So, you feel like you have been really good with your food choices (well during the week anyway), and you have been going to the gym or exercising but the weight is not coming off... Or not coming off fast enough! You feel like you have been putting in the effort, but it is not working, so you want to give up. Perhaps it is because of 'The Whoosh', or perhaps it is because of misnomers you may be choosing to believe.
Firstly, never be in a hurry to lose weight as it will only lead to disappointment and frustration. These emotions lead to overeating. A good excuse to change the need for speed thought you may have when it comes to your weight loss.
Instead, get conscious and curious as to why the weight is not coming off. Remember the magic number to lose in a week is between 1 – 2 pounds. There are exceptions to this. For example, I have a client who was making great decisions toward her weight loss goal and she did not lose weight for over a week and a half. She had patience and the belief that what she was doing was right for her, and her body. After a week and a half my client experienced ‘The Whoosh’. ‘The Whoosh’, is a very technical term (just kidding), for when your fat cells release the water they have been retaining.
Fat cells retaining water is not always the reason you are not losing weight, but after looking at my clients food plans, this was the likely scenario. She lost just over 3 pounds in a week and continued to lose weight at 1 – 2 pounds a week following on from this.
The other reason that you may not be losing weight is because you are believing one or two misnomers below.
The below points are only for you if your goal is to lose weight i.e. you have weight to lose! If you are wanting to become an endurance athlete or a body builder this advice is not for you. Let's start off with a fact about weight loss to warm you up a bit.
As you lose weight, you do not need as much food to fuel your body.
True! Think of a Mini and a Landrover. A Mini is smaller and needs less fuel to move it. A Landrover is bigger and requires more fuel to move. As you start to lose weight, your body does not require the same amount of fuel to do the same tasks. Practically, this means when you are eating, you should experience your body feeling satisfied after less food. Eating mindfully and being curious will help you feel this. Be prepared to waste a little bit of food as you discover this, or pop it in the fridge and use it up as leftovers if you were born in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s. Listen to your body, it has all the wisdom!
If I am good all week, I can splurge on the weekends.
You will lose weight if you feed your body when it is hungry and stop when you are satisfied. If you have been good all week, and then decide to eat till you are full to the brim, with foods you know are not great in your body, you will be sabotaging any weight loss you have experienced in the week. Your body will do it's best to turn the food into energy, but because their is so much energy (food) your body does not require, it will store that energy as fat. This does not mean you can’t enjoy your weekends. It means you will need to come up with some strategies that work for you and your weight loss. Click here for strategies to help you manage your weekends.
If you exercise you should (or can) eat more.
This may be useful for an endurance athlete who does not have extra fat stores or needs certain foods for repair...Or perhaps the Body Builder who needs to increase muscle mass. This is not a useful thought for the average person who uses the gym or exercises at a mild to moderate rate. Listen to your body, is there a sensation that comes from your stomach to your head that tells you it needs food? If not, then you do not need to fuel your body. When your body does tell you it is hungry, fuel it with foods that feel good in your body.
Exercise is of course useful in weight loss, but because many people associate it with being able to eat more, it is sometimes not the most effective weight loss tool. Pull yourself up on it if you know you are using your gym or exercise routine as an excuse to eat more.
Side note: I am a big advocate for exercise. As a previous Head of Physical Education, I have been a huge proponent of exercise to create a healthy lifestyle. I believe exercise is beneficial for accomplishment, goal setting, managing emotions, sleep, preventing a whole host of medical conditions, social interaction, teamwork, stress release, natural pleasure (release of feel good chemicals in your body), connection, discipline, pushing through discomfort, learning about competition … the list goes on. It is good for weight loss, however, I do not believe, for most people, it is not the top tool for losing weight. You can of course, decide to prove me wrong!
So, to sum up, get conscious and start to question some of the phrases that you want to be true, like ‘I need to (or can) eat more now I go to the gym’. Start to become curious as to what is working in your weight loss plan and what is not. Create some new and deliberate thoughts around your eating. Be willing to experience hunger and experiment mindfully with your portion sizes. Build trust with yourself by telling yourself the truth of why you do or don't do things.
Have a wonderful day.