Are your results still not what you hoped they would be? Read on to learn why…
Firstly, a huge HELLO and (partially huge) apology for the time gap between this and my last post!
Much of my time of late has been spent celebrating: it has been my gorgeous husband’s birthday, our second wedding anniversary, my lovely nephew’s birthday and some very long overdue weekend catch ups with dear friends and family who live far away from us.
All such wonderful experiences and fantastic times, hence why my apology is only partially huge 😀
I do consider myself pretty lucky and blessed to have such special people who bring such joy to my life and therefore try to practice gratitude on a daily basis, which keeps my mind in the present 😉
Which leads to the purpose of this post. Everywhere I go, including my beloved Jersey, where I was most of last week, I usually end up having a conversation with whomever I come across (I’ll chat to anyone who’ friendly!) When they learn I’m a personal trainer, the first thing they often ask me is what are they doing wrong. They eat healthy, they exercise regularly, so why the heck aren’t they losing weight?!
Aside from explaining to them why I don’t believe in using scales, nor do I weigh any of my personal trainer clients or boot campers, I’m afraid I don’t have the magic answer. Every human is an entirely different and unique being; which is why the reasons behind two people not achieving the results they want, will never be the same.
So here’s three of what I believe are the most common dieting/lifestyle mistakes to be aware of if you, like thousands of others, are feeling frustrated that your results don’t match the hard work you feel you are putting in.
Calories vs Nutrients
Possibly one of the biggest misconceptions of our time! If your focus is on calories in and calories burned, rather than the quality of nutrients your body receives, it is understandable why any fat-loss you experience will not be permanent.
When one creates a calorie deficit, the body adapts to this very quickly which explains why your results will soon enough end up plateauing. It is important to remember that something low in calories, such as for example a can of Diet Coke, does not mean it is nutritionally sound. Think about what else it contains!
For all the amazing processes and functions that your body performs 24 hours a day (think about just how many of these there are…) it requires high quality and nutritionally dense fuel sources that it can utilise. When these needs are met, your body will thrive!
By contrast, if your body receives a chemically-laden processed product that it doesn’t recognise; and this product does not get burned off, it will be stored as fat regardless of how many/how few calories it contains.
Even if it does get burned off, think about the affect it has on the body; the acidic residue it leaves behind and just how much work the body would have to do in order to get rid of it out of your system. So stop the calorie-counting and instead start focusing on quality nutrients. You’ll probably notice the difference immediately.
Hard work…or is it?
One intense workout a week is not going to make you fit, just as one indulgent meal a week is not going to make you gain fat. Remembering the cumulative effect of your choices is a huge step in identifying where there might be room for improvement.
How hard are you really working when you exercise? Many of my personal training clients feel they never work quite as hard when left to their own devices and I’m not there with them. One of my aims as a personal trainer is to enable my clients to work just as hard when I am not there, rather than having them feel dependent on me for an effective workout. So a little tool we use is something called the Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale.
The RPE scale is where during activity, you ask yourself how out of breath you feel on a scale of 1-10: 1 being restful and 10 being the absolute limit where you cannot continue. That way you can be honest with yourself about whether you need to up the ante – or perhaps even slow down!
Shifting your focus to achieving long-term health and permanent lifestyle change, rather than going on a diet or starting a generic <insert number of your choice> day/week-long program will, by contrast, only create more patterns of yoyo-ing behavior and therefore even more frustration. Remember, ‘hard work’ and depriving/punishing yourself are NOT the same thing!
Stressing about it all
Ah our old friend stress. Have you noticed how hard it is to get anything done when you’re feeling stressed? Being stressed has exactly the same effect on our attempts to lose unwanted fat.
Feeling frustrated and stressing out about not losing weight/not losing enough weight/not losing as much weight as you thought you would have done by now, uses up an incredible amount of energy – energy that could well have been invested in something much more useful!
The more stressed out you are, the more stress hormone cortisol will be released in your system. The body does not recognise the difference between feelings of stress from the lack of results or feelings of stress from impending danger (that we would have once experienced in the days of living in caves.) Stress is stress! It then releases this fight or flight hormone in order to help us reach safety, which affects how the body utilises it’s existing fat stores.
So it’s certainly in your best interest to learn how to chill!
You’ll find adopting a relaxed and calm approach to changing your lifestyle, instead of making your decision to lose weight ‘an emergency situation’ will eliminate the feelings of stress. Looking after yourself one day at a time, living in the present moment, practicing mindfulness/meditation and, above all, being kind to rather than harsh with yourself, is what will get you permanent results.
It won’t mean you end up slacking or not working as hard; if anything you’ll end up doing and therefore achieving more purely from not expending energy stressing about it. You will also more than likely start to notice positive improvements in many other aspects of your life, as many of my personal training clients have.
Remember, the you you see, is the you you’ll be. And I wish you nothing the best for each and every moment 🙂 thanks for reading and good luck! x