There is nothing worse than trying really, really hard to eat well and exercise more and the results do not show on the scales. It may surprise you to hear that when it comes to losing relatively small amounts of weight, it can actually be harder to lose it, simply because the specificity of diet and exercise intensity needs to be so much tighter. So if you have been struggling, here are the common reasons why you may not be getting the results on the scales that you think you should be.
1. You are eating breakfast too late in the day.
One of the most important things you can remember when it comes to weight loss is “the earlier you eat breakfast, the better”. Waiting until you get to work to enjoy the first meal of the day is a little late when you consider that breakfast fires up the metabolism for the day ahead. So if you are waiting until after 9am to enjoy your breakie eggs, oats or yoghurt, shift it forward an hour or two and get that metabolism firing. A good sign you are on the right track with your breakfast timing is if you are feeling hungry 2-3 hours later at 930 or 10am.
2. Extra calories are slipping in.
An extra coffee or two here, a biscuit there or a fundraising chocolate each afternoon and there you have the difference between losing weight and not. If you doubt what is really going in your mouth spend a day keeping a record of everything you eat or drink. Either keep a food diary for a few days or download a calorie monitoring program to your phone and make a concerted effort to log everything you pop into your mouth. You may be surprised at the little extras that do slip in, even when we are trying to eat well.
3. You are overdoing the coffee.
There is nothing wrong with a coffee or two each day but if you find yourself constantly sipping on a latte for most of the day, therein lies the problem. Not only are liquid calories a nightmare when it comes to insulin release and weight gain, but we rarely compensate for them, which means they become extras that many of us do not need. A single milk coffee such as a Latte or cappuccino has as many calories as a small meal, so make sure that you factor them in to your entire daily food intake. The timing of your coffee is also important so make sure you enjoy your milk based coffee with your meals or as a snack and drink only water or herbal tea in between.
4. You have an ‘all or nothing approach’.
While you may eat extremely well 4 days each week, when it comes to the weekend you find yourself overdoing the high calorie restaurant meals, binge drinking and extra treats and snacks that you never usually eat. There is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself on weekends, but completely blowing out your calorie intake will be the difference between weight loss and not. Rather than adopting a ‘binge’ style mentality from Thursday night until Monday morning, try isolating just a meal or two to overindulge and also factor in some extra exercise to compensate for the extra weekend calories.
5. You under eat in the day and then overeat through the afternoon and evening.
Night eating is one of the biggest barriers to successful weight loss. What starts as a ‘good’ day with a light breakfast and lunch then becomes a feeding frenzy throughout the afternoon and evening as your body sends signals that it has not had a enough calories throughout the day and seeks to make up for it. Avoid consuming excessive calories throughout the second half of the day by ensuring that your lunch choices contain both wholegrains carbs such as wholgrain crackers, sweet potato or brown rice and lean protein from fish, chicken or beans. Include a protein rich snack such as some cheese and fruit or crackers with nut spread at 3-4pm and limit sweet treats after dinner to a single small treat of <100calories. Good choices include a couple of squares of dark chocolate, a portion controlled ice cream or biscuit or some Greek yoghurt and berries.
6. You are sitting down too much.
While it is great to commit to regular exercise, if you then spend the remaining 14 hours of your day sitting, you are completely negating the benefits of training completely. Start to wear a pedometer and become more aware of how much (or how little) you really are moving – ideally we need at least 10 000 steps every single day in addition to our regular exercise. Try and avoid hours sent lying in front of the television at night after work and get outside at lunchtime and move around because the more you move, the more calories you burn and the greater your chance of sustainable weight loss.
7. You are training inefficiently.
It may sound harsh but the longer you have trained, the more you are going to have to push yourself in order to achieve the same calorie burn you did initially. Change things around with your training as much as you can and focus on working out intensely for just 20-30 minutes burning 200-300 calories in this time. Change the settings on the machines, swap the order in which you do your cardio and/or weights and swap between different machines and classes. When you have trained for many years, sometimes all you need to do is change the type of training and intensity to get things moving again.
8. Your hormones are out of whack.
Extreme fatigue, irregular periods, bad skin, extreme mood swings and unexplained weight gain my all be reasons that you are not getting the weight loss results you have been expecting. Your thyroid, insulin levels, adrenal hormones and even pituitary can all be factors that significantly influence our energy levels and even our ability to burn body fat. So if you have been feeling out of sorts, maybe it is time to book a thorough check up with your GP to see where things are up to in your body hormonally.