Why You’re Not Losing Weight!
Whenever people start their fitness journey, they have a specific look or goal in mind that they would love to achieve. Most often than not I see people wanting to lose ‘20 lbs, 10 lbs, 15 lbs..” – which tells me that most women are struggling with their weight and body fat and would love to get rid of it.
The one thing that I ask every single person when they give me a number of pounds that they would like to lose is why? How did you get that number? And most people have no idea, it just seems like a good number.
Ask yourself the following questions:
AM I FEELING LIGHTER / LEANER? – FAT FOR MUSCLE EXCHANGE
This happens often, especially to those who are just beginning their fitness journey. Your body starts to learn how to use the stored fat in your body for energy and muscle growth. So all the work you are putting in at the gym and in the kitchen is being paid off! Remember that sometimes, FAT LOSS ≠ WEIGHT LOSS.
ACTION STEP: Do not overthink! It’s easy to get discouraged in the beginning when we’re not seeing results fast. Remember, slow and steady results over fast and painful.
DO I FEEL OR LOOK PUFFY (Usually in the face, ankles)? – WATER RETENTION
Our bodies are so sensitive and smart! As soon as there is some sort of deficiency / “overdose” of something, it will react accordingly.
There are three reasons why your body would want to hold onto the water:
Sodium / Salt – you might be consuming too much salt! Now don’t take this to an extreme and start seeing salt as BAD. Sodium, in the right amounts, binds to water molecules inside your body and keeps the cells hydrated and balanced internally and externally.
Cortisol – are you stressed out lately? Or have you been dieting for a long time? Cortisol is a stress hormone, one that I know well too well for someone who suffers from anxiety. Elevated cortisol levels, especially for a prolonged period of time, can cause you to hold onto more water and leave you having trouble to flush your body out!
Water Deficiency – Are you drinking ENOUGH water?? I tell all my female clients to drink at LEAST 2.7 L of water a day. Up to 60% of your body contains water, and if it starts to feel like you’re not replenishing it enough, it will start to hold on to that water as a way of survival.
ACTION STEP: If you’re a generally healthy human being, consume quality sources of sodium like Himalayan salt and Sea Salt – AVOID Table Salt at all costs. Make sure you’re taking time to de stress – bring your cortisol levels down. Drink at least 2.7 L of water a day if you’re a woman and 3.7 for men.
AM I EATING TOO MUCH / TOO LITTLE? – CALORIC INTAKE
For your body to lose FAT, you need to be in a caloric deficit.
What does that mean? Well, that means you need to be eating less calories than you are using up during exercise / day to day activities. When this happens, your body starts to use up the stored fat for energy. Keep in mind that you cannot continue to diet forever. You will have to give your body breaks and cycle your calories.
Same goes for eating too much, if you’re giving your body more food than it can burn, it will begin to store it, but if you have hard workouts and heavy lifts, it will use those extra calories for muscle growth.
For clients who are looking to lose fat and gain some shape, we will usually go through a burn phase first, during which we work on getting rid of the extra fat that the body does not need. After that, we will go through a build phase so that we can teach the body to use those extra calories for muscle growth instead of storage!
ACTION STEP: Decide on what your goal is and find out your caloric intake. From there, make sure you are performing according to those goal at the gym.
AM I SLEEPING ENOUGH? – ENERGY AND BODY RECOVERY
So many people underestimate the importance of sleep and recovery. Especially if you lead an intense and high paced life + exercise added on top of that.
What happens when we don’t rest / recover properly? You wake up feeling the need for stimulants like coffee / pre-workout instead of using up your natural energy that you derive from food and replenish during sleep.
You are also a lot more likely to skip out on your workout if you aren’t mentally prepared.
Let’s think about your workouts, do you think you’re more likely to put more effort into your workout when you have a ton of energy and endurance or when you’re feeling sluggish and exhausted?!
ACTION STEP: Get at least 7 hours of sleep – 8 is OPTIMAL! You will not only see the difference in your well being, but you will see more results at the gym.
IS MY PROGRAM CUSTOMIZED TO MY GOALS AND NEEDS? – PROPER NUTRITION AND EXERCISE REGIMEN
There are a ton of amazing and free workouts out there! Bodybuilding.com is one of those websites. The only problem that I have found with them is they are not customized to me or you specifically! We are all different, with different strengths and weaknesses that all need work and it’s impossible to find one plan that will address those issues (unless you’re simply looking for a challenge).
I remember I started out with the Bodybuilding.com ones and completed every single one of them. The progress was okay at first, but then I hit a plateau. It was time for a change! Remember that your body constantly needs to be challenged for it to lean out or grow.
ACTION STEP: Invest in an online coach or a personal trainer! Even trainers need each other. The right one will show you the exact plan on how to get you where you want to be.
As helpful as weight tracking is for your progress, it is not very accurate because your body might be going through a storm internally and that will not be shown on the scale.
I will make a later post talking about scales and other tools that are even better at measuring progress!
Thank you so much for reading this article and I hope it helped!
Do you know someone who is also on their fitness journey who is struggling with weight loss? Share this with them, it might go a long way!