss is not always the goal when it comes to health and fitness. Everyone has different goals. This one is for my people who are having serious trouble losing weight and cannot figure out why.
As you may know, I was a personal trainer for many years, I have a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science and a minor in Nutrition plus many years of self education that I am always expanding on. Most of my clients would come to me wanting to lose weight and defeat obesity which plagues the United States.
Without a doubt, 99% of my clients were all making the same mistakes. Let’s dive into each of them!
You Aren't Eating Enough Calories
I know, that sounds totally crazy. Aren't you supposed to cut down calories at all costs in order to lose weight? Yes and no.
Everyone is different. We all vary in height, weight, age, gender, body fat percentage, activity level and goal. All of which determines how many calories we need to eat to maintain weight, lose weight, gain weight, etc. It all comes down to a science.
We all have a Basil Metabolic Rate (BMR) which simply means the amount of calories the body uses to just exist and carry out all vital internal functions & processes. You never want to eat below that calorie amount because it destroys metabolism - the chemical process that the body uses to convert food to fuel.
Then, we have Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE). The total amount of calories we burn throughout the whole day performing our normal daily activities. If you want to lose weight you would need to eat slightly less than your TDEE but never less than your BMR.
Luckily, fitness apps nowadays use this formula or something similar to calculate everything for you. The most important thing is being as accurate as possible when entering in your age, height, gender, weight, and goal. These all play major key factors in determining the amount of calories you need to be eating based on YOUR body and YOUR goal.
When you are eating the correct amount of calories for your body, metabolism is functioning optimally and burning calories at a normal rate. When you aren't giving the body the minimum amount of calories, metabolism begins to slow down because the body thinks it's in survival mode. It will hold onto any weight you have and convert food into more fat for storage. The body is smart, it thinks it’s starving and it wants to prevent death.
Therefore, starving yourself is not the answer. Chances are you can eat a lot more calories than you think and still lose weight.
Impatience Is Getting The Best Of You
Weight loss that is sustainable takes time. Trust me, you do not want to quickly lose a bunch of weight with a fad diet only to put all the weight back on and then some when you return to eating normal.
The quick solutions we all want do not offer realistic, lasting results. Fad diets and such are not sustainable, realistic or healthy as a lifelong thing.
Would you rather gradually lose weight by adopting a healthy lifestyle that offers balance and life long results? Or would you rather lose weight really fast and then put it all back on in a few months and repeat?
Any health/fitness goal takes patience and a whole lot of self devotion. Become dedicated to yourself and what you want the future to look like. I wrote a whole blog that I’ll link below, dedicated to finding your why if you need a little self motivation!
Is Your Why Big Enough? - Blog Post
You're Not Lifting Weights
Lifting weights boosts the metabolism. When you start lifting weights, you begin to build muscle. Over time, the body will begin to use more energy (calories) to maintain the muscle and the body will begin to lose weight but most importantly, fat.
The number on the scale doesn't mean much, it is all about body composition - fat to muscle ratio. Two people can weigh the exact same but have extremely different body compositions. Keep that in mind when you don’t see the number on the scale going down as much as you think it should.
If you're worried about gaining too much muscle and losing your feminine shape, don't worry. Gaining big bulky muscles is extremely hard and requires a surplus of calories, which is the exact opposite of what you're doing. I wrote a whole blog about womxn and weight lifting, I will leave the link right below if you're interested in learning more!
Body Shaping Vs. Bodybuilding - Blog Post
You're Eating Sneaky Calories
So you're eating really healthy and exercising but not noticing any results. This happens a lot simply because many are not aware of the amount of calories some healthy foods contains.
Any kind of nut or seed, nut butter, avocado, salad dressings, oils, granola, smoothies, protein bars. These are all healthy but are pretty high in calories. Going back to earlier it’s important to know how many calories you need to eat so it’s important you know how many calories you're consuming.
I definitely suggest downloading a food diary app to keep track of your calorie intake. My favorite is MyFitnessPal. It will also calculate the amount of calories you should be eating for your body and goal. This app makes it super easy to track everything.
By using a food tracker app, you will also be able to see how much sugar you're consuming as well as carbs, fats, protein and other nutrients. You’ll be able to make further adjustments if you notice your eating too much sugar or not enough protein. You typically want to eat a gram of protein per body pound and decrease processed sugar as much as you can.
Your In A Constant State Of Stress
Americans tend to live very busy lives which can come with a lot of stress. Even if you do not realize you're in a state of stress, your body does. Just like with not eating enough calories, the body thinks it’s in survival mode. So, the adrenaline system secretes a hormone called Cortisol. Unfortunately, Cortisol can cause the body to hold onto and gain weight, especially in the abdominal area which is extremely unhealthy. Fat around the abdomen means there is more visceral fat - fat around vital organs. This can cause an array of issues on its own, such as heart attack, fatty liver, stroke, etc.
Cortisol and stress can also cause overeating. Many people revert to overeating the comfort foods that they love because it provides them with comfort. It makes people temporarily feel better, but is doing a lot more harm than good. Learning to delay instant gratification is huge when it comes to any fitness goals. Delay but don't deprive.
Some symptoms of stress include:
A tense body for no reason - begin to recognize and be aware of your body language.
Trouble sleeping - this also leads to weight gain due to a spike of insulin that can make us feel more hungry, therefore eating more throughout the day.
Feeling irritable and frustrated.
Lack of patience.
Feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
Headaches, chest pain, fatigue.
Lack of motivation, focus and energy.
Heartburn and acid reflux.
Stomach and digestive issues.
Heart palpitations and rapid heartbeat.
Getting sick easily.
No appetite or a raging appetite.
Sweating for no reason.
The good news is, exercise is known for decreasing stress levels. Other ways to decrease stress in daily life is...
Expressing thoughts and feelings to someone you can trust
Not spreading yourself too thin
Saying no to the things you don't want to do or don't have time to
Using a daily planner to organize your life
Being mindful and present throughout the day vs. being on autopilot
Getting enough sleep
Decrease caffeine intake
Take a break from the news and social media
Read a book
Do some self care that always makes you feel amazing
Weight gain from stress only occurs when one undergoes long periods of intense stress. If you have a stressful day or moment, it won't affect you like this. However, it is still important to recognize symptoms of stress and learn healthy coping mechanisms to lessen the other life threatening effects from stress.
You Drink Alcohol Regularly
Alcohol contains 9 calories per gram, the equivalent of fat. Calories from good sources of fat are good for us but calories from alcohol have no nutritional value, they are simply empty calories. Now add in the sugary mix, juice, or soda and you have yourself a high calorie non-nutritional drink.
Regular consumption of alcohol causes the body to release more estrogen into the bloodstream. This can cause weight gain.
Alcohol is poison. Our bodies don’t like it, so the metabolism has a hard time processing, therefore it will end up causing damage to the metabolism.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to have a glass of wine some nights and go out for margaritas and mojitos. All I’m saying is keep it to a minimum. We are all aware of the other harmful effects regular alcohol consumption has on the body, i.e. liver, stomach, intestine, kidney, colon, esophagus, and heart damage just to name a few.
You Could Have A Thyroid Issue
If you have been putting in your all for a long period of time (at least 6 months) and taking the above advice seriously and still cannot lose weight, I recommend talking to your doctor.
Thyroid issues are very common. The thyroid is part of the metabolism, which again are chemical processes that convert food to energy. When a thyroid is under active - hypothyroidism - it causes the body to hold onto weight, gain weight easily, and makes it very hard to lose. This is why it's important to see a doctor, there are medications out there that can help.
On the contrary, while we're on the subject, there’s hyperthyroidism - an overactive thyroid. This makes it extremely hard for one to gain weight and muscle. Both are frustrating.
I’ve seen many people struggle to lose weight but I’ve also helped a lot of people break out of old mindsets and routines that weren't working for them. If you read this blog but continue to do the same things that aren't providing results, you are self sabotaging.
New results may take a new strategy to get you where you want to be. Trust the process. Be patient with yourself. Devote yourself to your health, goals and future self. One day you will look back and be so happy and proud that you did the work. You are capable, worthy, and deserving 💕
Wishing you a beautiful day 🌿