“I train and eat well, but I don’t lose weight”: the 10 most common obstacles to weight loss
In the last period, I have often received this question. “Why can’t I lose weight, even if I eat well and train a lot?”. I, therefore, decided to create a handbook to answer this increasingly common question.
The ones you find listed in this article are the topics that I would address with you individually, to find the answer to your question.
As humans, we all function the same way. So, unless you have some particular pathology that affects weight management and/or muscle mass gain, the possible cause of your problem can be found in this article. Sometimes, mistakes are made in good faith, without knowing they are mistakes.
By becoming aware of ourselves, of how the body moves, of our needs, we can build a lasting balance and rediscover the potential of our body.
There is nothing more wrong. If someone may, unknowingly, think that skipping meals is a good way to settle the score after a few snags or a way to speed up the weight loss time here: get it out of your head. The body needs a continuous intake of macronutrients, vitamins, and minerals to perform its functions correctly. Prolonged fasting, if done without a correct indication, can on the contrary lead to a reduction in muscle mass, increased fat mass, due to the lack of nutrients, and muscle catabolism. In addition to the damage, therefore, also insult. It is very risky for the health and functionality of the organs. The body produces insulin, an essential hormone that allows glucose to pass from the blood to the cells, preventing blood sugars from becoming too high. A kind of “automatic regulator”. In a fasting condition, extra blood sugar is stored as fat and can damage organs. By fasting, you become resistant to insulin. What does this term mean? The liver does not produce the message to stop producing glucose and therefore continues to produce it nonstop by pumping it into the blood.
Eating too little
There is a subtle but substantial difference between eating well and eating enough. It happens more and more often, that people eat the right foods, but in small quantities, or make the wrong combinations. For lean mass to increase and metabolism to be stimulated and fat mass to decrease, the body requires energy substrates. If you deprive your body of fuel, it will not be able to perform its functions, and this in itself is a limit to weight loss. It is important to make sure you are providing both macronutrients and micronutrients in adequate amounts daily.
“After 3 pm no carbohydrates”, “Carbohydrates for dinner never”, “Eat only protein to lose weight”, these are just some of the rumors that have been heard and are on the contrary one of the main obstacles to weight loss. Carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and fibers must be taken with every meal. If you choose a low-carb diet, which eliminates carbohydrates at dinner, or limits them during meals, losing weight will be almost impossible. Furthermore, the weight loss found on the scale will only be due to the loss of muscle tone. Muscle weighs more than fat. This is why salads for lunch or slices of meat and vegetables, even if organic, cannot be considered sufficient and balanced meals.
Foods with a high glycemic index
Adequate quantities of food, but not only. Food quality is also crucial. Lately, there is a tendency to take into consideration the origin of products more and more often, preferring organic foods. For weight loss, however, the parameter that must be kept in mind is the glycemic index, which unfortunately is not indicated on food packaging. For those unfamiliar with this unknown, the glycemic index of a food indicates the rate at which blood sugar increases (blood glucose levels) following the intake of a quantity of the food containing 50 grams of carbohydrates. This value changes according to the foods, the processing they have undergone, and the origin. This makes some foods preferable to others. A diet made up of foods with a high glycemic index, in addition to being not very satiating, makes lipolysis (breakdown of fat molecules) difficult. On the contrary, a diet rich in foods with a low or medium glycemic index allows the same amount of food and/or calories, to have better and longer energy available. Pasta, bread, sweets, pizza, honey, chemically processed products with refined sugars and flours, and energizing drinks are foods with a high glycemic index. There are also high glycemic index fruits such as bananas, grapes, and kiwis. These are particularly indicated after physical activity for the replenishment of glucose in the blood and muscle fiber.
Underestimate the importance of snacks
Snacks are essential so that the glycemic index remains almost constant. Eating the right snacks, both mid-morning and mid-afternoon, helps regulate blood sugar levels. If these levels are balanced, there is a greater chance that fat loss will occur and the production of new muscle tissue will be stimulated.
Calories are a value that we are interested in monitoring, but up to a certain point. It is good to know how many calories the different foods contain, how many we consume approximately in a day and what are the differences, for example, between 100 grams of salmon and 100 grams of pizza. However, we must not fall into the mistake of believing that a food that contains more calories leads to weight gain, and on the contrary, foods with fewer calories help you lose weight. On the contrary. Calories, in simple terms, are the energy that certain food can provide to the body. But it all depends on the quality of that food, the relationship with other nutrients (fats, proteins, minerals), and the glycemic index we talked about above. Checking and calculating calories can also account for stressors for a person and high levels of stress also limit weight loss. Let’s see how.
The stress hormone: cortisol
Cortisol is also known as the stress hormone. This is because its production by the adrenal cells increases in stressful psycho-physical conditions. This can also happen after a very intense workout. The body responds to various stressful conditions, both by increasing the production of this hormone and by inhibiting some bodily functions that are not essential in the short term, to support vital organs. What does cortisol production do? Increases blood sugar, reduces immune defenses, can stimulate lithogenesis in some parts of the body ( production of new fat tissue), but above all activates protein catabolism. Let us dwell on these last two points. If the production of fat is increased and the proteins are converted into sugars, which are then transported into the blood, it is obvious that this will make weight loss impossible. This data is essential to better manage your daily rhythms, stress, and recovery times between workouts.
Not sticking to recovery times between workouts
During training, processes and reactions are activated, both within the muscles and the body. However, it is not during training that muscle “grows” and fat decreases. These processes take place during the recovery phases and at night. This is why it is essential to get enough sleep at night and to give your body the right times to ensure that the fibers are ready for a new workout. Otherwise, there is a risk that cortisol levels become too high, the state of inflammation increases and at that point, we will have the opposite effect. Here too, it is good to apply the rule of quality and not that of quantity.
Also in this case it is not certain that one workout is worth the other. Depending on the objective, it is necessary to choose the activities to be carried out precisely and calibrate them within a complete path. For weight loss to take place, it is good to prefer the combination of muscular activity with a cardio or high-intensity one rather than choosing only one of the two. While running and doing cardio activities (elliptical, biking, spinning) help your heart stay healthy and improve lung capacity, it’s not the best way to speed up weight loss. Only by increasing the lean mass, that is the muscle, thanks to muscle activation exercises, it is possible to raise the metabolism. Let’s dispel another myth: there are no slow metabolisms of nature, but only metabolisms that have “slowed down” by eating little and training even less. A greater muscle mass and a faster metabolism make it possible not only to lose weight but to control one’s fitness even during the holidays.
Water is essential. The body is mainly made of water and to keep the body healthy and the organs functioning it is necessary to drink enough during the day. At the end of the day, the water balance between the introduced and eliminated water must never be negative. However, not all liquids hydrate the body. Some drinks promote dehydration, such as carbonated drinks, sugary ones, and excessive caffeine. In addition, there are different types of water, it is good to consume bottled water, with a moderate fixed residue and a pH> 6.5.
Little trust and patience
Finally, here is the last point of the Decalogue, which in some ways is also the most important. When you have a goal and embark on a path it is essential to have patience and trust in yourself and your goal. Once you choose the path to go, although there may be others that are equally valid, you have to believe 100% in what you do. You have to be patient, the body is a perfect mechanism, but sometimes it slows down due to bad habits that have been assumed for a shorter or longer period. If for months you have not trained or fed as you used to, neglecting healthy nutrition and physical activity, you cannot expect everything to change in 14 days. There are no simple goals or sudden weight loss, there is hard work that always pays off.
I hope that in this handbook you have found the reason that is slowing down your weight loss, if so please let me know.