The Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

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Are you having difficulty losing weight despite exercising regularly and keeping an eye on what you eat?

Here are some reasons you might not have considered.

1) All Cardio & NO Resistance Training

If your goal is to lose body fat and change your shape, cardio on it’s own is not enough.

To shape and sculpt your body you’ll need to focus your efforts toward preserving lean muscle tissue. This can be accomplished with as little as 2-3 strength training workouts per week.

Without resistance training you’ll more than likely you’ll face an uphill battle trying to lose weight.

Why is it so important to maintain lean muscle? Because the more lean muscle you have, the faster your fat burning metabolism operates.

Contrary to popular belief, women who train with weights do not become big and bulky – in fact, the opposite is true. This is because muscle is dense and takes up considerably less room than body fat. When you gain muscle expect to lose centimetres.

2) Too Much Cardio

Are you spending hours every week doing group fitness classes, jogging, biking, swimming etc in order to burn more calories? Baffled as to why you’re not losing weight, and in some cases actually gaining weight? The reason is simple. Excess cardio results in a loss of muscle tissue.

In other words, when you lose muscle your metabolism slows and you burn less calories. Unfortunately many exercise enthusiasts continue to increase their cardio quota because they believe that “more must be better.” However, not only is this approach unsustainable, it actually exacerbates the problem.

Despite what you may have been led to believe, conventional steady state cardio is NOT the best way to burn body fat.

Try substituting steady state cardio for 20 minutes of interval training. Not only will you continue to burn calories for up to 48 hours after your workout, you’ll boost your aerobic and anaerobic fitness. This is something that traditional low intensity cardio does not achieve.

3) All Carbs & NO Protein

A diet consisting primarily of highly refined, processed carbs (sugars) is unlikely to do you any favours. In fact, weight loss is next to impossible.

One of the secrets to a faster metabolism is to eat small amounts of protein throughout the day, combined with good quality, natural carbohydrate sources. Protein creates a thermic effect which means the body has to expend more calories to digest protein that it does to digest carbohydrate or fat.

Eating a small amount of protein every few hours also makes you feel fuller and stabilises blood sugar levels. This means you’re much less likely to experience cravings and overindulge.

Protein is an essential ingredient for weight loss.

4) Infrequent Eating

To transform your body you need to consistently supply your body with the raw materials it needs.

However if you routinely skip breakfast, eat on the run and/ or eat infrequently, it can be very difficult to lose weight. Whenever your body perceives a famine, your metabolism and the rate at which you burn calories slows until the “famine” has passed.

To turn your body into a fat burning machine, eat 4 to 5 times per day and space your meals and snacks 3-4 hours apart.

5) Stress

Stress is rampant in today’s fast paced society and more and more people are being diagnosed with chronic fatigue.

Stress per se is not the problem, it’s the way we deal with stress.

Unresolved chronic stress releases a hormone called cortisol and which is associated with weight gain. (Cortisol is also known as the fat storage hormone.)

Prolonged stress can also interfere with adrenal and thyroid function, raise blood pressure, cause mood swings and fatigue.

When stress is left unchecked we tend to crave more fat, salt and sugar which in turn can lead to unconscious or emotional eating.

Deal with stress as soon as it arises, and in constructive ways that won’t sabotage your weight loss efforts.

Stress reduction techniques include taking time out for yourself (even as little as 5-10 minutes of “me” time every day can work wonders) meditation, learning to say no, delegating tasks, talking through any issues with friends and loved ones, finding ways to simplify your life, and of course regular exercise to boost those feel good hormones.

6) Lack of intensity in the gym

Many people sell themselves short by staying within their comfort zone. In doing so, they never give their bodies a reason to change. To lose weight on a regular basis you need to challenge yourself by attempting to:

a) Travel further within the same time frame

b) Add one or two 2 more repetitions

c) Increase the resistance

d) Reduce recovery times

The principle of progression is the foundation of all of my body transformation programmes and can mean the difference between losing some weight versus losing a LOT of weight.

nb: If you suffer from adrenal fatigue, high intensity exercise is not recommended. (Choose gentler forms of exercise such as walking and yoga until adrenal function has been restored)

7) Alcohol

As alcohol can’t be stored, its energy is metabolized until all the alcohol is cleared from the body. This means that less energy from body fat stores is used while alcohol is in the bloodstream. In other words, people who drink frequently have increased potential for weight gain because a higher percentage of the energy from food eaten during the day is converted and stored as fat.

Alcohol is also very calorie dense. Compare the amount of energy in alcohol compared to other nutrients:

1 gram of carbohydrate = 4 calories
1 gram of protein = 4 calories
1 gram of alcohol = 7 calories
1 gram of fat = 9 calories

Alcohol contains almost twice as many calories as a gram of carbohydrate or protein and almost as much as fat. No wonder alcohol is so, well, fattening! (Alcohol calories are deposited as fat around the mid section.)

Also, the body’s second largest organ, the liver, has to work exceptionally hard to process alcohol. Over time, regular alcohol consumption can result in a sluggish liver which can compromise your ability to lose weight.

Moral of the story, if you want to lose weight you can still enjoy the occasional glass of wine, just make sure to have at least 4 or more alcohol free nights per week.

8) Shift work

This one might come as a surprise.

Shift work, especially working through the night, interferes with our natural circadian rhythms (your internal body clock) and disrupts our hormone balance which can lead to health problems.

According to sleep researcher, Simon Smith, “biologically we’re designed to be awake and running around during the day and asleep at night.” Graveyard shift workers tend to gain weight more easily than their daytime counterparts. This is because we digest food more efficiently during daylight hours and our metabolism slows at night.

Ideally our bodies should be resting (sleeping) between the hours of 10am and 6am.

If you regularly work nights, talk with your boss about the possibility of moving to more user friendly hours.

9) Fad Diets

Low calorie, fad diets slow your metabolism making it progressively more difficult to lose weight and keep it off in the long term. This condition is often referred to as Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome X.

If you can’t sustain a nutrition plan week after week, month after month, year after year, then by definition you’re on a DIET!

Avoid fad diets like the plague and stick with a long term healthy eating plan instead.

10) The Wrong Mental Attitude

As Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can or can’t, you’re right.”

Believe in yourself, be willing to try a new approach to weight loss (ie: put the above tips into practice) and be consistent and persistent with your weight loss efforts.

With the right mental attitude you simply can’t fail.

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