Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:
“I’m eating right and exercising regularly, but I’m not losing any weight. What’s up with that?!”
Whether the latter has come from someone you know, or out of your own mouth, it’s a common problem faced by a number of fitness enthusiasts at some point or another. And while it is entirely possible that your sudden lack of progression is related to an underlying medical issue, the best place to start is usually with what’s on your plate and/or how your current exercise regimen is being executed.
Let’s start with your diet.
Many people underestimate their food intake or think because they’re eating “healthy foods”, portion size doesn’t make a difference. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth; while fruits and veggies are absolutely better than anything processed and are much easier for your body to digest, said body doesn’t differentiate between healthy and unhealthy calories. So, if you’re ingesting too many natural sugars or doubling up on complex carbs, then one of two things is likely to be the case: you’re going to stay where you are or gain weight.
The important thing to emphasize in any diet is balance.If you’ve set your caloric intake at a certain amount, don’t go above it. At the very least, be sure that what you’re eating—even if it is healthy—isn’t going to work counter to your goals. For example, while eating black beans is a better option than eating a bowl of white rice, all carbs, even the good ones, will eventually become sugar, and those sugars are eventually converted to fat and stored in the body as reserve energy.
And we all know what happens when too much fat hangs around without being used.
The best way to avoid this is to keep a food diary for 30-days. That’s the best way for you to develop a really good picture of what you’re actually eating on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s as simple as one too many trips to the snack machine or one too many soft drinks.
MyFitnessPal offers a phenomenal app for both Android and iPhones that allows you to scan the bar code of nearly any food item, record its serving size, and figure up how much of your daily intake is actually made up of fat, carbs, and sugar. You might be surprised what you find—on a personal note, I started counting calories for the very reason I’m writing this article about, and was surprised at just how out of balance my eating truly was, the snacking in particular—so don’t underestimate the value of keeping a food diary if you’ve stopped seeing progress.
Another possibility is you might actually need to change your training regimen. If you’ve been doing the same workout for the last 3-months or so, then your body is no longer being challenged and needs a jolt; try doing something different, or adding some variation to your current routine, to kickstart your metabolism again.
As I said from the outset, there is certainly the possibility your issue is medical in nature, and you should seek a doctor’s advice if you feel there could be something more at play, but usually the solution is as simple as adjusting what’s on your plate or updating your workout regimen. Start with those and then make adjustments as follows.