7 reasons you’re exercising more and not losing weight

So you’ve started eating better, walking more, going to the gym, or you’re training for a 5km race. Brilliant! You expected the weight to drop off, so why aren’t you seeing RESULTS?

Here are 6 top reasons:

  1. You are ‘good’ all day with your eating and are distracted enough to avoid eating too much. But by the evening you are hungry and attack the bread, cheese, breakfast cereal, biscuits, ice-cream etc. This is the most common mistake I see my clients making. You need to eat more during the day to stop the evening over eating.
  2. Exercising can result in an increase in your appetite, so you eat more. If you are genuinely more hungry, ensure you are eating protein at each meal (eggs, fish, chicken, cottage cheese are great choices), lots of fruit/veg, a high protein yoghurt, milky coffee or tea, water. Consider bringing a meal forward by an hour if you are ravenous.
  3. You eat more before and/or after your session to fuel the exercise. One of the most common mistakes I see is someone having a milkshake drink after 40 minutes in the gym to aid recovery, often followed with in a few hours of a normal meal. A typical bottle of milkshake will provide 300-400kcal, essentially replacing the calories you’ve just burned off. If you are exercising to lose weight, then you need a calorie deficit ie. burning more than you eat/drink.
    Post exercise shakes have their place, but watch the extra calories!

    Post exercise shakes have their place, but watch the extra calories!

    Although extra food/drinks may be necessary for long and strenuous workouts, for shorter workouts less than an hour, the need isn’t as significant. Normal meal and snacks around exercise should be enough eg. snack of an apple or banana 1-2 hours before a workout, yoghurt after.

  4. You are trying to be too healthy – yes really! You’re think you’re doing all the right things – snacking on nuts or rice cakes with peanut butter; lots of avocado in salads; extra pumpkin seeds and flaxseed in your porridge. Thing is, even healthy fats are high in calories: a tablespoon of most nutty things  have about 120 kcal. Half an avocado has about 150 kcal. They all add up.
  5. You think you can eat what you want because you exercise – if only! A 3 mile run will burn approximately 300 kcal. Not an excuse to have 6 biscuits or a whole pizza. Rewarding yourself with high fat/calorie ‘treat’ food can cancel out the good work done. Even professional athletes who have multiple training sessions each day have to be careful with their diets.
  6. You need to change your workout – you run for 40 minutes three times a week, or sit on a exercise bike and do some crunches. Your body adapts to what you do day in day out. You need to challenge your body. If you want to change, you need to change what you are doing!
  7. You sit down for the rest of the day – You have an intensive workout for an hour, so you don’t feel so bad about taking the car for journeys that you could walk. You need to stay as active as you can, humans are born to move. If you feel too exhausted to do anything but sit down for the rest of the day, you are probably over doing the exercise.

Nutrition Basics for Weight Loss

 

Making wholesome and nutritious food choices for most of your meals and snacks can have a profound effect on your weight and health. All too often we are bombarded with confusing and complex messages about diets and nutrition products, from the internet, friends and even fitness coaches.

So the secret is to keep it simple, you don’t need a lot of exotic ingredients or off the wall diets. Fill your fridge with vegetables, lean meat, eggs and lower fat dairy, and your cupboards with wholesome carbs and tinned fish, tomatoes, nuts, seeds etc. Frozen vegetables are just as good, and often better nutritionally than fresh.

What does a healthy meal for weight loss look like? Try this:

veggies

  • 1/2 plate: salad/vegetables/fruit
  • 1/4 plate protein: chicken, pork, beef, fish, beans, lentils
  • 1/4 plate starchy food: potatoes, rice, pasta, quinoa, cous cous, wholemeal bread
  • use oils and oily dressings sparingly

Most people have far too much starchy food eg. big plate pasta, and not enough veg.

How does this translate to real life? Here are some examples…..

Breakfast:

  • Berry Banana Breakfast Bake
  • Granola with milk
  • handful porridge oats, water, milk, berries/raisins

    Nag's muesli

    Homemade muesli

  • 1 wholemeal toast, little bit of butter, 2 boiled/poached/dry fried eggs
  • Natural yoghurt & fruit, 1 toast
  • Homemade muesli
  • Summer oats
  • Shake: milk, spoon of yoghurt, banana/berries, honey
  • 2 Weetabix, milk, banana

Meals:

  • 4 no effort meals
  • Spaghetti bolognaise: 1/4 plate spaghetti, add extra veg to bolognaise (grated carrot, extra tin tomatoes). Serve with side salad or Deidre’s coleslawimage
  • Meatballs in tomato sauce with extra veg & pasta
  • Rice, salmon, carrots & broccoli
  • Wholemeal pitta, tuna mixed with natural yoghurt/light mayo, chopped pepper, spring onion & lettuce
  • 1 wholemeal toast, little bit of butter, 2 boiled/poached/dry fried eggs
  • bowl of salad leaves, grated carrot, peas, sunflower & pumpkin seeds, chopped up chicken or flaked salmon

    image

    wholemeal bread, tuna with light mayo & yoghurt, carrot, spring onion, pepper

  • Super food salad with some chicken/fish
  • Lentil & tomato soup

Snacks (hunger often confused with thirst, so first have a glass water/cup of tea or coffee):

  • Apple & handful almonds
  • Rice cake with peanut butter/quark & small dollop of pesto
  • Homemade flapjack
  • Yoghurt & strawberries image
  • Humous and carrot sticks
  • Glass of milk and banana/raisins
  • Skinny latte & apple

Tips:

  • stick to 1 portion of meals, if still hungry fill up up more veg/fruit
  • avoid creamy sauces, choose tomato sauces/vegetable based ones
  • be aware that oils (yes, even olive oil) has 100kcal per tablespoon. Use but don’t over do it. If eating out, ask for dressing on the side.
  • Be aware that sugary drinks (including pure fruit juice) can add significant calories to your diet. Go for water, tea, coffee, herbal teas, diluted cordial, or diet drinks instead.
  • Drink a large glass of water before a meal
  • Don’t put pot of food on table, serve up in kitchen to avoid picking at extras
  • By all means have ice cream, but not everyday and just a few scoops, not half the tub. Same goes for biscuits, crisps, chocolate, wine, beer etc. Not everyday and control the amounts.
  • Be aware that ‘light’, ‘lite’ or reduced fat doesn’t mean low in fat, just that it is 25% lower than full fat version.
  • Use natural yoghurt instead of mayonnaise,  or mix half yoghurt with half reduced fat mayo
  • If you are at work with limited access to appropriate food choices, bring your own food from home.
  • more tips28d3c13686b38426ee21fff84fe238a7.jpg

I hope some of these ideas may be of use to you. If it all seems a bit too much, just pick one or two ideas each week. Gradual changes that become habit are more likely to be of long term benefit than making massive changes that can be overwhelming.

Mark Twain: Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.

Be good to yourself…..food demons BOG OFF!!

We all know the benefits of being ‘healthy’. But if living a healthy lifestyle was easy, then everyone would be doing it, right? On paper, eating nutritious food and taking regular exercise is a no brainer. So what’s the problem?

I hate the thought of food being categorised as ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’. I believe no food should be demonised, however it’s an unavoidable fact  that some foods nourish our bodies more than others. Nobody is obliged to be healthy all the time. We all have unhealthy habits, and these are up to us as individuals with minds of our own. Happiness is what matters, not a social standard of what is deemed as healthy.

If you really do feel content with your diet, whether you live on burgers and chips or have a nutritionally brilliant diet, then that’s nobody’s business but your own. If you feel that you would be happier by making changes to what you eat, but find it difficult, then here are some motivation ideas that you might find helpful…..

  • You’ll never regret choosing the more positive option eg. yoghurt and strawberries over a bar of chocolate. Before making a choice, ask how you will feel in an hour. Think of how great you will feel psychologically and physically after a whole week or month of making daily positive choices.
  • “I deserve this, I’ve had a hard day”. Try not to use food as a reward, to relieve stress or to make you happy. Food is primarily fuel for our bodies. Once again think longer term….how will you feel in an hour after eating half (or a whole) tub of ice cream? How much better would you feel rewarding yourself in other ways eg. walk to the shop after dinner to buy yourself a magazine or a tub of cherries to munch on the way home.
  • We often tell ourselves that we can’t do without something that we have regularly. A common thing to hear is “I’m addicted to chocolate” or “I’m addicted to bread”. Your mind is powerful in both positive and negative ways. If you want to change your habit, turn the negative in to the positive. By saying: “I’m addicted, therefore I can’t do anything about it”, you are essentially removing your responsibility for what you feed yourself.  Tell yourself, “I am in control of my thoughts, I am in control of what I buy, and I am in control of what I feed my body.”
  • Sometimes, it’s as if the biscuit tin is calling you, drawing your hand towards it like a magnet. If it helps, imagine a little demon on your shoulder. It is telling you to have another biscuit and, go on just one more, and, well, you may as well finish the lot. Tell it in the strongest possible way (!) to bog off and to stop sabotaging your efforts.
  • If you can’t resist temptation, then make things easier on yourself by not having the foods you are trying to avoid in the cupboard or fridge. Get. Rid. Of. It. People often tell me, ‘but it’s for the kids/ visitors’. Too much of it is not good for you and it’s not good for them either. Replace with healthier alternatives.

Ultimately, we have to take responsibility for ourselves. Isn’t it a great thing that we can!?