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5 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

struggling to lose fat?I have a big, meaty article for you today so I’m going to skip the warm and fuzzies and just get right to it.

Some people struggle with their weight loss, and some struggle mightily.

It can be confusing as hell.  You think you’re doing all the right things, but the waist isn’t shrinking and the pants aren’t feeling baggy, or the muscles aren’t “popping” the way you thought they would be by now.

In my experience it boils down to just a few sneaky things, so here are…

5 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

1. Mini-Cheats Are Catching Up

This one is a sneaky little devil.

I deem any type of ‘treat’ that’s consumed on a daily basis a Mini-Cheat.

Some people can use this tactic very well while losing weight.  They say that giving themselves a little reward every day is the only way they can say sane.

I understand that, but the people that make it work only allow Mini-Cheats.  That means they do not have entire Cheat Days, or relax on the weekends.  They eat the same every single day, and indulge in a small 100-200 calorie treat.

If you’re not losing weight, and you indulge on a daily basis, this little tactic may be your own personal Public Enemy Number 1.

Cut those daily indulgences out and leave it to once or twice per week, OR…

… keep the MIni-Cheat, but make sure you stay strict every day of the week.

I personally enjoy using the Mini-Cheat tactic because I enjoy indulging in small daily treats, but sometimes they catch up with me and I don’t notice for a couple weeks – when my pants start to get a bit tighter.

How do they catch up with me?  Because I combine the Mini-Cheat tactic with the big cheats on the weekend.

Those two ideas do NOT go well together.  That’s not a diet, nor is it sensible eating.  That’s borders on gluttony and at the very best it will stall your results, and at worst will make you GAIN weight, even though you think you’re doing pretty well.

This is why I always recommend keeping a strict nutrition journal for the first couple weeks of any new program.

boring workouts can lead to struggles in fat loss2. Your Workout Is Too “Blah”

Blah workouts can be a tough one because your routine is habit.

You enjoy your program, but the results have stalled and the reason may be that you’re bored, so you’re not pushing yourself the way you used to.

It may be as simple as changing up the order of the exercises, or swapping out a few exercises for more advanced variations.

Sometimes you need an entirely new workout program.

The key in understanding this one lies in your motivation.

If you’ve been motivated to start your workouts in the past, but lately can’t seem to even start the warm-up, you may have a case of the Workout Blahs…or you’re burned out and need a break.

Your Solution: Test out something new, like a Challenge Workout.

A Challenge is a great way to keep your excitement up and stir your inner competitive nature.  You don’t have to compete with anyone other than yourself, or rather previous versions of you, to make that Challenge worthwhile.

I’ve had clients perform 100 Push-Up Challenges in the past where once a week they test themselves to see how quickly they can bang out 100 push-ups.

The first couple of weeks they don’t even come close to reaching 100 push-ups, then the third or fourth week they’ll squeeze ‘em out but it takes forever and hurts like hell, then they’ll make that Click and all of a sudden they’ll start cranking them out in 4 sets of 25 with little break between those sets.

The true key with something like a Challenge workout is tracking.  Track EVERYTHING from the basics of the workout to rest periods, how you felt before and after, workout form, etc.

Here’s another one, that uses only bodyweight exercises, for you to try.

1) Burpee – 30 reps

2) Push-ups – 40 reps

3) Bodyweight Squats – 75 reps

4) Inverted Rows – 25 reps

5) Jump Split Squats – 30 reps

6) Jumping Jacks – 75 reps

Take as long as you need to finish that workout, and again track everything.

Track how long it takes to complete, when you took a break, how long each break was, how you broke each exercise up (if at all), how you felt before and after, etc.

Tracking all that information helps you to understand how you get better every week.  Maybe you finish the Challenge a bit quicker next week, but you don’t know WHY unless you track your rest periods or how you broke the exercises up.  You wouldn’t know that in the first week you had to break the push-ups into 4 sets of 10, but the second week you were able to do 2 sets of 20.

See what I’m saying?

Oh, and I guess I should mention that the Challenge is meant to be done either once per week or every couple weeks, depending upon the difficulty.

3. You’re Not Consistent In Your Workout Program

Consistency is the name of the game with your workouts.  If you follow the “One, Two, Skip A Few” mentality with your workouts, then you will not lose weight.

Look at every aspect of life where you want to excel.  What do they all have in common?

Consistency.

Want to be a better parent?  You have to consistently spend time with your kids, teaching them, loving them and being that parent.

Want to be better in your chosen occupation?  You have to consistently educate yourself, push yourself to get better and stay at the top in order to achieve that reward.

Want to be a better guitar player?  You better practice every damn day (that was written for me 🙂 ).

Consistency is the name of the game.

You know this, right?  At the very least you understand the importance of sticking to a program, right?

But why is consistency in your workout so important?

Because fat loss doesn’t happen within only 1 or 2 workouts.  It happens gradually over time.  Sure you’ll have big, noticeable jumps from time-to-time, but it mostly happens over a period of time.

Breaking your muscle down, feeding the muscles properly to build them back up a bit bigger and stronger, gradually increasing your fat burning engine, and burning calories while keeping your fat burning engine revved for hours.

I think the reason so many struggle with consistency is that they don’t see the results they want quickly, which is partly the fault of people like me for not educating you enough, and partly your own damn fault for being so impatient.

Sure a trainer like me can tell you that your push-ups are 100% better, you’re stronger, your posture is better, but if YOU can’t see it staring back at you in the mirror, then it can be tough to continue going back.

Don’t give up.

You will get there, but you MUST remain strong and stay consistent.

How can you become more consistent, or more disciplined, with your workouts?

You first have to make a contract with yourself that you will stick it out.  Make an appointment with yourself every day to MOVE intensely, and stick to it.  Treat it like a doctor’s appointment.  You don’t cancel a doctor appointment do you?  Of course not.  You keep it because you think it’s important.  So is your personal workout appointment.

The biggest thing is to just take it one day at a time.

You’re trying to create a new habit.  No more, no less.

Habit creation takes time and you have to treat it as a process.

Don’t say, “I’m going to train 6 days this week.”  There’s no power in that.

Commit to training today, or if it’s too late in the day, commit to doing it tomorrow morning.

That’s it.

One day, one workout, at a time.

Focus on the creation of the habit.

Even if you only do 5 minutes, do something.  Again, you’re focusing on the creation of a habit.

You could also hire a trainer dude or dudette in order to keep you consistent.  Don’t have the money, or schedule flexibility to hire a trainer?  Find a program that has some sort of email alarm mechanism that keeps hounding your inbox, reminding you to do your workouts, or use one that only asks you to train intensely for a short period of time, like 28 days, while using weekly Challenges to keep you progressing and moving forward.

4. You’re Eating With A Rationale Of, “I can eat this, because I did ‘x’”

A great way to curb this problem is to keep healthy snacks nearby

A great way to curb this problem is to keep healthy snacks nearby

Ahh the rationalization bug.

I see this all the time in my studio, and I suffer from it myself on occasion.

You get an urge to have something bad, and you use the fact that you’ve had great workouts the last couple days as your “reason why” you can have that indulgence.

You’re driving home, become famished and pull in to the nearest drive-thru and tell yourself it’s okay because you won’t eat the whole thing, will order something “good,” or will be better tomorrow (or maybe even do a punisher workout to make up for the nasty eating).

It doesn’t matter what the rationalization is, it will usually come back to bite you in the butt.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for relaxing the eating on a regular basis in order to keep your sanity in check, and to just LIVE, but if you’re struggling with your weight loss you may be rationalizing a little too much.

I’m as guilty of this as anyone, and I know exactly why I do it.

I know myself well enough that if all common sense will go out hte window if I allow myself to get a bit too hungry.

Like if I forgot to bring my morning snack with me, and don’t eat anything from breakfast until lunch (which is usually a 7-hour window), all common sense goes out the door and I instantly crave the bad stuff…and there’s a lot of bad stuff within 5 minutes of my training studio.

If I’m stressed and the day is winding down I will crave comfort foods.

Is it okay to give in from time-to-time?  

Sure, but not if you’re struggling to see progress with your weight loss.

Remember to keep your strong “Reason Why” on the forefront of your mind, and to always go back what it’s telling you.

Don’t give in to those simple temptations.

Understand the difference between cheating/rewarding and rationalizing poor eating out of simple temptation…don’t fail the small tests.

5. Too Many Processed Foods…Even Though They Sound Healthy

beat the weight loss struggles with healthy snacks

Processed foods, regardless of what the front of the box says, are all simple carbohydrates.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a 100-calorie snack pack, a box of “whole grain” crackers, or potato chips, they’re all simple carbohydrates.

What’s a simple carbohydrate?

Sugar.

Sure it doesn’t look like sugar, smell like sugar or taste like sugar, but once that tasty processed cracker hits your system it’s sugar, and there’s little to nothing to slow it down.

This will lead to the yo-yo effect of energy highs and lows, blood sugar highs and lows, and hunger highs and lows…

… which makes you crave more food – and usually more simple carbohydrates.

Simple carbs from wheat-based foods, which is pretty much what every processed “snack” is, effect your brain much like an opiate, which mean they can be addictive.

Sure it’s not like being hooked on cigarettes or heroin, but you do become addicted.

If you don’t believe me just try quitting wheat-based foods for a week and see how you feel.  Depending upon your reliance on this type of food you can have withdrawal effects similar to caffeine or nicotine withdrawal – irritability, no energy, brain fog, etc.

Aside from that wonderful stuff, processed carbs are also the easiest way for your body to store fat…

… even if it’s from a “good” snack.

But who tells you it’s a good snack?  The company that makes the snack.  They’ll talk about the low calories, the convenience, and the guilt-free eating, but it’s largely empty calories that do nothing but fill your stomach, leave your stomach almost immediately and then go right to your gut, butt and thighs.

Simple carbohydrates get on the fat-gain super highway.

Even if you are “watching your calories,” you will probably struggle with fat loss, or at least fat loss in those trouble spots, if you are a victim to this sneaky little devil.

It’s tough.

It sucks.

It doesn’t seem fair because the box/bag makes it look okay, the ads make it seem healthy, and they usually taste damn good.  Plus they’re convenient and kids enjoy them.

But they’re largely junk.

You can probably get away with eating them every once in a while, but don’t rely on them, and don’t let them become a staple of your every day diet.

They’re sneaky little bastards and will absolutely make it tougher for you to lose fat.

Whew!

All done with that monster.

Did you find anything that resonated with you?

Anything that perks up the tinglers and says, “Hey!  Maybe that’s the problem!”

Sometimes the reason you’re struggling with weight loss is pretty simple, but it just needs to be uncovered and shown the light of day.

Keep pushing!
Talk soon.

Ed

About The Author

Ed Scow, also known as "The Fit Dad", likes long walks on the beach, snuggling, hand stand push-ups and pretending to work. He's also a fitness & nutrition expert, proud papa and husband to a smokin' hot wifey.

Number of Entries : 169

© 2015, ELS Wellness, Inc. and Ed Scow

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