It may come as a surprise to hear that the average client who seeks out weight loss with a dietitian is often not carrying that much extra weight.
Rather it’s quite common in my line of work to consult with individuals who are already eating well and exercising regularly, but finding that they are still not able to achieve significant weight loss.
Naturally this can be extremely frustrating, so if you too feel as if you are eating a healthy diet, yet the scales refuse to budge, here are the most common reasons that your healthy eating regime may not be resulting in shedding body fat.
Your timing is off
It was once thought that weight loss was based on a simple equation of calories in versus calories out, but the more scientists learn about the specificities of fat metabolism, the more we come to realise that fat metabolism is a whole lot more complicated than that.
One of these new areas of knowledge has revealed that meal timing is important, and basically the human body is programmed to store more calories at night. This means for the average person who eats lightly through the first half of the day before consuming a large chunk of calories throughout the afternoon and evening, no matter how healthy your diet is, it will be tough to shed extra kilos. In turn this means that if your goal is weight loss, a larger breakfast and lunch followed by a light dinner is the way to go.
Your macros are not right
In current times where low-carb, Keto and Paleo eating are all in vogue, more and more people are focusing on their macros, or how much carbohydrate, protein and fat they are consuming.
And sure, macros are important, particularly the amount of carbohydrate we consume. Too little carbohydrate for the amount of activity you’re doing will halt fat loss if you’re not eating a particularly low-carb diet such as Keto. While too much carbohydrate overall can, too, slow down fat metabolism.
The average person will successfully lose ½-1 kilo each week on a diet of 30-40 per cent carbohydrate or between 80-120 grams for the average female. So if you’re unsure as to why your reduced calorie plan is not yielding results, it may be worth taking a look at exactly how much carbohydrate you are consuming using a monitoring program such as ‘myfitnesspal’.
Your calories are off
In a quest to slash calorie intake it can be possible to slash a little too much, especially if you are exercising.
At a minimum, a small female will need at least 1200 calories a day plus an extra 200-300 per hour of exercise. This means if you are only eating 800 or 1000 calories a day plus taking a cycle class or cross fit session multiple times a week, you will actually need a few more calories to ensure the body has enough calories available to actually burn body fat.
While this may sound counter intuitive, it often explains why those eating very little, but constantly exercising, are not getting any leaner despite their efforts.
You are eating more than you think
Mindless munching can get the better of many of us whether it is munching on the kids’ leftovers, being feed some extra cake in the office or grabbing a couple of extra snacks or coffee throughout the day. And the biggest issue of all is that we may not even be aware of it.
If you know that you eat a little more than you plan to each day, trying writing down everything that you eat and drink for a day or two. Not only will this make you a whole lot more aware of your overall calorie intake, but where the mindless nibbling most commonly takes place, so you can take control of it.
You are overdoing the healthy foods
Unfortunately just because a food is healthy does not mean that we can eat as much of it as we like. This can be especially true when high calorie ‘healthy foods’ including nuts, oils, spreads, dried fruits, juices and smoothies can add hundreds of extra calories into our diets in extremely small volumes of food.
Keep in mind that we only need 60-80g of good fats each day, which equates to as little as a couple of tablespoons of oil or nut spread, and just 3-4 dates. Keeping an eye on the portions of these high calorie yet healthy foods can ultimately be the difference between a daily calorie deficit, and weight loss, or not.
Author Susie Burrell is a leading Australian dietitian and nutritionist, founder of Shape Me, and prominent media spokesperson, with regular appearances in both print and television media commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss and nutrition.
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