It’s not the first time I’ve received a reader cry out such as this, and recently I received an email saying:
Help! I think I’m eating well but I’m gaining weight instead of losing it. What am I doing wrong?
So I thought it might be helpful to you if I shared the response here just in case you might be gaining weight too.
1. Take a holistic view
When it comes to weight loss, it’s important to remember that it’s not always just a matter of changing what you eat and BAM!, the weight drops off. You need to look at your health, your body, and your life from a holistic point of view. This is something many people fail to do. We segment the weight into it’s own little box as if it’s the cause that we can treat by following 1,2,3 steps. But in many cases weight gain is a symptom of the various things that are out of order in our life or with our health.
Take a moment to stop to look at everything as a WHOLE. We are not a sum of parts, nor is our weight gain ‘out there’ all on it’s own. It’s a part of the whole and needs to be addressed like this for best results. For example, high stress in your life can contribute to weight gain, so can lack of sleep. This is because high cortisol levels stimulate insulin and also lead to fat deposits around the mid section. So there are many things that can contribute, don’t discount any of them and take a look at areas that might be causing havoc on way level or another.
2. You’re not really eating that well
Be honest with yourself, are you really eating a clean diet plan? Or are you including a few too many treats and cheats? It’s not uncommon to think you are doing the right thing, but when it comes to the crunch, you’ve really been eating chocolate every single day at morning and afternoon tea!
Some of the most common contributors are excess fruit consumption, excess consumption of nuts, excess consumption of carbohydrates, drinking empty calories in the form of jucies or soda, eating too many baked goods, and chowing down on chocolate a little too frequently.
The best thing to do is to keep a food diary for a minimum of 3 days and up to a week. Write down everything you eat and drink. Often the results may surprise you. When you can actually see clearly in front of you what’s been going in, you can identify patterns and take action on removing things, or adding things. The food dairy is a really good tool for being your own food habit detective.
3. You haven’t really changed your habits
This is kind of the same as above but the truth is that many people who want to lose weight, don’t really want to change habits. Trying to replace regular cookies with a “healthy” substitute in the form of a gluten free cookie or even a baked almond flour cookie is still not going to help you lose weight. Leave those things until you reach your goal weight!
And what about your exercise habits, your thinking habits, your sleeping habits, your stressing habits, your relaxation habits? It’s all a part of achieving weight loss and improved health, we are a WHOLE remember. Start observing your habits and questioning what you can change.
4. You haven’t bothered tweaking anything
You may have to tweak things and work out where you are going wrong. And you may have to do this at various points along the journey. You can’t just keep doing the same thing day in and day out and expecting different results. But we often do just that, we keep doing the same thing every day, we get to the end of the day and then wonder why nothing has changed. We do this week after week after week, crazy really!
There’s also the factor of time to consider. What you do now will show up in 2-3 weeks time, not 2-3 days time! Observe what you’re doing now by keeping a food diary and examining your lifestyle. Then tweak it up, make the necessary changes, stick to it and see what happens in 2 weeks time. Have the results changed? Do you feel better? Keep on tweaking as necessary, and if you don’t know how, get help.
5. You’re obsessed with the scales
Many people weigh themselves daily and this is the worst thing you can do for inner morale and motivation. Your weight will fluctuate from day to day, week to week so weighing yourself and having a panic attack over the fact that you’ve gained a couple of kilos or pounds is stupid. Now you’re not stupid are you? I don’t think so.
Muscle also weighs more than fat so if you are gaining muscle, weight may not change as drastically as you might think. In fact sometimes it won’t change at all. At the minimum weigh every couple of weeks only. A better measure of weight loss is photos and measurements so make sure you get those, and your clothes will be a clear indicator too. Other good indicators also include energy, moods, clear eyes and skin, and any other improvements in health no matter how big or small.
If you can’t resist, then throw away the scale, I mean it! Obsessing over the negatives doesn’t help you in any way, shape, or form. Keeping a positive success mindset is also key to developing a healthier lifestyle and losing weight.
6. You’re eating too much
Yes you can still eat too much of a good thing, even when it’s all good for you. You can’t just chow down 25 times a day, at some point quantity does matter. And on top of that, you may just be cheating a bit too much, thinking it’s only an occasional thing. Again, if you keep your food diary you will probably find you’re not eating as well as you think. This will help you make those tweaks you need to make. And if you are doing all the things right, you can try some moderate portion control and it should help to boost things along a bit. Sometimes it only takes a small reduction to start shifting the weight.
Remember to breathe and relax. If you are doing all the right things, then give your body time to heal. There are many variables to achieving weight loss. And despite commonly held assumptions, it doesn’t just drop off for many people. Depending on your health status, all of the holistic factors, your habits, your mindset, and other things that may come into the picture. These things take time to change.
Despite the messages we get ‘sold’ on a daily basis, I’m sorry to say there is no quick fix solution to creating better health in your life. It’s a commitment you make to yourself and often it’s a journey. Stop thinking of it as a ‘diet’ and start thinking of it as a permanent lifestyle change, one where you have chosen to honor yourself, to learn and apply what’s best for you. Then keep on doing all the best things for you, for the rest of your life.
If you do that, you will stop chasing shiny objects, you will lose weight long term, and change the face of your life forever!
P.S. If you’re still having trouble working it out, I can help you. The 8 Week ‘Best You’ Bootcamp is all about helping you make life long permanent changes. The next round starts October 1st, click here to check out the details.