Take it from me, losing fat is hard work. There is nothing more frustrating than looking at yourself in the mirror or at the scales without losing fat at the pace you think you deserve.
“Why am I not losing fat?” you may ask.
But, my friends, the answer is very simple.
You cannot break the laws of thermodynamics.
Fat loss is a simple nutritional accounting equation: Calories in < calories out (CICO).
Put simply, if you consume fewer calories than you expend, you will lose fat — which leads us to point number one.
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1. You are Not Losing Fat Because You are Consuming Too Many Calories
Firstly, you MUST be tracking your food intake to guarantee success in losing fat. Without tracking your food, how do you know how much of what is entering your body?
I could end the article here and no elaborate any further, but this is the sole reason why you aren’t losing any fat.
And nothing else.
But we must do further forensic accounting to find out what reasons could be preventing your fat loss.
You have got to be patient.
More often than not, you will underestimate how much fat you actually hold.
If you think you have 50lb to lose, more often than not, you will have a higher amount like 75lb to lose.
You cannot break the laws of thermodynamics. Think of fat as unused energy, because that is what it is. Your body will tap into your fat reserves if it cannot source requisite calories needed to continue from your nutrition alone.
For you to be losing fat at the pace you wish, you must be in a calorie deficit. All fad diets work in their own capacity due to placing the dieter in a calorie deficit.
Just because one diet has no carbs and another prides itself on no meat, doesn’t mean that one is superior to the other — all that matters is a calorie deficit.
Yes, when you get lean — around 12% was where I began noticing it — your hunger levels will rise, making additional fat loss even harder. And when you get exceptionally lean or drop your calories too low, your cortisol levels will rise and slow down fat loss while increasing muscle wastage — but don’t worry about that for now!
(On a personal note, I would contend that people who have been obese — like myself — have an easier time gaining fat over those who have never been overweight, for a variety of reasons to be discussed at another time.)
Before we move on, I want to reiterate that ALL that matters when it comes to fat loss is a calorie deficit and nothing else.
I lost over 100lb and got the body of my dreams. If you need help shifting the weight, apply here for a coaching call.
2. You are overestimating your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
Finding your BMR is crucial to determining what your daily calorie goal should be when losing fat.
Typically speaking, your BMR is your bodyweight in pounds times by 15 calories. A 200lb person would have a BMR of 3000 calories (200×15).
However, when carrying greater amounts of bodyfat, it can be difficult to assess what your true BMR will be unless you can measure your body fat percentage.
In many cases, because somebody is overweight or obese, they believe they can consume more calories than their ideal calorie deficit.
To lose a pound of fat a week, you would need to enter a calorie deficit of around 500 calories per day.
Say your BMR is 3000 calories, you would need to eat 2500 calories per day at rest to lose a pound a week — then adjust your daily calories accordingly as per accumulated weight loss (this means a 150 calorie drop per every 10lb lost).
3. Overestimating Calories Burned Through Exercise
Have you ever tried to burn 1000 calories through exercise alone when losing fat?
If you have, you will know how excruciatingly awful it would be to have to do this every day.
It is far easier to reduce your calories through omission — eating less food — than by commission — exercising.
But the point of this is to illustrate how we overestimate how many calories we burn through exercise — especially once we’ve begun to lose the weight.
The total calories burned in walking 5 miles drops considerably between 220lb and 180lb, which can hamper your progress when losing fat.
Reevaluating your exercise program and dropping your calories through diet is the best way to stay on track to continue losing fat.
4. Not Tracking Sauces, Condiments, Etc.
This is another common, yet huge mistake I see in a number of dieters.
You track everything down to a T, but you fail to leave a margin for error for condiments.
Now that really does add up.
What’s the point of you carefully weighing out chicken breast for your Caesar Salad if you’re just going to willy-nilly shower your lettuce in dressing?
If you are going to add sauces and condiments, you either need to leave a margin for error of a few hundred calories in your diet plan or stop eye-balling your intake.
5. You Are Eyeballing Your Food Measurements
If you’re in the process of losing fat, this final point can kill your diet and frustrate you to the point of giving up.
Eyeballing your food measurements is akin to not tracking your food intake.
You can have ballpark figures of how many calories each item of food has, but how do you really know what you are eating without measuring your food intake?
Besides, you could be offer by a matter of hundreds of calories per day.
Only 500 calories per day is the difference between a pound of fat loss and maintenance. Don’t forget that.
Certain cuts of meat such as ribeye steaks tend to be fattier and vary in fat content — which is why it’s easier to opt for ground beef or trimmed steaks, as fat content can vary by hundreds of calories per steak.
Likewise, when adding calorie dense items to your cooking such as oils and butter, a miscalculation can cost several hundreds of calories.
You have to be cautious with what you’re putting into your food.
And this includes with the finer details.
It all adds up.
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