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Do you find yourself in a place where you really don’t recognize your body? Somehow, you’ve put on some fat weight (maybe more than you’d like to admit), and you’re not sure how it happened...how you got here. And so you’ve been trying to make some changes, but for some reason it’s not budging. And you’re beginning to panic. And feel desperate. Deep down you know it’s not all about aesthetics, but it really reflects how you FEEL about your body right now. And you don’t like it.
In this episode, I’m going to help you troubleshoot this. If you’re not sure why you’re not losing the fat like you want, and you need help, this one’s for you. Let’s dive in.
About a month ago, back on episode 216, we hit a record with this podcast with the most downloads in one day ever. I’m sure you can’t recall what that episode was, but it was “The Best Ways to Measure Your Progress (Especially if Weight Loss is Your Goal).”
If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t listened to that one yet, make sure you do…once again, that was episode 216.
The fact that that particular episode broke records told me something… not everybody, but the large majority of the listeners of this show want to see progress, specifically fat loss, and you need help making it happen.
I recently got a text from a friend. She said, "I'm the heaviest I've ever been. I know it’s not all about weight and the scale, but Megan… right now I’m at a weight that I haven’t seen since I was pregnant years ago. Something’s gotta give. Do I need to do more portion control? Macro counting? I feel so defeated.”
You might be struggling with these exact same feelings, so today I’m going to teach you WHY you might not be losing weight - if that’s your goal. And how you can make it happen in the healthiest, most sustainable way possible. Sound good?
Let’s Talk About Weight Loss Real Quick…
If you remember from episode 216, the important differentiator is that “fat loss” should be your goal, because that’s what you’re really talking about, not just weight loss at all cost. You don’t want to lose muscle mass, bone density, glycogen stores, or other things in your body that contribute to you being a healthy woman, just for the sake of seeing the scale go down.
And you MUST remember that there are many other indicators that your body is improving and making progress. So I don’t want weight loss to become everything to you, and have you in a place where you’re willing to do anything, even damaging things, to make it happen.
- I know so many people that have struggled with their weight and have gotten to the point that their entire identity is wrapped up in how much they weigh...and they’re desperate for it to be different.
- So they starve themselves. They drink meal replacement shakes 4 times a day. They spend enormous amounts of money to eat only 800 calories a day. And they’re convinced by “coaches” that this is making them healthier and the proof is in the pounds and pounds of weight that they’re losing.
- This seriously breaks my heart. It’s like watching someone in an abusive relationship and not being able to do anything about it because they literally believe it’s all fine and dandy.
- Friend, there is a reason that I don’t have before and after photos slapped all over my website and social media feeds. Believe me, I could… because a lot of people lose weight in my programs. But not having these images in front of your face all the time is extremely intentional and strategic.
- Listen to me… you are more than a before and after photo. And I’m not just saying that. Your body, and the health of your body, is far more complex and beautiful than what could be shown in a dramatic weight loss photo.
- And when you see those photos of someone that is celebrating her 20 pounds gone in one month (and she says she’s feeling better than ever before), what you don’t see is that she is literally starving. At that very moment, her metabolism is resetting down to 800 calories per day. She is triggering all of her stress hormones. And it will take years to repair the damage that’s happening. As soon as she begins eating real food again, she will start gaining weight at a faster rate than she ever has before.
- This is the game of “Weight loss at all cost”.
So hear me when I say that it’s ok to want to lose some body fat and feel trimmer, if that’s what you need to do to be a healthier person. But it’s not ok to do anything to make that happen, especially if it hurts you more in the long run.
Ok, if you are struggling to lose weight....Here are __ reasons why that might not be happening.
First, you might not have the right mindset.
- (This is going to be hard, but this is extremely important, which is why I mention it first.) Do NOT focus on the outcome, focus on the journey, the process...the daily habits. What you need to be doing today, right here at this moment.
- Ultimately, you have very little control of the outcome, but you have 100% control of what your choices are today.
- Let me tell you a STORY about Diann: she signed up for my Jumpstart30 program back in September. She knew she was overweight, in fact she had the same 20 pounds that she had been trying to get rid of for years, and just felt generally unhealthy, so she took the chance and decided to give it a try. (Now, what I do with you in Jumpstart 30 is give you very specific exercise and nutrition tasks to accomplish each day… they’re very easy to do, I just need you to do it.) So I told Diann exactly what to do each day, and she just focused on that one thing. She wasn’t focusing on “losing weight, losing weight, am I losing the weight”... NO! She trusted me and just paid attention to the job that needed to be done that day. No more no less. Well Diann finished Jumpstart30, felt so good and kept going and did Jumpstart60, just kept going and did Getstrong30. I checked in with her a couple weeks ago to see how things were going, and she said “I’m so much stronger, my body doesn’t hurt, I have more energy, my habits are immensely better, I feel healthier than I’ve felt in years, oh and by the way I’ve lost all those 20 pounds, too.”
- Wait, what?? (screech) This is a perfect example of someone that just put their head down and stayed focused on the journey, not the outcome.
- And did you catch her attitude about her weight loss? Somehow along the way, the scope of what she was accomplishing was impacting far more things in her life than just weight loss. So let that just encourage you to know that the simple daily tasks really do add up and can help you achieve your goals and so much more.
So that’s the first thing… your mindset and willingness to commit to doing the right thing TODAY.
Second, your nutrition might be off track.
Nutrition If you want to experience fat loss, you need to be eating the right quantities of the right foods 90% of the time. Those are 3 things that MATTER with your nutrition to actually experience change. If you overeat, if you eat a lot of unhealthy foods, and you only eat healthy 60% of the time, you will not see results.
- First, the right quantities. How do you eat the right quantities? Fortunately for you, you don’t have to macro count or calorie count to get this right.
- Eat at regular intervals throughout the day (every 3-4 hours). This will ensure that you don’t get overly hungry and end up overeating later on.
- Eat slowly (15-20 min) and listen to your fullness cues, stop eating at 80% fullness. Drinking water throughout your meal can really help you slow down.
- You can use your hand as your guide - I’ll talk about that in just a minute.
- Second, you need to eat the right foods.
- You need to be choosing foods that are high in nutrients and bulk, so that they fill you up sooner and provide your body with all the nutrients it needs to thrive and operate on point.
- What does this look like? Protein and produce (fruits & vegetables)
- Eat your PRO’s!
- Have 1 palm-sized amount of lean protein at every meal (Or the equivalent of 20-40g protein) - chicken breast, turkey, fish like salmon, sirloin steak, extra lean ground beef, lean pork, eggs, yogurt, cottage cheese.
- Have 2 fist-sized amounts of fruits or veggies at every meal, preferably more vegetables since they’re a bit higher in fiber - broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens, tomatoes, peppers, asparagus, zucchini, mushrooms (if you don’t like veggies, you can learn… make a list of what you do like and start to expand your horizons)
- We can also talk about healthy fats and starchier forms of carbohydrates (like grains, rice, and potatoes), but don’t concern yourself with these yet if you’re not yet getting your PRO’s in at every meal.
- Final thing: Consistency. Eating like this 90% of the time.
- I don’t want you to eat perfectly, you’ll explode. I want you to eat PRO’s at every meal except 10% of your meals throughout the week. (4 meals/day x 7 days/week = 28 meals total). 10% is roughly 3 meals over the course of the week are NOT full of PRO’s.
The nutrition part is HARD. And it can become more intricate and complicated, but 9 times out of 10, if someone is honestly following these habits, and does it consistently, they will see and feel a difference and never need to do the more complicated, advanced things… like counting calories or full-on macro counting.
The third reason why you might not be seeing results could be your activity level:
Here’s the truth: If you want to experience good, quality weight loss (where you’re losing body fat and maintaining or even building muscle), then you need to be physically active, somehow, pretty much every day. And it should eventually become a combination of low intensity, medium intensity, and higher intensity activity.
Let’s figure out how to build up to this gradually over time.
- Do NOT run out and get a gym membership or sign up for a bootcamp class and sweat your life away for a solid hour every day. You’ll burnout, hurt yourself and hate exercise. We talked about this two weeks ago on episode 226… about what to do if you really hate exercising and can never get motivated to do it. (Go back and listen to that one if you need to… I’ll make sure it’s linked in the notes.)
So, let me ask you a question: Right now, are you intentionally moving and being active every day in some way, shape or form? If not at the moment, start here.
- Start with feel-good movements, like stretching, simple bodyweight exercise like bridges or squats, going for a walk outside, riding your bike, something you enjoy.
- Just get a routine going of doing movement of some kind everyday. This is exactly what I help you do in my Jumpstart 30 program —I help you to simply show up, in quick, feel good ways, every day, so that movement is top of mind for you and becomes part of your routine.
Now, if that’s already happening, and you can say “Yeah, I’m already doing that”, then let’s turn this activity into a purposeful combination of low intensity, medium intensity, and then high intensity work. Because low intensity work like walking and stretching is awesome, but to lose body fat and build muscle, you really need to tap into the other levels a little bit, too.
- A great example of this is how the workouts look near the end of my Jumspstart 60 program (which is my beginner program that follows Jumpstart 30).
- Each week, I guide you through some full body workouts that move you quickly through circuits of bodyweight-only exercises that build your muscles and get your heart rate up (high intensity)
- Each week, we also do some workouts that are a little easier, not so fast and intense...include more stretching (medium intensity)
- Each week, we also do some days that are just stretching and going for some walks (low intensity)
- It keeps it balanced, you’re in a routine of doing something every day, and we’re being smart about it and avoiding burnout.
So, if you want to experience good, quality weight loss (where you’re losing body fat and maintaining or even building muscle), then work towards consistently moving your body somehow every day, and then eventually tapping into those different intensity levels.
The Fourth Reason why you might not be seeing results could be because you’re underestimating how much of an impact your sleep and your stress has on your physical body.
You could have the best nutrition and the best workout plan, but if you’re not getting enough good quality sleep and if your stress is off the charts, your body will fight tooth and nail to make sure fat loss doesn’t happen. You just won’t lose fat.
- You need between 6 and 8 hours of sleep every night. 90% or more of your body’s HGH, which is the hormone your body secretes to heal your tissues and even rejuvenate your brain, is released while you sleep. Not only that, but when you’re not sleeping well, your body produces more stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, that make it almost impossible to lose body fat.
- If you’re not consistently getting that, ask yourself why, and see if there’s anything that you can realistically do to improve your sleep.
- To help you determine a good bedtime, decide when you need to wake up, then count backwards from there.
- For example, I know that I feel best with 7 hours of sleep (8 I’m too groggy, 6 I’m too tired). So I need to wake up at 5:30, and 7 hours leading up to that is falling asleep by 10:30. Which means I need to be in bed close to 10:00, lights out no later than 10:30.
- We’re going to have one of the most renowned sleep doctors in the country on the show soon, so if sleep is a struggle - which I know it can be a big one, especially if you’re menopausal - stay tuned.
Your Stress: Living with chronic (ongoing) stress impacts your body far more than you think it does.
- It might just be a low buzz in the background (covid!), or it could be a massively stressful event that you’re going through right now, but either way it will wreak havoc on your body.
- The last couple years were extremely stressful for me and my family, and I could just feel this buzz of inflammation, anxiety, and I frequently had shortness of breath and tension headaches all the times. And I know that if I were to have my hormone levels tested (like adrenaline and cortisol), they would have been on the high side. I ate well, I trained well, I even slept well, but I still had this buzz of stress going on. And sure enough, I had actually put on a few pounds. Not a lot, but not my normal.
- Increased levels of stress hormones can make it extremely difficult, if not absolute impossible, to lose body fat. And there could be any number of factors that make your body feel physically stressed, and some big ones are actually TOO MUCH EXERCISE and NOT ENOUGH FOOD. So, in a world where we’re taught that if you want to lose weight, you need to exercise more and eat less, that actually completely backfires for most women.
- So what should you do if you know that stress is an issue?
- Remove as many stressors as you possibly can (delegate, ask for help, stop scrolling through social media!)
- Lower the amount of expectations you place on yourself
- Be intentional about managing your stress as best as you can by taking breaks, going for walks, breathing exercises
Ok, to recap real quick! If you’re not seeing the results you want, the four big things to look at are:
- Your mindset about it all - Do NOT focus on the outcome, focus on just today, what you are in charge of doing today.
- Your nutrition: are you eating the right quantities of the right foods 90% of the time?
- Your physical activity: are you moving, somehow, pretty much every day? And if so, are you starting to dabble in a combination of low intensity, medium intensity, and higher intensity activity?
- Your stress and sleep: are you underestimating how much of an impact your sleep and your stress has on your physical body? And what are you doing about it?
A quick example…
I have a client that I worked with for years. She was strong, she worked out regularly, and she ate pretty healthy. She felt healthy, but should could not lose the body fat like she wanted. Lo and behold, she got her sleep in check and she lost the fat weight.
Friend, fat loss is not easy. There are a lot of factors in play. So when you see other people on social media dropping 20 pounds in one month, please do not let yourself get discouraged. If you know that you do need to lose some body fat to feel your best and to truly be healthy, do it the healthy way. It may take a bit longer, but it will be much longer lasting.
If you are willing to do the right things and you want it, you really want to see those changes happen, then I’m here to help you get it right. You can work with me in my Jumpstart30 program and I’ll guide you every step of the way and make sure you get there. There’s a link in the show notes to get signed up...I’d love to see you there.
Ok friend, that’s it for today! I love you and I can’t wait to be back with you on Friday. Until then, be strong!
Episode 216: The Best Ways to Measure Your Progress (Especially if Weight Loss is Your Goal)
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