If you feel like you're doing everything you can with nutrition and fitness and still not seeing the results you want, you’ve come to the right place! If you feel like you are going in circles with your health, this is the post for you.
I want to start by saying every single person is unique and one diet and one workout plan will not give the same results to everyone. Take these six suggestions and try to mold them into your routine and lifestyle.
Let’s get started!
1. You are cutting calories to soon or quickly
When someone thinks “lose weight”, usually the first thought is to eat less. This is not always the answer and to be honest, I see it being the wrong answer more often than not. The amount of calories we eat contributes to how our body functions. Calories fuel muscle mass which then contributes to metabolism. The more lean muscle mass we have, the more efficient our metabolism runs. However, this does not mean eat whatever foods in a surplus to gain muscle. With excess calories comes excess fat tissue as well. If you have been chronic under eating/dieting, your metabolism has slowed to match that calorie deficit. Increasing too quickly after chronic dieting will cause unwanted weight gain. Please do not be afraid of eating more though. The reason you are not seeing the progress is because you are under eating. Our body has to have food to function properly. Our body does not want to hold onto extra weight. If we fuel it properly, our body will let go of that weight. Our goal for weight loss is to speed up metabolism!
We also need each of the three macronutrients (carbs, fats and proteins) for healthy functioning body! Please do not cut out one of them. We need each of them in moderation, not one overpowering the other.
If you have hit a plateau or feel like you are barely eating anything and not seeing weight loss, my recommendation to you is to eat more. Start with adding in one snack or making a meal a slightly bigger portion. We are not talking about going from 800 to 1800 calories. Slowly incorporate more nutrient dense foods to help support metabolism.
2. You are not prioritizing protein
I know protein gets the bad rep of making women “bulky”. This is very false. Protein is one of our macronutrients (carbohydrates and fat are the other two). Macro means giving our body calories. Protein helps promote lean muscle mass maintenance and growth. Remember that lean muscle mass equals an efficient metabolism. An efficient metabolism does not hold onto unwanted fat tissue. Yes, females need fat tissue for hormone regulation. We cannot be 8% body fat. However, any excess fat tissue is an inflammation state. Making sure we have adequate protein intake can significantly help healthy weight status and healthy aging of body functionality/mobility.
My recommendation is making sure you have a lean protein source in each meal and snack. When I say “lean” protein, I mean that the saturated fat content is low. Saturated fat is our unhealthy fats found in animal foods like meat and dairy. Eating enough protein will ensure you are fueling those muscles as well as keeping your hunger feeling satisfied throughout the day. Protein does a great job at regulating blood sugars. Don’t miss out on all the healthy benefits!
3. You’re overtraining
Yes, you heard that correctly! When it comes to fitness, more does not mean better or quicker results. Majority of the time planned out moderate exercise will give best results for women and weight loss. This does not mean that you go through your workouts leisurely, but you do not need to be profusely sweating or struggling to get through every single workout. Our bodies have to have rest! If you are training every day you are not giving your body the rest and recovery it needs. When we exercise, our bodies have increased inflammation, which in small amounts is actually a positive. However, prolonged inflammation and damage to muscles without recovery puts our body in a stressful state and can actually lead to weight gain with hormonal imbalance. You also have to prioritize lifting weight/resistance training. Making those muscles work is how we will make them grow. Only focusing on cardio does not benefit muscle growth and can be counterproductive for metabolism. Resistance training is not only great for maintaining a healthy body weight but also maintain bone and joint health as we age.
My recommendation is making sure to use weight lifting/resistance training for every muscle group 2x per week. This could look like 2 lower body focused days and 2 upper body focused days, or 2 full body days with one fun movement day like yoga. This routine will depend on your schedule. You do not want to train the same muscle group back to back. We need our muscles to recover to get the full benefit of weight training. Cardio is great for cardiovascular health so adding in longer walks is a great way to get that body moving!
4. You're under prioritizing daily lifestyle habits
This one is highly undervalued and forgotten about. Many people think they need a metabolism-boosting pill, but aren’t getting adequate sleep, plenty of micronutrients and water, fresh air/sunshine, and are glued to electronics. My biggest recommendation here is get back to the basics. Make sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep. Women who are experiencing hormone imbalance symptoms I recommend 9 hours of quality sleep. Getting fresh air and sunshine on your skin does wonders to your vagus nerve (responsible for organ function, digestion and more). Less stress/inflammation mentally and physically within your body. Putting away electronics at least an hour before bed can help our body decrease cortisol levels which helps with stress levels and weight status. Work on what healthy behavior you can add to your day!
5. You’re only focusing on macronutrients
Have you ever heard of “if it fits in your macros?” This is saying that as long as your hitting your carbs, fats, and protein grams then you can eat whatever you want. This is not going to be the best option for overall health. You have to prioritize micronutrients. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals that are responsible for every process/function in our bodies. Your muscle that just moved, thank a micronutrient. How you are reading this post through your eyes, thank a micronutrient.
My recommendation is making your meals as colorful as possible with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Switch up foods that you are eating. Try to cook as many meals as you can at home with a big portion of those non-starchy vegetables. Starting with tracking your fiber is a great place to begin. Women should have a minimum of 26 grams per day and males should have 35 grams. Make sure to increase water if you are increasing fiber so that you do not get backed up! I promise your body and goals will thank you.
6. You're not being patient
How many new diets or training programs have you switched to? I don’t mean to sound harsh, but you have to give your body time. Ask yourself how long did it take to gain the unwanted weight? It did not appear in two weeks so it will take time to lose. When we gain fat tissue, metabolism and hormones shift. When we yo-yo diet, or restrict then overeat, our body gets thrown through a loop. Hormones shift in a negative way and metabolism cannot efficiently run. We have to be patient while we fix those issues or we could cause more harm with quick fixes.
My biggest recommendaitons/take aways!
1. Find a weight training program you enjoy and stick with it for at least 3 months. Pushing yourself with the weights you are using.
2. Take rest days!
3. Think “Eat more nutrient dense foods” not “what can i take away”. Don’t miss protein!
4. Slow down and focus on daily lifestyle habits. Zooming through life will not get you to your goals.
5. Prioritize micronutrients. There’s no way around this one. Try new recipes with unique veggies you haven’t tried. Try to make your diet as diverse as possible to get an abundance of nutrients.
Although a weight loss or health and wellness journey may seem daunting or impossible, I promise you are capable of it. Your body is incredibly intelligent and wants to be in the healthiest state possible. You got this!
I hope this article was helpful! If you enjoyed reading this, please share with a friend or on social media. I am here to help you in any way that I can! Do not hesitate to reach out with any question