8 sneaky reasons you might not be losing weight
Belfast PT Alan Waterman look at why you may not be shifting as much weight as you would like, despite your better efforts
Ultimately, the theory of weight-loss is relatively straight forward...
It's Calories In Vs. Calories out.
Calories aren't the only thing that matters when it comes to the liklihood of diet success, but when it comes to down to it, calories are the most important thing.
In short, the only way of successfully losing weight is by creating a calorie deficit (i.e. burning off more calories than you're taking in,) however, when we find we're not losing weight, it's a little too easy just to say "You're eating too much!"
Yes, that is still very often the case, but there are many different reasons why our calorie intake is still too excessive, and numerous other reasons why we might not be creating the calorie deficit we need - it's more about why and how we're not managing to do so.
Check out my top 8 sneaky reasons why your efforts at weight-loss are falling flat.
1. You're not moving enough
Decreased your food intake but still not shifting pounds? The other side of the energy equation is how many calories we're burning off (in other words, it's not just about how many we're eating!)
A low amount of NEAT (i.e. non-exercise based activity) means that our daily energy output remains relatively low, so even though our food intake has decreased, our energy output may need to be increased to help us create the deficit we need. In short, we need to move more.
2. You're eating too many meals out
Even when tracking our calorie intake, eating meals out is typically going to involve a good bit of guesswork.
Meals prepped by restaurants are typically higher in calories, but with only guesswork to go with, we run the risk of underestimating the calorie content.
This typically won't have a big impact on our overall week if we're eating out on a minimal basis, but the higher the frequency of eating out, the greater the likilhood we're continually underestimating the calorie value of our meals, meaning we're taking in more calories than we realize.
3. Your food environment sets you up for failure
Cupboards stocked up with high-calorie snack foods? They're almost certainly going to be getting eaten.
It sounds obvious, but we are much more likely to be making worse food choices if they're easily accessible to us.
Willpower is a product of our environment - if our environment surrounds us with temptation, we need to be able to exert a greater amount of willpower, which doesn't always work.
Making sure that we have access to better food options, and more limited access to worse ones, means that our liklihood of eating well will improve.
4. You're having too many "little extras"
Don't think the extra sweet you're grabbing from the tin in work is going to do damage? Wrong! Every calorie counts, and it all adds up.
As little as 40 calories (the same as a Celebration sweet) above our calorie needs every day will cause nearly 4lbs of weight gain across a year - that innocent little sweet suddenly doesn't seem so innocent!
Think about it - a chip of someone's plate, licking cream of a spoon, an extra tbsp of mayo... They all seem insignificant, but over time, they're going to be doing damage.
5. You forget what you've eaten
There are a huge number of studies to show that people's diet recollection tends to be incredibly poor.
Tracking our food or calorie intake is an incredibly efficient way of getting a handle on our numbers and being able to adjust our intake accordingly, but we need it to be accurate - even though we may be tracking, it's very likely bits are going unaccounted for.
Making sure to log as we go rather than relying on our ability to remember back is always going to give us a greater liklihood of being accurate with our intake numbers.
6. You're splurging over weekends
Diet been good during the week? Eaten like an angel? Too bad when Friday evening hits you go into weekend mode and undo all your hard work.
Calorie balance doesn't just work on a day to day basis, it can be looked at across the entirety of a week.
If your weight maintains at 2000 calories daily and you eat 1500 Mon-Thurs but 3000 Fri-Sun, your average daily intake still works out around 2000 calories.
In other words, you've cancelled out whatever deficit you've managed to create from that Mon-Thurs period.
Calories don't take a break over the weekend, so we need to aim to remain consistent across then too.
7. You're lacking consistency
It's true what they say- consistency is key.
Nobody ever got results from just eating one good quality meal, it's what happens across the weeks and months that produces the outcome we want.
Don't expect to successfully lose weight if your efforts don't last from one week to the next, or if every good day is followed up by a bad day.
Committing to your goals, as well as aiming to make your approach as tailored to yourself and as sustainable as possible, are huge contributing factors to determining how consistent your efforts will be.
8. You're just not being patient
Noticeable weight-loss results take time.
In truth, you are likely seeing some movement in terms of bodyweight or inches, but it's just slower than you would like.
People typically have unrealistic expectations of how quickly they should be able to achieve the results they want, but it will probably take you twice as long to reach your goal than the time you expect it to.
We shouldn't anticipate huge weekly changes, but losing even half a pound a week is still steady progress, and a much more sustainable approach than continually pushing for 4 or 5.
You can also download your free chapter of our weight-loss guidebook Fitness BS here.
Belfast Telegraph Digital