When you are trying to lose weight, and those scales reveal you’re stuck at the same weight as the last time you looked, it can be demotivating.
It’s also a common reason why dieters give up altogether. But before you throw in the towel, ask yourself what’s plan B? Giving up and reverting back to unhealthy habits should not be an option.
Here are 6 logical reasons why you are struggling to lose weight, plus tips on how to overcome them…
1.Have you set the right target weight?
Healthy, sustained weight loss means you should aim for a modest kilojoule reduction. Trim 2 000 kilojoules per day, and you’ll lose half a kilo a week; drop 4 000 kilojoules a day and you’ll lose 1kg per week.
Use an online calculator to work out how many kilojoules you need per day, then deduct the necessary amount each day for the weight loss you require. You should be aiming to lose half a kilo and 1kg a week. Remember, this is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix.
2.Are you being honest about how much you’re eating?
Losing weight really comes down to balancing kilojoules in and kilojoules out. Keep a food diary to spot where you can make changes. It’s important to be 100% accurate. It’s too easy to forget that biscuit you had with coffee, or two pieces of dark chocolate after dinner, so record everything that passes your lips.
3.Are you eating enough?
Yes, you can eat too little! When you reduce the amount of energy your body’s getting over time, it tries to conserve energy and reduce fat loss. Eating a very low kilojoule diet can mean your metabolism slows, which results in weight loss slowing or even stopping. As you start losing weight, you’ll need to gradually reduce your kilojoule intake to ensure weight loss continues. It’s important not to go below 5 000 kilojoules per day.
4.Are you eating the right type of foods?
Aim for whole foods and limit processed foods as much as possible. Choose wholewheat or rye bread and rice, sweet potatoes and grains such as millet and quinoa; lean proteins such as white fish, chicken; turkey and eggs; low-fat dairy foods such as low-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese (just read the labels for hidden sugars and preservatives.)
You should also cut down on saturated fats found in animal meat and full-cream dairy products and trans fats in fried foods, biscuits and pastries.
5.Are you active enough?
Increasing your activity level is a great way to boost weight loss, and it doesn’t have to involve hours in the gym. Small daily changes like taking the stairs instead of the lift, or parking further away from the entrance to the mall or your office might not seem like much, but can make a real difference to your weight loss.
Try to do at least 10 000 steps daily. (Invest in a pedometer or activity tracker to help you achieve this, available from Sportsmans Warehouse stores.)
6.Have you reached a natural plateau?
Have you been losing weight for a while? Maybe two or three months? If so, you may have just reached a natural plateau, which is common after a significant period of continual weight loss. It’s usually temporary, but can be a risky time if it affects your motivation. Expect that it could happen, but know it’ll pass and you’ll start to lose weight again.
DISCLAIMER: Before starting any diet, you should speak to your doctor. You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.