“I’ve been dieting for x amount of weeks now and eating very clean. I’m cut out soda and only eat carbs with breakfast. I’ve been doing to the gym and going cardio every day. My weight has barely changed.”
Sounds familiar? This is the situation I most commonly hear or see asked. If this is you or even if your just interested, these are the first things to do when faced with this situation.
- Get the idea of clean and unclean food out of your head. The focus is what is the macros of the food (protein, carbs, fat). It is all about moderation. I have cereal every day. Oh no. It’s the end of the world. Not.
- You need to track your food. Weight everything. Even measuring cups can be off by up to 20%. I stared using one measuring cup over another at home because I knew it held more food, but I mentally was like “nope its the same.” If I filled both 1/2 cup measuring cups up with the same food and put them on a scale, they were different. Now this may only be a small difference, but if you are doing it for multiple foods a day, calories can add up. I do use measuring cups here and there, but when given the choice, I weigh.
- If you already track your food, you need to make sure you are doing it right. As in the above and finding the correct macros for the food in myfitnesspal or looking it up. Don’t pick the healthier item in myfitnesspal just because its the healthier item. If you have a burger at Applebees and can’t find Applebees, pick one from Red Robin. Don’t input a homemade burger instead because it is better macro wise. This is not going to get you anywhere.
- Okay. You are weighing everything correctly. You understand you can eat whatever as long as it fits your goals. You still aren’t losing weight. Then you are not at a caloric deficit. You need to first find your maintenance level (the amount of calories you can eat to stay the same weight you are). There are many calculators out there that can estimate it for you, but it’s most accurate by giving it a test run. Eat the same amount of calories every day for 2 weeks and weigh yourself at the start day and last day. After you find this number, decrease that amount within reason. I’d say 200-300 calories a day less. If you think your maintenance is 1200…you are wrong. If you try to tell me your maintenance is anything less than 1600, you need to go use a iifym calculator because it will be more accurate than what you are thinking.
- Stop eating only 1200 calories or less. Your body thinks it is starving and therefore, is storing all your food as fat. If you eat less, you will lose muscle too. If you are eating this little, you are wrecking your metabolism and need to start rebuilding it pronto. Don’t start dieting at a huge deficit either. For example, if you are currently eating 2000, don’t go eat 1300. This is way too big a jump and will leave your body craving and most likely, you will binge eat. As well, where are you going to go when your body gets used to 1300? Your going to eat less? This is a vicious cycle so many are stuck in. They diet to fast and hurt their bodies. Do it the right way and you will see the change you want.
- Cardio is great for fat loss (if you have fat to lose), but weight lifting is even better. Many girls try to lose weight when they really need to build muscle to get the look they want. You need to be eating over maintenance or at it to gain muscle. If you have no muscle and lose weight, you just look thin. And, you burn fat longer through weight lifting. Figure out what your goals are. You can still do cardio if that is your thing, but an hour a day? No. Do HITT a few days a week for 15 or hit the stairmaster for 20 mins. Do this while lifting heavy.
- Forget Body Fat %– Most of them are inaccurate. DEXA is supposed to be good, but honestly, I’ve never known my body fat. I go by the mirror the the changes I see.
- Carbs and Fat are never off limits– My diet right now is almost 50% carbs. You should have .8-1g of protein per lb of body weight, .35% fat (AT LEAST), and the rest carbs.
Example: I am 123lbs. 120 protein, 50 fat, 240 carbs 1900 calories. I could eat more fat; I struggle to match this macro goal.
9. You can have carbs whenever– I don’t believe in the “breakfast is the biggest meal of the day” or “Don’t eat anything pass 8pm.” I don’t eat until I’m hungry. Sometimes that is 8am, sometimes that is 12pm. If I workout, it typically is earlier so that’s when I eat. I eat most of my day’s worth of carbs before bed. I did this even when prepping for a show. You’ll be fine. Don’t let magazines and old fads fool you. OH and you also do not need to race home from the gym to have protein within a half hour. Studies show you have a few hours even. True or not? I’m not a scientist, but I don’t rush home.
To recap: Figure out what you need to eat to be in a deficit. Figure out your macros. EAT. Track accurately. Lift weights..HEAVY weights. Stop believing what you hear about carbs and eating timing. Forget body fat.
*If you do these things consistently for I’d say a month or more and there is no change, see a doctor. Being in a deficit should equal weight loss for anyone unless there is an underlying medical condition happening.