I'm eating clean but not losing weight, I'm eating paleo/ low carb/ keto/ gluten free but not losing weight. Is this you? If so you are not alone! Losing weight is hard. You're wanting fat loss and that's even harder because with losing specific tissues you have to be so on point to makes sure you're losing the right tissues - fat not muscle. The reasons why you're not losing weight are most likely related to your nutrition behavior and portions, and only a few choices.
To help people get started on healthful nutrition behaviors, choosing more single-serving portions, and having healthier choices I made this $6 Strong Snack Guide. It comes with a fitness tracker too. If you can commit to these snacks and a workout routine for 4 weeks, you're on the right track.
If you're not making progress, read below and see if any of these might be why.
1. Snacking Mindlessly
Mindless means anything that you're not fully paying attention to or are in some ways distracted from the action. Multi-taskers are most likely at fault for this (hi! Major multi talker over here). This type of nutrition behavior can lead you to eating when you're working, driving, talking on the phone, cleaning your house. I know because I do this and it's heavily researched in weight management techniques.
Behavior change is hard but the most influential thing you can do to change your nutrition and make your diet a lifestyle.
If you're in this category here is what you can do:
Plan out your snacks ahead of time.
Sit down before you eat.
Before you sit down, put your snack on a plate or in a container.
Be totally present - no phone, no computer, just you and the snack. This is nearly impossible so just aim to do this at least 1 snack or meal of the day at first and build from there.
2. Eating Until You're Past Fullness
This can happen easily when you're eating highly palatable foods. For me it's chips and salsa. Give me a access to a bag of those and my fullness question are outta here. I have "snacksidents" (term I learned from a client!).
I also carry genes that make it easier for me to overeat. This is because my body isn't producing the "right" amount of leptin and ghrelin. Well, I won't say the "right" amount. It's not wrong, it's just not conducive to fat loss so I gotta staregize around it.
If this is you, here's what you can do:
Decide ahead of time that when you are done, you are done.
Choose smaller serving sizes - an old but really effective tip.
Serve dinners in the kitchen and bring plates to the dining room. This has worked really well since we've been on a macro-based nutrition program at home. It works mostly because of portion control.
Speaking of which, this leads me to the second reason why you're not losing weight but still eating clean/healthy etc. It's your portions.
1. You're Underestimating
This is so common and one of the barriers to accurate results in research studies. Especially with "healthy" foods - we will tend to underestimate the caloric value. Alos, I'm not a fan of calorie counting but if someone's trying to lose weight, the calories have to be less than the needs of the current body weight. Thinking a salad has 150 calories but it really has 250 makes a difference.
If this might be you, here's what you can do:
Buy pre-portioned snacks like individual bags of nuts, chips, bars, protein powder packs, peanut butter packs, rice cakes, etc. I have a ton of ideas in the strong snack guide to help you with ideas.
2. You're Served Larger Portions
If youre a #denverfoodie like me, you're going out to eat at least once a week just because. There's food int he fridge but you want to go and eat without cooking and cleaning. Totally relatable and I want you to keep doing that. Be aware, though, that the plate you're served might be 50% more food than what you would serve yourself.
This is so restaurants create a valuable experience. We want this! I hate paying an expensive amount for food and being served tiny portions. Most of us do which is why restaurants will give us hearty portions.
If you're going out to eat do these 2 things to help with your fat loss goals:
Order entrees with clearly defined protein, carbs and veggies.
Have it in your mind you're going to save 1/3 to a half. Ask for the to go box after the meal. (I know some people say order it right away, but I'm not doing that so I don't want to recommend it to you).
Eat something before you go. Sounds counter intuitive but if you're overly hungry before you'll just overeat anyways. Have a nutrient-dense strong snack about 60 minutes before. Make it a pre-game snack with your dining out partner.
Okay but sometimes it does come down to your choices. But it's not the Should I have jerky or an apple choices. No it's more like...
Am I choosing the heavier snack because I've restricted for so long vs. really wanting it?
Am I choosing to have a high-calorie margarita or no alcohol at all?
1. More Calorie-Dense, Less Nutrient Dense
We're always going to have our favorite foods that are calorie-dense: burgers, cookies, chocolates, chips and guac, cinnamon buns. Finding ways to be strategic about when you have these choices is useful.
If you are choosing the higher-calorie options just because here are some things you can do to change:
Read labels and find a similar alternative but a higher protein content. Higher protein usually is friendlier for fat loss goals because it's got a high fullness factor like fat but at half the calories.
Stop restricting so much. Yea, that's also counter intuitive and does bleed into the nutrition behavior category but choosing to honor a serious craving or indulgence versus the lower-calorie options or nothing at all might back fire especially if you've been dieting your whole life.
If this is you, the only real tip is drink less alcohol. The choice between alcohol v none is easy to do Monday through Thursday for most of us. It's usually Friday, Saturday and maybe Sunday where we okay 3+ drinks. That adds up.
Here's a strategy I use in coaching:
Count how many alcoholic drinks you have in 1 month. Sometimes people tell me 100 or even more. If we can reduce that to just half- 50 drinks a month, or 30 drinks... That's going to make a significant difference.
Hopefully these tips make it a little clearer on the why you're not reaching the result. I'd start with small changes at first which is why I have my Strong Snacks Guide to make the decision making process easier. If you plan, portion, and choose one of the snacks from the guide and commit for 4 weeks, along with an exercise routine, you'll make some progress. You just gotta start and stay honest and consistent.
Okay, time to get ready or the 5k!