10 reasons why you might be struggling to lose weight
“Marcela, how do I lose weight!”
“Marcela, how do I tone up!”
“Marcela, how do I lose my belly fat?”
You slim down by adjusting what you eat and exercising
I’ve heard these phrases a million times. My answer is and always will be the same: “By adjusting what you eat and exercising!” In theory, it is simple enough, right? Eat healthy, exercise, and et voila! Did it work for you? No? I wonder why… (Not really…).
You can feel like you’re doing all the right things — you eat healthily (“I eat salads like every day, OMG!”) and you might lose some weight at first (which is water retention weight), but then you reach a plateau. And now what? Usually, the thought that follows is: “Well, I tried, it's not working. I give up.”
The “later I’ll be off the diet” syndrome.
I’m sure you’ve all been there... “But, but, I followed the diet to the end, but when I stopped, I gained even more weight back!” Oh, really, no shit! When you do a diet, you are already setting yourself up for the “later I’ll be off the diet” syndrome. Or my favorite: “But I eat healthy already!” Oh really? You eat a bowl of salad that can feed a village in Africa!
Or another my favorites: “I'm a foodie, and my friends are foodies too! I have to eat!” Oh wow! Well, excuse me, your foodie majesty! If you HAVE to eat, please go ahead! A lot of lives depend on your recommendations on where/what to eat! (Nobody cares). Stop complaining!
So here are the 10 possible reasons why you might be struggling to lose weight/body fat (be honest with yourself)
1. Unrealistic weight-loss expectations
To be successful with losing weight, you have to have healthy and foremost, realistic expectations. And a lot (I mean a lot) of patience and discipline. You didn’t put on all the extra weight in a week or month. And you aren’t going to lose it all in a week or month either. Patience and discipline!
But if it doesn’t happen overnight, you try something else and fail. And then you try something else and fail again. And then again something else and you fail… Aren’t you tired of it?
2. Not eating enough
A balanced diet that is sustainable! I believe that you should be able to eat everything you want. But you need to know how much of what you can eat. Do you really believe that by eating two meals a day you will lose weight? On the contrary, you will gain weight! Why? Read my other blogs!
3. Not eating carbs (or protein…. or fat)
“I'm on a low carb diet!” Ok, how does it work for you? Do you have the energy to do anything? Do you have the energy to exercise? To be social? Can you eat like this for the REST OF YOUR LIFE?
“I'm doing KETO right now!” Awesome! Congratulations! I’ll talk to you in 3 months when you are sick and tired of the bacon and avocados!
The calories you eat should come from a combination of healthy carbs, proteins, and fats. Whole-food sources of unrefined carbs (ex. legumes, fruit, and raw veggies) are vital to keeping energy levels up so that you can crush your workouts. The fiber found in these carbs (as opposed to a croissant), will help you stay full and help you be less likely to snack on chips or whatever you snack on.
When you don’t eat carbs, your body doesn’t stock as much glycogen, the stored form of your body’s primary fuel source, glucose, and you feel weak AF!
And since each gram of glycogen is stored with three grams of water, the scale will reflect that reduction in water weight. But that’s all it is: water weight. So, while the lower number might be encouraging, it doesn’t reflect your progress toward your ultimate goal: fat loss. Read my other blogs, seriously!
You also need protein and fat. Both will help you feel full, but fat also helps regulate your hormones and protein that is crucial for building lean muscle mass. The number of lean muscles the primary determinant factor of your metabolic rate. Simply put, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism will be, the more calories you are burning!
4. Not really working out
‘You get what you give!’. When you go for a slow jog or slow bike ride, you burn calories (sure), but your metabolism settles back to normal soon afterward. But when you do high-intensity exercise and weights — you burn more calories, but also your metabolism stays elevated for much longer. That is thanks to EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption - a mouthful, I know!) it's the scientific term for the afterburn effect, which can help you burn more calories long after you've left the gym!
5. I do only cardio!
Dear Lord! How often do I have today this? When most people want to lose weight, the first thing they turn to is the treadmill. The treadmill is for hamsters! Yes, I said it!
See it this way — marathon runner vs. sprinter. They both do cardio, but they look different. Why? Because if you base your workout solely around cardio (aka marathon runner), you will lose all your muscle mass. You lose part body fat and part lean body weight (muscle), and losses in lean body weight can result in the metabolism slowing. In my world it is very simple: if it jiggles, it's fat. And yes… you can be skinny fat!
Strength training — whether it’s with weights or just body weight — is essential to preserve lean body weight and metabolism. Think about it this way: Weight training gives your body a bigger engine. That bigger engine burns more gas getting you around town (no public transportation needed) Cardio can undoubtedly be a part of your weight-loss routine, but not without weight lifting.
6. You don’t listen to your body
When my clients tell me, “But I'm starving”, it makes my ears bleed. Children in Africa are starving! You are either stressed, thirsty, or bored! Get over it and stop the bitching! Not everybody can follow the intermittent fasting or a Keto diet. Or whatever. Stop following whats trendy and listen to your body. And I mean really listen!
For those who know me, you know I follow the ’21 day fix program’ for the past eight years. You don’t know about it? You can always google it. It means that I know how many calories I can eat per day, and I eat accordingly to it, no matter what! And no, I don’t count calories or macros. My calorie intake equals x amount of carbs, protein, fruits, veggies, and healthy fats. (Yeah, the colored containers). When I talk about the way I eat, the first question is always the same: “So you don’t eat out?” Yes, I do!
But because of my lifestyle, I make healthier choices. And I do eat sweets... And bread… and French fries. But I never ever over-eat! So logical thinking would be: “Soooo, to accelerate my weight loss, I should eat fewer calories than what’s recommended for me, right?!”. WRONG!
If you don’t eat enough, your body will try to compensate for the excessive calorie deficit by slowing your metabolism down and going into a ‘starvation mode’.
8. Not enough sleep
I really suck in sleeping. Honestly. My brain is more active when I’m in bed! Without my melatonin and valerian root, I’ll be awake 24/7! When we sleep, body fat makes two essential hormones, leptin, and adiponectin, (yeah, I googled that one). Leptin is our body’s best natural appetite-suppressing hormone, while adiponectin helps make our body respond better to insulin. I don’t have to explain how important that is, do I?
If you don’t sleep enough, in addition to being tired, you will be hungry and crave carbs! Does it sound familiar? I learned the hard way that sleeping is not negotiable when it comes to a healthy lifestyle (and of course weight loss)
9. Being lazy AF
“I work out three times a week!” Congratulations! Do you take stairs or elevator? Do you play with your kids or playing on your phone? Do you walk anywhere or take a cab? Hitting your workouts is great, but for optimal results, you shouldn’t limit movement to your workouts. Your daily activity is what matters as well (and proper eating habits!)
Take a walk after a meeting, take the stairs, walk to your gym (instead of parking as close to the door as you can), grab a basket instead of a trolley at your supermarket. Every little movement counts!
10. Trying and giving up
I get it. You want to lose weight, slim down, or whatever. So you TRIED something for a couple of days, and it didn’t work? Really? That’s it? You give up because you didn’t see instant results? What makes you think that the next thing will help you to get the results you want?
If you have a strong enough WHY it will help you stay motivated on those days when you don’t feel like it. If you need help with it, I’m here. Waiting for you to make that decision that will bring you the results you always wanted. Is it going to be easy? F*CK NO! Is it worth it? FxCK YEAH! You decide, right now! What is it going to be?
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