A lot of us constantly say “I’m doing everything right so…
Why is my weight not changing?”
So many of us have the goal to lose weight, for what ever reason that may be, yet we get frustrated when we feel like we are doing everything right but don’t see a change.
Put very simply:
‘TO LOSE WEIGHT, YOU NEED TO BE IN A CALORIE DEFICIT’
Meaning you wont lose weight without expending more calories than you are putting in. Moving vs Eating.
It really is that simple.
To lose weight we need to be in a Deficit.
To gain weight we need to be in a Surplus.
To maintain weight we need to be in a Balance.
So … lets get our science heads on for a sec…
We all have our own individual metabolism; our body’s energy burning system. It differs in everyone depending on: gender, the amount of muscle mass you have, your activity levels and to some degree, your hormones too… meaning we will all require a different amount of calories to lose, gain or maintain weight.
We have a BMR (basal metabolic rate) which is the amount of calories our body needs to survive (think bodily functions, metabolism, digestion, regulating the body’s temperature etc) and as mentioned previously, this number differs in everyone (very dependant on current weight).
There’s also this thing called TDEE (total daily energy expenditure) that’s the amount of calories we burn outside of our BMR (think calories burnt while we talk, fidget, exercise, sleep etc).
Now BMR + TDEE = ‘maintenance calories’. They’re the total amount of calories we consume to maintain the weight we are at.
Once you have calculated your Maintenance calories you either add calories on or minus them depending on whether you want to gain or lose weight. A rough guidance is to add or subtract 300-500 depending on your goal.
There are apps such as ‘myfitnesspal‘ which are great for tracking your calories and as long as you’re honest with your tracking, results will come… if you stay consistent!
On the other hand, it can also be very tedious, time consuming and can prove to be difficult when trying to account for every calorie when you eat out… especially if you like a drink at a weekend.
You can still be in a calorie deficit without having to use a calorie tracker. It will just require you being more intuitive, maybe write a food diary and try looking out for lower calorie options where you can. (Gin instead of Wine for instance)
There is not one size fits all when it comes to finding the right way to put yourself in a calorie deficit… some people would fall into too many obsessive negative habits if they were to religiously track; however, Adherence and Consistency is key. It might seem boring, but it’s true! We need to find something that will work long time so you can head towards your goal without always falling back to the starting block.
If you aren’t losing weight; you will not be in a deficit… even if you think you are.
Now that does not mean you should reduce your intake to 1000cals a day and spend 2 hours a day in the gym… that is not healthy and NOT sustainable. If you do this you WILL keep finding you are back where you don’t want to be.
Life happens. And Living a life obsessing over calories is not one you want to live. So allow yourself dessert, go out for a drink, have a rest day off the gym (this is VERY necessary!)… but just be conscious of your decisions and the effect you are having on your health and fitness.
Accept we won’t always be ‘perfect’ in our pursuit of self improvement and try to choose habits you know you can stick to and serve you well (80:20 rule, veggies with every meal, try to reduce your processed snack consumption, aim for 3 workouts a week, have a step target to hit each day etc).
If you know weekends are where you fall down, maybe use your calories as a weekly target compared to daily and allow yourself the higher calorie days at a weekend, or add in an extra workout to help up your expenditure for the week. (This does not however mean you should see training as punishment or an excuse to binge!!)
The best way to ensure we are heading toward our goal is to:
- Keep it simple.
- Ensure we are conscious of our food intake without being too restrictive.
- Choose nutrious dense food more often than not. (veg and fruit over sweets and crisps)
- Increase our movement. (walk more, use the stairs… it doesn’t just have to mean hitting the gym)
- Don’t allow a heavy weekend to effect our motivation. (Enjoy yourself and then move on… don’t carry guilt around with you)
- BE CONSTSITENT!