You're eating well and training hard but you don't feel like your clothes are getting any looser, or that number on the scale just won't move, sound familiar? I've totally been there. It was one of the most frustrating places I sat - I was training 3 times a week with a personal trainer absolutely smashing my training consistently and eating so clean, but for some reason I wasn't seeing any changes in my body.
There are a number of factors that contribute to preventing you from losing unwanted fat, some you may have never considered that could be the lightbulb moment helping to get you closer to smashing your goals - here are the top 9 reasons you might be struggling to lose fat!
1. You're eating too much
Sounds obvious, I know! But when I saw the biggest change in decreasing my body fat percentage it was because I started counting macros. I saw that whilst I was eating the 'right' foods, I was eating way too much of them portion wise. As soon as I adjusted my portion sizes, I saw results in like 4 weeks.
2. You're not eating enough
Yep! This is totally a thing. People tend to cut out entire food groups (carbs or fats) thinking this will kick start fat loss, but it can actually do the opposite! When you cut your portion sizes your body goes into starvation mode and starts overcompensating by storing everything as fat thus damaging your metabolism.
So, what happens to your metabolism when you don't eat enough calories...
- Decreased leptin (the hormone that tells you when you're full)
- Decreased muscle mass (muscle thrives on calories, when these are restricted the body starts to break down muscle tissue for energy)
- Testosterone levels reduced (harder to put on + maintain muscle mass)
3. You think you're eating 'clean'
You might think you're eating 'healthy' foods that are actually laden with refined sugar and other nasties. Think cereals (filled with sugar), muesli bars, juices, some protein bars etc.. reading nutrition labels are really important when buying packaged foods (that gives me a blog post idea!). Here are some swap examples you can try to reduce the amount of calories + refined sugars you're consuming:
4. You're only focussing on cardio
Prolonged cardio can actually work against you, because it chews into your muscle mass rather than your fat stores, instead you should focus on HIIT (high intensity interval training) to burn fat. HIIT comprises of a working period and a resting or low intensity period i.e 15 minutes total with every minute comprising 30 seconds work, 30 seconds rest - by alternating the high and low intensity periods our bodies enhance aerobic condition and muscular strength. Including weight training into our routine enables us to burn calories even after we've finished a workout (sometimes for 72 hours) by elevating our metabolism through EPOC (excess post-exercise consumption).
5. You're stressed AF
Cortisol (stress hormone) when chronically increased can cause body fat storage, even if you've got the cleanest diet + tightest gym schedule + output. Important to incorporate relaxation + downtime into your daily routine like taking a bath, read a book, yoga or stretching.
6. You're not getting enough zzz's
Put basically, poor or irregular sleep stuffs up your hormones. Ghrelin (makes you feel hungrier when increased) and leptin (mentioned above, when decreased makes it harder to tell when you're full). Get your zzz's!
7. You're inconsistent
Results take time, remember that. If you're doing everything right, and have your hormones in check the results will come, but from my own experience they take time but man are they worth it! Also make sure you're measuring your results properly - progress photos, body fat % scans, how your clothes fit you rather than putting all of the pressure on the scales!
8. Your gut health is suffering
This is one I've experienced personally - the gut is responsible for producing most of your serotonin (feel good hormone) which links back to your mental health. It's where the immune system lies + is responsible for digesting your food into fuel, so if you've got poor gut health and are unable to turn your food into fuel a number of issues arise (fatigue, bloating, cravings, weight gain).
9. Your thyroid is out of whack
This guy is in charge of a number of things, the one we're focussed on is your metabolism. If you feel you're doing all the right things (keeping the above in mind) it might be time to get your thyroid checked - hypothyroid (under-performing) = decline in metabolic rate.
I hope these tips have given you something to think about! Shout out if you've got any questions as always!
Lot's of love,