Losing weight is hard for most people. It’s downright impossible for others. The fact that ⅔ of our nation is overweight should be enough to spark some insight into what the heck is really going on. While there is a ton of information and advice floating around about how to lose weight, there seems to be a lack of information on what to do when that advice doesn’t work.
There certainly isn’t much out there in the way of why you are overweight in the first place and there is even less people speaking about the fact that, for most overweight people, following generic and outdated protocols on diet and exercise will likely never produce results. In fact, in some cases, it will only contribute to your weight gain.
Let’s change that. Below are 10 reasons why you’re weight loss efforts could be failing and what you can do to give yourself a better chance at being a healthier and happier you.
You don’t know where you are at:
Information is key! If you’re weight loss efforts are failing you’ll need to start digging and finding out what’s really going on in your body. You need to know where you are on the weight loss spectrum to make informed choices about your diet and exercise.
What to do:
- Have blood work done to address any health concerns that could be contributing to your weight gain.
- Have your body fat % tested to know exactly where you are and how much you need to lose to get you into healthy ranges.
- You could also get tested for any food allergies or environmental allergens that could be playing a role.
You don’t have a plan:
You didn’t just wake up one day and happened to be overweight. Your weight has likely been creeping up slowly over several years and now you’re at an unacceptable point (to you) and that has sparked you to take action. The problem is, that you are reacting from panic rather than taking a targeted approach. Desperation will only create an unrealistic outcome fueled by stress and overwhelm. This almost always leads to people throwing in the towel even if they are on the right path. When you don’t have a plan for your weight loss you have no idea if you are making progress or not.
What to do:
- Assuming you did the things in #1 you would then need to start researching protocols that match the concerns you are facing.
- Hormones out of whack? Search for hormone balancing protocols.
- Pre-diabetic? Start looking for diets that regulate insulin.
- Deficient in specific vitamins? You’ll need to find some recommendations on quality supplements. Feeling foggy and low energy? You should know that a low carb diet is not the best approach here.
You’re scared to eat fat:
Most women remember the low fat craze of the 90’s. While there is plenty of information to debunk the low fat craze, unfortunately it’s been ingrained into a lot of people. To make matter worse, most people associate dietary fat with body fat and don’t know they are two completely separate things. Eating fat does not make you fat. In fact, if you are overweight, eating more dietary fat is likely your best bet.
What to do:
Know that all fat is not good fat. Fats like those found in fast food, most pastries, hydrogenated oils, and processed meats are not healthy and should be avoided while trying to lose weight. But, increasing your intake of good fats like avocados, nuts and seeds, coconut products, and quality oils, while simultaneously decreasing your carbohydrate intake, will do wonders for helping you to lose the extra pounds. Of course this depends on a lot of individual circumstances pertaining to you, your body, and your activity level but works well as a general rule.
You’re not tracking. Anything.
Most women who are wanting to lose weight have an idea of how much they’d like to lose but have no idea of what that would mean in terms of calories or exercise. Again, you need to know where you’re at to make a plan to where you want to go.
What to do:
Find your BMR. We call this the coma calories. It’s the amount of calories your body would need daily, if you were in a coma, to keep you alive. Check out my post here on how to calculate your BMR and how to use it to find your fat loss calories.
To take it a step further you could download a tracking app like MyFitnessPal and do a (3) day food log. Average your intake of calories and the major macronutrients over the 3 days. Compare your food log to your fat loss calories. How far off are you? Do you need to eat more or less to promote fat loss in your body? Remember, the answer is not always to eat less!
You still believe that your genes are the biggest indicator of how your body will look.
While genes play a pretty important role in the structure of our bodies, they in no way shape or form prohibit change to our bodies. Just because your mom started gaining weight at 35 does not mean you have to. Just because every aunt on your dad’s side has big hips does not mean that you will.
What to do:
Understand that the more likely reason for multiple generations to experience similar body ailments and structures is due to the passing down of habits. The way we eat and move are habits learned from generations before us. Yes, we can be predisposed to certain things, but predisposition does not mean your hands are tied and nothing you do can change your outcome. We determine our own outcomes and you have complete control over how your body looks, functions, eats and moves. The best thing for you to do is take complete responsibility and commit to breaking bad habits to avoid the outcomes you may or may not be predisposed to.
You’re doing too much cardio:
Anyone who know me knows that I like cardio about as much as I like my dentist. I respect him, know it’s necessary to see him a few times a year to keep my teeth healthy, but don’t really enjoy our visits, and know that if I’m doing my part at home, that we can keep our time together short and sweet. Most people associate losing weight with having to “burn” tons of calories. While it’s true that calories in versus calories out is the most important thing when it comes to losing weight, you are probably confused on the best and most efficient way to burn those calories.
What to do:
Know that steady state cardio (running) is very efficient and burning calories but it is just as efficient at burning through lean muscle mass. It’s pretty hard to get the “shape” you want without a sufficient amount of lean tissue.
Resistance training gives you far better results when it comes to shaping your body and creating a lean, tight, and toned physique. Preserving and building muscle actually burns more of the unsightly body fat that you are wanting to get rid of. You know the parts that jiggle? Want those to go away? Lift some weights girl! Even if it’s just your own body weight.
You’re not being consistent.
This one is tough to hear but it’s important. You have to stop thinking in terms of 21 day fix’s, 3 day detox, diets, or slim downs. These things are very effective marketing tools but not much more. While I think that some of these are great as kickstarts to a new and healthy LIFESTYLE, you have to understand that getting off of the weight loss rollercoaster requires a change that doesn’t end after 21 days.
What to do:
Focus on creating habits that are sustainable long term. Having zero carbs is not sustainable. Find a balance. Learn how to be in control of your body and make changes to your diet or exercise routine with confidence. Don’t think in terms of I can only eat this or I can never eat that. Spend the time and energy in creating YOUR plan. What works for you and your family, schedule, routine. This can certainly be done through trial and error or you can hire a professional to help you create the perfect plan for you.
You’re not being honest with yourself about how you want to look?
There’s a lot of grey area between magazine cover model and just being healthy and fit. We are bombarded daily with airbrushed photos of amazing looking bodies in magazines, on social media, and just about everywhere else. The problem is no one tells you that to look like a cover model is damn near impossible unless you are willing to dedicate your life to it. And if you are, that’s an amazing goal. Make a plan a do it! But, if you’re like most women, you just want to look good and feel good! For that, you still need a plan, but it can be a lot less rigid and much more enjoyable.
What to do:
Do some soul searching on what would make you happy and satisfied. Will you be ok with being at a healthy weight, having energy, and feeling good in a swimsuit? Good news! That’s totally attainable for just about everyone that puts in a little bit of effort. Or. do you want six pack abs and maxim knocking down your door? That’s gonna take some serious commitment and very little straying from an extremely rigid plan. You can have either. Just gotta figure out how much work and time you’re willing to dedicate.
Your support system needs an upgrade!
Another tough one. If you’re finding it hard to stick to your goals when around certain friends or family members,it can be especially tough. I’m kind of a believer in you’re the average of the (3) people you spend the most of your time with. You can look at this a few different ways, but for me, I choose to surround myself with people who value the same things I do. Now this isn’t always possible, and I in no way aim to change people for my benefit. But, I know, that for me to be my best self, it is imperative that I know my triggers and try my best to avoid them.
What to do:
If you aren’t getting the support you need from friends and family, join a gym or bootcamp so you can make friends with others on your same path.
If you buy the food in your household, you can slowly start integrating healthier foods a little at a time to help your family see that being healthy is something you are passionate about for you and for them. If you have friends that aren’t into eating healthy or exercising, that’s ok. You can try to suggest activities that are more inline with your goals from time to time. If they aren’t into it, again, that’s ok, but at least you tried and you can make the decision on how much of your time you allow to be spent on the things they want to do. Remember, you can’t change other people. But you do have complete control of where you choose to spend your time.
You don’t have a mentor or coach.
I’ve left this one for last because I fully believe that anyone can create their own plan and or change all by themselves. By simply following the steps I’ve outlined here, will put you light years ahead of the average Joe. But, some people would rather not leave things to chance or simply want faster results without having to do a ton of trial and error. For that, you’ll need to find a coach or mentor you like and trust.
What to do:
Do your research. Find someone you like and trust and who aligns with your goals. Make sure you are ready to commit. Or, unfortunately, you may not enjoy the experience. You have to resonate with the person’s message and see yourself sticking to it long term. Good news is, if you are aware of the things in this article, implementing a coach or mentor will be an easy and fulfilling experience.
Good luck on your weight loss journey! I sincerely hope you find results implementing the things I’ve outlined here.