1)You’re eating too much
2)You’re eating too much
3)You’re eating too much
In all seriousness, this is the cause of weight gain. Too many calories in over time, with the body not able to expend them, leads to fat gain. Notice that I say “losing fat” vs. “losing weight”.
Weight loss is dumb. Weight loss is frustrating, confusing, and random. Unfortunately, so many people only focus on weight loss, instead of really focussing on fat loss.
If you lose weight, here’s what could be lost:
- A limb
If you lose body fat, here is what could be lost:
The goal should never be to lose water weight, lose muscle, or most definitely not a limb. So how can you determine if you are losing fat?
Many options, but my favorites include:
- Belly button measurement – if it goes down or up, this MAY be from water retention, but over the long term, it is a good basic measurement of body fatness.
- Skinfold measurements – make sure you get them down by someone who actually knows what they are doing. Still plenty of room for error.
- DEXA Scan – the gold standard of body fat analysis, but it will cost you $75-$100.
- The clothes test – do your clothes fit better? Down a size?
- The naked mirror test – how do you look to yourself?
Back to the topic of this post, you need to focus on the “why”, not the what.
Just stepping on the scale or measuring your waist makes you aware of body fat, but it doesn’t change anything. This is the desired result, not the desired process.
The 3 areas that I see most people underestimating their intakes on are:
You Drink Too Many Calories
Alcohol, soda, milk, juice, creamers, all add up to your total caloric intake. Some are obviously better options than others. If you can stick to zero-calorie drinks as much as possible – water being ideal – this will make the process so much easier.
Alcohol especially is a double whammy on the fat loss goal. When you drink, your body diverts energy to break down the alcohol – because it is toxic. Where does it divert this energy from? Your fatty acid oxidation and muscle protein synthesis pathways. When alcohol enters your body, your fat burning system slows down, AND your muscle building/repair system also slows down.
5 beers might “only” be 600 calories – but the caloric toll it takes on the body is likely closer to 1000+ because of the slowing of your other metabolic processes.
Not saying you can never drink – but I recommend a self-audit on your intake, and if you are over 3-4 drinks per week, this might be an area to address.
You Snack Too Much
A nibble here, a bite there…it all counts.
If you try to stick to 3 square meals a day with nothing in between, could you do it? This strategy has worked for many of my clients based on the pure fact that they are chronic snackers.
At the moment little bites of things don’t seem like much. But look at how it can add up – and even with “good” foods.
500 calories, mostly from carb and fat. This might be an okay meal (little skimpy on protein if you ask me), but these are things that most people might have here or there during a day, and even if they track their food, they forget about. These aren’t massive portions either.
Awareness is key, and sometimes cutting back on areas that you know you struggle with is what it takes.
You Are Too Impatient
Lastly – the big one. Your body is always going through changes. As stated earlier, water weight can fluctuate like crazy, and this can drive people nuts. This is why it is very important to focus on the long game, watch your progress from week to week, month to month – instead of day to day.
Observe this 2-month stretch. Between the lines is 10 pounds.
You can see the day to day ups and downs. But the overall trend is money. It’s easy to get discouraged after a few days of hard work and nothing to be seen on the scale. This is where most people say screw it and give up. You have to get past this point. This is also why DAILY weighing can be so powerful and helpful.
Can you imagine if the weight was only measured on a weekly basis? That is where all the highest peaks are! (This person always weighed the most on Mondays…as is typical 🙂 This would be tremendously frustrating and psychologically disastrous to most people.
With daily weighing, you can see the trend over the long haul, and with the right mindset approach – this can make a huge difference.
Before you toss out your scale and down a dozen doughnuts in anger, remember – you are likely eating too much over THE LONGER period of time, not day to day – and this is okay, but if you want to make change, you gotta take some action, and it starts with taking a good honest look at yourself.
Like what you read? Want to get up to date blog posts sent directly to your email? Sign up below!
Stay healthy my friends,