As a young person, I basically never worked out. Going to the gym seemed like an awful endeavour and I was happy enough with my body because I was always relatively thin. It wasn’t until my late 20’s that I realized my natural thin body was losing its way. My legs and bottom had cellulite and my love handles were in my opinion, unlovable. At first, in true lackadaisical form, I paid an absurd amount of money at a Toronto cosmetic clinic to have a procedure done where a machine gets rid of extra inches and cellulite. Did it work? No, it didn’t. Because those things are scams! If only I had known then what I know now.
After that sad experience, I knew I had to get in shape the old fashioned way – I had to work out. I got myself a personal trainer whom I saw twice a week and I would do my own work out once a week. When I started I was approximately 130 pounds and 26% body fat (I am 5 foot 3 and a quarter). That is on the higher side of the healthy range, and by no means considered fit. But I wanted to be fit!
It has been 2 and a half years since I started this workout regime and my body is definitely stronger now. I have much better stamina and I can lift heavier than I ever thought possible. But, I am still nowhere close to where I want to be. Sure I have lost 5 pounds, but my body fat percentage is still at 26%. I still have unlovable love handles. I still have cellulite invading my rear.
So what have I been doing wrong? I spoke to a professional fitness trainer who prepares fitness models for competitions and this is what he said are the top 4 reasons why I am not losing body fat.
- You Over-Eat
If you eat fewer calories than you expend in a day, you will lose weight. “Calories in, calories out” is a good expression to go by, but it’s important to keep in mind that the type of calories you are eating also matters. You need the right combination of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats to build muscle and burn fat. Also, keep in mind that even when you are eating something considered healthy, like a salad, it can be very high in calories because of the dressing. And when you eat out at restaurants, you can never be sure of the contents of your meal. Your “healthy” salmon filet with a side of veg could be cooked in butter, adding hundreds of additional calories.
- Your Diet is Too Low in Protein
Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue, keeps you feeling less hungry, and has a positive effect on the body’s blood lipids, glucose levels, and muscle-to fat ratios. Choosing high protein foods at every major meal instead of carbohydrates will result in fat loss over time.
- You Have High Stress Levels
Stress can be holding you back from your fat loss goals. When you are stressed, your body produces a fat producing hormone called cortisol. Try lowering your stress levels by doing yoga, meditating, taking a bath, or reading. Whatever it is that helps you relax, do it, because your fat loss depends on it.
- You are Sleep Deprived
Sleep is so necessary for our body and mind to function, let alone lose body fat. Sleep deprivation can cause insulin sensitivity and heightened cortisol levels, which will keep your body’s fat storage high. Sleep must be a priority on your fat loss journey. A minimum of 8 hours a night seems like a lot for most working people, but it is the optimal amount for fat loss. Try limiting your caffeine intake and turn off your electronics an hour before bedtime to set yourself up for a good night sleep.