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.

You’re Not Too Busy

You’ve moved house. You’ve got a new job. And holy smokes, you just realised you have a family!

How can you fit your gym routine around your life that you’ve only just realised is hectic?!

OK first of all – you don’t have a “gym routine”. You have a commitment to your health. That’s not frivolous, or shallow, or vain. You’re working on being the healthiest version of you possible because there are people in your life who love you – and they are trusting you to keep yourself as healthy as possible. You have a responsibility. It’s not selfish – your health is held on trust for all those who adore you.

Secondly; all that shit that’s keeping you busy? Almost all of it is not temporary. Your busy life is permanent – and the vast majority of the things you’re dealing with, you’re going to be continuing to deal with for the foreseeable future. So making anything fit into your lifestyle needs to be carefully planned and considered.

All the reasons why you’re too busy to train are all the reasons why you should be training regularly.

Your family need your focus – so get in the gym early, get yourself sorted out, and go home to be with them. You can’t pour from an empty vessel so being energised and strong ready to play around with your kids and be present and comfortable with your husband or wife – that needs to happen first.

Your work keeps you busy – so being strong and focused and healthy would only benefit your professional commitments, right?

You can’t find the time – so work out early in the morning with a trainer that can accommodate you (me!) or late at night when the gym is empty. These “anti social” time slots are great because the facilities are quiet and you can get your work out done without interruptions.

Here are some of the things you can do to make exercise fit into your life:

Have a plan to follow.

This doesn’t have to mean hiring a personal trainer; there are lots of options. You could get remote support from an online coach. You could follow a programme you have downloaded online or access via an app. If you’re into it, you could even write your own plan. But don’t hop around from programme to programme too much. More important than the specific exercises that you’ll be doing is having a plan of when you’re going to fit training into your week.

Early morning exercise.

“I don’t want to get out of my warm bed to train at 6am” you cry, as though everyone else is sleeping in horribly uncomfortable beds and 6am happens at some other time of day for the rest of us. If you’re genuinely stuck at finding 30 minutes in your day to work on your health, you’re almost definitely wasting a lot of time, and time can be found for most people if you’re looking for it.

Workout during lunch.

One of my clients always uses her lunch hour to walk. She goes around her workplace, clocking up several miles a week and remains focused on that as a priority. This is super smart because walking is awesome exercise, obviously – but even better, if you’re on the move, your terrible colleagues can’t find you and give you stupid shit to do.

Walking.

One of my favourite methods of the time poor is a quick walk around the block. Doing this once every hour, or before & after meals can be an easy way to prompt a positive habit that doesn’t take very long. If you have a dog, this becomes even more fun – and your dog will love you for it.

Exercising at home.

There are bodyweight programmes that you can follow online, on YouTube, or even my own 60 day core challenge if you need more structure and support. There are fitness DVDs to suit all abilities – you can even get your family joining in with you.

Working out with a group.

One of the most popular options among my guys is working out in a small group. The Tribe – as we call it – look forward to these sessions because it becomes a social event as well as a health consideration, you see one another progress and it’s a chance to support each other. This might be in a structured setting like a gym, or in an outdoors event like a running club, or even a team sport in your area.

Doing something is better than nothing. If you’re looking for a way to make exercise part of your life, please don’t wait for conditions to be perfect. Think about it – when was the last time you weren’t busy?

An Open Letter to the Client Who Ghosted

Dear Client,

I wanted to write a thank you note for all the trust you put in me to manage your health and fitness goals. I know you’re putting your all into your sessions, and I recognise the effort you put in – it’s wonderful to see you developing your confidence in the gym, and surprising yourself with what you’re capable of.

Sometimes, you don’t give yourself the credit you deserve. Don’t forget that progress isn’t always measured on the scale. Sometimes hitting fitness bench marks and calorie targets feel too difficult, but you’re growing in other areas too. You’re now confident to come in and use equipment safely, which you weren’t when we began.

You may not have noticed having more energy in other areas of your life; your work, your relationships, and being able to keep up with your children. You’re gaining confidence in other areas of your life too, outside of the gym, and that’s the stuff that really makes it worth it.

However, I want to talk to you about something else. You’re quiet, maybe you aren’t responding to my messages. We all go through periods where we need to be alone, and reflect on our own stuff – that’s cool, I don’t want to hassle you. But if there’s something bothering you, please let me know. Please don’t ghost me, because I care about you. If you aren’t sure how to have that conversation – a lapse in gym attendance, maybe you’ve lost the plot a bit with your eating – as difficult as that might be, please let me know. 

I definitely don’t have all the answers, but I do have empathy for the struggle. It’s not easy to talk about these things, but I can promise you hand on heart that I will never ever judge you. And I will help you to get these things back under control when you are ready.

If you’ve stopped communicating with me, it’s usually because you’re slipping in some aspect of our plan. Your food hasn’t been managed and the scale starts to reflect that. Sometimes you stop using the scale altogether. Sometimes the gym has become intimidating. Hell, sometimes leaving the house can be intimidating. And the thought of having to explain this to your trainer seems too much. 

Whatever problems you’re going through, it’s my job to help you sort them out. It’s exactly what you hired me to do when you first asked me to get involved. You aren’t the first client to have a wobble. Frankly, if people had it all together all of the time, I wouldn’t have a job. I don’t want to get on your case, but that’s sort of my responsibility too.

When you don’t respond to my messages, I don’t forget about you. I don’t get mad at you. I just think about you more because I care. I worry that you’re struggling and stressing yourself out about perceived failures. I know this worry deep inside because I’ve been there too – many, many times. It takes a while but you will realise that speaking up and reaching out is a massive win and the first step towards getting back on track. 

Failure can be really helpful. It can help us both have a greater understanding of those obstacles that we need to tackle together. The more I can understand the challenges you face, the better I can help you to avoid these mistakes in the future. But I can’t do that alone. I need your help – please talk to me.

Me and you are in this together. A team working on your goals. Your success is important to me, because you hired me on as your team mate. When we work together we progress – in many forms; physically, mentally, emotionally, socially. After our session is over, the process of continuing the hard work is back in your hands, and I’m on board to support you for as long as you let me.

Sincerely,

Your friend, your personal trainer.