I consistently hear people say, “why can I not lose weight? I have tried everything!” Well the answer is simple; I’m going to tell you why you are having trouble losing weight and how to FINALLY begin losing the weight.
The first mistake people tend to make when they can’t lose weight is the fact that they have a disregard for how many calories they are consuming each day. The science of weight loss can be explained in just 4 words: calories in calories out. If you are burning more calories than you consume, then you will lose weight.
You now might be asking, “does this mean I can eat doughnuts, pizza, and ice cream as long as I’m under my calories?” Well, you will be happy to hear that the answer is, “yes!” but the junk food should only be consumed in moderation. Macronutrients are extremely important and the calories in calories out rule does not mean that you should ignore protein and fat intake.
When it comes to LOSING weight (for example), a calorie is in fact a calorie. Say you have two groups of two people who both keep a calorie intake of 2000 cals per day (both are on a 400 calorie deficit). Group 1 gets their calories from ice cream, pizza, french fries, donuts, etc. Group 2 gets their calories from chicken breast, egg whites, oatmeal, rice, etc. Both groups WILL lose weight. However, Because group 2 has higher protein and healthier macronutrients, they will be able to preserve maintain muscle mass as opposed to losing muscle mass as well as have other vital nutrients that support the body’s needs.
The best approach is to hit your protein and fat requirements, follow a diet which has highly nutritious foods that are enjoyable for you to eat, and have your cheat snacks and meals if needed, exercise on consistent basis (whatever that is for you to reach your goals), and have a healthy life. In other words, it is important to make sure that you don’t replace essential micro & macro nutrients by eating anything you want. So, at least hit your minimum recommended daily protein and fat intake before scarfing down that Krispy Kreme.
The 10-20 Percent Principle
In order to apply moderation to your junk food, you should follow the 10-20 percent guideline. There is no convincing research that suggests a diet with 80-90 percent of whole/minimally processed foods is not adequate enough to reach your maximum health. In fact, there is research that suggests the possibility that it is more psychologically ideal to leave room for some indulging as opposed to a very strict diet when trying to lose weight. This is because dietary perfection is counter productive; research has proven that flexible dieting results in the absence of overeating, decreased body weight, and absence of depression and anxiety . More research has shown that an all or nothing strict diet approach leads to overeating and fat gain .
Start Tracking Your Calorie Intake
I know it can be tough to keep track of all of your calories, but losing the weight really does take some effort! Knowing for a fact that you have gone through each day of the week consuming less than your BMR (the amount calories your body uses for energy) is well worth it!
My advice is to start out eating 200 calories less than your BMR when trying to lose weight. You can then adjust accordingly depending on your results after 1-2 weeks.
Tracking your calories will do a few very helpful things for you:
- Ensure you are not unintentionally eating more calories than your body is using for energy (weight gain)
- Ensure that you are eating less than the amount of calories then your body is using for energy (weight loss)
- Allow you to adjust your caloric intake if you are still having trouble losing weight after 1-2 weeks.
Click here to calculate your BMR so you will know how many calories it takes for you to maintain your body weight. Knowing this number will allow you to eat less than your calculated BMR which results in weight loss. You will also be able to adjust calories according to your activity level.
Follow a Good Weight Loss Program
As you can probably already tell, I am a sucker for scientific research when it comes to weight loss. Because of this, I am easily able to tell the difference between diets that work and diets that don’t work. It is almost impossible to find a weight loss program that is not full of false/alarmist claims only to sell the product to as many people as possible. These types of diets only produce short term results and sadly, the weight is almost always gained back at some point.
Thankfully, there are a few weight loss programs out there, including one that really has my attention. Not only because the author really knows his stuff, but the introduction to the book will change your entire mindset about weight loss. This chapter alone makes the program worth buying because you MUST have this mindset if you want to have any long term success with weight loss. The program is called Burn The Fat by Tom Venuto.
He also gives you the truth about what you kinds of foods you should be eating and exactly how much of it. I should mention that this is not a diet. Because you will actually still be able to the foods you actually like to eat with this program!
One thing I don’t like about the book however is his statements on meal frequency and starvation mode. Research has proven that an increase in meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss . However, this is a minor issue that can simply be ignored; or you can still follow it if you would like (there is no harm in an increased meal frequency).
Anyways, it’s quite possibly the best program ever written on weight loss and it has successfully taken many people through there first major stage of losing weight.
Get Some Exercise
Exercise is the second most important thing we can do to ensure weight loss because it is a way to burn calories. There are many different ways you can exercise and some activities are more effective than others. If you don’t want to get into anything serious and want to mostly rely on your eating habits to lose weight, then do something you enjoy like going for a bike ride, a long walk, jog, swimming laps in the pool, etc.
If you really want to reap the rewards of exercise then I suggest doing a mix of cardio and weight training. I especially advise doing high intensity weight training because it provides the benefits of extra calories burned even while you are resting afterwards (during the muscle repair phase). In fact, resistance training was found to have a 66% increase in calories burned after exercise versus cardiovascular exercise .
Weight training also allows you to really get toned and look healthier overall. Just make sure you keep in mind that muscle weighs more than fat when you are weighing yourself. A more accurate way to measure fat loss would be by measuring your bodyfat with calipers or by taking progress pictures over a period of a few weeks and comparing them.
By following these suggestions you should never again utter the words “why can I not lose weight?” Once you get the principles mentioned in this articles down you can finally say “bye bye” to those stressful, overly restrictive diets that the commercial world throws in our faces on a daily basis.
1. Smith CF, et al. Flexible vs. Rigid dieting strategies: relationship with adverse behavioral outcomes. Appetite. 1999 Jun;32(3):295-305.
2. Stewart TM, et al. Rigid vs. flexible dieting: association with eating disorder symptoms in nonobese women. Appetite. 2002 Feb;38(1):39-44.
3. Cameron JD, Cyr MJ, Doucet E., et al. Increased meal frequency does not promote greater weight loss in subjects who were prescribed an 8-week equi-energetic energy-restricted diet. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19943985]
4. Elliot, D.L., Goldberg, L., & Kuehl, K.S. 1992. Effect of resistance training on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. Journal of Applied Sport Science Research, 6 (2), 77–81.