I get this question all the time. “I’m doing everything right,” they say. “How come I’m not losing more weight?” Whether it’s somebody who has been pounding away at Insanity for a couple of weeks, or who’s about to finish their first round of P90X, people will often climb onto that dreaded scale and get disheartened. Expectations run high when people start, and yearning for a total body transformation, they pour their heart and soul into their workouts, only to find themselves betrayed when they haven’t dropped the 50lbs they hoped to lose. What’s happening here? What went wrong, and why?
First, let’s be clear about something. You could be guilty of one of the reasons below, all of them, or none. It’s impossible to tell what your particular situation is, and so if for example you have a hormonal imbalance that’s throwing you off, for example, the below won’t address your particular case. Read the below as general guidelines, and odds are, one of them does indeed apply to you.
You Messed Up On the Nutrition Plan
This is the prime culprit of most people’s inability to lose weight, yet it’s also the one everybody believes they’re getting right. Truth of the matter is, getting your nutrition plan under control is much harder than exercising, and it’s also what can undo your efforts to lose weight. Let’s take a look at some common mistakes:
- You are still eating junk. Processed food, soda, fast food, too much white bread, white rice, pasta and potatoes, whatever. You’re eating pizza and downing beers and somehow still surprised you’re not losing weight. Wake up, buddy boy.
- You’re eating too little. Carried away by the desire to lose weight, you’ve cut your diet in half, and are now getting too few calories. What does this tell your body? That you’re in starvation mode. And what does your body then do? Horde fat, burn protein. Bad news. You need to eat enough to lose weight, as contradictory as that sounds.
- You’ve no idea as to how much you’re actually eating. You think you’re eating right, but you’re guesstimating, and just eat what ‘feels right’. Odds are you’re eating too much as a result. Calories in > calories burned, thus you don’t lose weight.
- You’re eating too much. You’ve carefully calculated your Resting Metabolic Rate, added the amount of calories burned through exercise, done all the equations and now have a number you’re carefully reaching. But the truth of the matter is that these equations are averages for people, and don’t take into account your personal metabolic rate, etc. So cut 100 calories off that number, and see how you feel. No change? Cut off another 100, and keep going till you’re losing weight steadily but still have enough energy to continue exercising. And avoid slipping into #2!
You Haven’t Exercised For Long Enough
People get all pumped up. They get that raging fever to turn into the next Mr. Olympia, and suddenly they want, no, they need results now. So they do the P90X Workout for a week, run a few miles every morning, and come Day 8, leap onto the scale and see that they’ve only lost 3 lbs. Outraged, they howl and declare the program and nutrition plan a bust. Ok, so maybe that’s a little exaggerated, but you guys get what I’m getting at. It takes time for these workouts to take effect. That’s why they’re 3 months long. In fact, you shouldn’t expect real changes for at least 3 weeks. That’s when your body will truly begin to respond to your new levels of exercise and respond to your nutrition plan. Until then? You might lose water weight, you might lose a little fat, but nothing substantial will happen. So patience, grasshopper. Keep at it, and you’ll see those results.
You’re Skimping On the Exercise
When you look at those transformational role models that have lost 45lbs and gained all that muscle, and are all healthy and smiles, you’ve got to understand something: those folks killed themselves to get there, working hard, eating right, and displaying a rare level of incredible discipline to do so. They didn’t miss a workout. They never had a ‘cheat’ pizza. They did it right, and that’s why they’re up on the screen as examples of what can be done. Too often people will think that if they miss a couple of workouts per week, if they have the occasional coke or McDonald’s meal, if they get drunk during Friday happy hour or eat a whole bucket of wings while watching the Sunday game with their friends, things will still work out alright. Then, a month or two in, when their results aren’t stellar, they get all upset and grumpy.
The truth is that you will get out of these programs what you put in. If you do a 50% effort, you’ll get 50% results (if that). If you do 75%, you’ll do better, but if you want intense, radical changes, you need to do it 100% right. So that means not skipping a workout. That means not cheating and eating that keylime pie for dessert. That means being hardcore. If you’re not being hardcore, don’t expect hardcore results.
So there you have it. I’d say that the vast majority of people you complain about not losing enough weight are messing up on their nutrition plan. They’ll swear they’re not, but trust me, they are. They’re eating too little, too much, or the wrong thing. That, or they’re skipping workouts, or expecting unrealistic results given how long they’ve been exercising. The hard truth is that losing weight requires discipline, time, and effort. There are no short cuts. You need to adopt a strict nutrition plan, workout consistently, get plenty of sleep and do it for 3 months. That’s all there is to it, folks, unless you’ve got something else going on that your doctor needs to check out.