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14 Reasons Why You Are Still Not Losing Weight

Sometimes we feel like we are doing everything right, but the weight still doesn’t come off.  Following are some possible reasons why the scale isn’t moving in the right direction.weightlossblog

1.  Eating In Front Of The Television Or A Computer

It is easy to overeat when you aren’t paying attention.  Instead of bringing food to the couch or desk, step away from the screens and focus on enjoying your food.  You will feel satisfied and have less of a tendency to overeat.

2.  Overindulging In Low-Fat Foods

Low-fat foods may appear healthier, but they are often full of additives, artificial sugars and extra sodium. Even though it feels like you are eating lighter,  you may end up eating more than you anticipated.

3.  Overdoing It With Artificial Sugar

Study after study, including a recent one out of Yale University, has shown that when you eat artificial sugar, your bodies crave more sweets. Your taste buds may be ok with the fake stuff, but your brain isn’t fooled.

4.  Thinking Cardio Is The Only Exercise Needed

Everyone needs cardiovascular exercise for heart health, but incorporating weight training also has major benefits. Weight training builds muscle mass, increases metabolic rate and makes your body stronger and leaner.  This higher metabolism keeps you burning calories long after you have left the gym.  (See our earlier blog Heels To Barbells).

5.  Skipping Breakfast

It’s true – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. People who eat breakfast regularly lose more weight. Eating breakfast each morning jump starts your metabolism and keeps your cravings in check. It’s important to keep it healthy and balanced: include protein to give yourself sustainable energy and fiber to fill you up for hours.

6.  Working Out On An Empty Stomach

Research has shown that when exercising on an empty stomach, the calories burned will come from muscle, not fat. You want to keep those muscles since they burn more calories than fat. The more muscle mass you have, the better it is for weight loss. Not only will fueling your body help you avoid losing muscle, you will have more energy to push yourself through your workout.

7.  Overeating Healthy Foods

Yes – nuts, avocados, whole wheat pasta and olive oil are all good for you, but those calories still count.  Keep track of your portions as you enjoy these foods.

8.  Eating Straight From The Fridge Or The Kids’ Plates

Everything you eat counts – whether it is a handful of the chips from your son’s lunch or a few bites of leftovers from the fridge.  Even if you toss down these few bites without thinking, they still count.  My little trick – try chewing gum when making food for others.

9.  Turning A Healthy Salad Into A Landmine

Be conscious of what you put on your salad.  Creamy salad dressings, croutons, bacon bits, dried fruits and cheese can literally add hundreds of calories.  Try other lower calorie choices such as chickpeas, shredded carrots,  lemon juice or balsamic glaze.

10. Lacking Portion Control

This is a crucial key that can derail any attempts at weight loss.  You may need to initially weigh your food to learn the appropriate portion sizes.  Once you get the hang of it, you will be better able to judge what is a portion.  And just as importantly, you need to learn to recognize when you are full. At that first feeling of fullness, either remove your plate or cover your food with a napkin.

11.  Not Drinking Enough Water

Water not only keeps you hydrated, but drinking water on a regular basis helps with weight loss. Additionally, filling up on water before a meal helps encourage portion control. A recent study even found that drinking cold water can speed up metabolism and discourage cravings for sugary drinks like soda and juice.

12.  Never Indulging

In an otherwise healthy diet, enjoying a treat now and then isn’t going to ruin your weight-loss goals, and it may help you stay on track  by keeping you from binging.  A study found that a daily variance of as much as 600 calories  (that means some days less and some days more – not always an extra 600 calories) won’t reflect on your waistline, as long as you maintain a healthy diet in the long run.  Try not to waste these calories eating cold leftovers straight from the fridge; if you are going to indulge once in a while, choose something you really love and sit down and savor it.

13.  Eating The Wrong Post Workout Snack

A post-workout snack is just that — a snack. And unless it’s mealtime, what you eat after an average workout should be around 150 calories. Since healthy foods like trail mix can be high in calories, measure out a serving instead of mindlessly chomping straight out of the bag.

14.  Forgetting To Journal

Writing down what you eat is an essential way to monitor daily caloric intake. A study from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics surveyed 123 women and found that those who were the most successful at losing weight used a food journal to keep track of their food intake.  And with today’s apps, there is really no excuse. (I use MyFitnessPal.)

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Heels to Barbells

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The New Year has begun, and if you are already growing impatient waiting to see results from all that cardio, you may be leaving out an important piece of the puzzle – weight training!  Yes, weights!  And not those pretty, pink hand weights or those fancy machines, real barbells.  More and more women everywhere are seeing and feeling the positive results of weight training, yet many women still worry about bulking up and are afraid to give it a chance

It is a great feeling to be STRONG!  You will be able to lift those boxes all by yourself and not have to wait for some guy to do it.  As a single mom, my boys are getting bigger, but they still rely on me to lift or open anything difficult.  I want them to see how powerful women can be.  There is never a time in life when being weak comes in handy!

Some important facts to keep in mind:

  • You will not bulk up.  Our bodies are not made to get bulky – we do not have the testosterone to look like body builders. When you lift weights that are challenging, you actually create micro-tears in the muscle fibers. (This is the soreness you feel.)  As these tears are repaired by your body, the muscle becomes stronger.  Because muscle tissue is more dense than fat, adding more muscle to your body actually makes you look leaner—not bigger. To truly bulk up, you would have to train with that goal in mind. Bodybuilders spend hours and hours in the gym lifting extremely heavy weights, and eat a very strict diet to promote muscle gain. The average person’s workout and diet—especially a calorie-controlled diet—will not lead to the same effects.
  • Increased metabolism.  Another amazing benefit of weight training is what it does for your metabolism.  It allows you to take advantage of your body’s natural ability to maintain an “after-burn,” known as Excess Post-Oxygen Consumption (EPOC). The after-burn is the extra calories your body burns after you complete a weight lifting workout. Your metabolism will stay elevated for anywhere from 15 minutes to 48 hours, depending on the intensity and duration of your workout.  This means is that your metabolism operates at a faster level even while you’re sitting on the couch after a workout.  It takes extra calories just to keep muscle.
  • Heavy weights are key. Many women rely on lighter weights with higher reps in an attempt to get a more toned body.  However, to get truly toned, you need larger muscles and less fat. One recent study found that lifting 85% of your maximum ability for 8 reps burns about twice as many calories in the two hours post workout as compared with 15 reps at 45% of your maximum ability.  Don’t give up lighter weights entirely, as they do a great job of building endurance, but they do not build tight, dense, strong muscles.
  • Weight loss.  Some women worry that once they begin weight training, their weight will go up or they won’t lose the weight that had hoped.  Try not to focus on the scale and don’t get frustrated before you see results.  At first, your muscles may retain water as they react to the shock of the workouts and the recovery afterward.  But as you continue weight training, you will be building muscle and shedding fat.  This may still not translate to high weight loss, but a pound of muscle is much denser than a pound of fat, so your body may shrink even if your weight doesn’t change significantly.  Keep in mind that muscle is a metabolism booster – the more you have, the more calories and fat you will burn all day long!
  • Getting older.  As we age, maintaining muscle mass becomes more and more important.  Muscle may make the 40 something woman slightly heavier than in her college years, but the improved body composition and faster metabolism is the big payoff.  Many women find they’re able to attain a lower body fat percentage, fit into smaller sizes, and generally feel more vigorous by adding weight training.

The bottom line is weight training can lead to fat loss, stronger leaner muscles, better fitting clothes and a general better feeling of wellness and strength.  What are your waiting for – let’s get lifting!!

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