Nothing’s easy when it comes to weight loss. But dropping those last few pounds can be extra difficult. We prefer not to use the scales as an indicator of progress at SMART Training because we feel that there is so many other better measurement forms but we meet clients every day whose sole goal is weight loss. We deal with clients on a regular basis who may have lost weight but are not yet at their goal weight and have now plateaued!
Why is that? Well, as you lose weight, and especially if you’ve lost a significant amount, your metabolism slows down.
As you probably know, “metabolism” is shorthand for the energy—or calories—your body burns during the day. The more your metabolism slows, the harder it will be for you to keep shedding weight.
So why does your metabolism slow down? Dieting deprives your body of energy it’s accustomed to getting. Sensing that your calorie intake has dropped, your body may slip into a kind of energy conservation mode. That explains why those first few pounds fell off, but the last few have proved stickier. You can counteract the roadblocks your body and metabolism throw up between you and your target weight by changing these habits.
Your Only Exercise is Cardio
The time you devote to running or the cross trainer machine is time well spent. But if your exercise routine doesn’t include a resistance or strength-training component, you’ll eventually struggle to lose weight.
Think of your metabolism as a fire. Muscle stokes the fire and keeps your metabolism running at a high rate. We often meet clients in our consultations who have lost weight but who have also lost muscle in addition to fat. This can slows down the effect of cutting calories and leave you plateauing.
Start lifting weights or incorporating body-weight resistance training into your weekly workouts. (If you haven’t strength-trained in a while—or ever—we have a fantastic 30 Day Kick Start Programme that will introduce you to weights.) We suggest that you lift at least twice a week, to build muscle.
You Drink A lot of Liquid Cals
Smoothies are awesome! They are a great way to control portion sizes when you’re dieting and quick and easy to make. That said, they tend to slip through your digestive system without putting up much of a fight, which means your body doesn’t have to burn many calories to break them down and absorb them.
In contrast, the body has to expend a great deal of energy to digest and absorb fiber-rich foods. We often see clients with low fiber diets at SMART Training and we don’t think people really know how important fiber can be to weight loss. Fiber-rich foods are high in nutrients as well as well as filling you up for longer periods of time.
Whole fruits, dark leafy greens, and non-starchy vegetables are all foods that can help increase your post-meal calorie burn.
Your Not Eating Any Fats
Yes, dietary fat is calorie dense. But healthy fats—the kind in nuts, avocado, olive oil, and whole-fat Greek yogurt—can help shift your body away from fat-storage mode and into fat-shedding mode.
For almost 40 years, most popular diets focused on limiting fat, and people just got heavier and heavier. Clearly, something’s not right there. Adding even small portions of good fats can help reverse your body’s fat-clinging reflexes. We suggest a handful of nuts as a snack or cooking with olive oil to ensure that you nix this habit.
You’re Not Getting Enough in Your Workout!
We know that sometimes it is hard to build up the motivation to get to the gym but if you do all of the hard work to get yourself through those doors, you need to make sure that you are getting every little ounce out of your workout! We work very hard with our Personal Training and Group Training clients in our gym in Churchtown to create programmes that suit their goals, as every member is different in their abilities, strengths and weaknesses. Working with a good Personal Trainer can ensure that you are doing the right programme for your goals and are really pushing as hard as you can for each exercise!
If a Personal Trainer or Group Training programme is not something that interests you then we suggest High-intensity Interval Training, or HIIT. This involves short bursts of intense exercise—think hard running or sprinting, instead of jogging—followed by shorter periods of rest. There’s a lot of research now that shows individuals who do HIIT training can really boost calorie-burn after a workout. If the number on your scale won’t budge, it may be time to trade your leisurely three mile stroll for a more-intense aerobic workout. Aim for a 2:1 workout-to-rest ratio. So if you run hard for one minute, take a 30-second break.
You Don’t Count Your Calories
The whole concept of counting calories has taken a big hit in recent years and as we know now, not all calories are created equal.
That said, paying attention to your calorie intake and portion sizes is still important. Why? Because most people underestimate how much they eat and overestimate how much they burn through exercise. Especially when it comes to snacking, you may be eating a lot more than you realize—which in turn may be stalling your weight-loss progress.
Start paying closer attention to exactly how much you’re eating, particularly during those mid-afternoon breaks and after-dinner TV viewings. We advise our clients to use the MyFitnessPal app for a few weeks when they have plateaued. This will really allow them to completely track their nutrition and gives them a little more of an understanding of their macronutrients and micronutrients.
30-Day Kick Start Programmes
If you feel have a goal in mind and feel that you could use a bit of guidance or support of some of the best Personal Trainers in the counrty, we offer a 30 Day Kick Start programme in our Churchtown based gym. We offer both Personal Training and Group Training programmes. During the 30 days, you’ll learn what you need to know to continue on your own path following the 30 days, or you can always sign up for 1-on-1 Training or Semi Private Training or even Group Training at SMART Training to continue working with a personal trainer.