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This list is by no means exhaustive, just a few observations that may bring you closer to figuring out your own fat loss puzzle.
1) Not addressing hormone issues.
Get your thyroid / cortisol / blood sugar etc tested. Book in to see a naturopath or GP who specialises in or has a good track record of helping people with metabolic problems. They will normally advertise the fact that they specialise or can help you with weightloss, hormonal issues, thyroid problems etc. Males also need to check testosterone, esp if over 40.
2) Not addressing food sensitivities / gut-immune activation.
Many people will notice significant weight loss, as well as decreased bloating / fluid retention & systemic inflammation (it’s literally like watching someone shrinking) when they figure out & start to avoid their food intolerances. The most common offenders are wheat & dairy (great idea to try a 6 week no wheat & dairy trial & just observe your body’s reaction) but there can be many other food intolerances as well – like nuts, soy, corn, eggs etc. You’ll have loads more energy for exercising too if your immune system isn’t expending so much on being reactive & intolerant!
3) Eating too many ‘healthy sugars’ after quitting regular.
Most people can’t eat raw paleo brownies & vegan ice-cream washed down with large bottles of cold pressed fruit juice every day & stay skinny. These ‘healthier versions’ of regular treats can still mess with your metabolism & cause you to pack on the pounds if you’re not careful. Some options are much better than others, look for higher protein / good fats & fibre, & less refined sweeteners, & treat ‘raw treats’ with respect! Watch your serving sizes & consume these treats ideally before or after a workout or doing something active like gardening or cleaning (not while laying on the couch before bedtime!)
4) Excess Fruit.
Too much fruit – esp in one sitting = too much sugar in one hit. It still gets converted into fat by your liver, like other sugars. By the time you’re halfway through a big glass of juice, you’re topping up your fat). If you love your fruit – choose the more of the high fibre, lower sugar types – ie berries (great option as they’re also high in gut-healthy, weightloss promoting polyphenols).
5) Not managing your stress
Your stress hormones cause your metabolism to switch to fat storage mode. Plus – many people cope with stress by eating comfort foods.
6) Consistently getting poor sleep
Same problem as being stressed – your metabolism switches to insulin resistance & fat storage, plus you’ll wake up feeling less like exercising.
7) Too much beer
A beer belly is not called a beer belly for nothing – switch from 3 beers after work to a glass of red, or find the lowest carb option.
8) Too much alcohol in general.
You’ll eat more crap & exercise less in general if you’re a heavy drinker. For better health (mental & physical) & fat loss outcomes – stick to minimal drinking. A max of 1 glass of red daily for the ladies & 2 for the blokes is the current ‘expert’ consensus. If you’re currently a daily drinker, & struggle with weight – quit for a few weeks & see what happens. Every drink you don’t have adds up calorie wise.
9) Filling up before you’re empty.
Eating breakfast before using your morning ‘fat-burning window’ is a recipe for slow & steady weight gain. First thing in the morning when you wake up is the best time to burn your fat stores. Don’t eat anything if you’re just doing low intensity exercise like walking, if doing something very taxing you may be better off having something small & easily digestible (i.e. a little fruit) just prior to starting (so you don’t go into stress mode when exercising – see what feels best for you).
10) Eating dessert often.
You’ve just eaten a meal, you should be full…but still you’re not ‘satisfied?’ A delicious fat & sugar bomb after a meal can double your calorie intake, without adding any extra nutrition – & mean you’ll store the excess energy on your belly / hips / butt / arms / chin. If you’re always craving something sweet after a meal, get into the habit of having a small piece of dark choc or some nuts & berries instead if you must. Make sure your meal has enough fat, protein & fibre to be satisfying & sustaining. If you’re ‘being good’ & ordering the salad instead of the steak & chips, yet you’re always left hungry afterwards, you’re kidding yourself. Just order the steak, but lose the chips & ask for veg & salad instead.
11) Drinking your calories.
People tend not to count a glass of milk, juice, soft drink, beer, wine, tea or coffee (with sugar & milk) as ‘food’. These are all just liquid food. You often sip on things like these throughout the day, providing a constant stream of excess ‘fuel’ to prevent you from burning any fat – ever. You will only burn fat when there is no available glucose in your bloodstream. Choose herb teas, plain water, sparkling water with lemon / lime, protein shakes post workout, black coffee pre workout…& be conscious that when you do have an alcoholic drink, your lowest calorie option will be a spirit with sparkling water (ie a vodka lime & soda).
12) Trying to operate with inadequate protein.
If you’re working your muscles you need to also feed & support them, otherwise your body is forced to break itself down in order to keep working. Your metabolism is not the only thing that will suffer if your protein intake is too low – you’ll also notice it in your skin hair & nails, your immune system & your mental health.
13) Being scared of muscle building.
So many people – especially females, work their guts out exercising in ways that are not efficient at muscle building, & then give up when weightloss results are too slow. Switch the focus to more efficient muscle-building exercises, & you’ll build heaps of little ‘fat burning machines’ all over your body & get much quicker toning results. Ladies, you won’t end up looking like a bloke if you start to lift a few weights – you don’t have the hormones for it! Guys know how hard it can be to get huge muscles, they generally do have the hormones (& they’re trying)!
14) Food timing
Some people find the weight miraculously falls off them when they start to have breakfast later or dinner earlier, so have a play around with your daily feed times. Ie intermittent fasting will increase your ‘akkermansia’ gut bugs, which seem to help push your metabolism away from the insulin resistant / diabetic state into a much healthier state.
15) Going gluten free without considering food quality.
Junk food is still junk food, even if it’s gluten free. Going GF onto processed crap will not make you healthier or skinnier. Crap is crap, whether it’s GF crap or not. Many GF foods (i.e. breads, pastas, cakes, bars, flours etc) are actually much higher in refined carbs (which convert straight into sugar once you eat them), than their gluten-filled but whole-grain alternatives. There is research showing that going GF can make you more prone to diabetes, obesity etc – this is why (not because gluten is protective or healthy – but because GF processed foods can often make you fatter than gluten-containing processed foods). Basically – if you just replace regular junk food with GF junk food, you’ll likely end up more insulin resistant & fatter. Be careful – GF does NOT always equal healthier.
So yummy, so addictive, so easy, so practical, & it’s everywhere. Minimise it, & choose something unrefined, sprouted, GF & not too tasty! Overconsumption of bread is the enemy of weightloss for so many. Best options are generally found in the fridge in your local health store. Ie a sprouted buckwheat loaf is one of my faves. Chop slices thin, use them for toast & pile them high with super-nutritious fillings like eggs, avocado, hommous, tomato, mushrooms, asparagus, salmon, pesto, sprouts, nut butters…don’t make bread the main part of your snack or meal – use the minimum amount to carry your other good foods.
17) Being too busy / failing to prepare.
I’m totally guilty! You know what makes you fat, you know what you should be eating through the day but you forget / don’t make the time to shop for it, prepare it, carry it with you – so you end up eating sub-optimally through your own lack of forward-thinking & organisation. Write reminders & lists, set your phone, allow time, wake up earlier…get it together & you’ll see results!
18) Chronic constipation.
Some people are literally carrying around kilo’s of crap everywhere they go (along with a not-so-healthy gut microbiome). Focus on your gut health to optimise daily elimination, decrease gut-immune system activated inflammation & decrease the reabsorption of toxins from your overloaded bowel.
19) Unhealthy friends.
The people you hang out with can heavily influence your weight – think about it. You share your food & drink habits, your recipes, your cafe & restaurant outings, your social occasions & parties – even your excuses & attitudes to fitness – with your mates. Ask yourself “is this person likely to be my friend or my enemy on a health & weightloss journey?” You may need to have a heart-to-heart chat with a few mates or explain why you’ll be giving upcoming outings a miss. Or – ask them to help you out / join you. If they’re just not sharing your desire to get healthier, you might need to distance yourself for a while, until you’re confident you’ve really settled into some unshakeable & strong healthy habits.
20) Environment / lifestyle.
You’ll need some serious changes or coping strategies if you’re working in a doughnut shop & you get unlimited staff freebies, if you love pies & have to walk past a bakery to get to & from work…if your apartment is on top of a sweet-smelling pizza shop…if your job involves 8hrs daily in front of a computer or behind a wheel…if your cousin owns a cake shop & delivers the surplus to you each week…if your work has a friday drinks or take away treat each week… So many times, you can figure out little things that are totally sabotaging your efforts & figure out ways to change them.
Many times when you feel ‘hungry’ you’re actually just thirsty. Drink plenty throughout the day, take a bottle everywhere you go.
22) Make some trolley / shopping basket rules.
If it doesn’t get put into your trolley, it has less chance of getting into your fridge, & even less chance of getting into your belly & onto your hips. Just walk past, keep walking (even if the Tim Tams are half price – they are not welcome in your basket). Avoid the junk food aisles where you can, ask family members to hide things that derail you (properly)!
Ask your Dr or pharmacist if your meds could be influencing your weight (often they do), & if there’s a possibility to change something. Book into a holistic GP, or find a pharmacy with a naturopath who can work with your pharmacist & GP to find ways to better support your efforts.
I hope you found some useful info to help you with your weightloss – it’s the question that just keeps coming up, over & over. So many are struggling & the answer is not the same for everyone! Love to hear what you’ve found most useful in your journey?