There are many reasons why we have difficulties losing weight. It can be related to the type, time or level of exercise you are doing or even just because you're stressed out!
If this is you maybe it is time to take a fresh look:
- At what is going on in your life?
- At your exercise regime - are you doing enough too much the right type?
- Is what is going into your mouth doing you any favours?
- Are there any possible physiological imbalances?
- At yourself mentally - are you ready? Ask yourself - why do you want to lose weight?
Take the next 10 minutes to contemplate the following:
- If you have just increased your exercise by a considerable amount (i.e. doubled your training sessions) you are naturally going to increase your energy expenditure so your body will naturally want more fuel. Weight loss to some degree (not all of it) is about energy in and energy out. Make sure you increase your exercise gradually so your body doesn't all of a sudden get a shock and feel it needs re-fueling in excess.
- Assess yourself and your motivation - Do you need to be exercising excessively (i.e. running 10-20km) 6-7 days a week? You may get better results by having your sessions which may regulate your eating habits and prevent over-eating. Excessive training doesn't always lead to long-term sustainable results.
- What exercise are you doing? You should be including a balance of aerobic (i.e. bike riding, running, walking) resistance (strong yoga, weight training, Pilates) as well as some stretching. You aren't going to get the results by just doing one of the above. They all work together.
- Are you overdoing the carbohydrates? We often think that if we are exercising daily then we need to fill up on bread, pasta, rice, corn, oats and so on to keep our energy up… Wrong! Yes, you do need to ensure you get into good quality low glycaemic carbohydrates, but most of us overdo it. Try focusing on filling up with lots of vegetables (which are loaded with carbs too you know) and protein-rich foods (eggs lean meat fish dairy poultry tofu).
- Are you actually thirsty? If you have just completed a training program of some swimming, running and riding in preparation for your triathlon then you would have sweated out considerable amounts of water and electrolytes. Make sure the first thing that goes into your mouth post your session is at least 1L of water (more if the session was longer than an hour or if it was a very hot day) as well as perhaps some coconut water or another form of good quality electrolyte replacement drink. Then think of food (an hour later). Think WATER before you grab the biscuit or a piece of toast.
- Hands off the sports drinks! They are loaded with sugar or artificial sugars and will be doing nothing for your weight management.
- Don't fall into the trap of overeating post your training session. Program them into your days to that your next main meal is not far away - i.e. 1hr away. As soon as you finish your session have a small handful of almonds with an apple and get home and get dinner on!
- Are you stressed out? If you are working long hours and/or have high levels of personal stress the last thing your body wants to think about is dropping weight. It is just trying to survive! This is one of the biggest hurdles I face with patients who are under excessive stress and are overweight. First, we need to address their lifestyle nervous system and stressors before we can realistically think about going ‘gung ho' with a weight loss program. Funnily enough, as soon as their stress adaptation improves and their overall stress levels reduce so does their weight…
- Perhaps it is time for a complete blood check - how is your thyroid performing? How are you metabolizing your sugars? And so on… there may be some underlying factors also contributing to your struggles. Your health practitioner will be able to assist you with this.
- Biggest tip - GET HELP! Don't try and go it alone. You need proper guidance someone to report to or to be accountable to otherwise you will lose motivation fast. This may include a nutritionist or naturopath a fitness trainer or perhaps an osteopath or a masseur to help your recovery or all of them!
Written by Johanna Clark, a nutritionist