6 Reasons Your Fat Loss Diet Isn’t Working
At some point or another in life, you’re probably going to want (or need) to drop a few pounds. Whether it be for a vacation, class reunion, or for your health, there will come a point when it’s time to cut the fat.
So, like anyone else embarking on a quest for fast fat loss, you start eating less and moving more, and the weight starts to fall off. But after only a couple weeks, you find yourself not dropping fat anymore and you’re diet fat loss hell, otherwise known as a plateau.
Why did you hit a plateau? Is something wrong with your approach to fat loss?
In all likelihood yes. Fat loss is a perilous journey and one that’s pockmarked with all kinds of tripping points. So it’s often useful to have some help along the way!
We’ve got the most common reasons why your fat loss diet isn’t going according to plan, and what you should be on the lookout for when starting your next weight loss venture.
Let’s get rolling!
Reason Your Diet is Failing
1. Not Tracking
The #1 reason people don’t experience success with their diets, is that they don’t track their nutrition, i.e. what they’re eating on a daily basis. While some people can eyeball portions of food and estimate how many calories they’re consuming on a daily basis, for the majority of you reading this, you won’t have a truly accurate gauge of how much you’re eating each day.
To know how much you’re eating, you must log every single bite of food you eat either in a smartphone app or in a notebook. That way, you can see how many calories you eat on a daily basis and by doing this, you’ll know whether you’re exceeding or eating below your maintenance calories.
Once you know how much you’re eating, you can then begin to “tweak” your intake to restart fat loss!
2. Being a Night Owl
While it may seem fun to stay out late, hang with friends and maybe even crash the local diner for some pre-dawn cheese fries, the fact is, if you’re skimping on sleep, you’re severely hindering your ability to burn fat.
Research from the University of Chicago General Clinical Resource Center documented that individuals who got fewer than 6 hours of sleep each night lose significantly less fat than individuals getting at least 8 hours of sleep.
If that’s not bad enough, that same study also found that the night owls experienced greater hunger during the day, which can result in late night binges, thereby ruining your whole diet! And those same people skipping sleep also lost more fat free mass (i.e. muscle) than those who got a full 8 hours of sleep.
In other words, if you want to lose fat and retain your muscle mass while dieting, get a full night’s rest!
3. Taking It Easy
Suppose that you are eating below your maintenance calories, tracking everything properly, and getting enough sleep. What else could it be?
Check your exercise habits. Are you really pushing yourself in the gym and training with intensity or are you meandering through your workouts and simply checking off the boxes?
If you fall into the latter category, then it’s time to kick things up a notch in the gym! You should still be lifting heavy weights, sprinting, and doing other forms of high intensity interval training (HIIT) to burn fat and build muscle, simply trudging along on the treadmill or leisurely pedaling a bike isn’t going to create the metabolic spark needed to accelerate fat loss.
Numerous studies have shown that HIIT is better for fat loss (and muscle retention) than steady-state forms of cardio such as jogging or biking. You want the fat gone for good, then really BRING IT in your workouts!
Losing weight can be incredibly stressful at times, particularly if you’ve been stuck in a plateau for a few weeks! But it’s during these times that you have to remain calm, cool, and collected. If not, stress leads to more binges of all sorts that can ruin an otherwise great fat loss diet.
Plus, when you’re seriously stressed, cortisol levels increase which makes your body much more likely to store fat and shed it.
To beat stress back, try going for a leisurely walk, sipping on some chamomile tea, or even a few calming breaths -- anything to take your mind off of your diet for a few minutes and just focus on you.
Fat loss is hard enough on its own, don’t make it worse by stressing all the time!
5. Metabolism has shifted
The human body is incredibly savvy. It adapts to anything you throw its way -- including fat loss. See, your body gets accustomed to a certain amount of calories to maintain its size. When you first start dieting, you will lose weight, because your body hasn’t adapted to the reduced number of calories.
However, as you drop weight, the required number of calories to maintain your mass also goes down. So, to keep the fat loss rolling along, you may need to further reduce your calories, the longer you’ll be dieting -- which drives home the importance of tracking everything during the course of your dieting journey!
6. Eating too little
In order to lose fat, you have to consume fewer calories than your body requires on a daily basis. But, if you cut calories too much too fast, it not only can stall your fat loss, but also seriously eat away at your muscle mass.
Basically, by cutting calories severely at the outset of a diet, you send your body into “starvation mode”, a metabolic condition where your nutrient intake is so low that your body holds onto everything (including your fat stores) to survive.
When structuring a fat loss diet, there’s no need to go to extremes with your calorie reductions, start with a 20% deficit and that should be more than enough to get fat melting away.
Fat loss is a tricky venture, but it doesn’t have to be a hopeless or stressful one. When you do hit a sticking point on your quest for a shredded physique, take time to assess where you are and use the tips above to re-ignite your metabolic engine and keep the fat flying off!
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