Chris, I’m Doing Everything Right…

 But I’m not losing any weight…

I hear this many times, unfortunately. And there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re doing it all but not getting the results.

A number of things might be happening. So let’s explore them:

“Everything”?

Really? Because I know from myself, I’m unlikely to ever be doing “Everything Right”. For any extended period of time anyway. Sometimes, I do more things right than others.

But just yesterday evening I was logging my food on MFP thinking yes, this is a good day. I’ve done everything right. But I had “forgotten” about the two slices of fruit toast, slathered in butter that I had had when I was frustrated mid-morning. Guess what, that snack threw my carbs AND my fats way over the line. (Yes, butter is good for you, but it is really calorific!)

So when you’re reviewing your day or your week, be honest. What about that coffee catch up with your friend? What about your child’s leftovers that you had? And the two biscuits you had while hiding from the annoying kids? And was it 2 glasses of wine, or 3?

So be careful of absolutes. Instead think of it as steps towards a goal. Review what was good and what wasn’t. Praise yourself for the good and think of ways to improve on what wasn’t.

Portion Size

This is another one that catches me out often. That feta cheese I sprinkled on my salad was actually 50g not the 20g I thought it was…

The butter in aforementioned (who even uses that word?) fruit toast was 25g… That’s a whopping 225kcals.  I could have had a whole chicken breast instead.

So it’s useful to go through a phase of measuring your food, checking if what you’re think you’re eating is actually what you’re eating…

You’re eating too little

Yes, this is a thing sometimes. If you’re eating too little you will struggle to lose weight. This is one of the bigger problems with very low calorie diets.

As your body feels deprived of nutrients and energy it will down-regulate some of the “non-essential” functions. Muscle production / repair is one of them. So all your hard gains in training will effectively go to waste. Your body will not be able recover or repair efficiently. Meaning you turn up at training knackered and unable to work out to the level you’d like. You feel tired and are more likely to lay on the couch than do the vacuuming. Or you’ll drive the school run rather than walk it.

All these unconscious choices means that you down-regulate your day to day general activity. And as a result, your metabolism plummets…

 You’re too sedentary

Yes, training and diet are important aspects of managing your weight. But NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) is also really important. This is activity that you do on a daily basis: school runs, vacuuming, walking to work and so on. And whilst there is no scientific basis for the 10,000 step challenge, it’s a pretty good place for most of us to start. So think about ways you can increase this type of activity throughout your day.

Summary

 The bottom line is weight loss is not always easy and numerous factors can bring it to a standstill. But I’d challenge whether you are doing “Everything Right” and if you have been doing it for a long enough period of time. Some honest reflection will probably show areas that you can improve on. And that’s OK! Because this is a journey and a learning process and no one gets it right straight off. It requires tonnes dedication, self-discipline, perseverance and resilience. It requires analysis and learning from mistakes… This is how we grow, and how we learn to embrace healthy eating for life, not just for the “diet”.