I’ve been working out at a minimum of three times a week for the entirety of February. However, to my extreme frustration I have not lost a single pound. What I’ve learned lately is that exercising alone is not a cure-all. Here are some common mistakes I’ve encountered that keep people like me staring at the scale in disbelief.
Diet Hasn’t Changed
I confess! I haven’t made much of a change to my eating habits this month. I’ve continued to eat the same portions and the same types of food.
- Portion Control-Even if you work out every single day you won’t be losing weight at the rate you want to if your plate still looks the same. Try decreasing the size of your plate to limit the foods you consume. Also, stay away from having too much variety. My weakness when I see lots of different foods on the table is to eat all of it! So, instead of cooking for extreme diversity focus on two or three different smaller food groups.
- Where’s the Green?- Unfortunately I’ve taken an extreme liking to sugary foods lately. Ice coffee, Bubble Tea, Diet Coke, and breakfasts drowned in syrup will eliminate all of the workout you’ve done for the week. Try not to get sucked into the lie of “I deserve this.” Not only sugar, but if you’re plate is meat heavy like mine often is it’s time to make some switches. Try to replace one of your meals with something healthy. For example, instead of my carb and sugar heavy breakfast I’m going to try and permanently make the switch to a green smoothie. Sooner or later, this switcheroo will transform all of your meals if you stick at it.
Exercise Hasn’t Increased
This has been a common mistake for me many times. At the gym I can be at a lack of motivation and strive only to do the bare minimum. Boredom can also make me feel less intensity and therefore burn less calories. When you’re at the gym or doing a work-out it’s important to give it your everything. Your body will only work as hard as you do.
- Increase Your Work-Out-If you’ve been doing the same exact workout for the past month, chances are your body has already grown immune to it. When your body gets used to exercise it builds in strength and endurance. So if you continue with the same routine even though your body is ready for more, your weight can be in a stand still. Make sure that when you feel like your workout routine has gotten easier you make it harder by increasing your speed, endurance, time, or strength.
- Add Some Diversity-I haven’t ever tried strength training until this year. And even though I haven’t lost weight I think the new addition was a smart choice. I do feel like my body has gotten stronger and more toned even though I have yet to see results on the scale. Adding some diversity to your work-outs can make being active a lot more fun. If you’re sick of the daily runs add something fun and exciting to the mix like dancing or learning a new sport.
Stress is at an All-Time High
Research has proven that stress leads to greater fat retention. Therefore, if your stress levels are at it’s peak it will make your body fight a lot harder than it should to lose weight. Ever since post-grad life began (you can visit my post-grad postings to follow my journey after college), I’ve been constantly stressing about finding a job. This has led to a quest for finding stress-relieving techniques to keep my emotions in greater balance. I’ve found that breathing exercises, focusing on what you’re grateful for, exercising, and listening to music are valuable ways to release the bad and take in some peace.
Sleeping In Every Morning
This may be my greatest weakness. It is so tempting to sleep in every morning since I don’t have a place to be. However, oversleeping, undersleeping, and erratic sleeping all contribute to weight gain. Setting an alarm and not pressing the snooze five times is a good place to start. Also, making sure to go to bed at the same time each night will help enforce your routine. Make sure that your laptop and cellphone are more than arm’s distance away when you go to sleep. No more late night Tumblr use allowed!
It Could Be Muscle
Finally, something positive! One reason you could not be seeing results on the scale is because you are building muscle. This may be the case for me since I have started strength training. The scale isn’t your only resource. If you feel stronger, more energized, and are seeing a more toned body then relax and focus more on the long term. Muscle weighs more than fat but it is definitely better than fat. Just remember to not use the “It Could Be Muscle” excuse forever. If it’s been over a month and you still haven’t lost weight try addressing the other possibilities.
Whether it’s a lack of healthy nutrition, increased exercise, stress, irregular sleep, or muscle gain there are endless possibilities to why you may not be losing weight. Some of the easiest ways to find out which mistake it may be is to record everything in a journal-your work-outs, foods you eat, and how much you slept. Soon enough you’ll see a pattern or mistake you’ve been making and can thereby eliminate it from your life. But also remember, weight loss won’t happen over night. Like I’ve always said, being healthy is a life-long process.