So you have been following a diet for a while. You have been eating healthy but not seeing results. You have been making meals packed full of quality ingredients and snacking on home made bars, nuts, seeds and dry fruit.
But your weight won't budge... It might have even gone up.
What is going on? The exercise plan must be at fault, or it must be your metabolism or problems with your body.
The number one reason why you are not losing weight is your energy balance.
You are eating enough calories so your body does not have to lose weight.
If you want to drop the body fat and improve your definition you need then you need to be in a negative energy balance. This means you are burning more calories than you are consuming.
Calories are the basic unit of energy found in all foods and are necessary to maintain the body's vital functions or basal metabolic rate. The amount of calories a person needs depends on factors like their age, gender, lean muscle mass activity levels etc.
If you don't get this balance right you will not succeed, no matter how hard you train in the gym or how long you resist junk food.
Healthy food is calorie dense
I had a friend swap her morning breakfast (oats and berries) for a super food shake which was promoted in a popular clean eating book.
The shake was about 1000 calories. With the avocado, nut butter and coconut oil it would have been more suitable to a mass building plan than that for weight loss in this individual.
It came in with over twice as many calories as what she was having before. She wondered why she had gained weight, but to me it was obvious. The numbers simply did not add up.
Now the author may argue that the ingredients are healthy, and I don't disagree. But eating too many healthy calories will still lead to being overweight.
What nearly every weight loss guide out there is getting fundamentally wrong is we are all different and have different demands and goals.
A 300 calorie dinner for one person might be fine, but give that to someone else and see how quickly they are raiding the cupboards to top those calories up!
I am going to set you three rules. Stick to these and see how quickly your body starts to change.
1. Calculate your calories
2. Stick to these calories
3. Keep going
It really is as simple as these three steps. So remember when you are doubting your exercise plan, metabolism or body that chances are you're just eating too much.
These extra calories can easily creep in, I am known to eat peanut butter by the spoon. After a couple of spoons and several hundred calories later I soon remember why I shouldn't buy peanut butter!
If you are going to snack on healthy foods I would recommend setting the portion sizes before you start tucking in.
A couple of handfuls for nuts can soon turn into 1000 calories.
When planning your new healthy eating plan I don't suggest you avoid healthy foods at all, just make sure you know what you are putting in.
Here I will list a few popular calorie dense foods that might be tipping you into the positive energy balance.
- Nut butter
- Coconut oil
- Dried fruit
- Dark chocolate
Whilst I do eat nearly all these things (apart from dried fruit) I regulate the quantities and plan them into my daily calories.
If you want to stop wasting your time eating food that you can't be sure is right for you then today is day to calculate what you need and how you will get it.
Why waste your effort and will power on a way of eating that doesn't work. Find out more about me and my work here.