I’ve had a few people contact me this year regarding their slow progress in January and there are a few common denominators that I thought I’d share with you:
1. People simply don’t eat enough food in January!
This is a side, NOT a main!
Everyone skips breakfast or eats a childlike portion of cereal in the morning with their coffee. Then they hit the salad boxes from Pret & M&S at lunch before getting home to another plate of rabbit food. As soon as folk wake up on New Years Day, they drastically cut calories and if the weight doesn’t fall off, they cut some more! The body fights back though, adjusts hormone levels & shuts down the metabolism. The fat stores remain, the body will win this battle over the brain time and time again. In addition to the calorie cut, the most important macronutrient to support metabolism, Protein, is the worst hit. Higher Protein diets aid the retention of muscle which is effectively metabolism which in turn leads to quality weight loss i.e Fat. Any time you are losing muscle on a diet is a bad day, even worse if you’re over 40! If you drop 2 kg of muscle in a week, your ability to reduce Fat in the following week is dramatically reduced and you are in a worse position than when you started the diet!
Solution: Incorporate the correct Protein levels for your lean mass and combine it with a balance of good carbs and fats!
2. You don’t have enough lean mass!
The Neglect image is achieved by losing muscle mass through a lack of exercise & starvation diets over time.
The Diet image is a body that is travelling the path towards The Neglect image, staying slim via calorie control and depleting muscle mass.
The Diet & Exercise image is Magic Time and is only achieved by combining a quality eating regimen with resistance exercise!
As we push past 40, we are usually losing our metabolism already and this leads most former experts to claim that age is the reason that we are becoming fatter and not losing weight. That is pie in the sky and NOT true! The metabolism slows because our changed lifestyle and behaviour as we age! We reduce activity or do the wrong types of activity that leads to a drop in our lean muscle that in turn leads to our reduced metabolism and a more puffy appearance. Now our infatuation with what the scale says leads us to eat less, increasing our nose dive to physical oblivion at a great rate of knots!
If you focus on the scale, you’re doomed! You need to incorporate resistance training and that can be achieved with bodyweight exercise or the use of weights. Generally when people lift weight, they have a slight weight increase but this IS A GOOD THING! Muscle assists Fat loss greatly! Couple this with the correct amounts of Protein, Carbs & Fat in the diet and you’re onto a serious winner, this is magic time!
3. You have inadequate sleep levels!
In todays age, this is bordering upon an epidemic. How many of you get 7-9 hours of quality sleep? Not many people I know! The drawbacks are: Disruption to Hormonal balance, Metabolism shut off and on top of that you’re likely to overeat, make poor meal choices, underperform in workouts if you don’t skip them altogether. It’s a proven stat that those lacking sleep have more fat & less muscle. Drawbacks of poor sleep patterns are listed in the image, add to that Increased Caffeine intake = Dehydration = Limited Fat loss. Reduced sex drive. Daily lethargy.
Set your bed time according to your alarm call and unwind from screens, emails, social media at least an hour before that, let your mind unwind.
Now imagine your body is a toilet that gets used all day but never takes in any fresh water! Not a pleasant thought!
I’ve touched on this recently, a dehydrated body is much less efficient at burning Fat and it will also mistake thirst for hunger!
1 pint of water per 15kg of bodyweight daily.
5. Poor Planning:
Many people go into a Fat loss program merely hoping to lose Fat. Losing Fat is not hard at all, ok it isn’t easy if you’re making mistakes but when you get the diet balanced you’re halfway there but when you match the diet perfectly with the exercise, the magic happens! Plan tomorrows food today, don’t leave anything to chance! Carb & Protein meals either side of the workout, zero carbs at breakfast or dinner, its that easy. If Protein intake is tough to hit, use a Whey powder. And book your workouts in and… Make them! Literally diarise your week, it will help to highlight where you may be going wrong! Ok I said losing Fat is easy, I think I’ve successfully proved that over the years with many of you and personally I’ve maintained my weight consistently over the last 20 years but I appreciate it can be a challenge as it takes a fair amount of effort. Challenging though is much better than Frustrating and intending to lose Fat but not making it happen is extremely draining! No one wants to be on a diet forever, so don’t be, make lifestyle changes… And stick to them!
We’re almost through January now, so if you have been focussing on losing Fat through January and have been working productively on a successful plan, in a few days time you should be checking your progress to find that you are now between 8-14lbs down in body fat. Remember with the added muscle tone from a training plan you won’t see that full loss on the scales so focus on calliper tests, body measurements and photographs! If you have seen those successful losses, it isn’t time to give up now! Take those losses forward into February and make them a complete lifestyle change!