Updated: Sep 13, 2022
1. You’re an active couch potato
Ok, so you trained super hard in the gym last week, 4 times in fact, but those scales and measurements aren’t budging. How much do you move once you have left the gym? Do you keep your non-exercise activity up?
Many people massively overestimate the amount of energy they burn during a workout. The rest of the day is then spent behind a desk not moving all that much. This could also be a reality when you are office based and not utilizing your lunch break for movement. It doesn’t have to be a walk. It could also be cleaning or walking somewhere to eat your lunch.
Use your activity tracker to see how much you move in your day. What you monitor or track you can manage.
2. Do you drink your calories?
Just this morning a member at work asked me why he could be gaining weight when he is cycling regularly and doing resistance training. We covered all sorts of elements, such as food and activity, I then asked how much alcohol he was drinking on a weekly basis. He stated he had up to 4 pints a night. This was likely to be the cause. We discussed the possible calorie content and how many calories it could rack up in a week.
A pint of beer (depending on brand and alcohol content) will often have 200kcal minimum. But alcohol isn’t the only thing here, it could be coffees, fizzy drinks, fruit juices, milks and possibly branded flavored waters. A Starbucks pumpkin spiced latte could have around 390kcal! Just for a coffee!!
Sleep plays a massive role in hormone balance and is so underestimated in its role for fat loss. Getting as close to that 7-9 hours as possible can help your hunger hormones stabilize, ensuring you don’t crave those highly calorific foods as much. You will also naturally have more energy, which will prevent you grabbing those unnecessary coffees or sugary snacks.
4. Resistance training
Resistance training, weightlifting or getting "Hench" are all pretty much the same thing. Using either bodyweight to begin with or adding additional weight such as dumbbells, resistance bands or barbells can add an additional challenge. Building muscle is one of the few ways you can minimally elevate that metabolism……. but only minimally so do not get carried away. It will raise that calorie burn post workout while you muscle tissue rebuilds and repairs. It will prevent your muscle loss as you age.
5. Do you overestimate your active calories?
If you have ever done a tough cardio workout and your watch tells you that you have burnt 100’s and 100’s of calories, often it if well over estimated. Which is pretty rubbish!! Your active calories are often already included in your daily calorie count, if you are tracking your calories, so doing the workouts doesn’t really entitle you to eat what hard work you have put in. Whatever activity tracker you use is often very inaccurate as it does not know your bodyfat, measurement, whether you fidget, muscle mass, type of workout, etc. All these elements play a huge role in your accuracy of your workouts.
Your body type will determine your shape and where you lay down fat. No Kim Kardashian shape will ever become an Elle Macpherson shape. It is not physically possible. Genetics can also play a role in overall metabolism. Do not use this as an excuse but almost as an indicator to where you would be at your most healthy. Be realistic in your expectations.
7. Portion sizes and being programmed to finish that plate full
What is the size of your dinner plates? It has been scientifically proven that if you have smaller plates, then you are likely to eat less. Pilling your plate with food can lead a massive amount of overeating and also, men are able to eat more than women, so if you pile your with the same amount of food as that man in your life, you are likely to gain some weight.
As children, many households were made to finish their plates. This is programming us that we took into adulthood and now cannot stop. It is a skill to eat intuitively until we are happy and content with how much we have eaten. In my household before every meal, I say ‘eat what you want and don’t eat what you don’t want’. Simple.
Also, just because the food on your plate is healthy, doesn't mean it isn't still calorific.
8. Restricting that food you so deeply love
If you find yourself cutting out all those delicious foods that are purely for pleasure, and then binge eating them later. Please stop. This binge restrict cycle can be really tough on yourself mentally and physically.
Eat all those foods in moderation and cherish them. You can lose weight and still eat those crisps or chocolate. It can help to have a little guidance but be kind on yourself. Food is there to be enjoyed. Don’t let it become something to fear or hate.