Last week we chatted about finding the right amount of calories to eat for your body, and how to know how many calories you are actually burning. And it led to quite a few offline discussions about what happens to your TDEE when you lose weight, and what happens to your metabolism, and how long you can actually keep up eating at that level of calories.
So I thought that this prompted a discussion around the management of your weight loss journey, and some of the reasons why your efforts may not always be successful. So tonight we are actually going to get really hard-hitting, ladies. We are going to explore some of the reasons why your calorie counting and constant mental stress over your weight is actually doing more harm than good.
Don't worry - we will give you some strategies to fix it
So I would really love to know… how many of you feel like you are ALWAYS watching what you eat? Always counting calories? Always worried about putting on body fat? Show of hands ladies and let me know. Honestly - I've been there. I spent most of my younger years, through my 20s and early 30s in that zone. It’s fatiguing, it’s depressing and it’s not helpful. I'm sure you know that already but that doesn’t make it any easier to stop, does it?
And let me ask you this question - how long have you been doing this for? A year? Two years? Five years? Your entire adult life so far? Share with us in the comments. I know for some of you this is not a new thing - it has been a part of the way you view food and view yourself for such a long time. Maybe it stemmed from something that happened in childhood. Or maybe this has all started because as you got older the weight just crept on and on until you reached a point where you said ‘no more’. And you decided that it's time to do something about it. Well, that's what we are here for in this group, isn’t it ladies! To do something about it so it doesn’t happen again! We get it!
So let’s get to the crux of it. I'm going to give you 5 reasons why your efforts to lose body fat might not be working, and what you can do to fix the issue.
Mistake #1: You’re actually not counting accurately.
This one is brutal but THE most important mistake we all make. We are counting calories or following a food plan loosely, so we think we are in the ballpark and therefore should be losing weight. How many times have you thought to yourself - im eating 1200 or 1300 calories and I’m not losing any weight? I bet some of you have been there. Well - the most common reason why it’s not working is that you’re just not tracking properly. Brutal, but true. Remember ladies - I'm not here to sugar coat it for you. Fat loss is SIMPLE. If you are eating less calories than you are burning, then you will lose body fat. If you are eating more than you are burning, you will put on body fat. Simple. And quite often when we are counting the calories of everything that is going into our mouths, we underestimate portions because we are not weighing. We forget about the extra tsp of butter we put on the bread, or 3 jatz crackers we stole from the kids afternoon tea, or the 2 sugars we put in our tea/coffee, twice a day. We forget about the glass of wine every night after dinner or the handful of nuts we sneak to tie us over til dinner is ready. This all adds up ladies. Just because you are not putting it into your tracker doesn't mean it doesn't count. It does. So if you’re really eating at 1200 or 1300 calories and you definitely have weight to lose (which at that level 99.999% of the population would), then you would actually be losing body weight. Period. So make sure you are tracking properly.
Mistake #2: Over Calculating Exercise
Going for an hour's walk is wonderful. It’s great for your mind, your muscles, your weight loss and your energy and sleep quality. But don’t think that just because you did that that you can eat whatever you want. Often - that walk didn’t burn as many calories as you think it did. Often many of the exercises we do aren’t burning as many calories as you like.
The best way to get around this? Don’t eat the calories you burn in exercise. Just don’t. Plan for your calories balance to be what you would lose weight on without exercising, and then the exercise is a bonus - quicker weight loss bonus for you. Because this is a quick way to get everything wrong and blow out your daily totals.
Mistake #3: You’re Eating A Certain Type Of Food Only
Let’s talk about KETO or Zero Sugar for a second. There is this misconception that if you stick to a KETO diet, or if you completely eliminate sugar, that you definitely MUST lose weight. Sure - eliminating sugar will have some weight loss benefits because sugar is in all the processed foods, so to some extent yeah it will work! But KETO - the only thing you are eliminating is carbohydrates. Which means you might very well be INCREASING calories because you have swapped carbs for fats, and as we know fats have a higher calorie count than carbs do! So at the end of the day - you might be eating more calories on a KETO diet simply because you aren’t tracking, and you aren’t tracking calories because you are led to believe that simply eliminating carbs will help you lose weight. Let me be clear. Weight loss comes down to calories in and calories out, period! So if you want to eat a KETO based diet, go for it! Do it because it makes you feel better. Do it because processed carbs make you feel gross and you want to eliminate that. But if weight loss is your goal and KETO doesn’t seem to be working - just count the calories of the food that’s going in while you do it! SIMPLE!
Are any of these mistakes resonating with you yet?
Mistake #4: You’ve Been Dieting Too Long
Now this one is a little controversial and not usually accurate for the majority of the population, to be honest. Although there are many women who think that they have been eating low calories for months and months and have seen no results so this must be the reason. It’s generally not - it’s generally that they’re not tracking properly. But for those people who do eat very little food (whether by choice or because they aren’t hungry or are too busy to eat), sometimes there is a broken metabolism to fix. You see, when you stay eating really low calories for a long time, your body adjusts to surviving at that level. It’s called Metabolic Adaptation. And when you eat really low calories, when you think you should be losing weight, you won’t because your metabolism has slowed down to that level. In order to burn fat, your metabolism needs to be at a higher rate (this is calories out ladies!) than the number of calories going in. So - if this is you - if this is SERIOUSLY you, then I actually suggest that the first thing you do is slowly start to increase your calories. Eventually your body will start to adjust to the new levels accordingly. Don't do a huge amount at once -the key word here ladies is SLOWLY. A huge amount at once will for sure stack on unwanted levels of body fat. You should stop increasing when you get to a healthy amount of calories for your body size and shape. Then start adjusting things as needed. If you are in this phase - I do recommend you speak to a nutrition or fitness coach for some helpful advice!
As a side note ladies - if you're not sure about how long you should be in a calorie deficit for - then go back and watch our video on Shred Cycling from February 13 2022. This gives you lots of good info about how to lose weight but not always be in body fat mode, giving your body adequate rest periods to recover and repair.
Mistake #5: You Have the Bright and Shiny Syndrome
Have you ever started on a weight loss program and then decided that maybe after a week or so, you haven't loss 4-5KGs like you thought you should, and then you see a video or an ad or read an article about a ‘way to lose weight’ and you decide to try that instead? It’s the bright and shiny syndrome - where you are always attracted by the prospect of something else, always thinking that the grass is greener so to speak, and as a result you never actually stick to any one program long enough to see real results! Ladies- this is very common and often a very real reason why your efforts aren't working - because you're not tracking consistently and giving things a red hot go, you are never going to see solid results! Stop thinking that what you’re doing is wrong and that just because the keto diet, or the 5/2 diet, or the 800 diet is the best way to lose weight when in fact- your current strategy of simply counting calories IS good enough - you just have to stick to it! The answer to this one ladies is simply to choose what works best for you and stick to it consistently for a decent amount of time! That’s it! Whether that is keto or counting calories or following a prescribed food plan - if you stick to it properly over a good length of time - at least 8 weeks - then you will see results! But jumping from one program to the next, or giving up when you don't lose crazy amounts of weight in the first 2 weeks is only going to lead to failure and disappointment. So stop that!
Well - there you have it ladies! I wonder which one of those reasons resonates with you the most? Let me know in the comments because I really am curious! And if you’re thinking it could be a couple - maybe from here you take ONE of those strategies and you try implementing it for 3-4 weeks and see what happens. Then you will have your answer instead of always flailing from one thing to the next.
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