…and what to do about it.
In our years of experience, we’ve found that although the holidays are one of the hardest time to lose fat and keep your health in the forefront, our clients that have made the most dramatic changes and have sustained those changes, started their journey in November. Below are some major reasons why you may have failed to meet your goals in the past, but starting to change some of these thing now can make your holiday season a lot less stressful.
1. You aren’t even trying
Wanting to lose weight isn’t enough. You have to do something. Anyone can start eating healthy and moving more, no mater what.
Solution: Make a decision to lose weight, plan how much you will lose, when you will accomplish your goal, and what specifically you are going to do to accomplish it. Spend one hour, away from the family, and write out your goals and strategy. Then, share your decision with someone that will hold you accountable towards achieving your goal. “Secret” weight loss goals are rarely attained.
2. You don’t stick to the plan
The perfect strategy is useless if you don’t follow it. The worst plan is usually more successful than no plan.
Get a game plan, commit to it, and track your compliance with it. Then schedule your action items (workouts) as an appointment – and don’t miss it! How many Doctor appointments or hair appointments have you missed? Compare that to the number of workouts have you missed.
Treat your workouts as the most important appointment that only gets rescheduled in an emergency, and let your family and friends know your “policy”.
At Spectrum Fitness Consulting, our compliance grid is the solution to this problem. It is a quick and easy way to assess how well you are adhering to all phases of your weight loss plan. Every day clients place a check next to the corresponding “assignment”. At the end of the week, we tally the score of completed assignments versus what is optimal. If you are unsuccessful at meeting your goal, then next week’s objective is to improve upon the previous week’s score.
When clients are at 100% compliance with their exercise program, and 90% compliant with their nutrition program, they can expect 1-2 lbs of fat loss, and in some cases even more.
3. You aren’t measuring your results:
It puzzles me that few people track fat loss when they set out to – lose fat!
It’s like wanting to win a basketball game but insisting nobody keeps score!
Or balancing your budget without seeing how much money you have in your accounts!
It is uncomfortable to be held accountable, to see your weaknesses and evaluate your efforts.
But losing fat to improve your health and quality of life demands accountability, and results can only be achieved if they are measured.
Have your body fat measured. People talk about weight loss, but they really mean fat loss. Who wants to lose muscle and bone? Scale weight is helpful but body fat measures are more meaningful.
Unless you want to spend thousands and travel to a facility that has underwater weighing or DEXA imaging, skin fold testing is the best option for determining body fat. We utilize this method for Spectrum clients at no cost to them, and as a result can determine the amount of fat and muscle to evaluate whether weight loss is predominately fat loss.
Such measurement tracking helps to determine whether your program is effective or needs to be modified. It also yield a more effective way to estimate caloric needs. Combined with the tracking of exercise intensity and the use of the Spectrum compliance grids, we can determine what is exactly needed to assure optimal fat loss. Furthermore, it holds you accountable for your fat loss, which is the best motivation to follow an effective weight loss strategy.
4. You’re acting insane
Einstein has astutely defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
If you are eating the same way, doing the same workouts, and adhering to the same poor sleep habits, you are going to suffer from the same lack of results.
Consider whether you need to change resistance exercises, reps, weight, or speed. Those engaging in weight training will adapt to a stimulus, and thus fail to progress, after 3-8 weeks of exposure to the stimulus.
Try using different forms of “cardio” or exercising with more intensity. The body’s energy systems adapt even quicker than the musculoskeletal system, thus require more frequent manipulation of exercise variables.
Maybe you just need to sleep more, as sleeping less than 7-9 hours per night is associated with weight gain, not to mention decreased life expectancy.
5. You don’t take care of injuries
It is hard to reap the benefits of exercise if painful injuries have you on the sidelines.
Seek expert advice to see how to address your injury, as well as to how to keep active and fit while you are recovering.
It is a myth that physical therapy patients need to stop exercising when they are injured. Instead, they just need to change their exercise according to their injury.
Just as important, you need to anticipate injuries by addressing risk factors such as poor exercise technique, poor mobility, or muscle imbalances that lead to injuries down the road. This is best accomplished by working with experts in both rehabilitation and fitness.
6. You aren’t resistance training
Muscle is the site where calories are burned. If you lose muscle, you lose the ability to burn calories.
Just like you can’t burn a fire if you run out of wood, you can’t burn more calories if you lose muscle. A myriad of research proves that resistance training is an essential component for weight loss.
Make resistance training a priority in your weight loss plan. Don’t bother with “cardio” training if you haven’t done the appropriate amount of resistance training, as resistance training is more effective for fat loss.
Start with training large muscles with multi-joint exercises 3x/week. Start with a resistance that you could perform no more than 12 times, assuming proper technique. Squats, rows, lunges, pull downs, push-ups/angled push-ups are good examples.
7. You aren’t doing intervals
At least 9 studies exist that reveal the superior effect interval training has upon fat loss compared to steady-state “cardio”. Add in practical experience with profound results, as well as the time saving benefits, and incorporating interval training in your fat loss plan is a no-brainer for most.
To perform intervals, simply alternate periods of high intensity efforts, followed by low intensity efforts while doing your normal “cardio” exercises. The stationary bike is a good place to start. There are countless ways to utilize intervals. Let a fitness professional determine the best options for your case
8. You are working out, not training
Working out infers that you are mindlessly exercising, expecting that the proximity to the exercise equipment is all that is necessary to lose weight, with no goals in sight.
Training involves adhering to a prescribed fitness plan with the purpose to reach a specific goal.
You get results by training, and frustration by working out.
Ditch the cell phone and the magazine, and instead grab a water bottle, towel, and a training notebook and get to work. You are busy, and you don’t have time to spare. You have a clear goal, so commit to what works, and the weight loss will happen.
9. You aren’t eating enough
There is a common myth, often perpetuated by health care professionals, that calories are all that matter. Eat fewer calories, and you will lose weight. While this may be true in many cases, the real story is more complicated.
It isn’t about eating less, rather it’s about eating more. More precisely, you need to eat more good foods, more frequently, and as a result eat less bad foods.
This allows your body to receive the nutrients it needs to facilitate optimal function and to preserve lean tissue. Furthermore, you will be able to regulate insulin by eating more frequently, and expend more calories as your body works harder to break down good foods.
In fact, up to 20% of your daily calorie expenditure can come from breaking down food, if you choose the right foods.
Finally, more good foods will ward off hunger, fatigue, and a decreased metabolism that will result from approaches focusing only on calorie restriction.
Eat at least seven-ten servings of vegetables and fruit (mostly veggies) every day. Aim for 4-6 evenly spaced meals containing a lean protein, fibrous carb (veggies, fruit), and healthy fat at each meal.
Do not skip meals. Going longer than 4 hours almost always leads to over eating and poor food choices at the next meal.
Focus on getting quality nutrients first, getting rid of the bad stuff, then focus on quantifying things.
10. You are not recovering
Some are doing all the right things at the gym, but pay little attention to sleep, stress, and post-exercise nutrition.
Expecting fat loss while neglecting recovery is like expecting your car to perform well and look nice with out filling it up with gas, washing it, changing the oil, filters, and coolant, and turning it off and parking it! Just like a fine automobile, our bodies need to shut down, refuel, and receive maintenance to perform optimally.
Research clearly links insufficient sleep and high stress to fat gain.
Improper nutrition, especially during the sensitive post-workout time, can lead to decreased lean tissue synthesis, causing a loss of fat burning muscle.
Get 7-9 hours of sleep every night in a completely dark room. Control stress through lifestyle modifications like meditation, reading, listening to music, and laughing – just some of the many proven strategies to reduce stress. Finally, consume some protein and simple carbohydrate within 30 minutes following your workout.
11. You don’t have a contingency plan
Expecting your weight loss plan to take off uninterrupted without a hitch is a recipe for disaster. Except that life will sometimes get in your way. Cars break down, kids get sick, you get injured: it happens. So you must know how to deal with these obstacles, rather than falling off the wagon when adversity hits.
Develop a B.T.N. workout (Better Than Nothing). This is a workout that you can do no matter where you are, no matter what your time constraints. I’ll give you 2 examples:
Example #1 Client with severe knee arthritis, experiencing a flare up of knee pain.
Wrong approach: Do nothing and rest. Result: Missed workouts with high potential to fall off the wagon, and failure to understand the nature of the condition.
Right approach: Assess nature of the problem by seeing a fitness rehab professional or performing prescribed self-assessment movement screen. Replace squatting and lunging with pain free 1 leg bridges and side lying leg lifts. Proceed with all other components of the workout. Reduce prolonged kneeling when gardening in the future and improve ankle mobility, which were contributing to her knee pain. Result: No missed workouts, better understanding of how to manage and solve knee condition.
Example #2 Yours truly, visiting (a lot of) family in Chicago, with 15 minutes every other day available to exercise, no car, and a baby.
Wrong approach: skip workouts. Result: joints feel sore, have less energy, poor sleep quality.
Right Approach: Short jog to the park down the street. Do one super set of chin-ups on the monkey bars, clap push-ups, and jump squats. Rest and repeat 2 more times. Sprint intervals back from the park to Mom’s house. Result: great work out, feel better, and Mom isn’t mad because I’m late for another family event!
12. You suffer from paralysis by analysis
How much exercise, how often, what type, what is the proper technique, how many sets, how many reps, machines or free weights, step mill or tread mill, elliptical or why not to try a great folding bike called the 806 by , how much weight, when do I stretch, what carbs should I eat – if any, how many calories, are liquid meals ok, how often should I eat, is meat bad for you, etc?
The questions go on, and the variables are endless.
As a result of your confusion, you take no action, and you fail to progress with your fat loss goals.
Focus on the basics. Stimulate muscle with resistance training. Eat lots of veggies and fruit, lean proteins, and healthy fats with frequent meals. Challenge your energy systems with intervals. Make sure you are recovering with proper nutrition, sleep, and stress reduction.
If you don’t know how to do these things, or you think you are doing these things but still aren’t getting results, the only solution is for you to seek expert advice.
Seeking advise from Spectrum Fitness Consulting is your best option. Whether you attend our fitness seminars or one-to-one services, you will definitely find out exactly what you need to get results.
13. You have unrealistic expectations
You have been bombarded by deceitful marketing and advertising to the likes of promising 30 lbs of weight loss in 30 days. These bogus claims have programmed you for failure. When you realize that such results are unattainable, you give up, or search for the next quick and easy weight loss problem.
Unfortunately, quick and easy weight loss doesn’t exist. It is a poor marketing message, but it is true.
Give up the notion of quick and easy fat loss. Start looking for long term solutions that involve changing habits and learning strategies that are based on science, proven with research, and rooted in common sense. The answers to weight loss are found within such approaches.
If you hold on to the quick and easy mentality, you will be easily disillusioned, and give up your attempts for weight loss.
If you comply with a good weight loss strategy, in most cases, you can expect to lose 1-2lbs of body fat each week.
We have a great weight loss strategy just in time for the Holidays. Our Holiday Waistline Protection Program will not only help you maintain good health and body weight throughout the holidays, it can help you actually lose weight during a period where most people gain. Click here to check out all that the program has to offer.