Why Am I Not Losing Weight on My Diet?

Photo by Jamie Matociños on Unsplash

You’re doing your absolute best on your diet, eating clean and abstaining from alcohol and chocolate – but by the time the weigh-in comes around, you aren’t seeing the results you wanted. You ask yourself, “Why am I not losing weight on my diet?”

You’re frustrated and confused – and I’ve got the answers. I’m going to tell you what you can do about it.

This Diet is Taking Too Long

Dropping body fat takes time. Often far more time than we expect – especially once we’re over 30, sadly. It might be that you’re expecting too much in the time frame. 

Be patient, know that the process isn’t linear, and you almost definitely don’t need to do anything drastic. 

If you’re still not moving the scale in a fortnight of adherence – and I am talking total compliance with the diet here – we might slightly increase your cardio (NEAT) but almost definitely patience will be all you need to see progress again. 

We want to keep your calories as high as possible for as long as possible because this makes it easier to be compliant so don’t go dropping too many calories too soon. If you’re truly at a plateau – 100% compliance and no movement on the scale for 4 weeks or so, then think about taking off maybe 100 calories from carbohydrates (around 25g) and readjusting to that.

Enjoy the Diet You’re On

My clients always start with a list of foods they love so there’s never anything in their diet that they don’t enjoy. Many times, we begin by adding more of something nutritious rather than taking something else out.

Finding a method that works for you is a massive win – so you can learn to love the process. The reality of the diet sets in around week 3 when it’s actually just doing a few things really well. It’s not big, grand or sexy. So finding a way that works for you right now is key; for some that might be intermittent fasting, or calorie cycling, or even ditching the alcohol completely

Fat Loss Not Weight Loss

Remember that you’re looking for fat loss – not weight loss. That scale weight is simply a reflection of your mass. I’ve trained a couple of women that have actually been happier with their physiques for adding a little bit of muscle, and that often means a heavier scale weight – but with a toned, lean body and none of the jiggle.

You can use other systems of measurement for this which might reflect your progress better than the scale; tape measurements as well as photographs are always a brilliant way to check your progress. This is especially true for people who have a challenging relationship with The Sad Step.

You’re Being Less Compliant With The Diet Than You Think

Lack of compliance is likely to be the number one reason you’re not reaching your goal, and from a coaching perspective, this is often the only metric that actually matters. If you’re jumping from programme to programme, coach to coach, and fad diet to fad diet – but then not sticking to it anyway, nothing will work. Doesn’t matter whether you’re on the carnivore diet or the vegan diet: nothing works unless you do. Pick something that seems suitable and be compliant with your diet. 

Tracking inaccuracies may happen by accident (I forgot to track the oil I cooked with) or “on purpose” I forgot to track the food I hoovered up off the kids plate after they were finished. It’s astonishing to me how many people want to lose weight but have no clue what they’re eating on a daily basis. If your goal is weight loss, this is the ultimate tool at your disposal: track everything you eat, at least for a short period of time.

You Lack Accountability in The Diet

Lacking accountability can be a problem for some people. Write your goals down in a journal or on Facebook and invite questions from friends and family. This will make them an actual real thing that you’re going to do. Review the goals mid-week and course correct if necessary. Evaluate your effort on Sunday – consider what worked well, as well as what might need adjustment for next week.  If you want, you can do this in the Facebook group with The Tribe

For ultimate accountability, and being supported every step of the way to your goals, you could consider getting a coach.

Some people do better with in person coaching, so you should go to your gym and ask to speak to some of the trainers there. I’m based in gyms in Llanelli, but fear not – if you’re not in Llanelli, there are other options.

Remote coaching, delivered over the internet works better for some people. You would consider this option if you have a difficult working schedule or perhaps don’t have the budget for face to face accountability just now. If you’re interested in that, you can set up a call with me, here.

Beginner’s Guide: Actually Executing Your Meal Prep

Photo by Emma Matthews Content Production on Unsplash

One of the most overlooked parts of meal prep for the week is how you actually sit down and execute your plan. People ignore this when they set their intentions for the week because they feel confused and overwhelmed about how it can fit into their lives.

That’s why I am taking all the confusion out of how you take action! It’s much simpler than you might think.

Step 1: Have a plan.

Start with a meal planner. I have one of these stuck to my fridge that I bought from Wilko but here’s a simple one you can download. It’s not fancy – download this and print it off.

Step 2: Plan when you aren’t going to cook that week.

I find starting with known meals out, birthdays, or other celebrations is a good one. So if you know you have your anniversary meal on Tuesday night and you’ll be working late on Thursday, and will be ordering a takeaway to your office – put those things in first.

This can help you to keep these things in mind so that you don’t over eat that day, and can help you to look forward to those special events.

Step 3: Protein inventory.

Go into your kitchen, and figure out what you’ve already got by way of proteins.

Proteins usually come from animals and animal products but for vegetarians and vegans you’re looking at things like Quorn, tempeh and legumes.

Start with things in your fridge because they’re going to have a shorter date than the stuff in your freezer. The use by date is a massive stressor in my cooking life, and we’ll have to make sure these items are eaten first so we don’t waste food.

I had an awesome tip yesterday from my in person client, Clare: when you’re putting your shopping away, write the day it needs to be eaten by on the product in a sharpie. I think this is simple and so useful. Far easier to connect with than a date.

Step 4: What proteins do you need to buy?

Here’s a downloadable cheat sheet to help you figure out what else you like. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but one of the problems I have when I sit down to do this task is that I get a total mind blank on what foods I’ve ever eaten in my whole life and enjoyed.

Have a look at that – go through it with a highlighter, or a sharpie, and highlight the stuff you enjoy, or would be curious to try – or cross out anything that you know you don’t like, or are allergic to.

Step 5: The smart move! Reusing proteins.

Where can you cook raw ingredients and use them more than once? So if you know you’re cooking up 1kg of mince beef for pasta bolognese, after it’s cooked, take half of it and add kidney beans and spices to turn that into chilli for the next day. I am definitely a lazier cook than you so any time I can cook once and eat twice, I am up for that!

This take a little bit of thought and if it’s too challenging for where you’re at with your cooking right now, don’t worry about it. An easier alternative is just to cook loads of one thing, and portion it into Tupperware to freeze.

Step 6: Adding carbs and veg.

The cheat sheet from before includes carb and vegetable sources, but all we’re doing really is adding these in quantities which support our diet goals. And the great news is that you can’t get this wrong! Just pick whatever you enjoy eating.

Looking to lose weight – add more veg than carbs to keep calories lower.

Looking to gain weight – be a bit more generous with your carbs to increase your calories overall.

Carbs are things like potatoes, rice, pasta, cous cous (sounds pretentious but really it’s ridiculously easy to make so it’s good with me), quinoa, oats, noodles, wraps…

Vegetables – there’s no difference between fresh and frozen really so the choice is one of budget and convenience.

I particularly like frozen fruit – things like pineapple, mango and berries which can be really expensive bought fresh, prone to going off before you can use them, and often only in season for a short while. These are awesome in a smoothie.

Bonus tip!

Like re-using our ingredients in different meals (beef becomes bolognese and also chilli), think about repeating one meal a day or even cycling between 2 meals.

So for example, breakfast A could be eggs, and breakfast B could be a protein smoothie. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday could be A, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday could be B.

This can sometimes be prepared ahead of time but even if it isn’t, it takes away a lot of the thinking needed – which I find is the part of the process which gets tiring.

If you used the resources, I’d love to know about it! Please leave a comment to tell me if you found this useful.

Getting organised with food is probably the biggest barrier for most people, and there’s no one way to get this exactly right.

It’s a continuous process, and we’re all just doing out best not to eat like knobheads all of the time.

“You can’t out train a bad diet” – I’ll help you with diet too!

I’m taking away the Saturday spin class, and replacing it with an educational class on nutrition. Here’s why I think this is important:

Every single time I poll my in person clients, they report that their diet gives them more difficulty than what they do in the gym. When they’re working out – I’m with them. I guide them through the movement patterns, the reasons why exercises are performed the way they are, and what it should feel like. I can show them, I can explain to them, and I can even physically guide them into position if necessary. I am able to give them tons of support with their movements.

Then they leave the session, go back to their regular lives, and get exposed to totally unfiltered nutrition information that might be of *ahem* questionable quality from instagram, or the Daily Mail, or what Karen said in the break room at work and they’re left confused. They need support making good choices that feel right for them and their needs. They think they need information – because nutrition is presented as this wildly complex thing that must be mastered and perfected – or they’ll be left bloated, gaining weight or develop a terrible disease. In fact, they need a few clear principles and the wisdom to apply them regardless of the changing whims of what newspapers report will be giving you cancer this week. 

That’s my goal for the class. It isn’t a diet class where every one has to weigh in every week with an assumption that you want to lose fat. It’s a classroom where you get to sort the facts from the bullshit. It’s going to make you bullet proof against the industry shills and their sales pitches for skinny tea, detox shakes and fat burners. 

I don’t want my clients to stay with me because they haven’t learned enough to manage their health on their own. Health is of vital importance, and as an industry we put a lot of emphasis on the fitness part of health & fitness, and not enough (in my opinion) on the health element. Every human should be able to nourish themselves properly and move safely. That’s what this is about. I believe people should be equipped to look after themselves properly – if they want to keep training with me after that, then it will be for the experience. Not because they don’t know how to do the basics themselves. 

There will be a main focus for the class each week, and I’ll compile it like a syllabus of practical information that you can apply immediately. Between classes, I hope people will submit questions for the classes to come – this will give me an idea where people are struggling most. It won’t just be for paying clients, this will be open to every gym member for free – and for a smaller fee than your local diet club, even non-members. 

So clear your schedule for next Saturday, bring a friend, bring a coffee, and let’s get down to business.