Working out and Still Not Losing Weight?

Are you watching what you eat, exercising often and still feeling like you’re not losing that stubborn weight? The truth is that watching what you eat and exercising often (or even a LOT) is not specific enough and may be a bit “safe” as we can’t really measure these areas.  If we are honest with ourselves, there’s a very good chance that we are totally capable of trying a little bit harder in both of these areas.

Total-body wellness is a lifestyle. Fat loss happens when you ditch the scale, find an activity you enjoy, and start to see food as fuel instead of something to feed your emotions or occupy your time.

No matter who you are or what you’ve been through, chances are that you are struggling because of one of these 7 reasons….

1. You’re eating the wrong foods

A calorie is just a calorie? While this statement seems logical enough, our bodies respond to the nutrients it needs to burn fat and achieve the goals we are working towards. If you aren’t losing weight, you should begin by looking at your foods. I know many people focus on burning off the calories in their workouts and they don’t take the time to plan out what they are putting into their bodies as fuel. Diet is responsible for 80% of our results. I’m not a fan of manuscripted “diets”, either but a good rule of thumb is to choose natural, clean foods most of the time.

Eat most of your starchy carbs (like potatoes, brown rices and grains) on the days when you do your strength training or more intense workouts. On your rest days or lighter cardio days, try sticking to more protein and veggies and limit your starchy foods. Cut out your excess breads, white sugars and anything that’s processed. Look for the foods that have the fewest ingredients on their labels (aka: less processed). If you can’t pronounce something on the label, it’s probably not something your body needs so put it back on the shelf.

2. You’re eating too much

If you’ve already cleaned up your diet big time and you’re still not losing weight, it may be that you’re simply eating too many calories. You know the saying, “Eat less and move more”?  In order to lose the weight, your body needs to be in a calorie deficit, meaning you need to burn more than you consume. That being said, you shouldn’t have to deprive yourself either. Life is about balance. Don’t become obsessed with counting calories or weighing yourself every day.

Eat when you’re hungry and eat slowly enough so you can stop just before you get full. Healthy snacking during the day will keep you from overeating during meals. I always carry a healthy snack in my purse, because you never know when you’ll need a quick snack and it eliminates any quick and unhealthy food purchases in my day. Also, don’t be afraid to give yourself healthy ‘cheats’ like a few chocolate covered strawberries for example. The moment you start depriving yourself from foods you love to crave is the moment you start to feel like you are missing out on something and want to binge.

3. You’re doing too much cardio

If I had a dollar for everyone who has told me they do tons of cardio and still don’t lose weight….(I’d have a LOT of dollars! lol) Yes, cardio is a necessary part of your workout routine. It keeps your heart healthy, boosts your metabolism, and gives you a good sweat (you should break one daily). The problem is, that only doing cardio (and doing too much of it thinking it’s ‘better’) can actually add to our problem. Longer cardio workout sessions, like staying on the treadmill or elliptical for 90 minutes, or going for regular 10-mile runs can eat away at your lean muscle mass, which is necessary in increasing the metabolism to burn more calories.

It causes the body to become more endurance-focused, storing energy as fat to ensure it has plenty of reserve fuel to keep you going for all those miles. Not to mention it dramatically increases your appetite, making you more susceptible to unnecessary snacking or overeating.

4. You’re not lifting weights

This one goes hand in hand with #3. I’m not saying you can’t or shouldn’t do cardio. If you love to run or bike for reasons other than losing weight, then by all means don’t stop. But if your primary goal is to lose fat,  there are other forms of exercise that give a much better result for your burn. The best way to lose weight and build a toned and tight body is by doing some form of strength training, in addition to your cardio. When your body has more muscle tone then you’ll be burning more fat.

You might not be ready to give up your cardio just yet, so you can start by adding in some interval training. This means you’ll be doing short bursts of maxed out intensities into your regular sessions. This is a much more effective way of waking up the hormones that are needed to target the stubborn fat stores. Then, add in some resistance training to your routine. If you’re worried about lifting weights, you can always choose body weight exercises instead. Try a round of push-ups, squats and lunges and you’ll get great results without an actual weight just yet. 🙂

5. You’re not working hard enough

There’s no exact equation to working out and eating healthy—it’s a matter of trial and error, finding out what works specifically for your body. Just because you spend more time in the gym, doesn’t mean you’ll become a fitter person. Unless you are an athlete, body builder or marathoner in training, the average Joe shouldn’t be working out more than one hour  a day.

If you are spending more than an hour in your workouts, I bet you aren’t working hard enough. The workouts should be based on the intensity; versus the time. Remember this simple fact; the harder you work, the shorter your workout time may need to be. That’s why is super important to make the most of your time in the gym or fitness classes so you can achieve that “afterburn” effect which keeps your metabolism fired up for 24-48 hours after. Pretty cool, right?

6. You’re not taking time to recover

Let’s say you do achieve that afterburn feeling and you’re feeling your workout the next day, those are the days to focus on different muscles. If you prefer to work the whole body at once, then plan a workout routine that works your entire body on oneday and then take the next day to do light cardio, a yoga class or just rest and focus on nutrition.

Recovery and rest may actually be more important than the workouts themselves. It’s during those periods that your body does most of the actual fat burning. So give yourself that time to fully recover so you’re ready to work hard the following day. Most importantly, listen to your body. Push yourself, but also give it some love, too.

7. Your body is too stressed out

Exercise is actually a stress to our body. When you have a healthy balance of exercise “stress” and proper recovery time, your body will be healthy and able to lose the excess fat. But if you’re not giving your body the right amount of time to recover, it can be a negative thing since you’ll start to produce extra amounts of cortisol, which is the stress hormone. Cortisol is normal and important when we are working out, since it’s involved in giving our muscles the energy it needs to move.

The problem, however, is when our body is exposed to cortisol for long periods of time and starts to cause negative effects. One of these effects are the stubborn fat stores in areas you don’t want it. Exercise is no the only thing that stressed our bodies out and creates extra cortisol.  The problem multiplies when we are stressed out about personal or professional areas of our life. Obviously, when you stop exercising then you stop producing cortisol; but it’s not so easy to just turn off mental stress that may be wreaking havoc in your life. Make sure you are taking the time and energy to keep your mental and emotional healthy in check too. You should be working towards a total-body wellness goal…not just a simple “weight loss” goal.

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Join the 14-Day No Sugar Challenge

If you are taking on the 14-Day NO Sugar Challenge,  you’ve come to the right place! I’ve been getting so many messages from people asking me, “what does no sugar mean?”

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For 14 days, we are going to start noticing just how much our bodies have become accustomed to extra sugars and extra sweetness. After doing the Whole 30 Challenge a few years ago, I learned quite honestly how addicted to sugar I was. It wasn’t just “sugar” as you would think, since I already follow a whole foods diet and eat “clean” 80-90% of the time. I am not concerned with my weight or good eating habits but instead, just focusing on what it was my body and taste buds have become accustomed to and what that would do to my body if I continued to delude myself that I was doing a good enough thing. I was simply comparing my habits to the habits of the general population; who eat mostly processed and fast foods more often than naught. What I wasn’t considering was the fact that I still had a problem and needed to deal with it sooner, than later.

If you are concerned for your own sugar addictions or health issues that may come from overly stimulation to sweetness; let’s start by addressing some basic health concerns that are caused by too much sugar in the diet.

High blood sugar, which is caused by too much glucose in your blood, can lead to diabetes. Refined carbs, like white rice or white-flour baked goods, are common culprits that lead to high blood sugar. In addition to the high sugar content, they lack fiber which prevents glucose spikes, and this wreaks havoc on blood sugar levels. Simply put, when there is too much sugar in the blood stream at one time, it will lead to fat storage and insulin resistance. This is a precursor to type 2 diabetes. It’s no surprise then that this health risk is a rising concern in the medical industry as more and more people are being diagnosed with diabetes.

What I had noticed in my own sugar challenge and assessment, was that I frequently turned to more “natural” sugars to feed my palate and cravings. Although I’m not one to pick up a doughnut or sugar laced coffee drink; I found myself turning to fruits and healthier sugar options such as stevia and honey. When taken in moderate doses, it wouldn’t be a concern but the fact that I was using these options after my meals was a red-light trigger for me to assess. Fructose is found in fruits, and while I could justify my “better” choices over more popular options, too much fructose also plays a role in these issues and diseases. Our liver turns any excessive sugars into triglycerides that get stored in the fat cells throughout our bodies. The more sugars we eat (in any form), the more fat we store. Yuck! Another surprising result is that too much sugar, even from the fructose found in fruits, can lead to a buildup of belly fat that has been linked to type 2 diabetes.

Do I have your attention now?

In my research, I also noticed the amount of stevia and honey I was “needing” in my foods was more than I had realized until I began tracking.  I would sprinkle a packet of stevia or a teaspoon of honey into my teas, I’d pour some over my yogurt with berries, I’d put it on just about anything and still feel like I was “in control” of my habits as it was considered “clean”. But I started to count up how many times I’d add these extra sweeteners (even though natural and clean) into my foods and drinks and it become apparent that I was addicted to overly sweet flavors and tastes – just as most of the population is these days. I was just getting it in a way that I could validate as “healthier”; it may be healthier than white sugars and simple carbs but it still falls into the category of “too many sugars”.

Sugar comes in a few different forms: Glucose, fructose and sucrose. Glucose helps keep all of our systems chugging along smoothly.  Carbs break down into glucose and is our body’s main source of fuel.  The fructose that is found in fruits (and the only type of sugar found in fruits) is metabolized in the liver, and not in the bloods stream. Table sugars, or sucrose, is a combination of both glucose and fructose.

So for just 2 weeks, or 14 days, I challenge you to join me in this challenge. We are going to start noticing just where that added sugar comes from, and kick it out of our lives. We will start with the obvious culprits such as; sodas, candies, pastries and desserts (come on, isn’t your health and belly fat important enough to do this for just 14 days??) – and start to check the food labels to see where the rest of our sugars is coming from.

I will start by saying that the “challenge” part of this IS going to be a definite challenge because you will soon realize that there is sugar in almost EVERYTHING!!!

So, I want to ask you first, have you ever realized this before? If not, this has probably already taught you more than you imagined, right?

 

Knowledge is POWER!!!

Did you know that the American Heart Association recommends no more than 36 grams of sugar per day for men, and no more than 24 grams per day for women? That is the equivalent of just 9 tsp of sugar and 6 tsp of sugar. If we just ate foods that contained sugar naturally (for example milk has lactose, which is a natural milk sugar, fruit has fructose, a natural fruit sugar) we would reach that cap naturally through the course of the day.

The problem isn’t those foods at all, it’s all the foods that aren’t in their natural form that have had sugar added to them “to make them taste good.” You can solve this by getting in the habit of reading the ingredients list, and checking the food label for grams of sugar.

This can be tricky if you’ve never tried it before – but here’s why you should: many common products you wouldn’t expect have sugar added in various forms. Foods like bread, condiments, pasta sauce, flavored non-dairy milk, creamer, most cereals and salad dressing often have added sugar. What can you do? Look for the ones that don’t, try something else, or make your own.

If you’re worried about what to put in your coffee..try plain, full-fat coconut milk. It’s a delicious alternative to creamer and sugar and has its own natural sugar. If you read the label on the can, the only ingredient listed will be “coconut.” You can also add spices like nutmeg and cinnamon to your coffee for a little natural flavoring without the sugar. And if you’re thinking maybe Equal or Sweet n Low would be a better choice in your coffee than than a couple spoonfuls of sugar, keep reading….

Alternative sugar products can make you think they’re the smart choice – but alternative sweeteners have the same potential to trigger an insulin response by tricking your brain and body into thinking its having the real thing. Not to mention, many alternative sugars have been linked to negative health conditions.

Be on the lookout for: dextrose, maltodextrin, sucrose, fructose, cane sugar, evaporated cane juice, acesulfame potassium (sold as Sweet One – often combined with aspartame or sucralose to sweeten gum, diet soda and other sweet products), aspartame (Nutri-sweet and equal), saccharin (sold as Sweet n’ Low), stevia (combined with sugar alcohol and sold under brand names like Truvia and Pure Via), high fructose corn syrup (made by treating starch extracted from corn with enzymes to make fructose and glucose) – and if there’s anything on a food label that you think might be sugar, google it.

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Let me be clear. There is NOTHING wrong with sweets and treats in moderation, and many of the above sugars aren’t bad sugars. The purpose of this challenge is not to demonize our dessert, it’s to cut back our consumption of the foods that have sneaky sugar added to them. That sneaky sugar is a serious culprit in weight gain, chronic inflammation and worst of all, long term health issues.

Why should we avoid added sugar?

The problem with added sugar is that it creates situation overload in your system very rapidly. There is a delicate internal equilibrium regulated by your hormones that keeps you energized and tells your body what to do with the nutrients you take in. Food is measured by a scale called the “glycemic index,” which measures how rapidly that food causes your blood sugar to rise. The higher the glycemic index (GI), the faster your blood sugar spikes when you eat that food.

We don’t want our blood sugar spiking, because it causes the hormone insulin to come into play. Insulin, and important hormone that will stabilize your blood sugar also triggers fat storage. Once it does its job, you’ll feel lethargic, sleepy – and crave MORE sugar because you’ll suddenly be feeling low energy. Crazy, right?

It really helps explain why people get into that constant sugar craving cycle, and why it’s so easy to keep gaining weight once you start. Keep that 26 grams per day recommendation in mind and check the food labels on a typical breakfast  – between a bowl of breakfast cereal,  a cup of vanilla soymilk and a banana, you could already be over 26 grams, and your day hasn’t even started yet!

So what kind of sweetness can I have? 

RULES:

1. You may NOT eat anything with ADDED sugar in it, this includes, breads, milks, sauces, ANYTHING that has added sugar. (for those using Shakeology, you can continue with this once per day only.)

2. You may eat general food that have a small amount of natural sugar already in it.

3. Natural Sugar – You may eat ONE piece of fruit a day.

4. Sugar substitutes – No Sugar substitutes through the challenge.

5. No Alcohol during the challenge.

**If in doubt general rule, if it has ADDED sugar of any sort its a NO

Our goal is to obviously adopt this habit lifelong. Through our own habits, we will help the people in our lives start to realize how much sugar is in everything that they generally eat. We will learn that cutting it out and taking control of our choices can start to bring the results that we want and get rid of the extras that we don’t want or need! (think belly fat, bad habits, addictions to foods, cravings, and long term health issues)

 

The goal of this challenge

The goal of this challenge is to decrease our consumption of added sugarBecause sneaky, added sugar is the cause of so much weight gain, inflammation and health problems, it’s worth finding out which foods you’re eating regularly contain it. There are so many alternatives that taste better, and are infinitely better for your body that won’t cause the long-term negative effects.

Read your food labels, ask questions, and do your best. It can really help to have your food planned for the day, and bring it with you so you aren’t tempted by things around you because you’re hungry. If you are taking the challenge, here is a contract to keep you honest and on track.

https://form.jotform.com/jsform/61705826606155