3 Real Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

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You’re careful about what you eat, you go to the gym four days a week — and still, the numbers on the scale don’t budge. What’s tripping you up? According to Leslie Bonci, she sees the same three traps over and over. Look at these common scenarios — and see if any of them fit you:

Trap 1: The “I’ve Blown It” mindset

What It Looks Like: The “I’ve Blown It” Mindset goes something like this: You tell yourself you have to “be good” and eat perfectly. Bran flakes for breakfast, grilled chicken salad for lunch, salmon for dinner, no carbs, no desserts. But every once in awhile, you fall off the wagon with a forbidden food. You have a big piece of cake at a party. And then you figure that since your whole day of eating is wrecked, you might as well go out for the triple burrito combo at the Mexican restaurant, with the guacamole and margarita…and dessert after that…

Whoa, whoa, whoa! “It’s rarely the initial response that’s the problem,” Bonci says. “So you went to a party  and had the cookies or the cake. Fine! But people set up such rigid guidelines for themselves, then they feel like once they deviate, they’ve blown it, and therefore they might as well keep eating until they go to bed.”

Try This Instead: After you eat the treat, try saying this to yourself: “Well, I feel better because I ate that food. Maybe it was more caloric than I wanted, but it’s not the end of the world.” Later on, skip the starch with dinner, double up on your veggies and you’ll be fine. “With that perspective, people will be far more successful continuing on the path to weight loss,” Bonci says.

Trap 2: I eat well on the weekdays, but the weekends are a challenge.

What It Looks Like: Your weekdays are so tightly scheduled, you have to eat healthy. You have seven minutes to gobble down your oatmeal in the morning, you eat lunch at your desk and you have a healthy dinner when you finally get home. But you’re so ready to unwind by Friday, you kick off the weekend with happy hour. Then the Belgian waffle at Saturday brunch, and it goes downhill from there.

Try This Instead: Aim to eat the same amount of calories every day, rather than being “good” during the week and “bad” on the weekend. If your normal Saturday routine includes eggs Benedict and a tub of buttered movie popcorn, try eating your healthy weekday breakfast on Saturday, so your day isn’t 100 percent indulgent. And allow yourself a little flexibility during the week, too. If you have a treat on, say, Wednesday, then you won’t feel so deprived when the weekend comes and feel like you deserve to overeat. “Find a middle ground,” Bonci says. “Get out of this good-and-bad mindset and even out the calories from weekday to weekend rather than riding a rollercoaster.”

Trap 3: I had a hard workout today, so I get a free pass on my eating.

What It Looks Like: You put in 30 minutes on the treadmill, part running, part walking, and the sweat is pouring off you. You think to yourself, “I must be losing weight, right? I can eat whatever I want today.”

Absolutely, running is a great calorie-burner. It burns more calories in less time than almost any other activity, which makes it an efficient way to create the calorie deficit you need to lose weight. But it’s not a panacea. You still have to be careful with your diet. The average person burns about 100 calories per mile of running, so if you’re running and walking on a treadmill for 30 minutes, you might burn somewhere in the neighborhood of 250 calories. Which is about the same amount in a glazed donut. “I have weight-loss clients who start exercising for 20 minutes a day for the first time in their lives, and they’re offended that the weight isn’t melting off them,” Bonci says.

Try This Instead: If you feel very hungry after a workout, immediately drink some water and aim for a high-protein snack in the first hour after a workout ends. Here are three to try: A 5.3-ounce cup of Greek yogurt, 10 ounces of 1% chocolate milk, or a small skinny latte. These will give your stomach the feeling of, “Yes, there’s something in there,” and help you fight the urge to overeat later.

Try to get your brain in the game, and figure out how many calories your workouts are really burning. Educate yourself about the other side of the ledger, too: how many calories your usual snacks and treats contain. Run Your Butt Off! can show you how to do the calorie math you need to do to shed pounds.

Category: Health
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