You’re working out regularly and have gotten yourself into a routine. You’re sweating, you feel it in your muscles … but you’re not seeing it on the scale! Here are 4 key reasons why you’re still struggling with weight loss.
We’ve covered a few fitness tips on how to jump start your weight-loss again through exercise and maybe they still aren’t working for you. Fitness and exercise is truly about your overall health. Working out, even doing all the “right” workouts, isn’t the only factor when it comes to having our best body and self. Let’s explore the nutritional and self-care side of body health.
#1: You’re Eating the Wrong Food
So after all the exercise you’ve been doing, you’ve still seen no weight loss. The first place to explore is your kitchen. When it comes to calories, it takes a lot of exertion to burn 300 calories, but you can consume twice that amount in a fraction of the time it takes to burn it. When it comes to exercise and nutrition for weight loss, the 80/20 rule is a good one to remember: it’s 80% what you eat and 20% how you’re working out.
And caloric intake aside, we also want to be sure that we’re putting in food that is good for our body. The exact foods a person should eat depend on their body type, metabolic rate and number of other factors, but a good general rule to follow is to stick to all natural foods.
When to eat is also important. Eat majority of your starchy carbohydrates such as potatoes, brown rice and grains, on days when the exercise will be more vigorous or for strength-training days. On your rest days or if the excerise is lighter like light cardio, stick to mostly just protein and veggies and avoid starchy foods as you won’t be burning any of the carbs off so instead of the body using it for fuel, it stores it as fat.
In general, avoid ingesting too much bread, sugar, and anything else processed. Eating prepared foods is fine, but look for things that have the fewest ingredients on the label – if it’s chock full of multi-syllabic, chemistry lab sounding words, then it’s probably not something you want in your body.
#2: You’re Eating Too Much
Stress eating. Emotional eating. Boredom. Whatever the reason may be, it’s time to be honest. Are you simply eating too much? The way we lose weight is when the body uses more calories than we consume, therefore having to use the ‘stored energy’, also known as fat. If you’ve switched your diet to eating whole and natural foods, cut out sugars and processed things, then give yourself a pat on the back! Changing your diet is not easy. But just because these foods are ‘good for you’, it does not mean they don’t have calories and that you can eat an endless amount.
Ward off midday hunger bouts that can lead to unhealthy choices by keeping easy to grab and eat snacks on hand. Energy bars are a great way option, especially with all the different types and flavors out there. Or keep around high-protein like nuts or nut-butters, Greek yogurt or hard-boiled eggs. An apple or banana or a handful of fresh veggie sticks are also great choices.
And get rid of ‘cheat days’, that can lead to binge eating and completely throw off all the good work you’ve been doing. Instead, allow yourself healthy ‘cheats’ or ‘rewards’ throughout your fitness and nutrition regimen. A dark chocolate covered strawberry or a small cup of fro-yo when you’ve got a hankering is a good way to curb any cravings and make eating better with better portions easier.
#3: You’re Not Giving Your Body Time to Recover
Getting that body moving is important, but rest and recovery can often be more important than the actual workout. Since it’s actually post-workout that your body does the most fat burning, it’s important to give yourself time to fully recover so you’re ready to work hard the following day.
It’s a good idea to have certain days dedicated to certain body parts so you can alternate and allow muscles to recover. Or, if you prefer to work out your whole body in one workout, give yourself a workout routine where you alternate between days of high-intensity work out and then a day of light cardio and stretching.
Listen to your body. Push your body to be better, faster and stronger, but also give it a little TLC, too.
#4: You Need to Stop Stressing
There’s this stress hormone known as Cortisol. Exercise is a physical stress on our bodies and cortisol is what gives our muscles the energy it needs to move during exercise. However, too much cortisol (ie: too much/ extended stress) can cause the body to go into safety mode and it causes the body to stubbornly store and hold on to fat. Besides physical stress, emotional or mental stress can also produce an excess of cortisol.
I know what you’re thinking. Ok, so stress is bad, but just ‘stop stressing’? Much easier said than done! While stress is unavoidable, we must remember that self-care and mental health are just as important as fitness and nutrition. Take time for yourself to rest your body and mind if needed. Meditation or simple breathing exercises are a wonderful and effective way to calm our minds and balance our emotional and mental stresses. Whatever it is that relaxes you, find it and allow yourself to indulge in it when needed.
You can do this.