So you've been eating healthily and exercising more but you're not seeing any results? I hear this being said far too often!
But how can this make sense? Surely if your energy intake is less than your energy output then you will lose weight? Well to put it simply, yes. So what is the real reason for the lack of change?
There are so many factors and variables that come into play during weight loss and I can't cover them all on here. Instead, I'm going to run through a few common mistakes that can be made which prevent weight loss...
1) Being 'good' during the week and blowing out at the weekend
The idea of eating 'clean' Monday to Friday is all well and good, but if you are restricting yourself too much then your body will eventually fight back and your will-power will lose the battle. It is so easy to undo all your hard work during the week by having one or two big blow-outs at the weekend. How do I know this? Because this is where I struggle. And whilst it doesn't happen as often as it used to I'm definitely still not perfect! You are much better off to eat moderately well during the week, treating yourself when you fancy it (within reason) and then not feeling like you need to binge at the weekend to make up for it. If this sounds like you, try increasing your caloric intake every single day by a small amount and allowing yourself to eat the foods that satisfy your taste buds and that you enjoy during the week!
2) Under-estimating your portion sizes
Another huge culprit is not realising what an actual portion size looks like. 30g cereal in a serving... if you've ever weighed this amount out you'll realise how small it actually is! Most people eat about 2-3 times that amount. So whilst you might be eating food that is not really 'bad' for you, too many calories will still hinder weight loss at the end of the day. A great example of this is peanut butter - a 20g portion is about 120 calories (depending on the brand). But most people will use at least 30-40g if they are spreading it on a piece of toast. Or how many times have you had two spoonfuls of PB from the jar? That's 40g/240 calories in the space of about 5 seconds. In order to learn portion sizes it can be really useful to weigh your food just for a day and see what a serving of a specific food actually looks like. Try it out - and let me know if you're surprised!
3) Reduced NEAT due to intense exercise
You've been to the gym for an hour, lifted some weights and maybe done some cardio as well. Good effort. You leave the gym feeling tired, sweaty and ready to relax on the sofa when you get home. But that's ok because you worked hard in the gym so it doesn't matter if you don't move for the rest of the day, right? Not really. NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis aka. walking, fidgeting and any other movement that isn't thought of as 'exercise') often decreases when we increase our amount of exercise due to fatigue. The problem with this is that NEAT is actually a great way of using energy and burning more calories. If you exercise more but your NEAT decreases, you've probably not used much (if any) more energy than you would have if you hadn't exercised but had been on your feet moving all day more. Sometimes it can actually be more beneficial to exercise a moderate amount, ensure you are getting enough sleep and keep your NEAT as high as possible.
So I hope I have been able to shed a bit of light into some reasons for lack of weight loss even when you think your diet is healthy and you are keeping fit and active.
Let me know in the comments below if you think any of these resonate with you - and feel free to get in touch if you want any more advice!