Top 3 Reasons You Might Not Be Losing Fat
Have you been on a number of diets over the past few years but still can’t seem to get the results you want?
Well, losing fat actually requires a bit more thought and understanding of the details that go into the process. Most people have preconceived notions on how to lose weight, and with social media / big companies promoting a myriad of supposedly 100% foolproof strategies, it’s no wonder the truth isn’t known by most.
Here are a couple of reasons why you may not be seeing results thus far.
1. Your Training Is Sub-Optimal
Take the classic person that wants to lose fat. He/she may assume that they probably need to start doing some form of exercise and will likely take to the park or sign up for a gym membership and start on some form of cardio, whether it be jogging, cycling, or swimming.
Often, they start seeing some drop in weight and off they continue to go for a few weeks only to find that they don’t look like they lost fat. They got smaller in size, but not really leaner. The key issue here is to lose body fat. In order to achieve the lean physique, you have to retain as much muscle/lean mass as possible while shedding the excess blubber.
Doing regular cardio may help you retain more muscle in the legs and potentially the arms to a degree due to the movements involved, but not nearly enough for you to start looking like the models you see on fitness magazines. These people, most of the time, have incorporated weight/resistance training, which maximises muscle mass retention, while dieting to achieve the physiques they have.
Take home message - stop focusing on cardio and start incorporating resistance training. You can keep cardio in the mix if you like as it is does add to energy expenditure.
2. You Aren’t In A Caloric Deficit
More often than not people decide to stop eating unhealthy foods and start packing their cupboards with foods from the supermarket’s health section - from chia seeds to organic nut bars. After a few weeks of eating “healthy” they see no difference, or worse, they’ve gained weight.
Let me make this simple for you. No matter what sort of healthy food you start to eat in favour of “junk food”, if you are in a caloric surplus (calorie intake from food is greater than caloric expenditure), you will not be losing weight, let alone body fat.
Actually to be frank, these classic “healthy” foods such as avocados, chia seeds, almond butter actually have a high calorie content and will add up. Start counting how many calories you eat daily using either the food labels, or an app to track your food intake, and make adjustments based on how much your weight is changing week on week. On average I’d be aiming to lose 0.5% of your bodyweight weekly.
Side note: healthy foods will likely have a better nutritional profile when it comes to vitamins, minerals, and fiber content so incorporating these foods aren’t an issue!
3. Your Protein Intake Is Far Too Low
You’ve started your weight training with a personal trainer at a gym, you’ve been in a caloric deficit and lost a bit of weight, but even still, you don’t look as lean as you desire. The likely problem is your protein isn’t high enough and you’ve been losing more lean mass than ideal.
When we start losing weight as a result of a caloric deficit, our bodies end up losing both lean and fat mass. To optimise retention of lean mass and lose as much fat mass as possible, both resistance training and adequate protein intake are necessary. Most people in general start eliminating foods in general without thinking about the macronutrient contents, and that’s a big no no.
The general recommendation is to eat 1g of protein for every pound of bodyweight you carry. This should be more than enough for most people, and for those who are 30% body fat or above, this can be slightly less as much of the protein is utilised by the lean mass of your body anyway.
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