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Top 3 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight

Apr 15, 2015

Top 3 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight
This is going to be one of those tough-love kind of posts, but let me tell you a story first. I’ll take you back a ways and tell you a story about a guy in his freshman year of college.
He was originally from upstate New York (not to be confused with Westchester County upstate, but like actually above Albany upstate) and basically had been athletic most of his life and was always involved with one sport or another and was lean, like really lean. He graduated high school right around 160 pounds and only about 10 % body fat from participating in his high school crew team which was super competitive (we had this crazy former Soviet Olympian as the head coach, he was nuts!).
Then during the course of 2 semesters at college he put on some weight…ok it was a lot of weight. By the beginning of summer it was right around 210! Now some of this was muscle because he started lifting weights seriously for the first time but it wasn’t 50 pounds of muscle that’s for sure! Let’s call it 10 give or take. (I wish I had taken a photo of myself so I could compare it to now, would have been a great testimonial down the road.)
So why didn’t I lose weight?....
The first and most obvious thing was the food I was eating, my nutrition was absolute crap. We had pizza, wings, Chinese, or Mexican food for takeout three nights a week. It was freshman year at college (I’m not even going into what we drank that had empty calories) and we discovered the all you can eat dining hall, where they made some really good cookies. Like really good, the kind that would give your grandmother a run for her money. We used to play this game were we would try to see who could steal the most cookies and get past the attendants at the front door. Those were the days!
So what are you really eating on a regular basis? You need to start tracking what foods you are consuming and have an appropriate plan set up for it. Once you get good at it feel free to “guesstimate” the calories and macronutrients. The funny thing is that you will be way closer than you think!
The second reason I wasn’t losing weight was the kind of workouts I was doing. The guys who I would go to the gym with wanted to put on muscle. Put on muscle you say? I’ve got no problem with that! But what I should have realized at 18 is that you can’t keep that up over the course of a year. Well technically you can, but at the cost of putting on body fat.
This why good trainers will change a program every 4 to 6 weeks to constantly challenge themselves. Some people see better results when they change it every 4 weeks like myself and some people love their results in 6 or even 8 week programs. What you should be doing is an evaluation or self-evaluation about every month or so and see how far you have come. This way for the next program cycle you can plot and plan how you are going to make your next program even better!
The third and final reason I wasn’t losing weight was because I wasn’t taking enough time to sleep and rest, this in turn increased my cortisol levels. [1] Cortisol functions to increase blood sugar through gluconeogenesis, to suppress the immune system, and to aid in the metabolism of fat, protein, and carbohydrate.
So when your body is trying to metabolize fat, protein, and carbohydrates, but you are eating too much food and doing the wrong kinds of workouts, it is a recipe for disaster. Cortisol may have served our ancient ancestors several thousand years ago when one day they happen to be tired and had to outrun... lets say a bear! Running from any animal would burn a few extra calories but most of us just drink more coffee instead of using that blood sugar. So truth be told those late nights out partying with friends or staying up trying to cram before a test aren’t going to help with weight loss.
So why aren’t you losing weight? Well there are several reasons, but the top three are, if you aren’t sleeping enough, eating too many calories, or you’ve been doing the same workouts over and over again and you’ve plateaued. Start paying attention to the big stuff and everything should fall into place. If you need help figuring out what needs to change in your lifestyle to help you lose weight feel free to reach out.
[1] Scott E (2011-09-22). "Cortisol and Stress: How to Stay Healthy". Retrieved 2011-11-29


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