When I started off training, I didn’t have great expectations of myself.
I’d been down this road before; I’d incorporate exercises like taebo or jogging for a week or two, coupled with healthy eating, and before I knew it, I was either, bored, demotivated or distracted. (It also didn’t help when I would weigh myself after three days of hard exercise and near-starvation, only to find I’ve gained one pound. Arrrrgh!)
So when my friend Maurice caught me driving my little (then) boy to kindergarten – a 500M distance from my house! – and ‘forced’ me to join he and his wife in their evening exercise sessions, I agreed. At the time Maurice found me driving my son Ty to a stone-throw distance from my home, I was desperate for a change. a breakthrough.
It’s been a whirlwind of a journey, now three years into it! Who ever thought I would come this far?
Not only have I shed a whopping 66 pounds, (and the journey wasn’t all smooth-sailing, there were some haaard times and setbacks – I’ll share more in later posts..) I’ve regained my mental health (I was previously, clinically depressed) and while I haven’t completely eliminated binge eating (yep, there was that too – i’ll share more in time), I’ve largely overcome it and i believe I’m only steps away from conquering it – completely. Hurrah in advance!
What is the point of me writing this?
The process of losing weight (especially, if you have a good chunk to lose) takes time, and the process can be grueling if you are always looking out for marks of progress.
The weighing scale is the ultimate universal mark of progress, yet often unreliable.
It can be depressing to keep working hard and not seeing much gains.
Right off the bat, I would insist that you need to be patient. Be patient with yourself and the process.
However are other factors you will need to check to ensure that you are not compromising your progress.
- You probably know you should be maintaining a caloric deficit, but are you sure you’re on a deficit? Losing weight obviously requires you take in less food than your body requires, creating a caloric deficit. Now, knowing this versus actually doing it are two different things. Ensure that you are tracking your macros and staying moderately below your caloric requirements. Do not take for granted even the simple harmless foods like fruit or sugar free jams. These foods come with their fair amount of carbs and calories, and not budgeting for them may sabotage your plan. Download MyFitnessPal on your phone and log whatever you eat, or get a meal plan from a certified weight loss coach to help you be more accurate with nutrition. (I’m a NESTA certified Weight Loss Coach and Meal-Plan Creative so hit me up if you need me to help you)
- Have you taken your caloric deficit too far? A moderate caloric deficit is 500 – 700 calories. When you begin undereating you will see initial drastic weight loss, but very soon you stop losing weight because your body is underfed and does not have enough energy to burn fat. This is called metabolic adaptation. Not only will you stop seeing progress, but you may damage your metabolism. Ensure you are not starving your body by underfeeding, you need that treat that body right in order to unleash the physique of your dreams.
- Are you using the scale solely to determine your progress? This is a common mistake we all make, and the results can knock the wind out of our psyche for the journey. Frequently weighing yourself can be misleading because of all the changes going on – from water retention, metabolic adjustment, hormones, et al – an ideal situation is to weigh yourself twice a month, for more accurate progress. preferably, first thing before eating or drinking anything. Also, the fact that you may be building muscle tone will be a reason why your scale is not screaming with a deficit! A pound of muscle weighs the same as a pound of fat, but takes up lesser space. So if the scale isn’t budging much, but your starting to feel smaller and tighter, or if your clothes start feeling lose, then you are losing fat.
- Are you exercising ‘properly’? The reason I ask this is because, I see ladies walk into the gym, do a mild warm up and then pick up dumbbells and begin to do hammer curls or seated rows, with three minute rest in between sets. Now, there’s nothing wrong with hammer curls or seated rows, but when you are trying to burn fat, you need to MOVE! You need to jump! Run! Toss! Tackle! Push! Pull! You need intensity, and you need it with minimal rest in-between. We all have different levels of strength and mobility and I’m not saying we run into the gym like pit-bulls, but intensity is required. And if you are new to working out, you can start at a slow pace, but don’t stay there! One of my all-time favorite workouts is……drum-rolls please……HIITs! High Intensity Interval Training is better than any steady cardio, jogging or anything else! Its short, (a 20 – 35 minute workout will suffice) and intensely sweet. Done properly, the HIIT workout is unbelievably effective in burning fat. Oh, I love it! I’m a lover of short and painfully sweet workouts, and these HIITs just hit the spot for me. Because HIITs are becoming increasingly popular, a lot of vloggers are coming up with HIITs that are not genuine. One of my favorite go-to sources is Millionaire Hoy who has a ton of videos, from beginner to advanced. Another channel is Fitness Blender. Check them out and let me know what to think. They key with HIIT workouts is to maintain the short intensity and workouts (eg 40 seconds) and short rest period (eg 20 seconds). Build your intensity with time, stick to the rules and watch your body transform!
- Are you constantly stressed out? Stress is inevitable, but too much of it will wreck havoc on your body. The hormone cortisol is released when the body is under duress. This is one bad hormone, causing a lot of issues, one among them being a slowed metabolism. Slow metabolism simply means slow or zero weight loss. There are natural supplements that mitigate stress and balance cortisol for me – some being HTTP and Sam-e; do some research on them and see if they would work for you. (Consult your doctor before making any choices)
- Are you drinking enough water? Listen, this isn’t because it’s regular doctor’s orders. Drinking water is extremely beneficial when losing weight. The process of burning calories requires a sufficient supply of water in order to keep your metabolism functioning at optimum. Drink. Your. Water.
- Is your protein intake on point? When it comes to burning fat, protein is your best friend. It is the most important macro-nutrient in weight loss, as it has been scientifically linked to increasing fat-burning capacity while preserving muscle (Read more here). Better still, protein curbs your cravings and gives you a feeling of satiety (Read more here..). To get the right amount of protein, ensure you are consuming 1 gram per pound of body-weight in pounds (Again, if you need a meal plan to take the hustle out of these calculations, e-mail me and let me help you.)
There are many other reasons that could jeopardize your progress, including alcohol consumption, lack of proper sleep, too much or too little carbs, etc. The bottom line is, it takes proper preparation, effective execution – and patience, to get the results you want.
Are you stuck on your weight loss journey? Comment below and let me help you.
Meanwhile, hang in there and be proud of every small win!