So we’re well into the New Year now, and after December’s festivities you’re back into the swing of things with your training and healthy eating.
You’ve done the dreaded weigh in and calculated your BMR (basal metabolic rate – the amount of calories your body needs to function at rest). From this you’ve worked out what calories you need to be in a deficit and therefore to lose weight.
But a few weeks back into training and the scales aren’t shifting. Something isn’t adding up, and it’s very unlikely to be down to metabolism or thyroid issues (this actually is only true for a minority of cases).
The science behind weight loss is actually a pretty straightforward one: consume fewer calories than what you expend and you’ll lose weight.
It really is that simple.
So why aren’t you losing weight?
The answer for most (and probably something you don’t want to hear) is that unintentionally you’re probably consuming more calories than you think you are.
Sounds silly but you’d be very surprised.
According to a recent study us Brits actually under report on how many calories we eat per day.
A cheeky swig of orange juice here, a few olives there…
Even for those who track their intake, actual calories consumed are often higher than reported. It’s easy to forget to include the milk in your tea, that very small slither of cake, or eating 20 almonds when you thought you ate 10.
All of these little extras add up over the course of the week and before you know it, you’re in a surplus eating more than your maintenance calories. And therefore your weight is staying the same or is creeping up.
Eating out can make things even more difficult too, when you have to start guesstimating what’s on the plate – chances are you haven’t accounted for what the dish is cooked in (butter, oil?) or the dressings and sauces.
Don’t believe us?
It’s something we see ALL the time. When people join our 30 day trial we ask them to keep a food diary (as accurate as possible) so we can see exactly what’s going on with their diet. Nutrition is a huge part of what we do and everyone who starts their journey with us gets nutritional coaching but we need to know your starting point.
Sometimes it’s a case of people not eating enough but more often than not, people think they’re eating healthy (which they are) but they’re not aware of the calories they’re consuming.
And there lies the problem.
If you are trying to lose fat, give these 3 tips a try and you’ll be more likely to see results:
1. Start taking accurate measurements of what you’re eating
Tracking apps like MyFitness Pal are a great way to get a true measure of how much you’re eating.
And in order to make this accurate you’ll need to be precise with your entries, so weighing out portions is key. You can then guarantee that you’re getting, say 100g rice vs. a rough guess, which could be quite a way off. This doesn’t mean that you’ll need to weigh everything in the long term.
Once you’ve been measuring for a while, you’ll get a feel for what portion sizes look like. And if you know the tbsp. / tsp. equivalent you can make longer term portioning controls without having to weigh everything out.
2. Don’t get too vague with MyFitness Pal
MyFitness Pal will be accurate for you providing it’s exactly what you’ve eaten.
It can get confusing when you see ‘Homemade beef lasagne, 1 serving’ on there for example. You had beef lasagne; you had one portion so that must be right for you? Unfortunately, not.
The app gives autonomy to all users to create recipes – so there’s a great amount of meals on there that won’t be relevant to you. If you want to track on the app you’ll need to list out the individual ingredients otherwise someone else’s portion of lasagne could be quite different to the calorie content in yours.
3. Be mindful when eating out
It does become much more difficult to track your intake when you’re eating out. You don’t know what goes on in the cooking process so even if you think you can eye ball what’s on your plate, in reality there are far more ingredients than you accounted for.
If you’re making healthier choices stick to options that are steamed or grilled over fried, don’t be afraid to ask for the dressing on the side and try and go for dishes where you can see all of the ingredients i.e. steak and veg over a risotto (as you’ve got more chance of knowing what’s in the dish).
This article wasn’t intended to scare you into eating only with scales and tuppaware, but just to make you aware of the potential areas where you might be over eating.
If you’re struggling to lose weight, start building an accurate picture of what you’re eating to educate yourself on calories and portion sizes. Even if you download Myfitness pal and track a normal day of food for yourself, see if you are on track with your calories or if you’re over eating. You’ll be surprised!
This will also give you the tools to be more nutritionally aware and in a position to make better food choices.
We help our members with a nutritional programme that works for them, if you’re struggling, give us a shout at our gym or try out our personal training and we’ll help you work out a plan that suits you.