7 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight
January has been and gone and with the close of the (longest, darkest, dullest & downright worst) month of the year, many of you have probably also closed the metaphorical door on your New Year’s Resolutions for 2019.
By that, I can only mean that you gave them the boot, turned them out kicking and screaming with hideous break up lines like:
“It’s not you, it’s me” “I don’t deserve you” “It just wasn’t meant to be” “I need to focus on my career right now…” “Things are just moving too slow” “I shouldn’t have to change to make this work…”
And so, January ends on the best scene in any 90s RomCom: “The Fight” and then “The Exit.”
It’s all too much and thus, you have no choice but to leave, to pack your things, give up this folly and move on. Jog on Cameron Diaz, he’ll only hurt you in the end! Cue rain, tears, a dramatic exit from the city and 90’s tunes like “Even Angels Fall.”
February came and went like a chocolate eating, tear jerking montage and thankfully, this can only mean one thing, March is the 90s Romcom equivalent of the “Grand Gesture” when it comes to New Year’s Resolutions. The moment in the film where miscommunication is cleared up, errors are forgiven, new beginnings dawn and you can live happily ever after.
Ok, maybe this all sounds a bit too romantic. Let’s reorient our metaphor, most RomComs follow a structure something along the lines of:
What Works What Doesn’t Why Didn’t It What Now
All too often, we hit “What Doesn’t” with our goals and then give up before getting our mind-blowing kiss with Mr Darcy while standing in the rain! March is our “click moment.” The time to hit your goals with renewed vigour, commitment, learning, plan making and goal setting. March is a hard hit of realism and reflection, it’s answering the last two questions and moving on.
So, let’s get down to business (to defeat the Huns)… and get you back on track with some hard hitting truths and whizz kid facts….Why aren’t you losing weight…
1. You’re not tracking your food intake accurately
You don’t have to measure every gram of every morsel* that touches your lips BUT awareness is key! Whether you track your intake via a fitness app or simply write it in a journal, whether post or pre- eating, being aware of what you’re consuming has been associated with greater weight loss. Not only does it create a daily cognisance which will help you make better choices moment by moment, but a log of your eating habits will build a larger story which will support you and your coach in making those small tweaks to your diet!
*While you absolutely do not have to do this, it’s worth noting that the more specific, time consuming and accurate your logging method, the more potent (potentially) the results. This will depend entirely on a number of factors. Check out my blog on tracking methods if you want to learn more on this topic.
2. You are stressed to the hilt!
Stress – the chronic kind - can be bad for weight management. High levels of the “I give too many fucks” can lead to a whole lotta water retention from some fabulous hormonal processes detailed below. So, while it won’t actually prevent you losing fat, per se, it will seem like you’re not progressing when you look at the scales or feel a little ‘fluffy’. Having said that, some individuals in the population will find that stress makes it difficult to focus on fat loss as they will have built up habits and a lifestyle that prioritises hyper-palatable foods and easily accessible food sources during times of high pressure.
(Stress can lead to an increase of the hormone, Cortisol in your body. Outside all the bad that too much of this hormone can do, it also acts in a very similar way to Aldosterone – a hormone involved in sodium retention. Cue, a whole lotta water retention.)
3. You’re not getting enough ZZZzzzzzz
We’ve all been there, a series marathon on Netflix, it’s late and the oh so judgemental “Are you still watching?” screen appears. “Just one more episode Nanna Netflix, please!” you exclaim. But let me tell you, Netflix has your back, because a lack of good quality sleep, whether it’s because you just couldn’t miss the next episode of Alien Autopsy (just me?) or because you left the glaring screen to fill your room with a dim glow – is detrimental to weight management.
A lack of good quality sleep can lead to higher cortisol levels resulting in the same processes explained above. More than this, the hormones in charge of regulating appetite, Ghrelin and Leptin, can be affected by a disrupted circadian rhythm. Meaning you could end up feeling hungrier and moving less.
4. Your goals & lifestyle are mismatched!
You want a six pack, to run a marathon, to consistently lose 1-2lbs a week but you also want to maintain the exact same lifestyle that brought you to the place where you can do none of those things. You’re not being realistic with yourself and your expectations are fantastical at best. In this case, it’s important to be 100% honest with yourself, what do you REALLY want and WHY. There’s no shame in deciding that actually you don’t want those things, the shame would be in living a life that is miserable and unfulfilling because you didn’t have a frank conversation with yourself and your coach.
What this doesn’t mean, is that your goals and lifestyle have to be a perfect fit, day in day out, moment to moment. You’re human and a little self-compassion can go a long way in achieving your long-term weight loss goals!
5. Your Activity (NEAT & Exercise) levels
We are an increasingly sedentary society and many people I speak to, overestimate how much activity they do (and underestimate how much they consume!). There are 24hrs in a day and if you’re only moving for 1hr of them (even if that’s 6-7x a week!), it’s not a lot in the grand scheme of things! That’s not to say those hours of sweating like Theresa May in a field of wheat aren’t worth it. There are a million worthy reasons to exercise outside of weight loss, BUT if that’s one of your goals and it’s not happening, it might be worth playing around with more activity throughout the day. I’m a big proponent for the wildly undervalued activity of walking – (An ex client of mine lost one stone from walking alone!)
If you have set upon an exercise programme, it’s ALSO possible, particularly for beginners, that the body may be storing more glycogen in the muscles. Stored glycogen (carbohydrates) which are completely necessary for energy, will result in increased water retention. This won’t affect fat loss in the slightest, but it will affect the scales if that’s what your measuring your progress against.
6. You’re not enjoying your food
You’re eating mindlessly and at a speed that can rival Speedy Gonzales!
You’re on the wrong plan for you, eating food you hate, harshly restricting food you enjoy and making little concession for that little thing called LIFE when it pops up. Either way, it’s likely you’re on course for a massive binge, an hour or more of self-flagellation, hit rewind and repeat as necessary….
7. You’re trying to change too much too quickly!
I'm going to go to the gym 3x a week, drink 8 glasses of water a day, sleep 8hrs a night, eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day, reduce my calories, walk more, meditate, eat more protein, eat mindfully…..oh and do all the other adulting expected of me, like go to work, washing up and keeping up to date with the news every day.
A sure-fire way to failure, is to set too many goals and to have an ‘all in’ or ‘all out’ attitude! Pick one and focus on it, then slowly add another and another over time. Be honest with what you can achieve and personalise your goals to your circumstances that week.
And there you have it! Of course, there are PLENTY more reasons why you might not be losing weight, from medical to more personal tweaks. BUT as I’m now in danger of making this post far too long for even the most committed readers, I’ll leave you here!
If you want to have a more personal chat about your goals or why you’re not losing weight, why not book yourself in for a free consultation and let’s have a chat!