You know the feeling – you are training regularly, getting your steps up and eating a calorie-controlled diet, yet the scales refuse to budge. The body is a very smart machine and fat loss can be tricky, especially when you only have a few kilos to lose, and are already eating pretty well and exercising. So, if you are getting frustrated that your efforts are not paying off, here are some of the common reasons your weight loss has halted.
1) Your carbs are too low.
Whilst low and reduced carbohydrate diets work well initially, over time as the body becomes more efficient in burning calories, and for those who are exercising it is entirely possible to be eating too little carbohydrate to support fat metabolism. As the muscle requires glucose from carbohydrate to efficiently metabolise fat, when carbohydrates are too high for ketosis but too low to adequately fuel the muscle, weight loss can halt. While we do not necessarily need huge amounts of carbohydrate, especially as we get older and find ourselves sitting for much of the day, the average person will still need at least 100g of carbohydrates each day. So, if you have been strict on the carbs, take a look at how much you are actually having with each meal and aim for at least 100g each day, even if you taper your intake throughout the afternoon and evening.
2) Your timing is off
It is common to see busy, active people eat lightly through the first half of the day, before becoming increasingly hungry throughout the day and eventually overeating at night. Eating a higher proportion of calories throughout the afternoon and evening can impact fat metabolism as hormonally we are programmed to burn calories throughout the day and store at night. Shift your intake forward by focusing on a substantial breakfast and lunch before lightening your intake through the afternoon and evening. If you do like to enjoy a glass of wine or sweet treat after dinner, all you need to do is keep your dinner light to allow for these extra calories whilst still remaining in a calorie deficit to enable fat loss.
3) The little extras are slipping in
It may be a couple of biscuits in the office tea room, or a few bites of the kid’s dinner or an extra coffee and piece of banana bread when you catch up with a friend but let’s be honest, little extras can easily slip into our daily diet. It is often these calories, consumed mindlessly that can equate to a couple of hundred extra calories a day and be the difference between losing weight and not. One of the easiest ways to take control of mindless munching is to simply write down everything that goes into your mouth for a day or two. You may be surprised at how much slips in without you realizing it, even though your diet is ‘healthy’.