You don't need us to tell you that losing weight can be frustrating. Let's just make sure you're not making any of these mistakes so we can get you closer to your goals.
When you decide to commit (and I mean really commit) to losing weight, you’re also very likely ready to see and feel the difference…Immediately. The wanting to see and feel the difference immediately can be great for motivation at the beginning to start hot out the gate in our journey but it can also be extremely detrimental to making lasting changes. We can get almost anything these days with a click of a button and it will be delivered, same day to our door. Unfortunately, that is not the case for weight loss. If we don’t see or feel immediate results it can cause our worst enemy to show its face; doubt. Doubt in a program or plan and doubt in ourselves. Patience is one of the biggest tools you can have during your journey, and remember it is that… a journey.
We compare ourselves to others
Instagram, Tik Tok, Facebook, magazines (if we still read those?), it's all pretty exhausting in the sheer amount of content we consume each and every day.
Those people that you’re comparing yourself to on Instagram - unfollow them.
The people that just show photos of their perfectly posed body with FaceTuned tans and abs - unfollow them.
The people in your life that aren’t fuelling your fire but are acting like more of a wet blanket - delete them.
I had a wonderful conversation with a good friend the other day where she was ready to break ties with some people who were causing her more stress than positivity. It was a piece of advice to her but also a great reminder for me that we constantly need to be editing our lives. Refine it down to what MATTERS to you.
The next day I had a different conversation with another friend where she was comparing herself to girls on TikTok and was afraid she wasn’t going to live up to those standards.
The only standards we have are the ones we create for ourselves based on what we surround ourselves with.
Step one is to edit who & what you’re surrounded by.
Step two is to start acting in a way that’s leading you to who you want to be once you’re no longer influenced by iNFlUCenRs who have zero business influencing.
Take a look at your newly edited life, look around at what matters, what you value, who you really want to be, and start mapping out your health and wellness journey from there.
I guarantee you it’s no longer “to haVE abs LIKe ThAt iNfluEncer on InsTagRam”
We're not actually in a caloric deficit
You might be getting tired of hearing the "calories in /calories out" equation if you've been on a fat loss journey for a while - promise we'll keep it short and sweet- but the basics of weight loss lies under "energy balance". Losing weight requires us to be in a calorie deficit which means the amount of calories you eat have to be lower than calories you burn. As you can expect, higher the deficit, faster the result...most of the time - but it's not something we advocate and encourage! There are multiple factors that influence our week to week, day to day, and even hourly body weight changes. Unfortunately, most of them are things we can not control (age, metabolism, gender, hormones, etc.) But there are 2 big factors that we can control which are food intake (energy) and physical activity.
The most common mistake made while on the weight loss journey is thinking you're in calorie deficit when actually you're not. As an example, salads are supposed to be the "weight loss" staple. However, all that dressing and toppings such as nuts, seeds, dried fruits, cheese, etc. can add hundreds of extra calories. All while you're thinking you're in a calorie deficit and are on your way to losing a couple of pounds.
Same goes for packaged foods. They might be marketed as healthy but they also might not be the best option if you're trying to maintain that caloric deficit. The best way to know whether you're in deficit or not is accurate food tracking. This gives you the information you need on your energy and macronutrient intake. However, even if you have a food scale and are consistent in practicing the best tracking application, it's not always easy to calculate calories accurately.
The database of most tracking apps (like My Fitness Pal, or Cronometer) has a generic version of a specific food which is not accurate most of the time. Food trackers are very useful tools while losing weight and tracking macros to gain some insight into what you're eating. However, it’s so much more important to learn how to use it accurately. Sometimes, it’s not possible to find the exact same food item you typically consume, and instead, we'll go with the most “similar” one to log in. The other factor is the user's input. Since the MFP (My Fitness Pal) database is public for updating, anyone can enter in foods. Which makes it even more difficult to get an accurate entry.
Now let's talk snacking.
We can confidently say that underestimating tastes and small snacks are one of the most common mistakes in overeating. Let's not forget the estimating and eyeballing restaurant foods when you're out on a dinner date as well. Yes, you can rely on their calorie and macronutrient chart, however, restaurants and fast-food chains are likely to use more fat to make their foods tasty. That's what they care about.
This is actually the same with packaged foods because FDA allows for up to 20% margin error for food labels. So a 200 calorie bar of chocolate could actually be anywhere from 160-240calories. We just don't know for sure. Those factors might seem small at first but when they add up they will be a huge barrier to your weight loss journey. When you're on a deficit, you have a little less room to make errors when it comes to tracking foods compared to maintenance and bulking phases.
The last and very important note here is that, as you lose weight, your body adapts. That 200 calorie deficit that got you to lose your first 5 lbs is not the same deficit and caloric intake that is going to get you to lose the next 5 lbs - and so on. Your body is fantastic at doing everything it can to maintain homeostasis. And with that, comes the need for us to reduce our calories down as we lose body fat. Now, this is where we run into some trouble and plateau, again and again. So make sure you're always working with a coach through your caloric deficits to make sure you're staying well-fed and avoiding plateaus.
We stress out a lot
You're busy. You have a job, maybe two. Maybe a kid, maybe two, or three, or four! And on top of that, you're running a household, maintaining a marriage, a relationship, running errands and now you want to lose weight. But now you're stressed out about losing weight and not seeing results fast enough. (We've covered that in part 1).
Two words for you - Don't Stress.
Let’s explore what systems can be affected by chronic stress.
- Blood sugar regulation
During stressful events, sugar is released into the bloodstream. That sugar needs to come from somewhere fast, so the body converts protein to sugar in the liver to meet these demands.
- Increased body fat
Cortisol can mobilize fats in the body and relocate them to visceral fat cells. Cortisol also assists in developing mature fat cells which result in further storage of visceral fat.
- Increased hunger
Chronic high blood sugar leads to cells being desperate for glucose (which is our cell's primary energy source). As a result hunger signals are sent to the brain.
- Immune system suppression
Part of cortisol’s role is to reduce inflammation in the body. This is a good thing, however, when carried out long term this can end up suppressing our immune system. Chronic inflammation from poor lifestyle choices can help keep cortisol levels soaring
- Gut problems
A compromised immune system from chronic stress can be detrimental for gut problems. When cortisol is running high, digestion and absorption in the gut are affected. Indigestion, inflammation, and irritation of the lining in the gut may develop
Make sure you're checking out our beginner's guide to fat loss to read more about sleep deprivation and stress and how it affects fat loss efforts!!
We set unrealistic expectations
You very likely didn’t gain any amount of unwanted weight overnight. So unfortunately if you didn’t put on the weight overnight you’re not going to take it off overnight either. We’ve all read the articles and seen the ads; how to lose 15 lbs in 15 days! Losing weight this quickly isn’t healthy and always comes with a list long of restrictions. Many who try these extreme restrictions more often than not end up gaining it all back, and then some. Putting $1 in your bank today will not make you a millionaire, doing one workout will not get you shredded.
If you were nodding your head to the above when talking about stress, and you can relate to someone who has a lot on their plate, we HAVE to make sure that we're not setting expectations that go against everything else we have going on in our lives. You, the mom of 3 and the business owner cannot have the same goals as a single female who is training for a marathon. And that might mean (probably will mean) that you won't look the same!
Just as you have other responsibilities and more important ones than the bikini fitspo influencer that you follow on Instagram who shows of her perfect "bikini body" every day. So, if you need to read number 2 again, go do that now.
Set goals for yourself that are in line with who you are, what you do, and who you want to be.
We work against our physiology, not with it
Coping with a changing body is hard. A lot of the challenge comes because our society conditioning us to think our bodies should always be the same size. Stagnant. We should be able to keep them the same size throughout our lives and if we don’t ….somehow we aren’t disciplined or devoted or put together or valuable or enough.
The truth is, bodies aren’t meant to stay that same. As we move through different life stages, our hormones shift, our body’s need for varying levels of body fat changes, so our body shape and size change. With that being said, it is important to learn to accept and actually work with our bodies as it goes through change. Embrace the new and continue to find love for it.
Yea, that's easier said than done. I know.
There's a ton of information out there on menopause and how it can affect our bodies. Maybe some of you reading this know this first hand. Women tend to find it increasingly difficult to maintain or lose weight when going through this time in their life.
We might have extra cravings, we're more out of breath, we can't seem to build muscle as easily, we find the fat harder and harder to lose, and of course - we cannot regulate our body temperature nearly as easily.
Are you going to carry on with your life doing exactly what you were doing hoping that you see a change? No.
When our bodies change, it's demands change. And that means our actions should change too.
For example - ditch the steady-state cardio and hit the weights. Women going through menopause need exposure to high power output training.
Here's a fantastic article to read all about athletes going through menopause and how to work with your changing body, not against it.
Here are some things that I think are helpful when it comes to being a caregiver for your body so you can tolerate, and perhaps come to accept your changing body and natural body size.
- PRACTICE DAILY GRATITUDE FOR YOUR BODY. We're pretty incredible things.
- THROW OUT OLD CLOTHES THAT DON’T FIT. You're not supposed to fit your clothes. Your clothes are supposed to fit you.
- WRITE OUT POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS. Journal. It's good for you.
- DO MOVEMENT THAT CONNECTS INSTEAD OF DISSOCIATES YOU FROM YOUR BODY. Change your workout routine. Give your body want it wants and needs.
- GET OFF THE SCALE. Find wins beyond the number you see below you.
We eat on the run
Women are busy. Whether it’s in the corporate world, your home life, whatever it may be, women are always juggling multiple balls in the air. When we grab something quick before rushing to the next task or running out the door, it's usually not a well-balanced meal. Those quick snacks throughout the day add up quickly and more importantly don’t usually hold the nutrients we require. As much as time allows, try to sit down and enjoy your meals. This will leave you feeling satisfied. If by chance your name is Oprah or you actually are the busiest woman in the world then meal planning/ prepping is your saving grace.
We're afraid of the weights
Lift something heavy!
Of course, safety first! So make sure you’re seeking out professional help before attempting anything brand new. But I feel my absolute best when I do something that pushes my body. CrossFit, weightlifting, or powerlifting are examples of ways we can gain confidence and feel incredibly empowered. Whether you’re using a barbell for a back squat, a kettlebell for some kettlebells swings, or a dumbbell for some presses, get your blood flowing. I promise it’ll help you let off some steam!
Why is this important? Strength training triggers a hormonal response that not a lot of other exercise does. Of course, we know that exercise triggers the ‘feel-good” hormone dopamine, but beyond that, weightlifting has important lasting effects. In a healthy strength program, training improves something called the anabolic hormone release while also teaching the body to release less cortisol (our stress hormone) with each workout. So not only are you creating a better mood for yourself in the moment, but you’re also helping your future self by strengthening muscles and joints. So this is a bit of a double whammy - better your mood now and in the future.
Someone I follow closely is Bret Contreras. He's dedicated his life to helping women get strong. And one of these he's said is "the smallest you will ever be at a bodyweight is the strongest you will ever be at that bodyweight".