You make good choices but you are still not losing weight. Or maybe you are losing some weight, but the amount in ratio to the time and effort it takes, doesn’t seem right to you.
This actually happens a lot. Chances are it would just take some minor tweaks here and there to get you on track with your fitness goals. But in the event that you have a deeper underlying issue – whether that be physically or psychologically – it is just a matter of identifying it and then developing strategies to solve it. You are NOT stuck forever!
When I have a client come to me with this (perceived) problem, one of the first things I say is “Okay, first let’s take a closer look at what you are eating”. I have you track your food as precisely as possible for about a week; and then I ask a series of questions upon review. This allows us to identify the issue and come up with possible solutions.
Based on my experience, there are several common – but often overlooked – reasons why, despite making good choices, you may not be losing weight.
You may think you’re eating healthy but...Mmmm are you really?
" If you choose a meal plan that is not in line with your core values and lifestyle, you will either not stick to it or hate it so much that it induces stress. Both set you up for failure."
What is “healthy” anyway? With so much conflicting information out there, it can be difficult to really know for sure. Most of us absorb the information that is thrown at us and just try to do the best we can.
Eat bananas! They have potassium!
Don’t eat bananas!!! They are high in sugar!
Eat meat! You need protein!
Don’t eat meat!!! It has carcinogens!
Eat yogurt! It has calcium!
Don’t eat yogurt!!! It’s loaded in sugar!
“Well I’m just not going to eat then! Okay! How about that?!”
It’s hard! But let me see if I can help clear it up a little.
It is often just a matter of finding what works for you. Specifically, YOU! Your preferences, lifestyle, current emotional/mental health, current physical condition (including allergies or sensitivity to foods), personal habits...all THAT matters when choosing a (new) way of eating. If you choose a meal plan that is not in line with your core values and lifestyle, you will either not stick to it or hate it so much that it induces stress. Both set you up for failure.
You have to be sure that what you are choosing is realistic AND biologically correct for you. If you have the resources to do so, hire a professional to help you. Depending on your needs, a fitness coach, dietitian, allergist, physician, and/or counselor may help.
However, if you need to figure it out on your own, I suggest going through a process of elimination to figure out how you and your body react to food. This will require a small amount of deprivation for a short period of time and a lot of self-awareness, but it can be done. Be open-minded! Instead of looking at it as “this is healthy” or “this is not healthy”, ask yourself “how does my body react when I eat this?”
Are you really tracking ALL your food intake?
Another topic I cover with clients is portion control. Even if you are vegetarian or a plant-based eater, I ask you to track your food. You may be eating all the “right” foods, but are you getting too much of it? Are you exceeding caloric needs? Or perhaps too much of one macronutrient but not enough of another?
Yes, cantaloupe is good... but most of us don’t need to eat the entire melon in one sitting. I take a look at the ratios of carbohydrates, protein, and fat - and the sources. Most of the time a minor adjustment in portions, and thus ratios, can make a big difference. I almost always ask people to add more leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or greens.
I know tracking food intake can be tedious; but it is important. Especially at the beginning of your journey. It is very easy to let unnecessary calories creep in and thus throw off your macronutrient ratio.
That little bite you took when you were serving food
The creamer in your coffee
Fruit juice, mixers, soda, beer, wine
(I know... That was painful to write but it’s true)