You’re doing the all the things right. Started your body transformation, let’s say 8 weeks ago. Things were going along smoothly, scale weight dropping and clothes feeling looser. So, all is well. You get excited and decide to drop the calories a bit lower and add another day of cardio, because why not?
Trucking along 3 weeks later – the scale hasn’t budged, and you are hungrier than all get out. So, what do you do – you drop the calories some more, add some intervals, and an extra day at the gym. A couple more weeks go by and your tired, hangry, moody, can’t sleep, aren’t enjoying exercise anymore. Sound familiar? Happens all the time to the over dieted and over-exercised individual.
I went through this more times than I like to share. More is never the answer to a Plateau or to do it just because – for the sake of suffering, otherwise it’s not working. The body is fighting you every step of the way, and every time you throw something at it, it fights back for survival. You know what it’s doing, right? It’s making it hard for you to lose the fat. Enough is enough it says.
You are losing it way to fast, starving me, and the body does not like it.
The 4 things that are making it impossible for you to lose fat, essentially your feeding the fat:
We and I say we because most folks think that a ton of cardio is the answer to losing the fat. Cardio is a subtle piece of the puzzle. Cardio in addition to undereating is one of the most abused protocols when it comes to losing weight – key word here is weight. In actuality, the focus should be on fat loss, not necessarily weight.
First, when we embark on a body transformation journey, the emphasis is on weight. Because, if we lose the weight, then all will be well – if I could just weigh what I weighed in high school. I’m not sure why this is always the goal – I mean, who wants to be a kid again?
The number on the scale is the holy grail of progress. So, we use and abuse cardio to try and move it. Right out the gate, we are doing an hour a day.
It worked for X amount of weeks, you were losing like crazy, and then it stopped. Tear. You look in the mirror, you’re smaller, saggy, and the bumps and lumps are still there. You think, to yourself, how can I lose more? Ding ding – more cardio should do the trick, except for it doesn’t.
Why? Because the overuse of cardio can rob you of your muscle, especially when paired with undereating. The excessive cardio robbed you of your muscle, which decreased your metabolism. Along with the muscle loss, the body regulates the metabolism in other ways to stop the weight loss, in an attempt to prevent our bodies from losing too much – it will hold on to the fat. The body has one goal – it want’s homeostasis, it does not care that you want to lose weight. Treat your body right and it will treat you right!
Work is stressful, things at home are stressful, the car broke down, and you’re not sleeping well. All of these things lead to stress. Stress levels may start small, but they seem to have a snowball effect. When we are stressed, it will make it harder to adhere to a plan. It’s probably much easier to grab something quick to eat or emotional eat.
The stress of any of the above things can lead to an increase of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone, and it raises at different times for many different reasons. However, the issue comes when it stays elevated for extended periods of time. Cortisol can affect the fat we store, especially in our midsection.
So, stress can cause weight gain or make it hard for you to lose. It’s important to find things that bring you peace and calmness.
3. We know that we have to be in a caloric deficit to lose weight.
Now, I must say that you can lose weight without counting calories simply by changing some of your eating habits – eating more nutritionally dense foods and cutting back on junk food, etc.…
However, somewhere in our beautiful universe, this thing called “Clean Eating” entered the world. You will hear folks say just eat clean as if clean eating automatically causes fat loss. It’d be nice if did – then all our problems would be solved, and no one would be overweight.
Nope, clean eating will not necessarily help you lose weight. Yes, it’s healthier to eat tons of veggies, fruit, lean protein, cut back on sugar, and moderate your carb intake.
Clean eating does not mean calorie free. Eating the so-called clean foods can make you gain weight just as much as eating junk food. Why? Because of a calorie surplus. Overeat or eat more than you burn; you will not lose.
To lose weight, we have to be a caloric deficit.
4. Lastly, we live in a world where we think more is always better.
More is better – newsflash, but it’s not! Instant gratification – must happen now. Everything is fast, and no one has time to wait. What do we want? We want it now!
When it comes to fitness, folks want it now, and more is better. Therefore, if I eat less, and exercise more (EL/EM – exercise less/exercise more), I will lose the weight faster. False! You will late the expense of your metabolism and your muscle – muscle loss!
EL/EM more is recipe for disaster. Sure, you’ll lose fast up front. Then things slow down, and you add more exercise and decrease the calories. Losing weight too quickly always results in weight rebound – fast weight loss is usually not sustainable weight loss. In the end, we end up weighing more than when started.
Adding more and more exercise, and eating less is not an effective method for body change.
I’m pretty sure folks want to keep the weight off for good, and there’s a sane, simple, and sustainable way to do it.
Better is Better!
To wrap things up –
- Cardio activity is a tool to use but not the main course. Use it sparingly, if you just love it, then fine do it – but, if body change i.e. fat loss is what you’re seeking, please be sure to include some type of resistance training.
- Make sure you are in a caloric deficit to lose fat. A modest one, somewhere between body weight x 10-13. It best to figure out how much you have been eating before beginning. Please, don’t start at the lower end of the range. Remember, that slow fat loss is a sustainable fat loss.
- EL/EM will not do you any favors, it will eventually cause more weight gain. Eat more to weigh less is key. You want to lose fat, not weight per se. EL/EM does not nurture your metabolism, it does the exact opposite by slowing it down and increasing hunger, thus holding on to the fat or increasing it. You’ll be forced to eat more because of the huge deficit you have created – which will make you gain fat. When in a deficit you want to be eating as many calories as possible while losing.
Lastly but not least – stress management, sleep, and recovery is so so important when you’re on a body change journey. If you’re stressed, and not sleeping well, and not taking adequate rest, it will be very hard to lose fat or maintain it.
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