It all started January 2014— you were determined to finally reach your weight-loss goals once and for all! You embarked on a fitness and nutritional plan, and here we are seven months into the new year. Some of you who have followed such a plan may find that you’ve had little to no progress. If you find yourself in this category, it can be so frustrating. After all, you may be thinking, what is the point of all the “work” if you aren’t seeing results?!
Before you give up, consider my five reasons why you may not be reaching your weight loss goals, and see if there may be one or more things you may be doing wrong. With some small changes to your diet, exercise routine and daily lifestyle habits, you still have time to turn things around and start reaching your goals!
1. Lack of consistency. If you aren’t being consistent with your efforts in the gym and in the kitchen, this could be your sole reason for not seeing results. I love the quote from Robert Collier and refer to it all the time: “Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” It couldn’t be closer to the truth.
Success comes from small efforts done consistently, rather than big efforts done once in a while. If you are only exercising a few times a week or following your nutritional plan 50 percent of the time, that isn’t going to cut it. You are better off giving 90 percent to your program seven days a week rather than 100 percent for a day, then 20 percent for a few days, and repeating that cycle. If you want it bad enough and want results, you will need to be consistent with your efforts— both with your workouts and nutrition!
2. You aren’t being as strict as you think. You may be following your plan pretty closely but adding in a little of this or a little of that here and there. Remember that everything adds up. You start off your day with a cup of coffee and habitually eyeball two tablespoons of cream. That could easily contribute 50 calories and 5 grams of fat. For your snack, you grab a handful of almonds because almonds are on your plan. Rather than count or weigh your serving, you just grab what you think is a serving, when in actuality you grabbed two servings. This can add an additional 150 calories and more than 10 grams of fat! For lunch you have your lean protein and ask for olive oil and vinegar on the side. You eyeball your allotted vinegar and tablespoon of olive oil and sure enough are heavy on your pour and double your serving of oil, adding an additional 14 grams of fat and 120 calories. You do great at your next meal, having your scoop of protein, but then dinner rolls around and you again eyeball your lean protein and brown rice and add another 150 calories! Before bedtime you have a sweet tooth craving and go for a handful of healthy unsweetened carob chips, adding an additional 100 calories and 4 grams of fat.
These unconscious additions to your plan can easily add an additional 500-600 calories and 35 grams of fat! Now, imagine if you did this every day. You can easily add an additional 3,500 calories/week, which is equivalent to one pound! Even though you may be working out harder or more often, you can see how your nutritional choices can be canceling out the calories you are burning and keeping you at a standstill.
Reaching your goals is going to take mindfulness, and you’ll have to be aware of all your choices. A little bit of this or that, even if it is healthy, can all add up and end up hurting your progress. You might not be realizing it because you are eating what is on your plan, but even healthy foods can add up! Be mindful and aware of everything you are eating.
3. You don’t have variety in your workouts. You may think you are smarter than your body but in actuality your body is smarter than you think! It gets use to doing the same things and will adapt quickly.
You have to constantly be changing up your workout routine to keep your body guessing and therefore responding. This means all areas of your training, from the exercises you do, reps you perform or cardio time and type. My suggestion is to change up your rep range, exercises, hand positioning, machines and intensity. One day you may do more steady state, 12-15 reps with 45-60 second recovery in between sets and another day you may do a high-intensity circuit where you are moving from one exercise to another with limited rest. One day you may decide to use the StepMill and another day run intervals.
Switch up not only the type of workouts, but also your environment. Change up your routine and go from the gym to the track or even hit up a yoga class or the pool to really add in some variety. Not only does adding variety to your workouts keep your body responding, it keeps your mind in the game and motivated to try new things!
4. You are focusing too much on the scale. Put your scale away and stop letting it determine your mood or measure your success! Getting frustrated by the numbers on the scale can cause unnecessary stress that can lead to increased cortisol! Cortisol has been termed the “stress hormone” because excess cortisol is secreted during times of physical or physiological stress. It has been shown to cause an increase of fat in the abdominal area and also an increase of appetite.
Instead, measure your progress by how your clothes fit, how you look and most of all how you feel. Remember, just because the scale is not moving it does NOT mean you are moving in the wrong direction. The scale is NOT a true indication of your progress. Start using your own set of eyes and your own instincts to learn your body and listen to the signs your body gives you. If you are following your plan and being consistent with your efforts, I promise you, all of your hard work is paying off!
5. Too much cardio and not enough weightlifting. It is common to think that lifting weights can add unnecessary size and bulk, and that cardio will help trim you down, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Weight training will not only help shape your body and give you the beautiful curves you are looking for, it will also add nice, lean muscle. The more lean muscle you have, the faster your metabolism is and therefore the faster you will lose body fat.
There is no other way to do this than to be consistent with weight training, a healthy diet and a realistic amount of cardio. Cardio is an essential component, but not the only component! Doing endless amounts of cardio can potentially break down muscle tissue and therefore cause a decrease in metabolism and slow down fat loss. Focus on your weight training and diet and use cardio as a secondary source of exercise but do not use cardio as a sole means of fat loss.