There you are, eating healthy meals, keeping an eye on your alcohol and food intake, getting your cardio and strength training days in... But. (There's always a but, isn't there?) Your weighing scales aren't filling you with joy. You double-check your calorie intake, double down on your meal planning, and ask your trainer to ensure your exercise routine is legit.
Still, zip. It's official.
There is something standing in the way of your fat loss journey.
If this seems familiar, would it help if I tell you this is a familiar story? You may be dotting all the i's, crossing all the t's, and yet, your fat loss efforts are not bearing fruit - or not as many fruits as you would like them to. The answer to this conundrum is simple. Or available in six parts.
Not getting enough sleep
The top reason is fairly predictable. Not all of us are getting enough sleep. I understand - there's only so much time available and there's an endless number of things to do. But what we must also agree with is this: lack of sleep is a killer. No lie.
The hours of sleep you get on a regular basis are vital for everything from your brain's cognitive ability to your bowel movement. Even your hunger hormones start misfiring if you are not getting enough shut-eye. And yes, not getting your 7 hours per night will definitely hamper your weight loss efforts. So, what can you do? The usual fun things: switch off gadgets well before bedtime, ensure you eat dinner at least 1-2 hours prior to hitting the sack, and adopt some kind of winding down routine to de-stress you. That slow, gentle slide into the land of Nod will happen more efficiently if we aren't angsting till we fall down into an exhausted heap.
Playing fast and loose with arcane diet rules
There are way too many fad diets out there that promise miracles by Friday's end. Agreed, most of the fad diets contain a kernel of truth -
"fats are not the bad guy!"
"Protein is super important for your body!"
"calorie deficit is important if you want to achieve your weight loss goals!"
- and extrapolate them. The trick is in understanding that and not fall for the marketing spiel. For example, intermittent fasting works by restricting your eating window. But convincing yourself that an intake of say, 1000 calories per day is the quickest way into your summer body is not the way forward.
Similarly, mixing and matching dietary rules from different fad diets and making yourself a franken-diet is also super harmful. Why? Cherry-picking your favorite parts from different diet protocols to follow will end up with you ending up with an eating plan that is way out of balance and completely unsuitable for your fat loss goals.
Making weighing scales your BFF
Fat loss is a goal. That's it. One of your many life goals, along with learning to play a musical instrument before your 50th birthday, swimming with the dolphins, to visiting the 108 holy Vaishnavaite temples. A goal, not THE sole aim of your life. A gain on the scales does not mark you out as a failure.
More often than not, stressing over how much you weigh that day will have a perverse effect on your weight loss efforts and may well end up in what you do not want: weight gain! The best way to deal with this and not let it take over your life and your sanity is to practice mindfulness. Understand the scales are just a tool and not a secret portal to the Land of the Fat-Free. Living life on the slow lane will ensure you have time to pause and smell the roses. And not lose sleep over the natural ebb and flow of life.
Becoming the patron saint of couch potatoes
This is a fairly easy point, right? We worship on the altar of movement, around these parts. Resistance training, calisthenics, cardio, HIIT, you name it, we embrace it all. Whatever form it may take, we firmly believe that regular movement is key to a pain-free life. Our body functions on a "use it or lose it" maxim. So it is in our best interests to keep using it.
Sometimes, it may be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other and just keep knocking those steps off. Other times, it might be as tough as finding 10 minutes to yourself against a sea of work deadlines + ill family members + endless meetings + a persistent toothache to crown it all.
It is when everything is going to poo around us that we need to remember our habits to last a lifetime: that getting in a bit of purposeful movement daily is in our best interests. Not to knock off a calendar, not to tick an imaginary box but remembering this is it, for life.
Not drinking enough water
Our body needs plenty of water to function. In fact, our brain is 80% water. A fully grown adult needs 35 ml of water per kilogram of body weight. If you live in a hot and sweaty city like Chennai, you will be losing plenty of moisture via sweat so you need to keep topping up your water intake throughout the day.
When we don't get enough water, our bodies will start feeling sluggish and slowing down. Our metabolism will start slowing down. We will face issues like headaches, irregular bowel movements, heartburn etc, all of which will start affecting us physically and mentally. Very often, we misread our body's cues, mistaking thirst for hunger, thereby eating more than necessary.
Result? Weight gain!
Finally, making too many changes
Small changes are sustainable in the long run. A new eating plan every Monday, yet another new habit to boost weight loss every other week is simply not sustainable. Small day-to-day changes add up to much more positive outcomes.
When it comes down to it, fat loss habits are not meant to add yet more stress to your already stressful life. Yes, for some of us, losing some fat would have a positive impact on our health markers. But follow a sensible eating plan with plenty of whole foods, fresh fruits and veg, and adequate protein, get plenty of movement in, and plug in the gaps by following the six pointers above, and pretty soon, your fat loss efforts will definitely be rewarded.
If you still need a bit more help or would rather someone else do the plotting and planning, we have plenty of trained professionals at the ready. Contact us today and we will guide you in losing fat sustainably and in a healthy fashion.