The new year is here, and many individuals (possibly even you) made a resolution to finally lose weight and get fit.
But, what if your efforts in the kitchen and in the gym aren’t quite panning out as well as you thought?
Well, it could be that you’re making one of these 5 common fat loss mistakes.
Read on to see if you’re making one of these mistakes so you can fix it and see the results you want from your weight loss program.
Top 5 Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat
#1 You Don’t Think Calories Count
One of the biggest fallacies promoted by diet “gurus” (especially low-carb zealots) is that calories don’t matter. If you simply eliminate all carbohydrates from your diet and replace them with just fat and protein, you will lose weight, becuase it’s not the fact that you’re eating too many calories, it’s carbohydrate and insulin’s fault.
While this makes for an enticing advertisement, saying “calories don’t count” flies in the face of simple logic and thermodynamics.
Calories do count.
And, if you want to have a reasonable degree of certainty that you are in a calorie deficit, which is needed to lose weight, then you need to track your calories.
Now, a common complaint is that “counting calories” didn’t work because they tried counting and they weren’t losing weight.
Well, the simple truth of the matter is that while an individual may have counted calories, they still may not have been in a calorie deficit, which is necessary for weight loss.
Simply put, if you want to lose weight, but you’re not tracking your nutrition, you need to start doing so. There’s a number of free apps to download on your phone or you can use a paper and pen.
#2 You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep is one of the most overlooked aspects of getting results, be it muscle gain, fat loss, or increased athletic performance.
Sleep deprivation is incredibly stressful to the body (and mind), and is known to unfavorably affect numerous metabolic processes including insulin sensitivity, nutrient partitioning, muscle recovery, energy metabolism, and hunger/satiety cues.
Not getting enough sleep also reduces energy expenditure during the day and motivation to exercise, which also runs counter to weight loss goals.
Experts recommend getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
Some tips for getting a better night’s rest include:
- Setting a specific, consistent bedtime (and sticking to it)
- Following a nighttime ritual (which helps signal the body it’s time to sleep)
- Avoid stimulants and alcohol before bed
- Limit blue light exposure 2 hours before bed
- Take a hot shower or bath
- Listen to relaxing music
You can also use a nighttime relaxation and recovery aid such as EAA Sleep.
EAA Sleep contains natural, non-habit forming ingredients like Theanine and GABA alongside a comprehensive spectrum of essential amino acids that helps quiet a hyperactive nervous system while at the same time supporting the body’s recovery and growth mechanisms while you sleep.
#3 You’re Trying to Out Exercise a Poor Diet
There’s a reason the saying “you can’t out-exercise a crappy diet”...exercise is a very inefficient method for trying to lose weight on its own.
For example, research indicates that deadlifting 385 for 4 sets of 8 reps only burns ~100 calories. And, a 180-pound person walking at a steady clip of 3 miles per hour only burns ~ 270 calories.
This calorie burn could easily be wiped out by being a bit too heavy-handed with the peanut butter, or having some candy or cookies.
Furthermore, many individuals don’t have the time required during the day to perform exercise for hours on end.
This is why diet must be the primary driver of weight loss. Exercise is there to supplement energy expenditure, and (more importantly) help retain muscle mass.
#4 You’re Fixated on the Scale
One of the biggest hurdles individuals face when trying to lose weight is becoming overly attached (fixated) on the number on their bathroom scale.
Some people lose motivation if they don’t see the number on the scale going down with each passing day, or worse it actually is higher from one day to the next.
The reality is that your weight will fluctuate from day to day as well as during the day.
This is why it’s important to be consistent how you measure your body weight (1st thing in the morning after using the bathroom and before eating/drinking anything) and take a weekly average. This normalizes the daily fluctuations and gives you a more macro view of how your weight is trending from week to week and month to month.
Also, keep in mind, that there are multiple metrics by which to measure fat loss, including:
- Taking measurements (chest, arms, stomach, thighs, etc.)
- Progress pictures
- How your clothes fit
- How your performance in the gym is
The number on the scale is but one way to measure weight loss. It’s not the only way.
#5 You’re Too Stressed
Stress is a dual-edged sword.
At the right times and in the right doses, it can be a powerful ally and motivator.
For instance, when you’re under a time-crunch at work to get a report done and you have just the right amount of stress that you’re able to enter into a flow state and crush it.
Resistance training and other forms of intense exercise are other examples of good stressors to the body that help us to become bigger, stronger, and faster.
These acute elevations in cortisol are normal.
However, when stress is chronically elevated, it disrupts hormones in the body, which has a number of undesirable consequences, including reduced insulin sensitivity, increased protein breakdown (i.e. muscle loss), decreased feelings of well-being and satiety from food, and increased feelings of hunger (particularly of high-calorie foods).
While it may not be possible to entirely remove stress from your daily life, it’s important to take steps to reduce how much stress you subject yourself to as well as work on your stress management techniques.
Calories in vs calories out lies at the very foundation of weight loss.
If you’re not losing weight (and can’t seem to figure out why), start by being more diligent with your tracking.
At the same time, realize that certain lifestyle factors can make it easier or more difficult to stick to your diet and exercise plan and lose weight -- stress, sleep deprivation, etc.
If you’ve struggled with your weight loss goals, examine some of the lifestyle factors discussed above and see what steps you can take to de-stress, sleep well, and get back on track with your progress.
- ESCAMILLA, RAFAEL F.; FRANCISCO, ANTHONY C.; FLEISIG, GLENN S.; BARRENTINE, STEVEN W.; WELCH, CHRISTIAN M.; KAYES, ANDREW V.; SPEER, KEVIN P.; ANDREWS, JAMES R. A three-dimensional biomechanical analysis of sumo and conventional style deadlifts, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: July 2000 - Volume 32 - Issue 7 - p 1265-1275