With February creeping in, how are you doing so far this year? If your main goal is to lose weight, how far along should you be?
There are laws of averages for everything. For instance, the average human body temperature is 98.6 percent. Average height for a female is 5.2 ft. Average commute to work is 25.4 minutes. The average fat loss per month is about .5 percent to 1 percent of ones total fat weight. So, if you weigh 200 lbs, and your weight is 30 percent body fat, that would equal to 60 pounds of fat. Baring any medications and hormonal imbalances, an individual with 60 pounds of fat on the body should be losing 3 to 6 pounds of fat per month.
What if that’s not happening? What if you are not losing any inches or any pounds of fat at all? What could be happening? Although there are many variables that might affect ones ability to burn fat, the best recommendation is to make sure one works with a professional and stays consistent with certain amount of physical activity and certain amount of food. It’s nearly impossible to trouble shoot when there is a new strategy that’s followed on a weekly basis.
Let’s make one fact very clear. When your body hits a plateau and no longer make any changes based on whatever you were doing, that’s very exciting. It’s exciting because you have adapted, it is now easier for your body to perform whatever exercising you were doing. Whatever you were doing with nutrition, same deal, you have now adapted. Now, when working with a professional that know what they are doing, that professional is going to start tweaking one or the other. Meaning adding or intensifying exercise or messing with nutrition, not both. It’s too stressful, and as you will find out in a moment, stress is the most common reason why most people have a hard time losing weight.
Reason No. 1 why most people have a hard time losing weight: Stress
Not just the stress of work, family, traffic, friends and mental stress, but because we try to control every aspect of our lives. Stress of working out, lack of sleep, too much caffeine, any medicine that we take is very stressful to our digestive system, non-water liquids that we drink, and of course the food that we eat, stress out our digestive system much like drugs do. Eighty percent of energy is spent on digestion. The fastest way to feeling better and having more energy is to eat foods that are less stressful on your digestive system. Anything with lots of fiber, any whole foods are the best foods to eat that cause the least amount of stress on your digestive system.
So what’s the problem with stress? As you might already know, there are tons of problems with too much stress. Normal levels of stress are very healthy. Stress helps us decide what to do and what not to do. However, when there is too much stress, there are many consequences. In terms of losing weight, when there is too much stress on a daily basis, your body naturally secretes more insulin because the liver is dumping glucose in the blood to help give us the energy to deal with this stress. Insulin is a very powerful hormone that regulates sugar in the blood. The trick to staying lean and continuously burn fat is to keep your insulin level regulated. Stress does not help with that. Keep in mind what else happens when we are stressed out? What we typically do with food and the kinds of choices that we make with what we are drinking just adds to the amount of insulin your pancreas is already producing thus making your body a fat storing machine. Insulin’s job is to pack your muscles, cells, and liver with the sugar that’s in the blood. Once that happens, the rest of the sugar in the system is then converted as a later source of energy called body fat.
Reason No. 2 why most people have a hard time losing weight: Poor quality foods
Calories are not created equal. Meaning 500 calories from a sweet potato affects your body differently on a hormonal level that 500 calories from white bread. Remember the trick to burning fat is to keep your insulin level in check. Therefore eating the kinds of food that don’t release much insulin is the key to staying lean. Complex carbohydrates are carbohydrates that have tons of fiber and take more time for your body to breakdown because of the high fiber content are the best sources of carbs. Sweet potatoes, rice, 100 percent whole grains, oatmeal, buck wheat, quinoa and many more are the kinds of carbs that will help you stay full longer and keep your blood sugar in steady there fore keeping your insulin production at bay which is a good thing. Fruits and veggies are good to go unless you are a pre-diabetic or diabetic. Please make sure to follow your dietitian guidelines. Meat has little to no affect on your blood sugar.
Reason No. 3 why most people have a hard time losing weight: Poor motives
That’s right, you guessed it. We are lazy, not disciplined, and unmotivated. The most interesting thing is we are all motivated to show up to work, keep certain relationships in our lives, and to pay our bills. Why are we motivated to do the latter? Because the pain of not going to work, working on our relationships, and paying our bills is very high. In fact we would experience more pain in our lives if we didn’t pay our bills, go to work, or sacrifice ourselves for others. The lesson here is find what you value more than the pain of exercise? Working out sucks, but what sucks even more … (you fill in the blanks).
In closing, use common sense to manage stress. Eat foods that are whole and have tons of dietary fiber, and find more reasons and motives why exercise is a must — not a should.
Michael Gelfgot is certified though the Functional Aging Institute and has over 15 years of experience in the health and wellness industry.