You’ve been sticking PERFECTLY to your nutrition diet plan and your workouts have been killer! But why aren’t you making downward motions on your scale?
What the heck is going on? Why isn’t your hard work and effort paying off while is seems so easy for other people? Is there anything you can do to get better results?
Many factors like age, body type, gender, & how much weight you have to lose can affect how fast you can shed extra pounds. Men will tend to lose weight quicker because most men have more lean muscle mass and muscle translates into a faster metabolism. People who have more weight to lose may also drop the pounds more quickly in the beginning of a weight-loss program because the more you weigh, the more calories you burn during any given activity.
Sometimes, though, people who seem to share a lot of these traits—similar body size, weight, age and activity levels—just don’t get the same results, even when they do the same things.
Often when you have slow or non-existent weight loss it can be traced to very common problems.
#1: Your numbers aren’t right
In a healthy, “normally” functioning body, weight loss occurs when you use (burn) more energy (calories) than you take in from food. This calorie deficit forces your body to take fat out of storage and turn it into fuel that your cells can use to maintain necessary body functions. A pound of fat represents about 3,500 calories of stored energy, so you can predict that a calorie deficit of 3,500 will translate into one lost pound, give or take a little.
The most common reason why weight loss seems to be going slower than people expect is that their calorie deficit is not as large as they think it is. Either they’re not burning as many calories as they think they are, or they’re eating more than they think they are, or a combination of both.
Track your calorie intake carefully and diligently, until you can recognize portion sizes of the foods you eat often without measuring. And don’t count the regular activities of daily life you’ve always done as part of your “exercise.”
Fitness trackers and cardio machines only estimate how many calories you truly burn, and these trackers and machines tend to overestimate how much you’re really burning. For a more accurate reading, you could invest in a good heart rate monitor that better estimates your calorie burn based on how hard you are actually working during exercise.
#2: Excess muscle loss
It would be nice if every pound lost was a pound of fat. In reality, all weight loss involves some combination of fat loss and muscle loss. To get the best results from your weight-loss efforts, you want to maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss. The best way to do that is to include strength training in your routine. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even while at rest. Without strength training, a substantial amount of the weight you lose could be muscle (lean tissue), which can reduce your fitness and lower your calorie burning capacity.
#3: WHAT you eat matters almost as much as HOW MUCH you eat
How our bodies process the food we eat is managed by a complex set of biochemical interactions that determine when and where any excess calories are stored. For some, a diet high in fast-digesting carbohydrates like refined sugar and refined grains can make it easier for their bodies to store excess calories as fat and harder to get that energy back out of fat cells later on when it’s needed. It can also lead to increased appetite and more cravings for high-sugar foods. So if you’ve been overweight for a long time, struggle with appetite, carb cravings, and slow weight loss, you might want to switch it up to a diet higher in protein and healthy fats, and lower in refined carbohydrates and sugar.
Eat less and burn more, right? Weight loss isn’t always that simple. For a lot of us, it’s more than counting calories in and calories out. We all have to figure out what works best for us and not compare our results to someone else’s no matter how similar we may seem to be. Our weight loss and maintenance is a continuous journey and we have to pay attention to the route and be open to making changes in our approach along the way.
As always, be sure to discuss your nutrition and exercise plans with your doctor first.
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