"I'm exercising & eating well. Why aren't I losing weight?!"
Many times we believe we are participating in healthy practices, but if we aren't seeing the results check in to see if you are doing some of these things:
1. Cutting Out Carbs
I see it all too often that we continue to see carbohydrates as a weight/fat gainer. While, yes this can be true, (especially if you are excessively ingesting refined carbohydrates such as doughnuts, chips, white bread, or pretty much anything that has a high shelf life that comes in package!) staying away from carbs will not, I repeat WILL NOT MAKE US FAT. The key is to eat quality unrefined, complex carbs in appropriate portions to give our bodies the necessary energy to build lean muscle (muscle helps lose fat but we’ll get to that later).
Many fad diets or crash dieting call for excessive calorie and carb restriction which have drastic consequences such as:
Another reason why cutting out carbs can be potentially harmful is that it is fuel for our BRAIN. Low carb diets can have us feeling less energetic, anxious, irritable, or even depressed- some signs of hypoglycemia (low sugars in the blood). #HANGRY So instead of cutting out carbs altogether, eat healthier carbs such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, brown rice, quinoa, or sweet potatoes in small, frequent portions.
2. Just Doing Cardio
This is another big issue with those of us who are having trouble losing weight. Embarking on cardiovascular training is great for the heart and does burn calories (needed to lose weight), but another component that is needed to help burn calories is building lean muscle! And one of the best ways to build muscle is to participate in strength/resistance training. That can be in the form of calisthenics, weight lifting, suspension training, or resistance band training. A good place to start a resistance program is train at least 3 days per week of higher volume work (3-5 sets of 8-15 reps) to build muscle!
3. Drinking Too Many Smoothies
This reason is kind of tricky. With the influx of great blenders, smoothies have made a big impact on the health industry. Simply put in some greens, tons of fruit, seeds, nuts, peanut butter, protein powder, and finish it up with some milk or almond milk and you’ve got a super healthy meal. While you can get up to 3-5 servings of veggies and fruits with tons of vitamins/nutrients, you can also easily consume 500+ calories with 50g+ sugar depending on the type of fruits you put into your smoothie which can be a lot in one sitting. Now if that’s the case, and we are ingesting 2-3 of these "super shakes" a day that can be up to 1500+ calories with over 100g+ of sugar. Also, keep in mind the other foods we might be ingesting throughout the day, which can put us over our calories for the day. If we find ourselves in this camp, try to limit yourself to 1 smoothie a day; or have 1-2 servings of fruit, limit the seeds/nuts or protein powder. Another helpful tip is to try to ingest vegetables and fruit as a whole rather than in a smoothie to limit excessive sugars from the copious amount of fruit in a shake in one sitting.
4. Eating Too Much "Healthy" Packaged Snacks
Weight loss can be impeded with the influx of “Organic”, “GMO-free”, and other “healthy” versions of refined packaged foods. While these “healthier” versions of cereal bars, chips, crackers, rice cakes, and other snacks can be better than traditional chips or sugary cereals, it can be misleading you away from eating nature's finest--natural, whole nutrient-dense foods. For instance, many of us will see a chip bag and the buzz words of "ORGANIC" or "GMO-FREE" scream at us. These words allow us to assuage our guilt of eating chips and allow us to eat copious amounts of it. There are two problems with this. First, we probably will consume excess calories by eating 2-3x more servings of it than usual because we think it's "healthy". Secondly, because we think it's healthy we opt to eat these "healthier" fruit bars, chips, crackers, etc. rather than eating natural, nutrient-dense foods like real fruit or vegetables.
Another thing that may side track us with these "healthy" packaged foods is it's "low calorie" claims. While limiting calories is part of the equation to lose weight and fat, it isn't the whole picture. Many of these foods don't have adequate macronutrients (healthy carbs, fats, protein), vitamins, and minerals. These are essential to fuel our bodies to have increased energy for the day and our workouts. Without proper energy to workout appropriately (resistance train) we won't build lean muscle to shape our bodies and burn the fat! However, with that said, weight loss can be found with these low calorie packaged foods. Is it worth it to feel malnourished at the expense of dropping a few pounds?
1. Eat unrefined carbs in small portions (good rule of thumb is a fist full)
2. Resistance Train! (3 days per week with higher volume work 3-5 sets, 8-15 reps)
3. Eat whole fruits/veggies more often. Limit smoothie intake.
4. Eat "healthy" packaged snacks in moderation.
If you are having trouble losing weight, consider these "healthy" habits.
Synergy for thought