When you make an effort to lose weight, nothing could be more frustrating than not seeing a bit of change. I've worked with hundreds of clients, mostly women, but sometimes men, who struggle with losing weight or shedding fat. Often times, I'll work with people who want to lose belly fat, also known as visceral fat, which can really be hard on their body. This is always the advice I give a client who can't lose weight. It usually gets them on track.
When you can't lose weight, here's what your can do
Keep in mind. I'm not a big proponent of jumping on the scale everyday, but if you've got weight to lose and the needle isn't moving after a couple weeks, something is working right. It's true that some people won't lose weight as much as they'll tone up, meaning you'll see the results in how your clothes fit you vs the number on the scale. If either of those aren't happening, you need to tweak what you're doing.
Here are a few possible reasons why you're not losing weight.
Let's start with insulin - especially as it relates to belly fat. Think of insulin as a fat-storage hormone. If you mess it up, you'll likely gain fat through your midsection and are at a much, much, much higher risk of developing diabetes, or possibly other conditions.
How can diet affect insulin?
- By eating a very low fat/higher carb diet
- By consuming too much caffeine
- By operating in "stress mode" far too long throughout the day
- By not eating regularly
There are other ways to screw up insulin, but those four are big offenders.
- Healthy fat is important. Avoid labels that say 'fat free' or 'light' as they're probably loaded with gross chemicals that will do nothing good for you.
- Don't eat refined carbs (white bread, pasta, instant rice, jellies, cookies, candy, etc).
- Caffeine will elevate cortisol (your 'stress' hormone), which has the potential to throw off insulin (translation: you'll feel hungrier sooner). If you're addicted to coffee and want to quit without a caffeine headache, you can start with green tea.
- Stress management is important as people who are over-stressed have elevated cortisol. Sleep more and TRY not to sweat the small stuff. Eat healthy and eat regularly. Some people need to eat every two to three hours, and some need to eat every four to five hours. Listen to your body and eat the right foods.
2) Too Much Easy Cardio
If you're not exercising right now - ignore this.You need to get moving, and anything counts. Far be it from me to be the one person who actually discourages someone who needs to start exercising. Go for walks, ride a bike, take a yoga class - get your body in motion.
For those of you who are obsessed with cardiovascular activity, and cling onto this mode of exercise because you think you'll lose more weight despite the fact that the scale hasn't budged...this is for you!
After 15 minutes of easy cardio (that is slow and steady), our stress hormone, cortisol, actually increases. When this happens, our body actually attempts to store fat because it goes into fight or flight mode. There is nothing wrong with a good 15 minute warm up, but after that, try interval training. You don't have to be an athlete or even super fit to do interval training. All you need to do is push your heart rate from "easy" to "hard" for two to five minutes. Not sure what to do?
Try one of these workouts:
3) You're Not Eating Right For Your Body Type
Eating right for your body type really has a lot to do with hormones. I know I already talked a little about insulin, but there are dozens of hormones (about 50) floating around our body acting like chemical messengers telling our body to any number of things - including gaining and losing weight.
Bottom line - no two people should necessarily eat the same type of foods, or follow the same way of eating.
I wrote a book called The Belly Burn Plan, in which I discuss four different body types:
All four are different, which specific hormones saying "store fat here" or "lose fat here". It's not about calories in calories about. Rather, eating the right foods that turn your body's hormones on to regulate fat storage.
There are general ground rules that everyone should abide by, including: eat more vegetable, eat less sugar, eat healthier fat, drink lots of water, don't drink too much coffee, don't drink too much alcohol, etc., but the size of your meals and the amount of protein, carbs and fat you should be eating varies.
Wait, don’t leave yet! If you’re not joining me on Facebook yet, now’s a great time. There’s a lot more information on nutrition, diet and exercise. I love talking with my fans and enjoy putting together fitness plans and body-specific meal plans…just for them! If you have any questions or comments, just let me know.
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