Fat loss can be a confusing and frustrating topic for many. Even with unwavering devotion to a plan, the most dedicated people eventually give up if the results aren’t there. For some it’s not a lack of effort, but the wrong actions that are to blame for not losing body fat. We’re here to address some of the most common mistakes people are making and explain why these may be the hurdles that you need to remove from your plan.
You’re an excessive calorie counter.
Have you ever significantly dropped your calories, lost a little weight and then progress suddenly stops? At this point, most people either drop calories down even further or go back to “normal eating” and gain their weight back, plus some. Lowering calories over and over again only leads to a slowed metabolic rate and nutrient deficiencies. Calories DO MATTER and need to be below a certain set point to lose body fat, but WHAT you eat is even more important than HOW MUCH. Nutrients are interpreted by your body as information. We know that certain nutrients can signal the body to release insulin, increase drive or even calm down. You must realize that calories are not created equal and two people eating 1600 calories a day can have drastically different results based on their food choices.
You’re Not Monitoring the Type, Timing and Amounts of Carbs.
Let’s start by agreeing that carbs are not evil. They aren’t just delicious, they’re necessary…sometimes…but only certain types…in the right amount. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that 50g to 150g of carbs per day is too much for people looking to lose body fat which means the majority of your diet should be proteins and healthy fats. If you have a significant amount of body fat, then this is very likely to be true. There are many benefits to keeping carbohydrates low with regards to health and fat loss, but long term it may lower thyroid output. We think a better strategy is carb cycling. For a sedentary person (by the way, you should be exercising), eating 60-100g/day of low glycemic carbs every 2-3 days can work very well. For active individuals, carbs per day could even be closer to 200g/day, with the majority placed around a workout. While protein and healthy fats should be a priority, let your body fat and activity level determine the amount of carbs you pair with it.
You Do TOO MUCH Cardio.
We get it, you love running and nothing we say will make you stop. Well we don’t want you to stop! It’s great that you enjoy it, BUT PLEASE consider Weight Training to compliment it. Lifting Weights is the gift that keeps giving. Assuming you trained with enough volume and intensity, your metabolic rate will be elevated for 24-48 hours post workout! Compare that to the measly 4 hour bump you’ll get for that 1 hour run. Muscle is a very active tissue and even adding 5lbs of it to your frame will have a significant impact on your metabolism. Doing too much cardio will actually cause you to lose muscle mass.
You’re Always Stressed and Tired.
You’re stressed from work, which makes it harder to fall asleep, which makes you stressed – sound familiar? This vicious cycle starts a hormonal cascade that makes fat loss VERY DIFFICULT. A lack of sleep causes less growth hormone production and more cortisol secretion. Too much (or too little) cortisol causes blood sugar fluctuations and chronic inflammation. Not only do these hormonal shifts make fat loss much harder, your energy and motivation to live a healthier lifestyle will certainly be challenged. People are different and the ways they find to best cope with stress vary. You have to find what works for you and make it a priority. Meditation, yoga, charity work – find it and use it. As for sleep, studies show that going to bed before 10pm and getting at least 7 hours is the ideal situation. Sleep is cumulative, so it may take a few weeks to catch up and feel the benefits of solid sleep.