3 reasons you're not losing weight

The idea of losing weight can be a daunting thought. You may have tried and failed in the past, or you may have lost weight after a lot of trial and error. Here’s 3 reasons your weight loss journey may be taking a lot longer to reach your desired destination.

You’re consuming more calories than you think

So you’ve set yourself the goal of losing a certain amount of weight by a certain time, it may be a holiday, a friend’s wedding or to simply improve your health. The first thing you do is cut out the “junk food” and start eating “clean”. You’re expecting weight loss, and you’re hoping for at least 1lb per week.

You can’t NOT lose weight when cutting out crisps, chocolate and alcohol and replacing the junk with avocados, low fat options and making your meals from scratch, right?!. Actually, you may have just increased your calories.

Let’s take a look at a potential day of eating for the average person:

Meal 1 – 2 slices of white toast + glass of fresh orange juice

Meal 2 – Chicken salad, bag of crisps & bottle of diet coke

Meal 3 – Medium latte

Meal 4 – Spaghetti Bolognese + 2 slices garlic bread

Extras – x3 cups of tea with semi skimmed milk

Estimated total calories – 1,900

Now let’s have a look at a potential day of eating of a “clean eater”:

Meal 1 – Medium avocado & 2 boiled eggs on a slice of granary bread

Meal 2 – 75g nut & seed mix

Meal 3 – Homemade quinoa & mushroom soup

Meal 4 – Chicken breast with sweet potato & vegetables

Extras – x3 cups of green tea

Estimated total calories – 2000

These calories were estimated using MyFitnessPal and may be 10% under/over. The point here is for fat loss, calories matter, and by blindly eating “clean” you may still not be in a calorie deficit, so your weight loss may be at a standstill.

Please note we are not claiming the first example to be better, more optimal or recommending you follow this. Also, the second example is packed with micronutrients, fibre and may have a more optimal macronutrient split for weight loss.

You don’t move enough

Although you are going to the gym 3 times per week and burning around 300 calories each time, it may be your activity over the rest of the week that is holding you back.

Using the 2011 Compendium of Physical Activities, let’s take a look at the potential calorie expenditure from different occupations:

Hairdresser – 117 calories

Office worker (seated) 97.5 calories

Decorator 214.5 calories

Firefighter (intense) 520 calories

This is based on a 65kg person, and is calories per hour.

If you are struggling to lose weight, you may want to consider if your occupation is low activity and what you can do to increase your daily energy expenditure. The easiest way of doing this is to increase your step count.

A daily 30 minute walk at 3mph may burn an extra 796 each week, or 41,518 calories per year! This could equate to around 1lb weight loss each month.

You eat too much on a weekend

So you’ve worked hard all week, stuck to your diet and now Friday night is here, you decide to order a pizza and sink a tub of ice-cream. BOOM! That’s the sound of 3,500 calories being consumed in under 40 minutes. Your 500 calorie deficit from Monday to Thursday has now been reversed and you’re not in a 1000 calorie surplus over the last 5 days. Not to worry, you have the next two days to get back on track and see some results on the scales on Monday morning.

The only problem is, it’s a weekend, and the binge continues until Sunday evening when you enter panic mode and decide “the diet starts tomorrow”.

This may not represent everybody, but I would wager a large percentage of people whose long term goal is weight loss encounter this scenario more often than not.

My advice would be to either apply an intermittent fasting protocol, which could potentially save you 500+ calories each day, or ensure you track your calories EVERYDAY (not just Mon-Friday) to make sure you don’t go overboard. Also, try to stay as active as you can during times of epic calorie consumption.

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