If you’ve been on a mission to lose weight and things are stalling, or worse still going in the wrong direction and you’re actually gaining body fat, here are a few suggestions and ideas that might help you get back on track with your fat loss goals.
1) You Don’t Eat Real Food
Let’s start with an obvious yet essential point. To lose weight, and ultimately be healthy, your body needs to have adequate nutrient status. If you consume protein, carbohydrates and fats in their most natural form, these sources contain the most vitamins and minerals which help fuel your metabolism.
You can restrict calories all you like but if the calories you eat are coming from processed foods, snack bars, and weight loss shakes, you’re not supporting a sustainable model of fat loss and eventually your hormones can become derailed causing huge issues with appetite and weight regulation in the future.
One of the most effective places to start is to change your breakfast – check out our suggestions here.
2) You Eat Too Frequently
Fat loss is strongly regulated by hormones. The main hormone you need to manage is insulin. You need your body to respond (be sensitive) to this hormone in order to burn fat and build lean body mass.
Each time you eat insulin levels will rise, if you eat too frequently insulin levels remain chronically elevated and just as you might stop picking up the phone to anyone who calls you excessively, your body decides it’s bored of insulin and simply ignores the messages communicated.
Another principle role that insulin plays is to shut down the production of an opposing hormone called glucagon. Glucagon is released when you’re not eating and its role is to free up your fat stores and use them to fuel your body in the absence of any glucose.
To put it simply, when you’re not eating you’re burning fat stores, so of course one of the quickest and easiest ways to lose weight is not eat too often. There are a number of ways you can do this including shortening your eating window or increasing the gaps between meals. This will put your body in fat burning mode for longer periods of time.
It’s easy to work this into your daily routine too, for example implementing an 8-10 hour eating window just means eating between 9am-7pm or 10am-8pm, which isn’t unrealistic for many people and means that over a 24 hour period you’re fasting for long periods of times but for most of it you’rr sleeping.
You can also increase the gaps between meals to 4-5 hours, the digestive system needs at least 3 hours to run a cleansing wave ready for your next meal so it’s wise to at least ensure that window exists between meals and gradually increase it. A typical Fitter Food day might be:
Scrambled eggs with avocado, spinach and peppers
Jerk chicken and sweet potato salad
Pear with almond butter
Tamari salmon with brown rice and stir fry vegetables
Yogurt and berries
If you’ve taken on adequate protein, fats and fibre this should feel pretty effortless as these foods support satiety (and are tasty!) If you need more ideas we have plenty of meal plans and recipes in our Fitter 365 membership site.
3) You Don’t Move Enough
This isn’t just about the gym but rather movement generally. If you drive to and from work and sit at a desk all day only to head home and plonk on the sofa, a number of physiological developments are taking place. Arguably the most relevant is the increased risk of insulin resistance, which in simple terms will encourage fat storage. Ideally you’re doing some form of ‘exercise’ a couple of times a week but even in addition to this we all need to move more across our day to improve our calorie expenditure and insulin health. Try walking as part of your commute or during your lunch hour, play with your kids or grandchildren more, get stuck into some domestic chores or gardening. If you need accountability get yourself a movement tracker, you can download apps onto Smart phones which cost very little or invest on a wristband tracker. Even better get a dog or volunteer to walk someone else’s, they won’t accept any excuses, come rain, wind or shine you’re heading out that door.
Matt has also started running LIVE workouts on Facebook so be sure to follow our page and jump in on the next one.
4) You Don’t Sleep Enough
Sleep is such an easy weight loss win, yet most of us just don’t get enough. Lack of sleep will contribute towards insulin resistance (remember the key hormone involved in fat loss) elevate stress hormones and leave us feeling fatigued, grumpy and craving caffeine and sugar.
The important thing about sleep health is not just getting 8-9 hours a night but getting into an evening routine that supports deep slumber. You can read more HERE.
5) You Don’t Breathe and Relax
Our lifestyles are stressful and huge amounts of stress hormones are often whizzing around our body which may stall fat loss in a number of ways. Firstly, it will cause imbalances in other hormones especially the reproductive and thyroid hormones which we need to be balanced to support weight loss goals. Too much cortisol may also increase enzymes that increase fat storage around the middle. Furthermore, our body will seek quick sources of energy to fuel the stress response, this generally comes in the form of sugar and the perceived need is so powerful it can override any will power you try to implement, the biscuit tin just becomes your best friend.
Taking time out to do some deep belly breathing and mindful activity like yoga, or using a guided meditation app like Headspace. Other good options include listening to music and simply turning off your phone or laptop for ten minutes.
Little daily habits can transform your hormones in minutes by putting you into rest and relaxtion mode, lowering stress hormones and rebalancing the body.
6) You’re Not Consistent
A common mistake we observe is people adopting a healthy approach across the week, but once the weekend hits, anything goes. It’s pretty easy to blow all your hard work by disrupting your hormones once again from Friday through to Monday morning. I’m not suggesting you live like a saint and a few alcoholic drinks and a takeaway aren’t necessarily an issue but it’s important to remember Monday to Friday is 40% of your week. The more weight you need to lose the more you need to apply consistency to improve hormone sensitivity and reach a maintenance phase where you can then expand your nutritional intake a little more.
I’m also referring to a consistency that applies all year around, not just across in January or two weeks before your holiday. Your body gets tired of the abuse and is much less likely to respond to quick fixes the longer you drag this out. Find a model of eating that you can follow day in day out and enjoyment is the key. It’s our mission at Fitter Food to show people how healthy food is really tasty and easy, we’ve packed our membership site with meal plans and videos to inspire you to spruce up your plate and never get bored of nutritious food.
7) You’re Building Lean Muscle
If you are judging progress entirely by the scales, STOP! If you are exercising, especially participating in some resistance training, the scales will likely creep up as you build lean body mass. The best thing to do is track weight loss by taking pictures and measuring circumferences, especially your waist. If you wish to continue using the scales be sensible about your interpretation and weigh yourself once a week or every fortnight, first thing in the morning on the same day and with the same scales of course!
8) You’re Eating Too Much
Sounds obvious but it can be helpful to check in. It’s easy to tip into excessive energy intake even with healthy foods, especially if you consume salad dressings, liquid calories, nut butters and cooking oils. None of these need to be avoided but as calorie dense foods it’s worthwhile exercising some caution with serving sizes. A simple approach is to aim for a palm size serving of protein, fist size serving of carbs and no more than a dessertspoon of added fats (for cooking or dressing food). If you like to see a full plate add in lots of extra salad and vegetable sides to fill the gaps.
9) You’ve Got Something Else Going On
There maybe a chance you have something else underlying that needs to be addressed, maybe a hormone imbalance or some compromised gut health, maybe an infection which is causing chronic inflammation or some nutrient deficiencies. We have a host of webinars to guide you through identifying these and taking action, you can also get expert guidance form the Fitter Food team with our 1-2-1 nutritonal therapy programmes. More details are available here.
These are just a few suggestions as to why you might not be losing weight. When results stall it’s easy to resort to the obvious strategies of eating less and training harder but hopefully the points above have resonated with you and there are other areas for you to explore. One final point to remember is that if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.