You got rid of the junk food , stuck to your diet, and you’ve been pretty good about working out…but you’re still not seeing any results. So what’s the deal?
Here are 3 reasons your weight loss program isn’t working:
1. You only do cardio.
I used to love running. I was totally addicted. It was all I did, and I did it A LOT. I look back on my scrawny arms and shapeless body and wonder what took me so long to get with the program.
Constant cardio is NOT going to work if you’re trying to change your body shape. Cardio can help you lose weight, yes, but you’ll be losing both fat and muscle. Muscle gives shape to your body and also helps you burn more fat over the course of the day. If you want the right kind of weight loss (fat loss not muscle loss), then spending hours on a treadmill or elliptical won’t help you.
If you’ve never done strength training and want to learn where to start, you can try this FREE Beginner’s Program.
2. You workout a TON and only eat a LITTLE.
Despite what the magazines tell us, we can’t lose fat and tone our bodies by working out ALL the time and eating close to nothing. Metabolic Effect does a great job explaining the science behind this, and they summarize the basics for us in the chart below. We need to focus on the BLUE areas of this chart if we want to be successful.
To lose fat we need to maintain both a caloric deficit AND a hormonal balance, which can only be achieved if there’s a direct relationship between the amount we eat and the amount we exercise. In other words, if we start exercising more and eating less at the same time, our bodies will try to slow down our metabolism to keep us from burning off the fat that we need. We can’t forget that our bodies are smart, and if we push them too far in both directions at once (eating and exercising) then our metabolism will start to adjust.
As I said in # 2, hormonal balance is crucial if you’re trying to change your body shape. If you’re body is stressed from a variety of triggers (like overtraining and under-eating, relationships, work anxieties, sleep deprivation, finances, etc.), that stress could be affecting your metabolism. I always like to give examples of the research behind these ideas, so let me explain one study that demonstrates the stress factor…
In this study, researchers at Ohio State University compared the metabolic efficiency of 58 healthy women who were under varying levels of stress. The women were given a a high-calorie breakfast (~900 calories) of eggs, sausage, biscuits, and gravy, and as they digested the researchers monitored their metabolic rates. The results showed that the women who experienced more “stressors” (determined by the Daily Inventory of Special Events) ended up burning over 100 calories less than the others. This study shows how stress can have a negative effect on the efficiency of our metabolism.
If you feel like you’ve tried a lot of diet plans and aren’t seeing results, I would love to hear from you (firstname.lastname@example.org). In the meanwhile, you can try to add some strength training to your workouts, balance your eating and exercise, and evaluate the stressors in your life.