So many people actively ‘trying to lose’ body fat but getting heavier and heavier on the scales and wider around the hips. So what can you do if you feel at a loss with the numbers on looking up at you form below.
Here are just a few things to hit home If you are ‘trying’ but the results aren't happening.
1- You are eating more food than you are burning off.
To lose weight the body needs to be in a calorie deficit. Period.
You need to be actively burning more (or utilising more energy) than you are consuming.
Now there are a huge number of factors that can impact on how and when the body uses energy- but ultimately if you eat more than you burn off consistently -you will gain weight. This does not mean that a healthy body with a high metabolism cannot cope with extra calories every now and then. It also doesn't always mean weight gain will equal fat gain (ie - for significant muscle growth we need to eat in a calorie surplus with resistance training). But a very basic staring point should be to look at how many calories you are using each day for your activity. You can cut calories by then either increasing your energy output (ie move more-train more) or decreasing the amount of food you are consuming.
2. You are cutting out carbs/chocolate/crisps/grains/anything white or unclean.
Cutting out whole food groups in the grand scheme of fat loss simply doesn't ever seem to add up long term- UNLESS there is a calorie deficit in doing so and you can maintain this for life.
So for example if you ditch bread - because its high carb and believe it to be unhealthy- but then replace the bread with a ‘raw walnut date loaf’ - or whatever else the clean raw brigade advocate -the chances are you have then subsequently swapped calories for calories (albeit in a different form).
The point about calories in -calorie out remains the same- REGARDLESS of whether something is deemed to be in fashion or not. Of course some foods are more healthful than others but in my experience the result of anyone ‘ditching foods’ they deem to be ‘bad’ out of their diets often leads to ‘replacements’ of higher calorie options. I’m not dissing clean eating here if this floats your boat- but check the fat content and calories of all of the food you eat not just those you deem to be ‘bad’. If you eat clean or eat dirty the science of calories pretty much remains the same.
3. You are spending your day stressing about fat loss. You then don't sleep.
Its pretty commonplace these days for people to accept stress as part of their day to day lives. But managing stress is paramount if you aim for fat loss. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can encourage fat storage and research shows this is particularly common in women and their midsections.
Cortisol itself is not all bad -it helps many hormonal processes and functions in the body-however chronically high levels need to be considered as a fat loss inhibitor. Think about how much time you spend ‘switched off each day’. How much or how well do you sleep? What other areas of your lifestyle can lead you to become happier and healthier. Try and give yourself a limited time each day ‘worrying’- about WHY (I look this way)- then focus for the remainder of the time- more energies on HOW you can introduce habitual changes to get you were you want to be.
4. Drink more water!
Dehydration is an often overlooked factor in fat loss. Dehydration can cause a drop in energy production, making exercise more difficult and less effective. Testosterone levels are also depleted and this itself can cause an increase in abdominal fat. If you don't like water -try mixing it up with fresh limes, lemons crushed mint - even low sugar cordial! Herbal teas/tea coffee can also all add up to your water intake. Try and make water carrying a habit. Then link the habit with a trigger (for example-every time your phone rings promise yourself you will drink sip)-triggers + habits= routine behaviour.
5.You are working ‘against your body’- you have unrealistic expectations.
Now this is a complicated area both mentally and physically for many people. So I must word this carefully -but do you have realistic expectations about how your body will look?
I have worked with many women over the years who despite being educated, hard working and fully committed to a healthful training and eating approach remain dissatisfied with achievements in fat loss and lean muscle tissue gain as their effrts did not lead to a ‘skinny looking physique. I like to pride myself as a trainer who works on the basis of working with a ‘healthy approach’ to improving the strength and conditioning of those I work with. This is despite sometimes facing dilemmas when clients remain in a ‘I want to be a skinny size 0 type female brain’. Yes some females are naturally thinner than others. But this by all means does not make them healthy. In fact some of the unhealthiest people I know are very very thin. Some people only have to look at a weight and they seem to gain muscle whilst others must lift for days whilst eating actual wholes cows before any muscle shines through. This is called genetics. Get to learn a little about yours and begin to work with your body not against it. Know that for someone with chronic stress levels extreme interval training each day (even if it achieves a skinny frame) may not be the most healthful way of making you the body of your dreams. Create a training plan that fits in with your life, mind and body- If you need help with this.