You’re eating better and exercising, but you’re not losing weight? It could be your approach. What worked for your friend may not be the best method for you. Make sure the eating and exercise plan you picked is the best to support your individual goals.
1. Calculate Your Calories - You may be consuming more calories than you think
Successful weight loss requires you to pay attention to what you are eating, making sure your calorie intake is lower than your energy expenditure. If you’re physically active, you might think you’re burning more calories than you are consuming, but take a closer look—the numbers will often surprise you.
Start by keeping a food journal so you can self-evaluate your intake. Something as simple as writing it down is sometimes enough to make a difference.
2. Focus on Eating the Right Foods - You may be filling up on the wrong foods
Reducing your calorie intake helps to promote weight loss, but if you don’t do it right, you can end up with cravings and hunger so strong that you end up giving into temptation. To help, focus on filling up on foods known for their role in promoting satiety and regulating blood sugar; include protein and fiber at each meal.
Fiber is not only beneficial for your colon, it also slows absorption helping you feel full for longer. Including belly-filling fiber at each meal promotes satiety and may reduce your temptation to overindulge later in the day. The recommended fiber intake for males and females, ages 18-50 years of age is 38 grams per day for men and 25 grams per day for women. Over the age of 50, fiber needs decrease to 30 grams a day for men, and 21 grams per day for women.
Another nutrient studied for its role in promoting weight loss is protein. Research identifies dietary protein as the macronutrient with the greatest thermogenic capacity and the most distinct satiating effects. That means, calorie for calorie, protein may help to control your appetite better, resulting in less desire to keep eating and therefore fewer calories consumed. Protein needs vary based on your age, weight, height, body composition and goals. As a rule of thumb, try to include 20-30 grams of high-quality protein at each meal. That’s as easy as mixing one scoop of protein powder into your morning smoothie or 3-4 ounces of lean protein at lunch and dinner.
3. Re-evaluate your Exercise - You may be choosing the wrong activity for your goal
You know that exercise is good for you, but certain types of exercise are thought to work better for different goals. Resistance training is recommended to build muscle, but if your goal is burning body fat, it may not be the best use of your time. A moderate amount of aerobic exercise has been shown to be the most efficient and effective exercise mode for overweight individuals who want to reduce body fat.
4. Get Help with Motivation - You may be slowing down without noticing
There’s one more culprit that could be preventing you from reaching your weight loss goals; maintaining motivation. It’s common to start the new year off strong, then life tends to take over. Work obligations, family, kids, social life- all of these things compete for your gym and meal planning time. Your one-hour exercise sessions in January slowly decreased to thirty minutes in February – and that’s only when you have time. You may have made some cut-backs to your time and intensity without even realizing it. One way to boost motivation is to find a workout buddy that can keep you accountable. Another is to surround yourself with like-minded people. Including caffeine as part of your eating and exercise regimen may help as well. Caffeine has been shown to mask mental fatigue, giving you more motivation to exercise and complete your workout.