So, I have this friend. Years back, after finishing up a pretty active athletic career, she started to put on some weight, and wasn’t exactly the picture of perfect health. She decided to take action, and that meant implementing a healthy eating and exercise program. The pounds started to slip away at first, but eventually she hit a plateau and even put a few pounds back on. She didn’t understand – she was eating “sooooo gooood.” She exercised “alllll the time.” Eventually she went to her family doctor to have her thyroid checked. That must be it, she thought. Nope – thyroid was just fine. I was SO FRUSTRATED! I mean, SHE was so frustrated! Fast forward several years later. She eventually made some modifications to her routine, lost the final weight and inches, and hit her goal body fat percentage. Looking back she sees very clearly what her missteps were, and she’d like to share them. So if you are facing a stubborn scale, and ready to get real, here we go:
1) You are UNDERESTIMATING how much you eat. This is a very common mistake among us humans. We underestimate our caloric intake by up to 33%. So you think you ate 1500 calories yesterday? Sorry – it was probably closer to 2000. Unless you are logging your food regularly, there is no way to fully appreciate how much energy you are consuming on any given day. And if you are logging your food, and I am a BIG proponent of food logging, be honest! What’s the point of keeping a food log if you are going to lie to yourself?
2) You are OVERESTIMATING your calorie burn. You just killed a 45-minute workout at PUSH Functional Fitness in Milwaukee. You know you just shredded major calories! Now you can go out and eat/drink/inhale the xxx you have been craving, right? WRONG! Take it from someone who knows- the first time I trained for a half marathon I put on 7 pounds! What the hell, right? I overestimated my calorie burn so regularly that it didn’t matter how many miles I was running. It is EXTREMELY common. If you want to tune in to how many calories you actually torch during a workout, wear a heart rate monitor or activity tracker. If not, be realistic and don’t “eat back” the calories you burn.
3) Your weekends are KILLING your weekdays. Ever uttered these words, “I eat really healthy Monday – Friday and then allow myself to eat whatever I want on the weekends.” And then the weekends become Friday- Sunday. And then a happy hour rolls around on Thursday. Next thing you know you are eating decent three days a week and killing that progress with a four-day binge. Instead, eat well 7 days a week. Stay active. Feel great about yourself. Novel idea, right?
4) Outside of your workouts, you SOA. There is a very scary new study out that shows people are 30% less active on days they work out than on days they do not. Why?? Because we think that our workouts make up for the fact that we sit-on-ass the rest of the day. Get up. Walk around. Visit a coworker. Take the stairs. Take your dog for a walk. Take your husband for a walk. Take ANYONE for a walk!
5) You are not getting your ZZZ’s. Our bodies need 7-8 hours of sleep, regularly, in order to function at a high level. By function, I mean more than pouring ourselves out of bed long enough to down a triple shot venti latte. Get me? If you need some real motivation, this should do it. A new study shows that our bodies can become as insulin resistant as a Type 2 Diabetic after a poor night’s sleep. Ever wonder why you make bad food choices when you are tired? BINGO! Your body is craving sugar!
Me and my “friend” hope these 5 points lend some insights as to why you might be losing the battle you’ve waged with your scale. Please take them to heart before visiting your doctor for a thyroid test. Save the money you would have spent on copays and deductibles and buy yourself a cool new pair of workout sneaks. 🙂