My tip for people who may feel that their weight loss has hit a wall – here’s a bit of a check list:-
1. Are you eating too much?
To lose weight, it’s important to create a calorie deficit. Sometimes, even though you eat quality food, if the calories going in exceed the number of calories you’re burning, you’re not going to lose weight. If you’re regularly feeling over full after meals, experiment with smaller portion sizes, eat slower, and stop eating when you’re about 80 percent full. On rest days or low activity days, eat a bit less, with a focus on quality and ensuring you get enough protein. Seek help if you’re not sure of how much you should be eating, whether you should be supplementing, and the correct macro nutrient ratios for your goals.
2. Are you eating too little?
If your’re always hungry, have low energy, headaches, low blood sugar etc, you may be under eating. One of the biggest mistakes people make, is to do excessive amounts of cardio work on low calorie diets. A golden rule of weight loss is to aim to increase or at least preserve lean mass (muscle). Cardio with low calorie diets is a recipe for muscle wasting. When you lose muscle, you slow your resting metabolic rate (RMR) and your bodies ability to burn calories. The result is, you battle to lose weight. When you return to normal eating, with a slower RMR, you pack on the weight again. I would never recommend severe caloric restriction, but interestingly, research suggests that weight training is far superior for weight loss as compared with cardio, on very low calorie diets, due to its effect on sustaining or increasing muscle mass. So you should ditch the cardio for weights if you’re not eating enough- but first prize is to eat enough healthy food, and combine weights and cardio in a ratio that works for you.
3. Are you exercising enough?
You may be exercising an hour a day in the gym, but then spending 8 hours a day sitting behind your desk, or lying in bed most of the weekend watching movies. Try to move for at least 10 minutes every hour, even if it’s just a walk or to stretch your legs. You will be amazed at the extra daily calories you will burn, and the overall health benefits particularly metabolic and cardiovascular of regular daily movement.
In the gym, challenge yourself every week by walking a little faster, lifting a little heavier or whatever it may be, and record your progress.
4. Are you over exercising?
Remember, the golden rule:-aim to increase or preserve muscle mass. Over training tired muscles, for example. having a killer leg workout in the morning, and then running 10k’s in the evening will only serve to break down muscle and slow your RMR. Rather rest the legs, eat well, and throw in regular low to moderate bouts of daily activity eg walking, to up your calorie expenditure whilst sparing muscle until they’ve recovered for the next session.
5. Are you drinking enough water?
Too little water impairs your liver’s ability to metabolise fat effectively, and therefore hinders weight loss. Aim for between 2.5 and 3.5 liters per day on average- but this may vary from person to person. Water requirements will also increase over and above this, depending on activity level.
This is a small list of several possible factors that may be slowing you down. Remember, whatever it is, there is an explanation- weight loss is not an unsolvable mystery- and we’re here to help you find your solution.