Hello all of you wonders of humanity, you seekers or health, strength and wellness! Welcome to BodyRock, where a small team of us have dedicated ourselves to helping fitness beginners get into the best shape of their lives. We do this is two ways, by sharing the best knowledge with our community in our daily emails, and by providing the best beginner level daily workout and meal plan programs, like our 30 day Beginner Bootcamp workout series.
Are you wondering why you're not losing weight despite the fact that you've increased your exercise and changed your diet? This could be due to some of the more typical diet and exercise mistakes that people make when attempting to reduce their weight.
It's critical to remember that every person's weight reduction strategy is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another, Roxana Ehsani, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and national media representative for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, told us in a recent interview.
"Each individual has a distinct way of living, with distinct abilities, needs, and aspirations. As a result, workout programmes should be tailored to the unique characteristics of each individual” says Roger Franco, a fitness manager at Crunch Fitness Fort Greene in New York City.
Experts explain some of the most common weight loss exercise and diet mistakes below.
Why Am I Exercising But Not Losing Weight? Eating too much after you exercise might be a reason. Dr. Keri Denay, an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) fellow and team physician for US Figure Skating, told us that one of the most common mistakes people make when trying to lose weight is assuming they can eat more because they're exercising more.
"If a person's goal is to lose weight by incorporating more physical activity," she explained, "the individual's caloric intake would need to remain the same as before initiating the increase in exercise."
People tend to eat more when they exercise, and this increase in calories can easily overtake the amount of calories burned while exercising. The trick is to exercise and not increase your caloric intake.
You are skipping strength training. According to Macklin Guzmán, the Chief Science Officer for the Medi-Weightloss programme and an epidemiologist and clinical scientist, one of the most common mistakes is doing hours of cardiovascular exercises but skipping resistance (strength) training.
Strength training can help you build and conserve lean muscle mass, which has a higher energy expenditure (burn) than fat and can help you not only lose body fat but also keep the weight off. While cardio exercises can burn more calories than strength training, lifting weights keeps your metabolism going for longer than a cardio workout and is far more efficient for fat loss.
"Getting it right" means combining cardio (high intensity) and resistance training to reap the cardiovascular benefits of cardio and the metabolic benefits of strength training. "The ideal exercise programme for improving health and body composition is a combination of both," he says.
This is exactly why we designed our 30 day Beginner Bootcamp to incorporate strength training and HIIT (high intensity interval training) elements in each 10-15 minute daily workout. The Beginner Bootcamp incorporates the most efficient workouts for fat loss into a workout that is achievable at a beginner level - which means that the pace, tempo and exercises in each workout will challenge you, but won’t overwhelm you.
Why am I losing inches but not pounds? "When this scenario occurs, you're likely to lose body water (at first) and body fat (later), while also building muscle," Denay explained.
"These changes may result in some degree of body shape change," such as a smaller waistline, even if your overall weight on a scale hasn't changed significantly, she said.
Ehsani concurred. If you're having trouble losing weight despite diet and exercise changes, "it's possible that your body weight hasn't changed but your body composition has changed in a more positive direction, such as less body fat but more lean muscle mass," she says.
Why Am I Not Losing Weight When I'm on a Calorie Deficit? Nancy Clark, a sports nutritionist and registered dietitian (RD), told BodyRock News that in many cases, people "diet too hard," which leads to hunger and overeating, which is "a physiological response to having gotten too hungry."
When we drastically reduce our calorie intake, our bodies adapt to food scarcity by conserving energy. This means that our metabolism slows and we move less, while our appetite increases.
Following a balanced Meal Plan that has been optimized for fat loss, will ensure that you are getting the nutrients that you need while making sure that your meals contain enough fiber and protein to keep you feeling satisfied and full. When you follow a meal plan, you also don’t have to take on the effort of tracking everything, because that work has been done for you.
“Meal plans are a huge benefit for people that have struggled with over eating - they provide the support, organization and guidance to get a handle on your diet”.
Our BodyRock Meal Plan includes grocery lists, easy to prep meals, snacks and deserts that are family friendly. You can check out our meal plan bundle here.
Instead of cutting calories, Clark recommends "frontloading your calories," noting that "when I ate dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner, I lost weight so easily...seemed like my fat just melted away."
Portion size management. According to Guzmán, research has shown that when given larger portions, "people consistently eat more food than they normally would." As a result, portion size is critically important in weight loss.
Using smaller plates for meals at home, "because smaller dishes hold less food and you will be less inclined to over portion on a larger plate," to requesting a smaller portion at a restaurant and asking them to pack the rest away for you to take home are both great tactics to control portion sizes he explained.
A trick that we often use in our Meal Plan, is to cover half the plate with greens and veggies - loading up on nutrient dense foods that have smaller calorie loads, so you can eat more food, but still remain in a calorie deficit. There are so many small tricks like this that our meal plan takes care of for you that compound into significant weight loss over time. Don’t spend months or even years trying to figure out your diet. Base your approach on a meal plan with proven success at helping people lose weight. The time that you will save reaching your fitness and body goals is worth the small investment.
Not accurately tracking your calories. Keeping a food journal is another important tool that dieters overlook, according to Guzmán, because it allows you to track your calorie intake, the types of foods you eat, and the portions you eat. Journaling allows people to "become more self-aware of the dietary patterns that may have led to their weight gain in the first place," he says.
There are numerous apps that can scan your food and provide nutritional values such as calories and macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats). Weigh your food when you first enter it to ensure that the data is correct. You may discover that you are consuming more than the recommended serving size and, as a result, are no longer in a calorie deficit.
The downside to this strategy, is that it takes a significant amount of effort and mindfulness to track everything that you consume. Following a Meal Plan largely eliminates this need to track, because the plan has already done all of the calculations and tracking for you - allowing you to focus on enjoying your food. Realistically, even the most determined people find constant food tracking to be a lot of work. Some people get into it, and it develops into a sustainable habit, but for the vast, vast majority of people, taking the Meal Plan approach is simpler, more supportive of their goals and results in faster results.
Other Causes of Weight Gain: Avoiding fruits and vegetables. Guzmán believes that the number of calories you consume is just as important as the type of calories you consume, because there are many hidden calories in certain foods. For example, "two hundred calories of spinach are not the same as two hundred calories of cookies," he explains.
Fruits and vegetables are frequently lacking in the diets of most Americans. "Fruits and vegetables are our lowest calorie foods, so if you want to lose a few pounds, including more fruits and vegetables in your meals and snacks can help," Ehsani said.
Fruits and vegetables are also high in the vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, antioxidants, and nutrients required for good health.
Consuming insufficient carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are frequently among the first foods that people eliminate when attempting to lose weight. However, if you are actively exercising and eating too few carbohydrates, you will experience a decrease in energy and performance. "That's because carbohydrates are the preferred source of fuel that your brain and muscles require on a daily basis," Ehsani explained.
"Having enough carbohydrates in your diet will give you the energy to train longer and harder, and ultimately lose weight," she explained.
Again, following a balanced Meal Plan will eliminate any confusion around how many carbs per day you should be consuming to ensure proper body and brain function while continuing to shed excess body fat and weight.
Too much protein. In order to gain muscle, many people consume a lot of protein rather than carbohydrates. However, eating too much of it will prevent you from losing weight because it will be stored as fat. Protein overload will also be taxing on your kidneys and may cause constipation, according to Ehsani. That said, most women are not getting enough lean protein into their diets, which hampers lean muscle development and maintenance - both critical to fat loss.
To be honest, I debated including this because it’s been our direct experience helping thousands of women get into shape, that most women typically aren’t getting enough lean / plant based protein in their diets. Unless you are pounding down protein shakes and other supplements, getting too much protein is likely not as big as issue as not getting enough protein. Balance here is key.
Not limiting the consumption of processed foods. Clark warned that the rise in obesity in America "correlates well" with the increased consumption of ultra-processed foods. So you should "fret less about sugar/carbs and more about the processing" and make more time to prepare proper meals.
Preparing ‘proper’ meals does not need to take longer than 10-20 minutes max. When you have grocery lists and healthy, quick prep recipes that actually taste amazing, the effort to make this switch is minimal. Our Meal Plan bundle comes with grocery lists and a cook book of quick prep meals that are balanced and optimized for weight loss.
As a quick way to recognize ultra-processed foods - anything that comes in a can, box, plastic sleeve etc has been processed in a food lab or factory. ‘Whole’ or ‘Clean’ foods don’t get packaged and typically contain just one ingredient.
Sleep Deprivation. According to Ehsani, those who are sleep deprived are more likely to make unhealthy food choices than those who are well rested.
"Sleep deprivation can alter our stress, hunger, and appetite hormones," the RDN explained. During the day, you're more likely to eat more in general to stay awake, possibly snacking more frequently and drinking more sugary or caffeinated beverages.
A recent study showed that women that got just 1.2 hours more sleep per night ate up to 500 fewer calories the next day. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep to support your weight loss goals.
Failure to manage stress. Your stress levels may be sabotaging your weight-loss goals. "When our stress hormone, cortisol, is constantly activated and high, it may cause you to gain weight as well," Ehsani explained. Deep breathing, meditation, and exercise are all stress-reduction techniques that can help reduce these stress hormones.
A shot from the 30 day BodyRock Beginner Bootcamp workout series.
Get the support you need to be successful. We’ve covered a lot of common factors that can hamper your weight loss efforts, but the biggest one, and perhaps the one that encompasses all of these mistakes is trying to navigate your exercise and diet on your own - without the benefit of working within a proven system for achieving your fitness and weight loss goals. As much as most of us would love to conquer our weight loss with just diet, or just exercise, the truth is, the kind of meaningful results that you are looking for - the types of results that will morph into the quality of life you are seeking, come from a combined, seamless approach. Get on a Meal Plan, and then workout with us each day for just 10-15 minutes with our Beginner Bootcamp. It’s really that simple. These two actions will support you through 99% of what holds most people back when it comes to genuine weight loss. For a limited time, we are offering a full year of access to our Beginner Bootcamp workout program on our fitness streaming platform BodyRockPlus.com, for just $69 with code: NY22. If you like our vibe here at BodyRock, we’d love to help you get into the best shape of your life.