By Mark Hayward
I am constantly asked the question 'I've cleaned my diet up, exercise 5 days a week but the weight just will not come off, what am I doing wrong?'. The answer is usually quite straight forward as we will see. People who are unfortunate enough to live in places where there are severe food shortages, such as in some parts of the third world, don't have a problem keeping the weight off. Can you see the connection now? Read on.
Here I'm going to go over some of the most likely causes, but before I start, let me tell you that's it's rare for it to truly be a medical problems some claim and 'big bones' or 'getting older' really just won't cut it either.
Eating More Than You think
This is the biggest cause of stubborn weight loss for obvious reasons. You may think you are eating well but just sit down and spend a little while truly analysing what is in your food and how many calories you are eating. Keep a food log for a week, be honest with yourself. Foods like low fat mince are actually incredibly high in calories, yet marketed as 'healthy'. Don't be put off by supermarkets 'healthy eating and living' claims. While these foods are better than most it doesn't mean you can eat more of them! Low fat products often still contain substantial amounts of sugar and other fattening ingredients. Keep them to a minimum!
Also if your are the type to go to an all you can eat buffet and gorge yourself untll you are literally wedged between the chair and table, then stop it! You may have been good all week but this will hinder progress severely.
Eating Too Little
As strange as this may seem it can make weight loss more difficult, particularly after the early stages. Here are the reasons. Do you skip breakfast, have a light nibble or nothing in most cases for lunch, then go home and have a big meal? If so you have just let your body know there is a famine going on and it had better start saving those calories from the big meal while it has the chance. It's just trying to survive and genetically doesn't know food is on hand for most people at all times. If you pig out at the weekend and do this in the week you will have problems.
It will make it even harder if you are working hard at the gym too. Your body will then well and truly be in survival mode- loads of energy expenditure required and too little fuel to do it- better store some calories up on your hips for later!
Sumo wrestlers eat only once a day and look at them. Assuming that's not the look you want for yourself eat small regular meals every few hours.
Too Much Sugar
Honey at breakfast? Sugar in your coffee? Simple sugars spike your insulin levels sky high, which will favour the enlargement of fat cells. Obviously most people don't want this so they should avoid it at all cost. Remember the low fat products? They are usually packed full with sugar.
Avoid sugar if you want to lose weight!
Too Few Vegetables
While not necessary as such, keeping full with vegetables is invaluable in you quest for weight loss. Not only do they fill you up, your body loves them and will quite happily shed the pounds while it's getting a regular supply. They are packed full of fibre, vitamins and minerals; your body will absorb them this way far better than a vitamin pill as well.
At the very least try to eat plenty of veg of different colours with some oily fish or lean meat, every day, evening is usually best for most people.
Not Active Enough
Doing the cross trainer at level 1 for half an hour is not really a workout unless you are one of those unfortunate 50 stone people you see on TV who have to be airlifted out of their bed to hospital. You really need to be breaking a sweat out at the gym. Most people don't and they get a better workout when they're walking from the car park to the changing room. Being in the gym does not mean you are working out!
Also do you drive everywhere? Take the lift instead of stairs? It's all too easy but our bodies haven't evolved to take things easy, your genes think life is hard, constantly active and avoiding danger. You may not want the danger part but keep active always moving, don't just sit down and vegetate at work or home. The fat will stick like glue if you do.
Make changes where you have too, just be honest with yourself. Wishful thinking does not aid fat loss, so maybe it's time to get real.