So you decided to lose weight? It is a commendable goal, and the benefits are plenty such as self-esteem, energy, preventing disease, lower health costs and overall quality of life. Nowadays, especially with the significant increase of obesity, people are well informed on how to lose or maintain a desirable weight, and there are many very well-known tips on how to do it.
Having said that, in many cases weight losing goals are being sabotaged, and yet you are doing everything right. Or maybe not? Many of the obstacles seem conceivably controllable and easy to overcome, yet your weight goals are elusive. Here are some not so typical reasons you may be struggling with the weight loss.
1. You Are Not Eating Enough
May it seem easy enough right? Eat less and exercise more they say, but the body is actually more like a finely tuned and intelligent machine that needs to be handled with care. When cutting calories be careful not to cut too many since leaving too many on the plate can be just as bad to weight loss as eating too much. When you decrease calories, your body will go into starvation mode, and that will lead to a crash in your metabolism.
Lazy and slow metabolism is the quickest way to stop weight loss and what typically follows is starvation, frustration, lethargy and even depression which will eventually lead to more fat accumulating again. The best way to battle this effect is to try making subtle drops in calories between 200 and 500 calories per day, depending on your current intake.
Calorie counting and tracking nutrients such as proteins, carbohydrates, and fats can be really tedious. For those not accustomed to it, it can prove to be downright overwhelming and intimidating. But really it’s not that hard and can even be fun. Just take your time and do some research, measure all of your foods so you get an idea of portion sizes and the nutrients and calories each food contains.
2. You Are Doing Too Much Cardio
Believe it or not, it’s true! Though it may sound like a paradox, when you are doing too much cardio, thus burning more calories than you are acquiring to lose weight, it can cause unfavorable metabolic adaptations. It has been proven that doing high-intensity interval workouts instead of the long jog on a treadmill will burn far more fat, so your fat loss won’t be stalling.
Try to add one extra day of pure HIIT (High-intensity interval training) using a total-body circuit and do each exercise for 30 seconds and rest for 30 seconds more before moving to the next exercise. Instead of a basic sprint interval, you will initiate your entire body thus further boosting your metabolism. As a finisher at the end of the training, you can use an aerodyne bike, stationary rowing machine, weighted sled, etc. and do it in so-called max-effort intervals in 15 seconds on and 15 seconds off.
3. You Are Not Doing Strength Training
Just like the previous dilemma, the answer is weight training. Weight training will produce a phenomenon called excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or shortly – EPOC. This means that after your workout, your metabolism is going to stay elevated even up to 72 hours after an intense training session, and continue burning calories even after you are all done with the training. So in terms of body fat reduction, the EPOC is the gift that keeps on giving.
Now, if you are carrying too much fat, especially around your lower abs, that means you might have low testosterone levels and the consequences of that can be far beyond “love handles”. It can affect your health, sexual life, and your overall mood. So, if you want to raise your testosterone levels, you will need to focus on total-body and heavy lifts which will stimulate a lot of muscle growth, unleash a massive hormonal response and demand an intense neural drive. This heavy strength exercises will also speed up your fat loss quicker compared to, for example, biceps curls and calf raises, and shed fat faster. To sum it all up, your workouts must consist of deadlifts, heavy squats, lunges, barbell presses (flat or overhead), carries and heavy rows.
However, if you are not used to heavyweight lifting, be sure to take all the safety precautions. Do not overestimate yourself by taking on more than you can deal with; use a weight lifting belt for deadlifts and similar exercises; always have a partner to spot for you.
4. You Removed Fats from Your Daily Menu
Here is yet another paradox to add to this list. So here’s the real deal – to lose more fat, you’ll have to eat more fat! It is understandable why this seems counter-intuitive, but be aware that healthy fats such as animal fats, coconut oil, real butter, avocados, and nuts will actually make you leaner yet more muscular. These fats will keep you full while maintaining your good testosterone levels.
Also, eating healthy fats will force you to lower your carbohydrate intake giving you the desirable and lasting results. So, try to consume at least 30% of your calories from healthy sources of fat and dismiss artificial fats that can cause many health problems (especially heart diseases).
5. You Are Not Resting Enough
And for the last, but almost certainly not the least reason why you are not getting your results is that you do not have a good resting routine. So if you are training hard in the gym and have a clean and healthy diet but still not seeing significant and desirable progress, this is probably your culprit.
Some studies have shown that shortchanging your sleep will slow down fat oxidation and at the same time increase muscle loss up to 60%. Sleep deprivation will also wreck your muscle gains since it will interfere with recovery and with growth hormone production which is happening at night during your sleep cycles. Try to get at least eight hours of good sleep every night, and the results will naturally come your way.
Less is More
The term no pain – no gain is often misunderstood. In some situations, this is a way to go and many people are under the belief that more is better. But this is not always the case when you are trying to get some real results, especially when you want to lose weight, while at the same time trying to gain some muscle.
The best way is to be moderate no matter what your goal is especially when you are working hard in the gym and in the kitchen as well. Try not to be exclusive – occasional pizza, pancakes, and ice cream will certainly not hurt you as long as you make these foods to be the exception and not the rule. All you need are a few simple tweaks to get you back on the right track, and within a few weeks you’ll start seeing the results, be sure of that.