You watch what you eat, you say no to your favourite sweet treats and you’ve been sweating it out at the gym. You think you’ve been doing all of the right things and yet you’re not dropping kilos. Frustration is at an all time high and you’re ready to throw your gym towel in. Before you give up, here are 5 things you could be doing to sabotage your weight loss attempts.
You are over-complicating it.
Ladies, I’ll let you in on a secret about weight loss”¦ ready for it?”¦. Losing weight does not have to be complicated. Before you curse my name and say, “well you’ve obviously never tried”, hear me out! Weight loss and dieting is surrounded by myths and gimmicks. In fact, it’s a multi-million dollar industry. There are literally hundreds of weight loss diets available including (but not limited to) The South Beach Diet, the No Sugar Diet, the Paleo Diet, the Intermittent Fasting Diet and last but not least, the Cotton Ball Diet (where you eat cotton balls before meals so that you fill your stomach so you’re not hungry and don’t eat too much.) Crazy huh?! It’s no wonder you (as a consumer) are confused and overwhelmed. My best advice? Go back to basics. There are no magical foods that melt away excess body fat. To reduce body fat and lose weight, you need to incorporate a wide variety of foods, eat plenty of plants, include good quality protein and carbohydrates and healthy fats, and of course cut the processed/packaged crap. It really is that simple!
You are under eating.
People who struggle to lose weight often tell the same story. They decrease their calories dramatically and increase their exercise, only to be frustrated by a scale result that doesn’t change, or even more disappointing, shows weight gain. How is this possible? When you restrict calories, your metabolism slows down. You need calories (or fuel) to exercise, eat, think, breathe, sleep, pump blood the list is goes on. If your body isn’t getting enough calories, it will go into starvation mode and store fat because it doesn’t know when the next meal will be. You may also feel more irritable or lethargic due to lack of fuel. So it’s a double whammy: you feel unhappy and hungry, AND you’re not losing weight. Ain’t no body got time for that! Instead of starving yourself, aim to eat smaller meals and snacks every 3 hours and balance your meals with adequate fibre, protein and good fats; all of which make you feel fuller for longer!
You need to de-stress and get more rest.
Always aim for a good night sleep. As the busy mums you are, this can be extremely difficult. My advice would be to use your time as best you can. If you have a moment in the day to rest, use it. Or if you’re a busy working mum and that is out of the question, try your best to get to bed early. Putting yourself first will pay off in the end and once you get into the swing of a healthy lifestyle you’ll find you have more energy to get everything done. Rest is key for weight loss. Why, you ask? Lack of sleep can cause you to eat more. Tiredness drives Leptin (the hormone that regulates fullness) levels down, and causes Ghrelin (the hormone that stimulates your appetite) levels to rise. This means not only is your appetite over-stimulated, but you also don’t feel as satisfied after you eat.
You need to learn to love food.
If you struggle to have a healthy relationship with food, then this should be your number one focus if you’re serious about losing weight. Try not to think of any foods as “off limits”. Instead focus on reducing portion sizes and only eat certain foods on special occasions when you really feel like them. If you allow yourself to eat these “bad foods” from time to time, you may find that you don’t crave them as much. Start to think of food as something we should be grateful for, rather than something we should be guilty of. We are so lucky in Australia to have access to so much variety and an abundance of fresh produce to choose from.
You are relying on the scales to track your progress.
Unfortunately the good old bathroom scales have limitations when it comes to tracking weight loss and therefore should be used with caution. Scales will only give you a numerical reflection of your relationship with gravity and can fluctuate depending on hormones, time of the month, diet, stress etc due to fluid levels in the body. Start using other ways to track improvement like having a pair of reference pants and a reference top you can put on every month or start taking waist circumference measurements. Also don’t sell yourself short by ignoring the other symptoms that come from eating better and exercising more e.g. increased mental clarity, better mood, improved sleep and being kinder to yourself. All of these aspects put together help us track progress and ensure you are achieving your goals. Each are important. Each have a purpose, and BALANCE is key!