You've cut your calories, you've done your workout and you've really pushed yourself, but for some reason you're only seeing small changes or nothing at all.
Sometimes the smallest tweaks can make a massive impact in weight loss which will combat that frustration and get your the results you've been working so hard for and deserve.
Here are 21 ideas for where you might be going wrong.
- Eye-balling calories.
Let’s think of it like baking a cake, you want a precise outcome so you weigh your ingredients for that perfect bake. To lose weight steadily with a goal in mind, it’s essential to keep track of everything that passes your lips. For example, something as simple as forgetting to log olive oil, butter or alcohol can take you over your calorie allowance and mess up your hard work. That means all your efforts - healthy eating, leaving snacks, tummy rumbles and saying no to that extra drink will not pay off on the scales.
- The eternal losing streak.
You’re dieting all day, every day, you’ve been dieting for 10 years straight, life sucks, everyone else can eat what they want, but not you.. etc.. Give yourself a break!!! Remember, there’s 3 states: lose, maintain, gain. In my programs I always make sure I give people their “maintain” weight, so they know they have that to fall back on and can have a day, week or month where they can enjoy themselves whilst knowing they’re not going to gain any weight back. This is key to keeping the weight off once you’ve lost it.
- Cheat day / cheat meal.
It blows my mind how many diets, fitness pros, sites and forums encourage these huge cheat meals - loading up on pancakes, huge pizzas, entire chocolate cakes, sometimes for an entire day. Imagine we have one per week - that could be 3000 (potentially more) calories for the day, which throws you right back to where you started for the week. Whilst a 6” guy like The Rock might be able to just about squeeze it into their calories and work it off again, a 5” girl or guy has a lot less calories to play with. Aim for small hacks, treats and cheats to your meals, or smaller portions of the above to keep from from losing all your hard work.
- Too strict in the week, binge at weekends.
It’s important to have a balanced diet, if you feel like you’re starving yourself all week, it’s no wonder you’ll break at the weekends and throw yourself off course. Try not to be too hard on yourself and aim for a balanced healthy diet without cutting out any food groups to avoid those binges!
- Pounds & kilos, centimetres & inches.
On my 6 week programs, most people lose a LOT of weight in the first two weeks, but their weight can plateau on the scales around weeks 3 - 5. This is when we start to see huge amounts of the weight coming off in the measurements - arms, waist, hips and thighs. Measuring progress is imperative, as this is where you can start to lose heart, feel you’re not progressing and give up entirely. You can get a fabric tape measure really cheap, we use this one.
- You’re not drinking enough water.
It’s this simple: if your liver is dehydrated, it can’t burn fat.
- Notice fluctuation over time.
Keeping a diary of your weekly weight and measurements will show you any patterns of fluctuation over time. Impacts on fluctuation can be anything from the types of food you eat, your monthly cycle, tiredness, stress, or simply water retention from salty food the day before you weigh! Bear this in mind before you get frustrated or upset.
- Over-weighing yourself.
Although it’s tempting, (myself included!!) try not to jump on the scales after every meal ;). This can be completely off-putting and become an obsession. Pick one day, same time of day, and note progress weekly. You got this.
- Picking up random bits instead of getting a weekly shop.
You know the trips I mean. Just finished work, starving, tired, just want something quick and easy. You walk into Sainsbury’s and get a waft of cakes and bread. Hard to resist? Of course it is!!! Try to stop emotional buying, get yourself an online shop or a weekly supermarket trip (when you’re not hungry) that reflects your goals for the week.
- Making too many commitments.
The social calendar is racking up (you popular thing!) and before you know it, you’re eating out 4 nights a week, barbecuing all weekend and propping up the cocktail bars most nights. We should always make time for fun, but it can also catch up with you and throw you off course. Be selfish, put yourself first, learn to say no and enjoy some “me-time” or schedule something that doesn’t involve eating or drinking.
- You’re stressed.
Stress raises cortisol which means we can't absorb nutrients properly. Cortisol doesn't increase fat directly, but it works through insulin which reduces your ability to burn fat and increases the rate at which you store fat. Taking some time to yourself to de-stress will have a positive impact on your goals and your mental wellbeing.
- You don’t believe you can.
A positive mindstate is key to achieving success. Believe in yourself, you can do anything you put your mind to.
- Awarding too many calories for exercise
The biggest one!!!!!! Fitness apps, trackers, exercise machines, they are all guilty of misleading us into thinking we are burning hundreds of calories, which means we award ourselves them right back. And a lot of the time, we’re just not anywhere near those figures.
- Not all calories are created equal.
Sure, that chocolate bar is only 94 calories, that toast is only 200 calories.. But they spike your insulin, which blocks your body from burning fat for 48 hours. That fruit juice is high in vitamin c. Yes, but it also contains 95% of your daily sugar allowance. Keeping a balanced diet of whole foods will have a greater benefit of getting your body into that crucial fat burning state, try not to spike it with processed food.
Your body is clever. Changing things up is key to your success, this includes both diet and exercise. 6 weeks seems to be the magic number to the plateau game, so try playing around with your food ratios. Maybe you can up your fats, reduce your carbs, or up your protein. Or maybe it’s time to give the cardio a break and get strength training. If you’re looking to make changes or need some guidance, try this.
- You’re not aligned with your partner.
So many people find more success when they follow a plan with their partner. Try to encourage your other half into making the same lifestyle choices as you, there’s nothing better than achieving goals together.
- You have no milestones.
People who have the most success have a clear image of their goal in their mind. This could be anything from a wedding dress or a beach holiday, or an operation / fixing a health issue. If you need to lose a stone, break it down into manageable chunks. 4 quarters, your own pace, get those checkpoints ticked off and enjoy the acheivements one by one. Don’t let anything break your focus, stay committed and get where you want to be.
- You’re not eating enough protein.
- You’re comparing yourself to other people.
“I just lost half a stone and I have no idea how, I haven’t even been dieting”. We all know those people, and they make us feel like crap. Don’t listen to them. Don’t compare yourself to them. And don’t let them devalue the sheer determination it’s taken you to lose just 1 lb. You know how hard you’ve worked, and you know you’ve busted your ass to keep on track. Comparing yourself to others is destructive and irrelevant. You are you, keep being you.
- You’re going it alone.
Sure, a lot of things we can learn ourselves and put into practice, but it can also be a lot less stress if you hand over that responsibility to someone who has a lot of experience and can give you a lot more guidance. Even having a weekly check point with someone can make the world of difference, remind you that you’re doing amazingly and you’re completely on track to getting your goals.
- You let others dictate your cheats.
The treat table at work. It’s the same in every office. Those tubs of flapjacks & rocky roads, bags of cookies & doughnuts, chocolate buttons, twirls and caramels. An email in your inbox: Sweets from holiday in the kitchen… etc, etc. These temptations will never go away, the only thing you can do is learn to ignore them. Don’t waste your calories on rubbish, stale, addictive crap. Save them up and have something you will really enjoy that’s not going to make you feel bad, it’s going to make you feel good, because you earned it!