Weight loss, weight loss, weight loss. It’s largely what we talk about in the health and wellness blogosphere and popular media – but despite our obsession, trendy weight loss strategies and revolutionary diets, maintaining a healthy weight is still very difficult for many of us to achieve.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a special diet or gimmicky pill to lose weight. What you need is the right information, determination, commitment and the belief that you can change for the long term. People don’t like to hear this, but I see it again and again with my clients. To lose weight, and keep it off, you’ve got to make a lifestyle change, you’ve got to stick with a strict plan at the outset and you have to accept the fact that the changes won’t happen overnight.
So to help you out, here are my top 8 red flags that signal you’re not on the road to achieving your weight loss goals. If you think I sound like a broken record – you’re right. But, practice makes perfect – so I encourage you review the tips below and truly reflect on where you can improve.
1. Not enough exercise
- A minimum of 5 times a week, at a moderate intensity for at least 45 minutes to an hour is required when you’re starting out.
2. You’re eating too much of the wrong things, and too little of the right things.
- You’re eating and (drinking) too many processed foods, too much white rice, bread, noodles and pasta and not enough of the right whole foods like beets, squash, green leafy vegetables, grass fed butter, nuts, pastured raised meats and wild fish high in omega 3’s and other fat burning nutrients that can spark your fat-burning mechanisms.
3. You’re snacking too much, and not leaving gaps between meals
- We live in an era of hyper-palatable foods and dangerously clever food marketing. This has led to a culture of snacking – most of it when we are not even hungry. Unless you’re a body builder or a fitness model, or a cow grazing in a field :), my recommendation is to eat 3 healthy whole food meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner, separated by at least 4 hours. If you must snack, eat a fruit or a handful of nuts as far away from a meal as possible.
4. You’re eating the wrong kind of calories
- Even if you think you are eating within your daily caloric recommendations, the wrong kind of calories (processed foods, sugary drinks, baked goods with trans fats) can wreck havoc on your ability to lose weight and keep it off. What people don’t understand is the powerful effect of the bad calories or funky ingredients that many processed foods contain. These ingredients cause weight gain by: making us crave more bad foods, activating fat storing hormones and slowing our metabolism.
I like the way Dr. Peter Attia puts it:
“…obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation. Fat accumulation is determined not by the balance of calories consumed and expended but by the effect of specific nutrients on the hormonal regulation of fat metabolism. Obesity is a condition where the body prioritizes the storage of fat rather than the utilization of fat.”
5. You’re dehydrated
- Why is water so important for weight loss? Because . . .
- Water causes the body to burn more calories. Pretty cool, eh!
- If you’re hydrated before you sit down for a meal, you will eat less. Why? People often mistake hunger for thirst, so if you’re saying hydrated you’ll be able to ward off cravings and excess food intake.
- A great way to enhance hydration and increase your metabolism is to drink 3-4 cups of green tea per day.
6. You’re not getting enough sleep
- Not getting enough sleep causes stress hormones to remain high throughout the day which essentially stops body fat to be burned. Also, when you’re sleep deprived you’re likely to crave junky foods the next day because you’re brain is thirsty. Essentially your willpower is drained, which will make saying “no” to any unhealthy foods presented to you difficult.
7. You may be on medication that’s causing weight gain
- Google the meds you’re on to see if they may be causing weight gain or stopping it. If they are, see if your Dr. can prescribe another med. Clearly getting off your meds won’t happen immediately. The goal is to develop new healthy habits and eventually, if you can, reverse your medical conditions. Kind of like this story, this one and this one too.
- Here are 2 important questions to answer:
- Is your health where you want it to be? Yes or No?____
- If your health isn’t where you want it to be, how badly do you want change? Rate how badly you want change on a score of 1 to 10.____
If it’s anywhere between 7/10 to 10/10, then change is something that you want badly enough. Anything less than a 7/10 and it’s unlikely that you’ll commit to making any significant lifestyle changes.
8. You’re going at it alone
- If you’ve said to yourself “I know what do but I’m just not doing it” than it’s probably time for guidance, support and education. I’m here to help if you think it’s the right thing for you (find out about more about my nutritional consults here.)
You can do it – make it happen!