In my 20 years of working in the fitness industry, I have never, note never, met anyone who could not lose weight no matter how hard they tried (aside from people with serious metabolic disorders). Unfailingly, clients who could not lose weight were making crucial mistakes that were preventing them from success. Unfortunately, many people are in such denial about their exercise, eating and lifestyle habits , that they convince themselves they are doing everything they can to lose weight. Meanwhile, deep inside (deep inside) they know this is not the truth. Self-evaluation and truthfulness are essential for progress, but maybe you just need to hear once again what is holding you back. So, here are my top 5 reasons for lack of weight loss, in ascending order of importance.
#5- You have no patience. Someone, somewhere- maybe a fitness magazine, or an ad for a weight loss supplement, or maybe Biggest Loser- convinced you that losing 2-5 pounds a week is doable and expected. NO. This is the farthest thing from the truth. Expect no more than 2 pounds per week of REAL fat loss, and also expect staggered weeks of no weight loss, then loss. I have seen so many people GIVE UP on weight loss just before the body is ready to give the fat up. Your body does not shed fat easily- have patience. Eating well and exercising daily are their own rewards, doing these things JUST for weight loss rarely is successful. Weight loss will happen if you do the work and maintain consistency.
#4- Your job and life are sedentary. The biggest impact on metabolism and calorie expenditure is from our day to day activities- not exercise. It is epidemic how many people will exercise one hour a day, but then sit, literally sit, for the remaining 13 waking hours. If you are trying to lose weight, become a calorie expending machine throughout the day. Jog to the car, take the stairs, walk an extra loop around the parking lot, fidget, get up and down from your chair. Do not conserve energy- expend it! Then, add vigorous exercise to top it off.
#3- You walk as your primary source of exercise. Unless you are a true beginner or very deconditioned, walking is not a great calorie burning form of exercise. And, to boot, most people walk at too slow a pace, and pay no attention to how hard they are working. The harder you work, the more calories you burn, and the more likely you are to raise your metabolism. Weight loss necessitates HARD exercise, where your heart rate is up, you are sweating and you feel like you are really exerting yourself. If you walk for exercise and do not feel like this, then you need to change things up. Research has shown that high intensity cardio intervals are a much better way to expend calories, are much more time efficient and are safe for most everyone, even beginners. You will need help designing an interval program, so ask a fitness professional how to begin.
#2- You do not lift heavy enough weights while weight training. Big problem here. Women are especially prone to this error. Weight training is one of the two keys to weight loss success (key #1 below). You should be lifting maximally- to failure in some cases- and not just your arms, or the parts you “don’t like”. You must create systemic stress, working the major muscles of the body to create changes in body fat and lean tissue in order to create fat and loss. For example; squats, rows, bench presses, push-ups, dead lifts are all multi-muscle group exercises that crank the metabolism and change bodies. The inner and outer thigh machine will NEVER do that!
And, the number #1 reason you aren’t losing, can’t/won’t lose weight is…………….. You do not pay close enough attention to nutrition. It is amazing to me what people think is “good” nutrition!? Not eating all day, skipping breakfast, eating bagels and lowfat muffins? Or, they go on a ridiculously strict regimen (because they have no patience- see #5) and then crash and burn and over eat for days. Or, you are great all week and then over indulge on weekends thinking you “deserve” it. Healthy nutrition ALWAYS results in achievement of normal weight. But healthy nutrition is not about under eating then over eating, not about labeling foods good and bad, not about gimmicks or supplements. It is about moderation and proper fueling for good health. Smaller portions, frequent meals, reduction in refined sugars, carbohydrates and alcohol, increase in lean proteins, vegetables and healthy fats, – these are the keys to good nutrition. And, for God’s sake, do a food log! Anyone who is not willing to do a food log is someone who will NOT lose weight. Period.