If you believe you are doing everything right yet aren’t seeing results or if you find yourself making statements such as “I eat so clean but I am not losing weight” or “I trained 7 times this week and I made no progress” or “I only had one bad meal this week and the scale didn’t move”, then this post is for you.
Today we will discuss why you aren’t seeing the results you seek as well as the potential factors that could be inhibiting your progress that you may not be aware of.
I am about to hit you with a hard truth, if you aren’t losing body fat, the simple matter is, you aren’t in a calorie deficit. You might think you are, but I can assure you the reason that you’re struggling, whether you know it or not is that you are ingesting too many calories and expending too little of them.
Today we will discuss the 3 factors that influence positive (and negative) adaptions in body composition; diet, training and recovery.
Think of this category as the king, the boss that reigns over body composition. Diet is the king pin and unfortunately this is the biggest area that people get wrong. There are a whole host of issues that come into play here, but the most obvious cause being that you aren’t actually in a deficit.
Here are the potential caloric factors that are hindering your progress:
- Not tracking and/or tracking incorrectly. You cannot accurately alter or examine data that isn’t there; by not tracking your food, you have no idea whether or not you are overeating. Not only is tracking as a whole essential to efficient progress, but tracking correctly! Reading labels incorrectly, selecting the wrong brand, weight or type of food and can also mean that you are surpassing daily caloric requirements.
- Eye balling portions and measuring volume instead of weighing food. Here is another hard truth for you all, there can be a 200 calorie difference between a weighed tablespoon and eye measure tablespoon of Nutella or peanut butter. Two pieces of toast with eye balled tablespoons a day could mean a surplus of 400 calories, which may be enough to take you out of your deficit for the day. Now apply this throughout your day; handfuls of nuts or salad dressings etc., this is why it is so important to weigh your food for efficient progress.
- Point 2 ties right in to point 3, underestimating portion sizes. When you are tracking, it is important that you track food correctly for the reasons mentioned above. Let’s say that hypothetically you went out to eat at your favourite steakhouse. You ordered a steak and you eye balled it to be around 150g, but in truth what you consumed was a 300g steak -the difference here could be your daily deficit.
- Dining out. Restaurants are notorious for cooking in high-calorie oils which we don’t often track, serving extremely large portion sizes, high-calorie condiments and tempting us to eat foods we normally wouldn’t. If you choose to eat out, opt to eat as simple as possible. Simple foods mean less calories, I always opt for grilled protein with steamed veggies and salad. Make sure you track the oil that the protein will be cooked in.
- Wild weekends and binge eating. That one meal you thought was harm free could have cost you your progress. If your weekly deficit is 3500 and on a Saturday night you demolish a pizza and a tub of ice cream that’s your deficit gone. Be mindful. Consistency is key, if you are serious about fat loss, I highly suggest tracking treat meals and using an IFFYM approach.
- “Clean”/ health foods are not free foods. Unfortunately, although nutritionally dense, natures foods have the ability to be calorie dense as well. As an example, a small handful of macadamias is more than 200 calories, how often have you grabbed a big handful of nuts and not given it a second thought? That handful that you thought of as a “little” snack may have contained more calories than a meal or two. This is why tracking and weighing is so valuable and important; it creates consciousness.
- Picking and mindless eating. Just because you forgot about the handful of nuts above or the half a bag of chips you ate doesn’t mean your body did. Mindlessly picking at food throughout the day can negate your deficit.
- Drinking your calories. I see this with clients all the time; that bottle of coke or iced coffee is costing you your progress. Liquid calories count.
There are three factors in regard to training that determine whether or not you will see progress:
- How hard you are training
- Your consistency with sessions
- And, your NEAT levels.
Unfortunately, we tend to greatly overestimate our calorie expenditure.
If don’t bring intensity to your sessions, if you aren't seeing progress with your strength, fitness, and endurance or you train at a snail’s pace, then you aren’t going to be burning calories or be in a position to change your body composition.
Inconsistency with sessions will also hinder progress. if you are inconsistent with your workouts how do you expect to see results?
Finally, non exercise thermogenesis, or NEAT. NEAT burns the greatest amount of calories throughout the day, not your gym sessions. If your goal is to burn more calories and create a bigger deficit, then you need to be active throughout your day. Set step or movement targets to ensure your working towards your goals.
Recovery and Hormones
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep stressing the point, stress and sleep do not get enough limelight on their impact on biotransformation. High levels of stress and poor sleep hygiene directly effect fat loss. Both of these make you fatigued, increase hunger hormones, reduce satiety levels, as well as creating insulin and estrogen surges. What this leads to essentially, is no desire to train or move and a huge desire to eat.
If your goal is to reduce body fat and you aren’t seeing progress, the king pin will always be a calorie deficit, and you can obtain this by watching calories alone or combining training and calorie consumption. Ensure you’re starting with the right macros for your goal so that you can see changes to your physique. In addition, focus on movement, stress reduction and prioritise sleep.
If you are confused about macros and where to start contact me for help, I have helped thousands of clients achieve their goal bodies.