Drum roll, please….
I’m not a big fan of Top 10 Lists, but I couldn’t think of a better way to communicate these reasons why most people who want to lose weight don't:
1. Too Many Carbs - Research shows that limiting carbohydrate intake to 50-100 grams per day is ideal for weight loss. Most of you would be surprised at how much food 50-100 grams of carbs is when you choose good carbs like vegetables. Once you add fruit, you’re very limited in the amount of food you can eat to accumulate 50-100 grams of carbs. A low-carb diet is one of the most effective ways to lose weight, and it can be effective long- term when coupled with increased levels of healthy fats like coconut, organic full-fat, grass fed dairy, olives, avocado, and healthy cooking oils. Moderate protein intake is important as well. (.08 grams of protein per kg of body weight is enough to avoid muscle break down.)
2. Moderate Intensity Training - While some exercise is better than no exercise, moderate intensity training makes you crave too many carbs by using mainly glucose as an energy source. Without enough intensity in your workouts, you could be stuck in what is known as the “black hole of training”. If your heart rate is about 75% of its maximum; you’re kind of working hard, but not really hard enough. Think sprints; think less than two minutes of all- out work; something that leaves you gasping for air and hands on your knees. If you’re not operating at this level of intensity during your workouts, and your goal is to lose weight, then you’re in the black hole, and you basically just use all your glucose and then crave more. This happens to a lot of runners, or some of you who are afraid to really push yourself in the gym.
3. Not enough sleep - In general, we need seven to eight-and-a-half hours of sleep every night, and when we don’t get what we need, our natural hormonal rhythms are disrupted, and weight loss becomes almost impossible. I could go on, but isn’t this enough?
4. Too much stress - There is a strong inverse relationship between stress and weight loss. Because of the effect of stress on hormone production, weight loss can be extremely challenging when we’re under stress. Stress goes hand in hand with sleep!
5. Not high enough intensity - If you’re not sprinting at least once a week and lifting something heavy once a week, then you’re probably going to plateau in your weight loss or not are able to lose weight at all. This may sound like a repeat of #2, Moderate Intensity Training, but the difference here is that you may actually think you’re training at high intensity, but you’re not. Don’t be afraid to push yourself, to gasp for air, to have to stop in the middle of a set to catch your breath, to run out of strength to complete a movement and have to drop the weight, etc. At least once a week, you should experience one or all of these.
6. Eating too much and never being hungry - You should be hungry more than once a day, and you should be ok with being hungry. We are so used to feeding ourselves right away as soon as the slightest bit of hunger strikes us. We are a nation of overeaters, but while it may be hard to believe, intermittent fasting is a good thing. Sixteen-hour overnight fasts are great for weight loss. Most of us can’t go more than an hour without being hungry, but realize when we could actually go for weeks without food.
7. Watching the scale, rather than body composition - Some of us just watch the scale to see if our body weight is changing, and we use that as a gauge to determine how we’re doing on our diet and fitness programs. In reality, you should be watching your body composition. Body fat percentage can tell you a lot more about how effective your diet and fitness regimen is. Converting fat to muscle, and essentially toning your body, will result in your clothes fitting better, but the scale won’t change, and it may even go up! But who cares? You’re leaner, you look better, and you feel better. Don’t be frustrated because the scale isn’t going the direction you want it to go.
8. You think you’re eating healthy foods, but you aren’t even close - If this list was in priority order, this one would be at or near the top. I can’t tell you how many times I have been invited to someone’s house for dinner, and I have expressed my nutritional requirements, only to be told “we are super healthy eaters, you’ll love it.” Well, super healthy means different things to different people. From conventional vegetables sautéed in canola oil to sauces full of sugar and MSG – I’ve been presented with all of it as “healthy”. (It’s not.) For suggestions on what you should be eating, talk to us about Fit Nutrition.
9. You’re afraid, and it keeps you from committing – It’s true that it’s not going to be easy, and you’re going to have to push your limits in the gym and experiment with nutrition. You’ll have to develop new habits and continue to tweak your diet in order to stay healthy and maintain your weight. It doesn’t happen overnight, and you can’t do it halfway. It just won’t work that way. It takes 100% commitment. It’s understandable to be reluctant, and some of you are afraid of commitment anyway. But commitment is like muscle: it gets stronger the more you use it. Take the first step, and each step after that gets easier.
10. Genetics – enough said.
See how many of these are within your control? Some are difficult and/or require lifestyle changes, but depending upon how important losing (and maintaining) weight is to you, it’s worth the temporary “pain”. Stop wishing and start doing!