Many people have had difficulty losing weight, nothing is more frustrating to get your motivation up, find the perfect diet and exercise program for you and then… nothing. Some people actually do have a metabolic issue that makes it virtually impossible to lose weight, but not many. For most of us the harsh reality is that we’re just not being as good as we think we are. The cool thing is that there are a few simple things you can do that will help keep you ‘honest’ in your weight loss journey.
For one thing, it’s amazingly easy to ‘lie’ to ourselves about what we’ve eaten in any given day. There have been times when I would have sworn I was good, until a friend (I use that term loosely!) will remind me of that pastry I had at lunch or all the cream and sugar I put in my coffee. Ooops. I didn’t mean to lie to myself, it just happened. Most of us are like that to one degree or another.
To keep yourself on track one very simple but effective thing you can do is to keep a food journal. For a week or two, write down every single thing that you eat or drink. You have to be honest and you have to include everything even that second glass of soda at lunch and the two pats of margarine you put on your toast… everything.
If you do that for few weeks, you’ll quickly be able to spot the times of the day and the areas in your diet where you might have a bit of trouble. Once you pinpoint the reasons you have difficulty losing weight you can make changes that will help you achieve your goals much more quickly.
The same principle can apply to when you work out. Again, it’s easy to think that you’re working harder than you really think. If you keep a workout journal it’s harder to convince yourself that you’ve done something you really haven’t done. Not only can you track the number of times you go to the gym but you can also track how long you spent on the treadmill (or doing cardio in general), how many exercises you did for your upper body, how many you did for your lower body, etc.
You can also keep track of how much weight you lifted for each exercise. Ideally, you should be increasing your weights over a period of time. It’s important to keep your body challenged and not let it get into a rut. By changing up the weights you lift as well as the exercises you do, you’ll keep your body ‘guessing’ which will help you get better results in less time.
Most of the major muscle groups (chest, upper back, lower back, abs, butt, quadriceps, hamstrings) will have more than one exercise you can do. By mixing up the exercises you do for each group you are keeping your toning efforts in high gear. Another benefit is that the different exercises will target each muscle group in a slightly different way which can also lessen a lot of the repetitive types of injuries to your body.
I don’t mean to be the bearer of bad news, but usually when someone has difficulty losing weight it’s really more about the way they’re doing things than about any metabolic issue with their body.