You’re eating the right kinds of fats and carbs and exercising more than you used to. And you are just getting frustrated because the number on the scale just won’t bulge. Man, do I know how that feels… Here are some things that may be derailing you… and you may not like them all, but you know me–I’ll tell it like it is.
1. You don’t have enough muscle.
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Fat and muscle tissues consume calories all day long whether you’re running, reading or sleeping. No matter what you’re doing, muscle rips through more calories than fat. That’s why men burn calories a lot faster than women; they have more muscle. Start lifting weights. You don’t have to get huge, but building and maintaining muscle week after week, year after year makes a difference in the long run.
2. Genetics: The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Genetics does play a part in how we look. If for example both parents are obese, you are much more likely to be obese. BUT you are still not doomed! It’s just going to be tougher by 10% to 50%; and you may never be a size 2; but who needs to be a size 2?
3. You’re getting older.
A sluggish metabolism is a common aging problem. And it doesn’t help that we sit in traffic, sit at work for hours in front of a computer and lay on the couch when we get home. With all this inactivity, we gradually lose muscle and increase body fat, resulting in a metabolic slump. Not unbeatable, though! Lift weights! But don’t underestimate the power of just moving. maybe you faithfully walk on your treadmill for an hour each day or go to your yoga class, but what are you doing the other 23 hours? It’s a no-brainer: Folding laundry, walking to a co-worker’s desk and cooking dinner burn more calories than watching TV, emailing your co-worker or driving to the pizza place. Actually, research shows that thin people fidget and move (called non-exercise activity) more than overweight people. Antsy behavior might actually burn as much as 350 more calories per day – the equivalent of two small doughnuts; so get up to change the channel!
4. The problem is in your medicine cabinet.
A host of drugs that treat diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, inflammatory disease and more affect weight regulation. Some will make you hungrier and others stimulate your body to store fat. And if a drug affects the brain, there’s a good chance it affects weight. Ask your health care provider if there’s an alternate drug or a lower dose that could work, but don’t change your medications without discussing it first.
1. You underestimate your portions and calories.
Yep, I do that a lot. But don’t feel bad: even dietitians underestimate calories – and by huge amounts! It’s interesting that one study found that women and overweight people miscalculate more than others. Other studies suggest that the greatest underestimating occurs when the meals are the largest, and that it really doesn’t have anything to do with how fat someone is. it might be smart to go back to measuring your food for a few days. Then plug in your food choices in a nutritional tracker software program, like Fitday or Lose it! And don’t forget to read food labels for serving size and calories.
2. You eat mindlessly or when distracted.
Do you eat dinner in front of the TV? Do you stop eating when you’re full or are you done when the show is over? For most of us, distractions lead to more and more mouthfuls of pasta or potatoes. If you’re munching from a bag of pretzels or a box of crackers, you realistically don’t keep track of how much you’ve eaten. Make it a house rule to eat from a dish. Always. No bags, cartons or fistfuls. Put it in a dish, sit down and savor the taste as you eat – without distraction. That means that if you’re going to grab the crust of your daughter’s grilled cheese sandwich, you have to put it on a plate first… Yikes!
3. You deprive yourself.
Your list of can’t-have foods is so long that you feel frustrated all the time. In fact, you’ve been so strict with yourself, you can’t remember the last time you ate something you liked! You will wind up giving in, scarfing down real bad stuff and you will regret it and be mad at yourself, which will make you eat even more bad stuff! Sounds familiar? I’ve been there. Do me a favor and don’t set yourself up for feeling deprived. Take the focus away from that list of bad foods and emphasize those that are good for you.
4. You’re usually good, but…
You always watch your portions and you start each day with a healthful breakfast, and you eat only baked chicken, not fried. Always that is, unless you’re on vacation or dining out. Unless you’re celebrating a birthday. Unless you’re sharing an anniversary. Unless you’re honoring your son’s first home run. One of those might be ok, but when they add up… yep, you know what I mean! Consistency is key to dropping pounds. Researchers involved with the National Weight Control Registry found that those who eat similarly day after day are more likely to maintain weight loss than others. Start making small changes you can live with. Find ways to celebrate that don’t involve high-calorie eating (like a manicure) or take half of that restaurant meal home to celebrate again tomorrow.
5. You overestimate your calorie burn.
Gym machines are notorious for overestimating the calories burned by exercisers, and we can so easily out-eat our workouts. Your 30-minute power walk might burn 200 calories, but that won’t make up for your after-exercise power smoothie. Exercise is an important tool in controlling your weight and maintaining good health, but stop rewarding your good work with food. A large bagel with cream cheese has about 430 calories—you need to do aerobic dancing for 63 minutes to cover that!
And when all is said and done, if you do everything right and the weight still hangs on, you might have a hormonal issue that should be looked at. Or maybe, just maybe, you are just right just the way you are… it might be your body telling you that.