When you think you’re doing everything right, but your fat loss has stalled, check to make sure you’re not making any of these sneaky mistakes.
1. You are eating too much.
For most of us, we shouldn’t need to count calories. If we focus on eating healthy food, our bodies will naturally tell us when we’re full. But often times, even if we’re eating the good stuff, we can still over eat – I’m talkin’ to you bag of almonds.
If you’re leptin and ghrelin hormones are out of whack (from being overweight or always eating crappy foods), your body can’t tell when you’re full. And you over eat. Plus, we are really bad at guessing portion sizes, thank you oversized plate restaurants, so we don’t even know we’re overeating.
THE FIX: Start logging your food intake and measuring out your portion sizes. After a week or 2 of doing this, you’ll be better able to eyeball how much food you should be eating. Trust me, ¼ cup of almonds is tiny. And as you start dropping weight and cleaning up your diet, those hormones that tell you’re brain when you’re full will start to work more efficiently.
2. You’re not eating enough.
Just like you can eat too much, eating too little is also going to halt your fat burn. So skip the big calorie restriction diets. Only eating 900 calories isn’t doing anyone any favors.
Calorie restriction will lead to losing water weight – so it can trick you into thinking it’s working. But after a few days of eating too little, your body turns to starvation mode. That means it shuts down all unnecessary functions, like fat burn, to conserve energy.
THE FIX: Log your food to be aware of how much you are eating. If you aren’t sure it you’re consuming enough, find an online calorie calculator to give you an estimate. Always keep your calories above 1200 per day, but if you’re training hard, then something about 1500 is probably more reasonable. For men, those numbers will likely be even higher.
3. You are following a crappy diet plan.
There are plenty of crappy diet programs out there. Diets that claim you will lose weight but are actually filled with junk foods. Most ‘diet’ products on the grocery store shelves aren’t going to help you lose fat either. They are full of junky chemicals, artificial sugars, and just plain crap.
THE FIX: Always eat real food. Eat plenty of lean protein, healthy fats and a butt load of veggies. Include a little fruit, tiny bit of starch and limit sugar to as low as you can manage. If it comes pre-made in a package, you should probably avoid it.
4. You don’t have enough resistance training.
Yep, you gotta start lifting big kid weights. Not the puny 5 pounders that sit in your basement collecting dust. The key to losing fat is building muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn during your workout and for the rest of the day. That’s why we love the big guns!
THE FIX: Start a weight training program. Learning how to big bang for your buck exercises – like squat, bench, deadlift, pulls up – those are going to get you real fat loss results.
5. You’re doing too much slow and steady cardio.
Cardio bunnies may look thin but jumping on the elliptical for an hour isn’t the answer to shedding fat. Long, slow runs or elliptical stuff can actually shift your body out of fat burning and into fat storing mode. When you do this long distance cardio, your body actually tries to conserve energy to fuel you through the entire workout. But what we want is burning energy and dropping fat.
THE FIX: Instead of long, steady pace cardio, add some sprints or interval work into your workouts.
6. You’re not controlling your carbs.
Carb control is the key to fat loss. Because, well, carbs are the reason we gain fat in the first place. To drop fat, you’ve got to get your body used to running on a fuel source that’s different than carbs.
THE FIX: Following a carb depletion meal plan for 4-6 days can make your body shift from running on carbs to running on fat for fuel. Then, as you slowly integrate carbs back into your plan, your body will be metabolically flexible enough to burn those carbs rather than store them as fat.
7. You’ve starved yourself for too long.
If you’ve always been a yo-yo dieter or a low-carb junkie – you may have done some long term damage to your metabolism. And starting another low carb plan might not give you those quick results you’re hoping for.
THE FIX: Take a week off your constant dieting and low-carb obsession. Just eat balanced and healthy meals. Then start a fresh carb depletion meal plan – but make sure you follow a program rather than trying to take a stab in the dark. If you need a little help, just let us know!
8. You’re not sleeping enough.
Sleep is the natural steroid of athletes. If you don’t get it, you won’t see fat loss or muscle gains. It’s that important. During sleep is when your body actually burns fat and rebuilds your muscles.
THE FIX: Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Practice a good sleep hygiene routine each night and always try to go to sleep and wake at consistent times. If you have trouble sleeping, take melatonin 30 minutes before bed.
9. You’ve got too much stress.
Cortisol is our stress hormone. When our stress is high, our cortisol is high. And guess what high cortisol does… it increases your fat stores. You may be kicking butt in the gym and following an awesome diet, but if you’re stressed to the max, your body is going to store fat anyway.
THE FIX: Get a dog. They can lower your stress 🙂 Or find other ways to keep your stress in check – practice relaxation techniques, try and eliminate some responsibilities at work, take some mental breaks – whatever works for you.
10. You’re not honest with yourself.
If you claim you’re doing everything right and still not dropping fat, you might need a little reality check. How many times do you really cheat on your diet or skip the gym? How hard are you really trying? You can’t be frustrated with your lack of fat loss if you aren’t really giving it a fair effort.
THE FIX: Take a close look at what you are doing daily to work toward your goals. Log your food, assess how hard you push in your workouts, track how often you go out to eat or have drinks with friends. Writing everything down can help you see where you’re missing the mark in a full commitment to your fat loss goals.