If you have been exercising and/or dieting for any amount of time and not seeing the results that you desire, you are probably wondering what the hold up is. It can be very frustrating to be putting in all the work and not reaping the rewards. Why is it not working for you? Is it just the fact that you are over 30 now and it is harder to get rid of those extra pounds and baby weight? There can actually be many reasons the scale seems stuck, and each person’s body reacts differently to different situations. Take some time to be honest and access your situation and find out what is really holding you back from the weight loss that you are craving.
You Are Eating Too Many Calories
I know I know, we have been told that the amount of calories that we eat don’t matter, it is more the quality of calories. This is just not true. If you desire to lose weight you are never going to see results if you are consuming more calories than you are burning. Maybe you are filling yourself up with good quality foods like bone broth, grass fed meats, organic vegetables, raw nuts, and fruit. These are all great foods to nourish your body and clearly a better choice than processed chemical laden food. Unfortunately, if you are eating more calories than you are burning you just won’t lose the weight.
If you aren’t sure how many calories you should be eating and what sort of deficit you need to create then get to calculating. A good calculator will tell you your total daily energy expenditure and give you a place to start.
Failing to weigh or measure your food can also lead to consuming far more calories than you think you are. Invest in a small food scale and several sets of measuring cups until you really have a hold on the portion sizes that you are eating. One serving of meat is only around 3 oz, and a serving of rice or beans is ½ cup. While these portions don’t seem like a lot, you will find that if you are eating nutritious whole foods you will be full much longer than if you are eating processed snacks and pre prepared meals.
You Are Trying To Lose Fat And Gain Muscle
The ultimate goal when trying to lose weight is typically to lose the fat and tone up. Of course we all know that the more muscle you have the more calories you will burn. It seems intuitive that you would spend an hour on the treadmill burning the calories then head over to the free weights so that you can become a fat burning machine. While you will see some changes in body composition and feel yourself getting stronger you might also feel your clothes start to get tighter as the scale increases.
Don’t get me wrong, doing cardio and weight training will help you lose weight. The process may just take much longer than you are hoping. As we discussed before losing fat requires you to burn more calories than you are consuming. By burning these excess calories doing cardio exercise, you can see a dramatic loss in the amount of fat loss if you are consistent. This is the opposite of what needs to happen when one is trying to gain muscle mass.
Gaining muscle mass actually requires you to consume more calories, which makes it more difficult to lose weight. If you head to the gym on the amount of calories you need to lose weight, chances are you will be too weak to complete a strenuous workout involving weights.
Try choosing one of the other if you want to optimize your results. Follow a lower calorie diet for 3 to 4 months teamed with cardio and see how you progress. Once you have achieved your desired fat loss, add back in more calories and up your weight training to start building those muscles.
You Aren’t Burning As Many Calories As You Think
Spending an hour on the elliptical sweating all while huffing and puffing seems like hard work. Better yet you don’t even have to run to burn the 400 calories that the digital display is reporting you torched. Unfortunately most gym machines grossly overestimate the amount of calories they report being burned.
While the the elliptical seems to be the worst offender, other machines such as the stair stepper, stationary bike, and even the treadmill can be inaccurate when estimating calories. Try to take the calories these machines report with a grain of salt. Most machines tend to ignore the important factors such as your weight, age, use of handrails and fitness level. All of these can affect the amount of calories that you burn in any given session.
Instead of relying solely on calorie count, try monitoring your heart rate during future cardio sessions. This can be done manually or with a fitness tracker such as the FitBit. Instead of measuring my activity progress by calories burned I like to gage my daily success by seeing how many minutes I kept my heart rate in the “Fat Burning” zone.
You Have A Legitimate Medical Problem
If you have your food and exercise in check and legitimately have not seen any changes then you could have a problem that requires medical attention. Some medical conditions, hormone imbalances and even medications can drive weight gain and make it much harder to lose.
We all know that as you enter your 30’s your metabolism slows, but if you are not seeing any results it may be wise to seek medical advice. Conditions such as hypothyroidism, PCOS, and even sleep apnea can cause weight loss to be at a stand still. Likewise, even small amounts stress and anxiety can cause your body to secrete excess cortisol which can thwart any efforts you are making.
If you are the victim of a stationary scale, try to access the whole situation. Be accountable to yourself and start a journal of your intake and exercise. Sometimes looking at the big picture can allow you to see the small mistakes you may be making. Remember that losing weight in your 30’s and 40’s might not come as easy as it did when you were younger, and try to stay committed to your routine. Know that you didn’t gain the weight in a short amount of time, so it will most likely take time and consistency to see any results. The number on the scale doesn’t always paint an accurate picture of our over all health. If all else fails be sure to seek the advice of a medical professional who may be able to help.
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