It could be the simplest thing you may have dismissed as significant, holding you back from success
There could be several reasons why you aren’t losing weight — but most of them are in your control. I’m guessing that what you are currently doing isn’t working in your favour. The great news is that you can do plenty of things to turn this one around. The simple points below help uncover something you might have missed that could use your full attention. It does take a bit of time and experimentation, but it’s worth the long-term effort.
Five sneaky things getting in the way of your fat loss goals
One: Doing endless and low impact cardio for long periods
If you are keen to lose some stubborn body fat stores, then your best form of cardio is HIIT. It’s short, sharp and intense enough to break through that fat loss plateau. This research clearly states that steady-state exercises such as walking and jogging at a moderate pace are negligible for weight loss purposes. It’s not to say that walking isn’t good — but it’s just not adequate if your primary aim is to lose body fat. Walking is a great low impact activity. This is one form of incidental exercise to burn calories. Any kind of activity is better than nothing at all. Research states time and time again that steady-state cardio is ineffective for fat loss and can be detrimental to your goals. Your best bet is to utilise the efficiency of sprint training, which is only required for 20–30 minutes to burn body fat stores and keep your metabolism burning for hours after a workout. Save the steady-state for incidental exercise bouts during the day.
Two: You are swaying at doing more cardio for weight loss than lifting weights
When your goal is to lose weight, you need to strength train, opting for heavy and light training. This will maintain your muscle mass during periods of dieting. The trick is not to go too far restricting your nutrition (unless you have an allergy) Focus on multi-joint movements such as squats, lunges, deadlifts, bench pressing and pull-ups. These exercises do require a lot more energy and skill than single-joint movements. It takes a bit of time to get your form right and perform enough repetitions to make a difference to your body shape. But let me tell you, the effort it takes and the time necessary is worth it. When you perform isolated exercises like biceps curls or triceps extensions, you aren’t using many muscle groups to create a fat-burning environment. They are helpful to build size and create lovely aesthetic’s — but you should perform them at the end of your workout. Always count your tempo correctly because muscle needs to be under tension to become damaged and grow (this is a good thing by the way). A higher volume (which means more sets and reps) is excellent for fat burning and muscle-building. It would be best if you aimed for a training program in which you can do more repetitions with lighter weight (higher volume) and fewer repetitions with heavier weights (less volume) so you can work different muscle fibres. The key is constantly changing it to gain the most effective body composition results.
Three: You may have a gut issue that needs attention
Gut issues can be hard to pinpoint because stress could be a contributing factor, along with particular foods that make you feel uncomfortable. Most people are unaware of how vital gut health is to weight loss and maintenance over time. Getting to the root cause of the issue is essential, although it’s never easy (coming from a person that’s suffered from gut issues most of my life). You could be suffering from food allergies, intolerances, or have more bad bacteria in your gut than the good guys. My most successful pathway towards better gut health has been simple — although the effort needed is continuous. Here are some of my essential tips:
- Always eat lots of green veggies during every meal
- If you can’t eat enough greens, have them in a healthy berry smoothie
- Eat a variety of veggies so your good guys can eat the things that help them flourish
- Try to eat probiotic yogurt and some sauerkraut in your meals (yes, I know it smells like farts- but it’s an excellent gut food)
If you are super keen, why not do a gut cleanse with the help of your practitioner. That will give your gut a re-boot and clean sweep. You will need to do these regularly because the build-up can accumulate again after you begin to eat normally.
Four: You lead a highly stressful lifestyle
We can’t get away from stress — whether young or old. These days, more kids are becoming stressed due to higher expectations within the school and the pressure of parents to work longer and more intense hours. We’ve come a long way due to covid & working from home. There is still a lack of balance between working too much and having a mental break away from endless stressful factors. You must pay attention to the amount of stress in your life right now, as it can contribute to your poor eating habits and perhaps lack of restful sleep. Persistent stress leads to excess cortisol secretion, the primary culprit for increasing blood sugar — causing insulin spikes. This is to cater to the energy needed to get through the situation. Chronic stress produces inflammation, which leaves you susceptible to all sorts of colds and flu. Basically, you become a bug magnet. Sometimes we don’t have time to meditate on a mountain top, and bringing income home doesn’t help the matter. Therefore, I think it’s essential to be more realistic, use pockets of time, and do what’s feasible in our lifestyle. Here is what works for me:
- Take walks regularly, even if it’s for 10 minutes. Breaking away from stress helps to gain more clarity of mind
- Getting a regular massage to unwind and undo the constant tension of computer work.
- Spending time just sitting down for 30 minutes and having a coffee. Sitting down and doing nothing has its own mental and spiritual benefits.
- Burning essential oils will put you in a great mood. Try it out and see for yourself.
Five: You aren’t eating the right foods at the right time
Perhaps you are like me and have been fed the notion that we have to eat all the time, or lord forbid, we increase our fat stores and lose muscle. What utter rubbish! We don’t need to eat every 2 hours as a regular office or WFH employees (or self-employed). We need to take hold of our appetite and eat only when hungry, whilst eating the right kinds of foods. That’s a multitude of vegetables first off, then your fats, proteins and carbs. The biggest thing on your plate should always be the vegetable portion. Fill up on those first, then head for the rest of the elements on your plate. This is one of the best ways I have controlled my appetite and made vegetables the main priority in my diet. Most people aren’t putting importance on the high amount of fibre we need every day — not only to go to the toilet regularly but also about building better gut health too? Our gut is one of the main contributors to good health and getting lean. So, look after it well by feeding it the good stuff it needs to serve your own goals.
Key take away
Once you begin to prioritise the health and well-being of your gut, eliminating stress levels and doing the right kind of exercise — your weight loss goals will start to become a reality. Sometimes it’s not just one thing, but an accumulation of different things that add up and put our bodies under stress. Unfortunately, this isn’t the best environment for good health or weight loss. No strategy is perfect, but one that fits in with our inherent natural lifestyle is sure to provide us better health and a lean physique — not just now but for life.
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