Here at ATP personal Training, we meet new clients every day and, although some have very specific reasons for choosing us, weight loss remains by far the most common client goal. What we find is that many of our clients have tried to lose weight before, some for many years, without success. Any yet many of these went on to be our most amazing transformations. So what were they doing that stopped them making progress on their own? And why do so many people struggle to lose weight?
Read these 10 ways that you might sabotage your own weight loss, and see how many of them you are doing!
- You aren’t measuring your progress regularly enough
Although stepping on the scales can be a very emotional or negative experience for many people, if you can detach from the feelings involved and think of the numbers simply as data, you will be able to measure your progress much more accurately. Many people tend to weigh themselves only on days they feel good about themselves, but since our weight can fluctuate as much as a couple of kilograms each day in some cases, you run the risk of recording very inaccurate information.
Weighing every day, on the other hand, will start to allow you to track your weekly average weights, which is good for 2 reasons; firstly you will start to free yourself from the “Oh no, I have to weigh myself tomorrow” nerves that can occur before a weekly “Weigh-In” day and secondly, you will start to understand important concepts such as your own individual weight fluctuations and the fact that one bad meal doesn’t need to ruin your whole week of progress.
- You aren’t tracking everything you eat
Or perhaps you aren’t tracking anything you eat – for people new to dieting, the concept of recording anything that passes your lips can seem quite alien. But the only way to lose weight is for you to be in a calorie deficit, and the only way to be sure that you are is to keep a written record of all your food and drinks.
When we say all your food and drinks, we mean it; the milk that goes in your morning coffee, the kids’ leftovers, even the peanut butter left on the knife that you sneakily ate when nobody was looking – it all contains calories so it all contributes to your daily total
- You aren’t measuring certain foods
What your favourite TV chef describes as “a tablespoon of oil” is almost certainly closer to 3 tablespoons. We can’t stress it enough, measure your foods and especially your fats. Peanut butter, oils, butter, nuts, avocado – these are all calorie dense foods that can really make a difference if you are trying to get leaner
- You are eating too much fat
Your body needs dietary fat; in fact fat is an essential nutrient. But fat also contains 9 calories per gram, compared with 4 kcal per gram that you get from protein or carbohydrate. It doesn’t matter if your fat intake comes only from healthy foods such as avocado, almonds or pumpkin seeds; fat is still something that you need to measure and track to ensure that you are within your daily calorie limit.
- You eat without noticing what you’re doing
This is where the saying “Out of sight, out of mind” is very true. If you have an open packet of biscuits on your desk, or a big box of popcorn on your lap at the cinema, you are going to dip into them and eat without really realising. If the food is in a cupboard, or in another room, you might be so engrossed in the movie or in your work that you don’t even think about snacking. Mindful eating is a good tool when it comes to weight loss, and it can also help you recognise when you are full (rather than you clearing your plate if you don’t really need to).
- You don’t drink enough water
Often, when we think we are hungry, we misinterpret our body trying to tell us we need to hydrate. Making sure you drink at least 40ml per kg of bodyweight (more if you workout a lot of have a lot of muscle) will help ensure that you only feel hungry when you actually are
- You eat out every day
Unless you prepare your food yourself, can you really be absolutely certain of what went into it? Why don’t your home mashed potatoes taste as good as the ones in your favourite restaurant? Probably because you wouldn’t even dream of adding as much cream and butter as they do in the restaurant!
Yes, it is delicious, but if eating out is a regular occurrence for you then you will need to find less calorie-dense options. Grilled steak with salad (dressing on the side) or steamed fish with steamed vegetables and rice (ask for no added fat) are both excellent choices. If you usually do have dinner out, remember restaurant portions can often be very large, so you could even take some food home and have it for lunch the following day.
- You aren’t sure what an appropriate portion size looks like
The most accurate way to make sure you are eating the right amount of food is to weigh everything and input the amounts into your food tracker (it will do the sums for you and you can easily see what you have left). This isn’t always possible though, so a good rule is to aim for a palm-sized serving of protein, 2 clenched fists of vegetables, a cupped palm of carbohydrates and a thumb sized portion of fat. If your vegetables come sauteed in butter then that’s your fat allowance used up, so choose carefully!
- Your diet is too restrictive
We have all woken up after a big weekend and promised ourselves we are only going to eat salad all week. No alcohol, gym at 6am every morning and 3 litres of water each day, without fail. But we have also all failed to stick to this kind of approach, often as early as day 1. Although dieting, by definition, suggests that you need to restrict your calories, make sure you include a variety of foods that you enjoy otherwise you won’t enjoy the process and you are far less likely to stay the course.
Learning which foods can add volume to your diet without too many calories is vital, and planning meals (and putting them into your tracker ahead of time) allows you the freedom to schedule in treats, knowing that you can tweak other meals in order to stay compliant. When it comes to dieting, consistency trumps everything, so a flexible approach is an excellent way to ensure adherence.
- You don’t track your food on weekends
You have a great routine from Monday to Friday, taking your meals to work, walking at lunchtime and going to bed early so you wake up ready to win another day. You stick to your daily calorie goal perfectly… but then it’s Friday and you want to reward yourself for a week done well. You have drinks with colleagues, end up grabbing a takeaway on the way home and falling asleep on the couch. The next morning, it’s cold pizza for breakfast, brunch with friends or a birthday party… you get the idea.
If you end up overeating on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, that’s almost half the week. Not only does it mean your average daily calories for the week might easily take you out of a deficit, it also means that your scales will show a weight spike from all the sodium and extra water you are holding on to.
Now that you’re aware of the mistakes you have been making, fixing them should be easy. If you still need help try these 20 tips from clients who successfully lost a lot of weight themselves:
If you are struggling to reach your weight loss or body composition goals, ATP Personal Training would love to help you. Click on the orange button below and get in touch with us using the form at the bottom of the page telling us your goals and frustrations, we’ll do the rest.