There could be a number of reasons why you are struggling to lose weight and there are so many things that affect it. Women tend to find it harder and I don’t think it helps that when we do ‘fall off the wagon’ we carry on falling rather than taking it as a glitch and carrying on with our healthy day. When we fall, we fall hard and say that we will start again tomorrow. Ever done this?
Now to lose weight, you need to be in a calorie deficit. If the standard calorie guidelines for a women is 2000 and you want to lose weight then you need to reduce your calorie intake by 300-500 per day. Lets say you are now on 1500 calories. I am not taking into consideration your exercise/ daily movement here.
Height, menstruation, stress levels, age, gender, activity levels are all factors to take into consideration when it comes to losing weight but I wanted to share with you some of my experiences from clients and research. I have broken down three of the biggest reasons I have seen people face.
You’re not drinking enough
Water is not just the latest fad thing to do; we are made up of mainly water and it’s vital for our bodies to perform and function at their best. Many people also think that they can replace water with any other drink, which is not true.
From my experience, people avoid drinking water or drink very little as they say they don’t like the taste. The amount of water you should consume depends on your body weight. See below guide.
Not only is water good for weight loss and is calories free, but the other benefits include better skin, improved energy levels, sustain hunger and improve your metabolism to name but a few, I could go on.
If you struggle with consume at least eight glasses of water every day, why not try downloading a water app to your phone to make sure you’re getting enough in and it can also remind you.
Now exercise is great for your overall health and wellbeing but it wont necessarily help you lose weight.
Just because you ran for 40 minutes on the treadmill or broke a sweat in your fitness class, does not mean you are entitled to eat that chocolate bar or extra glass of wine. “I have earned this food because I trained today”. Did you know that if you didn’t exercise and you were in a calories deficit, you would still lose more weight than if you were exercising everyday and eating the foods you wanted to and over ate? “You cannot outrun a bad diet,” as an editorial in the British Journal of Sports Medicine put it. 
“Yes, exercise would work if you did enough of it — it’s just so much easier to eat less,” says James Hill, professor of paediatrics and medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical . It takes a minute to eat a 200-calorie chocolate bar, but 40 minutes on the treadmill to burn that off. And with weight loss, you’re not just trying to break even; you’re aiming for a calorie deficit as mentioned earlier.
Some people may even find that exercise makes them hungrier, which then counter acts, the weight loss goals.
You’re eating the wrong foods
Does your diet tend to look similar to the below food diary example?
Breakfast – Cereal, toast, milk, coffee/ OJ
Lunch – Sandwich/salad, crisps, fizzy drink/OJ, yoghurt
Snack (afternoon lull) – office cake/biscuit, chocolate bar
Dinner – Pasta or sausage and mash
I have analysed a lot of food diaries in my time and the common issues are that people are not consuming enough fruit and veg, not enough protein and not enough water. If you enjoy eating, you should be eating wholefoods – by this I mean 1 ingredient foods like – chicken breast, salmon, tuna, steak, eggs, apple, banana, sweet potato, broccoli etc etc etc. You can eat a hell of a lot more of these types of foods than you can with the processed foods.
Highly processed foods contain sugar, salt, artificial chemicals that the body finds hard to breakdown or it just stores as fat due to over consumption. You can also overeat processed foods because of the additives in them causing you to crave more.
Yes, the example food diary above is processed and I will tell you why with this broken down version below.
Cereal – Highly processed and full of sugar
Toast – Low fat butter/ margarine – highly processed to make it ‘low fat’. Jam – loaded with sugar including artificial
Milk – Cows milk has hormones in whether it’s, skimmed or full fat. Plus skimmed milk is even more processed than full fat because it needs more work to remove all the fat that is naturally in milk.
Coffee – If it’s black on an empty stomach then people with digestive problems will struggle. Instant coffee contains a potentially harmful chemical called Acrylamide, which is commonly found in a wide range of foods, smoke, household items and personal care products .
OJ – All artificial – it’s not healthy. Please just remove it.
Sandwich/salad – Homemade is best as you can put it what you want. Bought sandwiches or salads have added dressings and spreads to make it taste nice. The shops are not there to make you healthy – they are there to make your food taste nice – remember that. Look on the back of your next bought sandwich and see what’s in it.
Crisps – you know what I am going to say here
Fizzy drink – full of chemicals and is factually evidenced to make you fat .
Yoghurt – Full of sugar and most people go for low fat, which has more sugar. Good fats are actually great at helping us lose fat.
Snack (afternoon lull)
Office cake/biscuit, chocolate bar. This doesn’t actually help with the lull and ends up getting you back into a deeper energy low. Try eating protein and good fats to pick you up like nut butter on celery or rice cakes or my favourite nut butter with a tin of tuna – trust me it works.
Pasta or sausage and mash. Generally pasta is either premade for ease or you have bought a jar of sauce (highly processed) to add to the dish. Sausages are a good source of protein if they are organic, gluten free and are actually made from the meat they state – check the ingredients. Add some veg with this dish and you can get a good varied meal.
To conclude, these are the three MAIN issues I see that my clients, colleagues and friends face. (Not too much in my family as I tend to drill it into them so much that they have no excuse, plus I have been bought up in quite a healthy family, anyway….) There are definitely other areas that can also be looked at like your stress levels, moods, sleep patterns, breathing, mindset issues, types of exercise you are doing, your gut health, whether you’re eating enough, whether you’re taking rest days that sort of thing. This is what a health coach can do for you, look into your lifestyle and work with you to educate and motivate to make lifestyle improvements that will benefit you forever.
Try making these three adjustments and see how you get on but you need to give your body time. It’s no use jumping on the scale daily and getting annoyed when the weight doesn’t move or you have gone up a few lbs. By the way, your weight will fluctuate depending on your sleep the night before, whether its your period or any number of other reasons. Weigh yourself weekly at the same day and time, on the same scales and preferably first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. If you want a better way to measure because I don’t find scales to be very effective, take photos of yourself, feel how your clothes fit, get a tape measure and measure your thighs, waist, arms and bum. These can offer better guides to your weight loss if that is your main health goal.
What are your tips for weight loss?
Have you found success losing weight? How did you do it? Please share your hints, tips and experiences in the comment box below!
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