I am frequently approached with the same age old question: Why am I not losing weight? People tend to give me the usual list of reasons why they think they should be losing weight: I am eating 'x' calories per day. I'm running a couple of times a week. I'm lifting weights. But I am still overweight and that number on the scale won't budge.
When asked this question, I wonder: What is the person's number one goal? Are they currently suffering from nagging aches and pains? Are they struggling to perform daily activities without assistance? Are they tired and looking for more energy? Or are they just unhappy with the way they look? Each of these goals can have a specific treatment plan, but they all require variability. If you think it's your goal to simply weigh less when you step on a scale, we need to dig deeper and figure out the real reason you want that.
I find that diet is usually a huge part of the weight loss problem, but for different reasons than most people think. If you are eating the same low calorie diet every day and you aren't losing weight, or you don't have enough energy, you're probably not eating the right foods. We have to be careful when we target just one aspect of our nutrition, in this case - calories. Sure, eating a reasonable number of calories is important, but so is eating calories of nutrient rich foods. You will likely feel much more energized eating a variety of foods rich in nutrients rather than eating an equivalent number of calories in sugar. Try eating fresh fruits, greens, or nuts for an energy boost. There are great options for nut butters with no added sugar, and with so many flavors available, you're guaranteed to find one you like. Snacks should be more along the lines of Sunflower seeds and an apple, not a granola bar (processed) and coffee with milk (dairy can be pro-inflammatory). In fact, if you have been eating dairy everyday for a while, try stopping for a few days and see how you feel. Many people feel much better!
I think your metabolism works harder when it's not given the same diet everyday. Have more calories some days, and other days don't eat as much. Eat a big breakfast tomorrow, and then save most of your appetite for dinner the next day. This more closely resembles what life would be like if we didn't have a supermarket and a food trunk every 50 feet. If our bodies are used to one thing, they have no reason to adapt. Just like how exercising should be variable and always changing, so should your food choices.
Keep in mind, what you eat affects more than just that number on the scale. Eat food that gives you energy and makes you feel good and stop eating when you aren't hungry anymore.
By Alexander Vergara
Alex has been training clients of movement and fitness since 2008. He has worked with reputable companies such as Equinox, and has earned certifications in Animal Flow, Kettle Bell Athletics, Trigger Point Therapy, Pre/Post-natal, ViPR, and Power Plate. His degree in Nutrition and Dietetics further allows him to understand the impact of lifestyle change from a nutritional perspective. Alex is co-owner of MSP Athletics. Follow him on Instagram @themovementmasters.