- February. 9 2019
1) You are overdoing it with your serving sizes.
We are taught in the world of health and nutrition that we should learn to eyeball our portion sizes. Lean meats should be the size of your palm, cheese should be the size of your thumb, etc. But what if you are misjudging portions sizes, even just a little bit here and there? Take a few days, or even a full week, and measure everything you eat by weight (using a food scale) rather than eyeballing the size. You may be surprised at how different a portion of chicken, rolled oats, or peanut butter really is when measured by weight.
2) You’ve stopped moving.
When you start a fat loss program, you are going after that goal like mad. You say things like “I own you, fat loss.” Or… maybe not. My point is, you know what you want. You are driven.
After a few weeks or even a month or two goes by, your ambition wanes a bit along with your energy. You are eating less than before and that starts to take its toll. Without even consciously paying attention, you begin taking the stairs less. You may even be fidgeting less. Your body is trying to compensate, so that it can “save” the fat storage that it thinks it needs to keep in reserves.
It’s time to outsmart your body by keeping your NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis), aka your general activity, up. In other words… keep moving. Not sweaty, at the gym type exercise movement, but rather the normal everyday activities like walking, fidgeting, and stretching. It doesn’t seem like much but the calories burned during this type of movement do make a difference.
3) Your calorie intake is in a deficit on weekdays, but then you overeat on weekends.
On many diet programs, we are taught that if we eat according to the diet guidelines on Monday through Friday, we can take one day off the plan and allow ourselves to relax a bit on a Saturday or Sunday. Sometimes that one day turns into both Saturday and Sunday… and well, you did really well this week, so you deserve that extra slice of pizza, and… that martini or beer isn’t really that many calories, is it??
You get my point. One “relaxed” day can turn into more of a binge, and trust me, one or two of these kind of days can definitely undermine five days of eating according to your plan.
Check out this article, How Many Calories Should You Eat for Fat Loss, to understand what it takes to lose a pound of fat. I’m not so much suggesting that you have to count calories to lose fat, but rather that you should at least understand the principle.
4) You’re pushing too hard.
We have the best intentions, us overachievers. We measure by results, and if we aren’t seeing the results we want, hey that must mean it’s time to push harder, right? We think action is the answer. Sometimes, its not. Sometimes what your body really needs is a break.
There is a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes with fat loss, specifically regarding hormones. If you put your body under too much physical stress, hormone levels get all out of whack, and your chances of achieving significant fat loss become about as slim as me gaining and distance paddling upstream on the Colorado River.
It’s good to take a training break every 4-6 weeks. Make sure to give yourself adequate recovery time.
For extensive info on the relationship between fat loss and hormones, I highly recommend the Metabolic Repair Manual.
5) You secretly (or not so secretly) think bad thoughts about your body.
All that being said… if you spend a large amount of time worrying about and analyzing what you eat, weighing yourself daily and then getting upset with any fluctuation, focusing on all the things you don’t like about yourself and the way you currently look, etc, you are causing more problems than you are helping your situation. Lay off.
Just like pushing too hard, being overly critical causes stress in the body, and stress causes your body to stop cooperating. My philosophy is of the “set it and forget it” mentality. Learn what you need to learn, apply it so that it fits your situation/life/body, and then let it go. Live by the principles, but don’t stress over them.