Anyone can lose weight, but real change happens when you can lose body fat, and maintain and even build muscle.
There is a massive difference between fat loss and weight loss. If you have read any of our articles we talk about this constantly.
Your focus should always be on fat loss over weight loss. So what is the difference between the two?
Fat loss is just how it sounds, losing body fat. There are many signs that point towards losing fat loss such as increased muscle definition, losing inches, your clothes fitting better/looser, strength gains during your workouts, etc. And the funny thing is, the scale may or may not change if you are losing body fat.
Weight loss involves losing scale weight, but not necessarily body fat, and is usually not healthy.
Weight loss usually means losing muscle, water, glycogen, and a little bit of fat. Losing muscle will decrease your metabolic rate, and make fat loss and maintain the fat you lose harder long term.
If you are losing just “weight”, then you may see scale change but not necessarily changes with your clothes or inches. With standard weight loss, your muscle definition probably won’t improve much, and your strength gains are minimal at best.
Here are 6 reasons why you aren’t losing body fat
1. You are eating too much.
As obvious as this seems, eating too much can be one of the main reasons you aren’t losing body fat.
This stems from a lack of management over portion sizes and/or calories. Most people, who eat too much, grossly underestimate how much they are actually eating. They loosely track and estimate what they are eating, which will never create the results you are looking for. So how do know if your calories or portion sizes are too large?
Start tracking what you are eating with an App like My Fitness Pal, or by food journaling and reading labels to see what your total calories are.
You want your calories to be at bodyweight x 10- for women, or bodyweight x 12-for men, if you goal is to lose body fat.
If you are opting for the more practical approach and using portion sizes, start by eating 1 fist size of carbs and 1 palm size of protein at each meal to start
If you are a male, do 2 fists of carb, and 2 palms of protein to start for each meal.
2. You aren’t exercising enough.
If you aren’t active a minimum of 3x/week then losing body fat and keeping it off won’t happen.
In order to lose body fat, you need to create a calorie deficit. You can only drop your calories so low, before it becomes unhealthy, unsustainable and adversely impacts your metabolism.
So, as you lose more and more body fat, you need to incrementally add more activity to get closer to your goals.
It is much better to “burn” the fat through exercise, then to “starve” the fat by dropping calories every time you hit a plateau.
So if your nutrition checks out, you are eating the proper amount of calories, but you aren’t seeing changes at least every 2-4 weeks, then you need to add in more activity.
- Start with 3 days a week of weight training
- If you have hit a plateau, increase weight training to 4x/week. Apply this for 6-8 weeks, and then reassess.
- If you seen results you want then keep continuing this until you see your next plateau.
- At your next plateau add in an interval cardio workout or a long slow walk for 45-60 min. Try this our for 6-8 weeks, and then reassess.
- When you hit another plateau, you would want to add in another day of weight training, and MAYBE another interval cardio session. But this would depend on your recovery needs.
The key in all of this is, keeping calories as high as we can for as long as we can, while still creating a calorie deficit and losing body fat, and optimizing metabolism.It is very important you are monitoring recovery as you add more activity. Increase exercise volume slowly, and intelligently.
Keep in mind, this is all dependent on your level of training, how much experience you have with exercise, and your recovery needs.
Always consult an expert or a trainer before applying these guidelines.
All of your activity should involve weight training, interval cardio (HIIT), core work, and maybe some long, slow cardio like walking/biking.
These are the best activities for burning body fat, and maintaining muscle.
3. You aren’t weight training.
If you wish to lose body fat, weight training needs to be a staple in your program.
Weight training helps to build and maintain muscle, which is important for improving and maintaining your metabolism.
While you can lose weight doing cardio and abs work, you are guaranteed to lose muscle in the process, which lowers metabolism and impacts fat loss and weight maintenance long term.
Weight training should be incorporated a minimum of 3x/week.
4. You don’t have accountability
While most people “know” what they need to do to be successful, seldom does it ever get applied long term.
When left to their own devices, most people will revert back to old habits and behaviors, and continue to see the same results. How do you end this cycle?
Having a coach or trainer on your team is a must for most people. A coach/trainer will push you out of your comfort zone, hold you accountable to your goals, and help you figure out why you might be sabotaging your efforts and putting obstacles in your own way.
This could be a personal trainer, a life coach, working with a personal trainer over the internet, or joining a group setting like a boot camp, yoga, or running group where you have friends and a trainer/instructor to be accountable to.
To succeed long term, you need to have accountability in place or you will revert back to old habits
5. You are not eating enough
If you read our last article not eating enough can down regulate resting metabolism, and lead to you burn less calories during exercise.
When your body experiences lower than normal calories, is views this as starvation and goes into emergency mode. To conserve energy, and to protect itself, your body will down regulate metabolism so it isn’t using up as much energy. This involves burning muscle tissue, since muscle requires a lot of energy for your body to maintain.
If your calories have been under 1300 -for females, or under 1800- for men for at least 4-6 weeks, metabolic down regulation will likely happen, especially if you haven’t been seeing the changes you want fat loss wise.
6. Hormonal or metabolic dysfunction.
While these scenarios are rare, they still need to be considered. You may have an underactive thyroid gland, reducing your ability to produce and secrete T3 and T4 hormones, which has a direct impact on your metabolic rate. Or maybe you are experiencing metabolic dysfunction from years of extreme dieting, or living a very stressful lifestyle. Adrenal fatigue is one of the most common causes of metabolic dysfunction from stress and can have an indirect impact in your thyroid function and metabolic rate.
While these scenarios are probably not the reason you aren’t seeing results, they need to be considered nonetheless.
There you have it, 6 reasons you aren’t losing body fat.
Feel free to post your comments below and share this article with your friends!
Always here to inspire and motivate you, David Macdonald and the Vitality Fitness Team.