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Why You’re Struggling to Lose Weight (And How to Fix It)

Why You’re Struggling to Lose Weight (And How to Fix It)

Many years ago, I struggled with obesity. It was a time where I was on the 2 for 1 Burger King diet.

The first 30 lbs were quite easy to lose, the remaining 90 lbs were extremely hard to shed off. The reason why it was so hard? Because I didn’t know what to do. This is when I decided to copy what people were doing at the gym, starving myself, over consuming on certain meals and the list goes on.

Eventually, I came to the realization that I was struggling to lose weight and needed to learn how to fix it. And when I learned how the right way to lose weight, I could lose 110 lbs of body fat:[1]

    Why I was struggling? Because I lacked the knowledge of what to do.

    How to fix it? By learning what will work. Not what I think might work, but what actually works.

    Based on experience, I can honestly tell you that 7 out of 10 personal training clients share the same problem. They’re struggling to lose weight. When this situation arises, it’s all about analyzing the amount of output and input in our bodies.

    Going to the gym and doing random exercises is not enough anymore. It’s all about building a customized plan that works for you. Same with nutrition, someone else’ diet may or may not work for you. Finally, we need to consider lifestyle behaviours as well.

    1. Over Consuming Protein

    There was a time when protein shakes would have 50 to 100 grams of protein per shake. It wasn’t until this study came out that it was determined that per meal we can only ingest 20g to 30g of protein every 3 to 4 hours.[2]

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    Every person varies on timing and needs. Instead of having 2 chicken breast per meal (which has approximately 62 grams of protein), have 1 chicken breast per meal (31 grams).

      2. Confusing Complex Carbs vs Simple Carbs

      Eating a slice of bread is not the same as eating 4 cups of sweet potatoes. Simple carbs are digested quicker by the body leaving you hungry. However, complex carbs take time for the body to digest.

      Simples carbs are found in food such as fruits, milk, soft drinks and more. Complex carbs are found in food such as whole grains, beans, vegetables and more.

      Simple and Complex serve different purposes.

      Eating simple carbs is recommended before starting a workout if you have not eaten anything for the past 2 to 4 hours. This way you have a boost of energy.

      Eating complex carbs is recommended at least 30 to 45 minutes after a workout so you can replenish your glycogen levels. Eating this way will you feel satisfied after workouts, so there is no craving.

        3. Not Hitting All the Muscle Groups

        It’s not only about doing abdominal workouts and cardio. It’s about hitting all muscle groups 2-5 times a week for significant impact in the body. Beginners should start with compound movement (which target more than one muscle group).

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        A simple guideline would be 1-3 sets of 8-12 repetitions, with a 30 second to a 1:30 break in between sets.

        Squats target the lower body, while the Glute-Bridges primarily targets the glutes and hamstring. Dead Push Ups target the upper body (front) and Downward Dog targets the upper back.

        All exercises above target the core muscle, which is why I love to leave the plank for last. The Plank targets all muscle groups if done correctly.

        Squats

          Dead Push Ups

            Downward Dog

              Glute Bridge

                Plank

                  4. Confusing a Cheat Meal for a Cheat Day

                  It’s not bad to break your diet from time to time. After all, we’re humans! The problem is when we over indulge ourselves.

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                  Planning for one cheat meal a week will not cause major impacts to the body in regards to gaining weight. However, a cheat day will have an impact on the body to gaining weight and feeling bloated.

                    5. Skipping Meals

                    If your body is accustomed to eating a certain times during the day but you skip a meal, the body identifies this as something in the body is changing; therefore the next meal you decide to have will be stored in to our bodies as fat as a mean to survive.

                    Unless you’re doing intermittent fasting, you shouldn’t skip meals. Even then, you have to know what foods to eat so the body does not store it as fat.

                    What you shouldn’t do is skip a meal for weight loss purposes. What you should do, is plan out your day or week of the meals and snack you’re going to eat and focus on portion control, balancing your proteins, carbs and fats, and drink lots of water.

                      6. Eating till You’re Full

                      We need to be aware of the amount of food we put on our plate. There needs to be healthy portions of carbs, fats, and protein on our plates.

                      Instead of having 85% of your plate full of pasta (carbs), only put in 35%. Fill the rest up with as much green vegetables as you desire, then have 40% of protein (chicken breast) and 25% of fat (avocado).

                      Below you will find an example of a portioned sized meal:

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                      • Asparagus: 50% (Green Vegetables)
                      • Grilled Zucchini: 30% (Green Vegetable, Low Carb)
                      • Grilled Salmon: 20% (Protein & Fats)

                        7. Insufficient Sleep

                        The bodies needs to recover and process everything that it has gone throughout the day. Not only does sleeping help you fight night cravings, but it also helps to increases physical activity output because you’re well rested.

                        Can’t sleep at night? Here are a couple of solutions:

                        • Don’t bring your phone to the bedroom
                        • Put a timer so you can remind yourself to go to bed early
                        • Don’t eat anything heavy before going to bed

                          If you’re struggling to lose weight, these are some potential causes that you should check in with yourself.

                          Follow the above weight loss hacks, and gradually you’ll find yourself losing some weight and leading a healthier lifestyle. Keep it up!

                          Featured photo credit: Zach Rowlandson via unsplash.com

                          Reference

                          More by this author

                          Sergio Pedemonte

                          CEO and Certified Personal Trainer of Your House Fitness

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                          Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                          7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                          Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                          Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                          1. Exercise Daily

                          It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                          If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                          Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                          If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                          2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                          Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                          One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                          This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                          3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                          Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                          Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                          Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                          4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                          Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                          The basic nutritional advice includes:

                          • Eat unprocessed foods
                          • Eat more veggies
                          • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                          • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                          Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                            5. Watch Out for Travel

                            Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                            This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                            If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                            6. Start Slow

                            Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                            If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                            7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                            Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                            My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                            If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                            I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                            Final Thoughts

                            Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                            Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                            More Tips on Getting in Shape

                            Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                            Reference

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