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4 Reasons why You are Unable to Lose Weight

Losing weight requires a lot of patience and commitment towards lifestyle changes that can be very challenging, especially if these behaviours directly oppose your current lifestyle. Beginning an exercise regime is one of the most common approach taken to achieve weight loss. However, exercising alone is not enough to sufficiently lose weight, and keep that weight off. The best method for weight loss requires a combination of exercise and diet behaviour changes.

Below we describe 4 reasons why you may not be losing weight although you are exercising:

1. You are consuming too many calories

To accurately determine the energy you’ve input into your body and the energy you’ve used in a day, you’ll need to calculate them

• Step One: Establish A Baseline

▫ To estimate the amount of calories (energy) required for our bodies to simply function, we use the Mifflin-St Jeor Equation depicted below:

◦ Caloric Intake for Sedentary Women = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) – 161

◦ Calorie Intake for Sedentary Men = (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) + 5

→ This value represents the number of calories you should aim for each day to maintain your weight

• Step Two: Calculate the Calories Consumed in Your Meals

▫ Figure out how many calories you consume each meal using food labels (beware of the serving sizes), a food scale, or food tables – this step can be complex and time consuming, so use your judgement and estimate if you need to

→ Aim to consume LESS calories than your baseline value calculated in step one

• Step Three : Calculate the Calories Used During Exercise

▫ There are tons of apps and websites that can help you calculate/ estimate the amount of calories burned during your workout

• Step Four: Put It All Together

▫ Weight Loss = Calorie Input < Calorie Output

▫ Subtract the calories burned during exercise from the calories consumed during your meals – if this value is 500 calories lower than the recommended caloric intake calculated in step one, you’re well on your way to losing 1 lbs each week

→1 lbs of fat = 3500 calories, so 500 calorie deficit per day will theoretically help you to lose 1 lbs of fat per week

2. You’re consuming more calories because you’re exercising

Exercising should contribute to the deficit of 500 calories, but many feel the need to “reward themselves” for exercising and tend to overindulge in the process

• If you’re hungry after exercise, aim for foods that are high satiety (feeling of fullness) and low in calories such as Greek yogurt, high fibre vegetables, eggs, and fish

3. You’re not consuming enough foods from the right food groups

You don’t need to count calories to achieve your weight loss goals; however, you do need to reach to foods that are nutrient dense rather than calorie dense

• If you’re constantly hungry, you aren’t consuming the right foods that will keep you full for longer periods of time

• Aim for foods that have high protein, high fibre, high water content and low in calories

• Avoid processed foods, trans fats, foods high in sugary, salt, and fat

4. Your workout regime is inefficient

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, sedentary individuals who are looking to lose weight should incorporate these concepts into their exercise regime:

• Cardiovascular Training: 30+ minutes at moderate intensities, 5-7 times per week

• Resistance Training: all major muscle groups, 2-3 sets at ~12 reps, 2-3 days per week

With cardiovascular training (i.e. swimming, running) we are pushing for fat loss, and with resistance training (i.e. bicep curls with weights, less press machine) we are pushing to build muscle in place of fat

• Be sure to incorporate more than just “running” in your exercise regime and try a variety of different exercises to find what works for you!

Additionally, the following are some tips to encourage a successful weight loss journey:

1. Avoid sugar, salt, and fat – season your food for flavour instead

2. Limit liquid calories – be mindful of calorie dense drinks such as hot chocolate and alcohol

3. Get your calories from the grocery store – shop in the outskirts of the store, avoid the shelves

4. Eat at the dinner table – take your time eating and be mindful of how much food you’re consuming

5. Use a smaller plate size – helps limit how much food you can pile on

6. Focus on feeling satisfied instead of full – you should feel like you aren’t hungry anymore, you shouldn’t feel like you’re going to burst

7. Avoid crash dieting/ diet fads – there’s no quick fix to weight loss; eat nutrient dense and low calorie foods and you’ll be well on your way to losing weight

8. Take progress photos each week – the scale is not always an accurate representation of your weight loss journey; taking photos each week will allow you to compare how your body changes from week to week

9. Be patient, stay positive, and reach out for support – weight loss isn’t easy, so be kind to yourself and look for positive support in family, friends, and may even a support group

Woman measuring perfect shape of beautiful hips

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