How To Lose Weight When You’re Not Losing Weight

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Losing weight can seem like a losing battle, at times. You think you eat right, you exercise regularly, you ban chocolates and ice cream from your fridge, and you never take a cheat day. But every time you step on the dreaded scale to visualize your progress, the numbers don’t seem to budge. What gives?

Sifting through all the research and weight-loss jargon out there can take forever, and if you’re started on your journey – as I was in October 2016 – just the prospective of trying to figure out how to shed pounds can seem daunting.

I have been fit and active for as long as I can remember, but ask me to step on a scale, and the numbers would have defeated me. I was a constant at the gym, I cut out all my guilty pleasures and….well, I was a vegan for heaven sake! Little did I know that while I was trying my best, I was also indulging in behaviors and decisions that were derailing my weight loss!

Once I – or rather my trainer and nutritionist – had figured out what I was doing wrong, it took just a couple of months for me so see my body changing. The numbers on the scale dropped, I felt better and even had to take some of my clothes in!

My weight loss hasn’t been an overnight transformation. I started in October 2016, and still find myself on it 8 months later. So don’t expect to see those “before and after” images any time soon.

If you’re in the same place – living a seemingly healthy lifestyle to little or no results – then this video is for you. My team and I shot it in Tobago last year, when we spent a week at the stunning Magdelena Grand Beach Resort, filming our first ever special interest segment, Forward Forty Moves, on how to live your healthiest life.

In it, I talk about some of the tips I’ve learnt on how to maximise your weight loss, and how you might be (unknowingly) secretly sabotaging it!

Click play to learn more

 SECRET #1: BURN MORE CALORIES

This one isn’t so much a secret as it is a no-brainer. If you’re controlling most of your variables and still not losing weight, size, or toning up, then you’re probably not shedding enough calories. Weight loss, for all its complexity, boils down to a simple equation:

Calories Consumed < Calories Burnt

That’s it. It might not be as simple as it looks (far from it, to be honest), but all you’re trying to do is burn more than you consume. There are two things to consider if you find yourself in this situation – you’re either eating too much or not burning enough through exercise to tip the balance.

If you’ve only been training three days in a week, try amping it up for five. Rotate your workouts so that you’re constantly engaged. If you can’t make it to the gym, try these home workouts to break out into a sweat just meters from your couch. If you’re into group sports, join a team, bootcamp, or running group. If you’re adventurous, incorporate hikes and other activities into your work; you’ll have fun, and burn calories at the same time!

If you issue is your diet, then you’re in luck. Scroll down to Secret #4 to learn all about how eating better, not less, is the way to go.

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SECRET #2: WORK OUT SMARTER

We all have off days where going to the gym seems like the last thing we want to do. Most times, we haul ourselves begrudgingly, and then go through the motions without a thought of what we’re doing. Training smart is worlds apart from “training.”

If you’re new to working out, remember this adage – Muscle tissue burns more calories — even when you’re at rest — than body fat. What that means it that building more muscle mass means that you burn more calories, which translates to quicker, more sustained weight loss.

So how do you go about building muscle? Simple, you weight train. If you’ve been focusing mostly on cardio, try cutting back a bit and allocating some time incorporating a few rounds of weight training into your workout. Building muscle doesn’t mean you’ll get bulky. More often than not, you’ll actually slim down visually, as you tighten lax muscles and add definition to your limbs and core. The numbers on the scale might not go down as quickly, but you’ll feel the difference in the mirror and in your closet.

Here are three easy beginners weight training plans you can follow. When you begin, start with your bodyweight first, and make sure you understand each motion. Remember to always prioritize form over weight. Lift slow, and lift intentionally.

The concept of working out “smart” also extends to cardio. Instead of running at a steady pace for an hour on a treadmill (or elliptical, bike, etc), try HIIT training for 20 minutes instead, to better results. High Intensity Interval Training is great for people who hate cardio, are looking to lose weight quickly, or have only a limited time to work out each day. It requires you to alternate between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. It burns more calories during and after your training period, sheds fat (not muscle), and builds your stamina. Here’s a quick 20 minute HIIT treadmill workout you can try this week, or a bodyweight one you can do anywhere.

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 SECRET #3: CHANGE UP YOUR ROUTINE

Your body is essentially a group of muscles. The more you train it, the more accustomed it gets to the workouts, and so, the less effort you expend doing them. The key to conditioning your body is variety. Stop being in a workout rut and switch up your routine!

If you haven’t already, start adding some weight or resistance training to your workouts. Once you get used to that, try amping up your repetitions or increasing the weight.

If you’ve been running on the treadmill consistently for a while, and seemed to have hit a weight loss plateau, try other forms of cardio like the elliptical, the bike, or the skipping rope. If you’ve been training solo, try joining a class instead. Zumba, spin, boxing, and bootcamp are all great ways to change up your routine once in a while.

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 SECRET #4: EAT BETTER, NOT LESS

Losing weight, my nutritionist keeps telling me, isn’t about eating less, it’s about eating betterYou can work out ad nauseum, but if you’re not eating better, then it’s gonna take you a while to see results.

Don’t think that eating better means salads and boiled chicken. Nope! Eating better is all about fueling your body with the nutrition it craves and deserves. If you’re spending so much energy in the gym, it only makes sense to have your diet tailored around supplementing your efforts.

Instead of three big meals, eat smaller portions five to six times a day. What this does is keep your body constantly nourished, your metabolism working, and your hunger curbed. Eat your carbs earlier in your day or around your workouts, drink plenty of water, and remember to take your vitamins. Up your intake of protein if you find yourself hungry, and consider adding in a fibre supplement like Metamucil or fibre-rich substances to your meals.

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