Why is your fat loss not working?
As we come into a new week, many of us will be thinking about our weekends and resolving to start afresh tomorrow. Which is partly why this week I want to discuss the reasons why many find it so hard to hit their goals, particularly when it comes to fat loss. I hope I've drummed it into you by now that fat loss is not the only measurable scale for success. Don't ever discount your increasing strength levels, improved mobility, reduced injury pain, feeling more confident, improved mental wellbeing... It goes without saying that these are equally (and in many cases more) important. But by the same token it's absolutely ok to want to lose fat. In fact, if it means we're healthier for it, then it's a good measurable goal to have. Preferably by measurements, not the scales of course! Does this sound familiar? And around in circles you go! Want to know why you're not hitting your fat loss goals? Here's why! Calorie deficit Do you know how many calories you're eating? Because very often we're not actually in a deficit despite our best intentions. You may be in too high a deficit that is unsustainable. You can adhere to it for a few days but come the weekend, you've had enough! Potentially eradicating the deficit, if not ending up in a surplus. I also find it's the little bites throughout the day that add up! The cooking oils, eating the children's dinner, the wine, the picking whilst cooking dinner...? We all do it! I'm the worst! But they can add up to hundreds of unaccounted calories. Are you overestimating the calories you burn? FYI, watch calories aren't overly accurate! Sorry! We can then often over estimate how many we've burned and end up eating more because of it. Getting a true handle on whether you are actually in a calorie deficit is important and ensuring it's a manageable one is key. 10-20% of your total energy needs is a good place to start, typically 200-300 calories. Moderation Have you eradicated all 'treats' from your diet? Much like the above, this is only ever going one way! You need to find a way of moderation, including the things you love regularly but in a moderated way. I love the Tony's Chocolonely bars (if you know, you know!). If I never allowed myself any, I'd be eating the whole bar in one go before long! So I incorporate it (or something similar) every day. When we take everything off the table, we end up indulging more than we ever would have done. So incorporate foods you love all of the time in moderation. Frequency When it comes to exercise, you need to get your frequency right. We can't do one session a week and expect miracles I'm afraid ladies! It takes a little more work. We need to be exercising at least 2-3 times a week or up to 150 minutes to elicit a response from our bodies. Not only will this improve your health, fitness and strength but it will support your fat loss goals in many respects; physiological and mental. Are you doing enough strength training? If fat loss is your goal, strength training is what you need. If you don't believe me read my newsletter from a couple of weeks ago! But you've got to do it often enough to make a difference! Consistency It's so obvious, but consistency is often people's biggest downfall. Life has a habit of getting in the way sometimes, but if you're stopping and starting more times than you can count, you're going round in circles and will never get anywhere. Don't bite off more than you can chew and start small. A manageable calorie deficit, 2-3 workouts a week, daily step count goals. That's all you need. Get consistent with that and then you can build on it. Coming straight in at 1200 calories, daily workouts and a gazillion steps isn't going to last two minutes! Overload Are you overloading your exercise intensity? We all know with weights that we need to keep increasing the weights we're lifting to help our body adapt and change. If you stay doing the same thing, week after week, your body will get used to it and stay static. With any exercise, it's important to continually overload your body to keep growing, get stronger, fitter and support your fat loss goals. This is why it's important to do it regularly enough too! Too much variety? Variety is a good thing; doing anything that moves your body is fantastic and if variety is what keeps you doing it, then great. It can also be good to improve mobility and work on different fitness goals, i.e. strength and speed. But too much variety isn't going to be overly effective either. Because in order to get better, we need to give things time to work. Chopping and changing all the time won't help you improve and give you no measurable scale for improvement either. And without tangible improvement, we are more likely to give up altogether. Plan ahead Fail to prepare? Prepare to fail. The more you can get ahead and make a plan, the greater your chance of success. This may be meal prep for the week so you've got things ready to go or simply a meal plan to keep the shopping list focused. Got a few nights out coming up? Plan them in! We can make social events work for us when we plan ahead, manage our calories around them and go in with a strategy. Plan meals by looking at the menu ahead of time, maybe you'll offer to drive or stick to G&Ts instead of wine... Sometimes we need to make small sacrifices that are going to support our goals and get us what we want. Daily activity And finally, how much are you moving every day? You can exercise 3 times a week and be in a calorie deficit and lose fat. But 3 hours out of an entire week still isn't a lot of activity. We need to move every day! This can also be another reason we over-estimate how many calories we need! With sunrise currently at 4.47am and sunset at 21.21pm, I think we can all find time to get outside and take a walk! Make it a priority, set that alarm earlier, schedule it in and get it done! Conclusion The harsh truth is, there is always a reason why fat loss isn't happening. And it's most likely one of the above reasons. So have a think about your own journey, what may be holding you back and what could you change? Where can you improve and how are you going to do it? Set some realistic goals, schedule in your activity, make a plan and prioritise it. And remember there is no end point, this is all about creating new life goals and living better every day! Have a great week everyone. Love as always, Emma x