5 reasons you’re not hitting your weight loss goals
I want to begin by strongly stating that ‘weight loss’ is the term I am using to improve body composition – gaining muscle, reducing body fat. Remember that every human body needs a certain amount of body fat to function, fat has an important role to play in the functioning of the human body, and the ‘goals’ I encourage are to be healthy, fit and strong – inside and out.
1) You’re not taking notice of what you consume
A nibble here, a spoonful there, half of this and that. When we think of our day’s food and drink consumption, we regularly think only of Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, not the milky coffee with a muffin, slice of bread and jam, or banana we had randomly. These mouthfuls all add up, and could be the reason you’re not shifting the weight.
2) Underestimating portions
So, you are keeping a track of your daily intake of food and drink, but are you weighing and measuring? Are you checking the back of packets for what a ‘portion size’ means? We can greatly underestimate our consumption by 10-50% which can have a huge effect on our weight-loss goals.
3) Not keeping a weekly calorie deficit
To lose 1lb of fat per week, we need to be in a calorie deficit of 500kcal per day (=3500 per week). This is a healthy and sustainable rate to lose body fat at. However, if you are inconsistent, then this will not be the case. For example, yo-yo-ing between very low calorie days and high calorie days, bingeing at weekends way beyond your daily calorie expenditure, not taking in to account the 1000kcal of alcohol you consumed in one night…this will all add up to a detrimental effect on your diet goals. (similarly, too large a deficit will slow the metabolism and have a detrimental effect on your goals as well as your health. Don’t be fooled into thinking ‘the less I eat the better’).
4) Not mixing up exercise routine
Do you spend hours on the treadmill? Or bike? Or ONLY do weights because you HATE cardio? Whilst the digits on the screen might say you are burning a huge number of calories, your body will be getting used to the exercise, and its weight-loss effect will become diluted. Cardio is great for heart and lung health, and does burn calories, but to get more out of your time, mix up your routines with some resistance training and HIIT. The human body burns more calories per day to maintain a lb of muscle than a lb of fat. Therefore the more muscle your build, the more calories you burn. And ladies – YOU WILL NOT GET ‘CHUNKY’! High Intensity Interval Training is a time-effective way to challenge your cardio system and boost fat burn through the EPOC (Excess Post Oxygen Consumption), or ‘after burn’ which you will benefit from long after the workout.
5) Not chilling out enough!
After all of the above, don’t forget the importance of sleep and rest. Yes, being ‘lazy’ isn’t going to help, but you will learn to listen to your body. If you have been ill or excessively busy and feel downright exhausted, don’t throw yourself into a gruelling HIIT routine. Aim for a walk, maybe some stretches. Overtraining is a real phenomenon and symptoms can be fatigue, failure to recover from workouts, and plateaus in progress. Aim for good ‘sleep hygiene’: get to bed at a decent time, avoid caffeine late and night and have less crazy nights out!
If you’re serious about hitting your goals, you will make these changes.