If you’re focused on getting lean and things just aren’t working, there’s a high likelihood that one (or a few) of the below reasons is to blame. When it comes to fat loss and achieving that lean, “toned” look, it ultimately comes down to a few basic things:
- Caloric deficit
- Stress management
Once you master those three, your fat loss will be successful.
You’re Too Restrictive
Ever notice the minute you “can’t” have something, you can’t stop thinking about it?
Usually people who follow super restrictive diets can only follow it for so long before they end up bingeing on all the things they “couldn’t” have.
This creates a poor relationship with food. It also makes it really hard to get sustainable results.
Good news: you can eat carbs, have dessert, drink wine, eat past 7pm, etc…and still lose fat.
If you’re eating really well Monday through Thursday and totally letting loose through the weekend, you could be undoing all your progress.
There’s certainly ways you can allow yourself more flexibility during weekends and make progress, but if you’re just indulging on all the stuff you couldn’t have throughout the week, you’re running on a hamster wheel.
Think of it like this: if the way you eat when you’re “on plan” is so miserable that you can’t help but indulge on the weekend, something is broken.
You’re Always Stressed Out
Stress is a normal human response. The problem in modern day life is that we are chronically stressed. Between kids, work, traffic, social obligations, etc. the to-do list is never ending.
Mental and physical stress elevates cortisol. High levels of cortisol interfere with testosterone and growth hormone production, which reduces muscle growth and leads to fat gain, especially around the waist.
The problem worsens if you deal with stress by eating.
You Have Gut Issues
An imbalanced gut can impair your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, regulate blood sugar, and cause it to store fat. Plus, who wants to deal with constipation, diarrhea, excessive bloating, and other gut issues?
If you aren’t going to the bathroom regularly, have food intolerances, deal with pain and bloating consistently, or have other gut issues, it’s worth first getting to the root cause and rebalancing your gut so your fat loss efforts are more consistent.
You Don’t Sleep
Study after study has shown that sleep is an integral part to performance, health, and fat loss.
In fact, a study showed that when dieters cut back on sleep over a two-week period, the amount of weight they lost from fat dropped by 55%, even though their calories stayed equal.
Read that again.
You Eat Too Little
If you chronically under-eat or spent your entire life focusing on losing weight, you likely have a downregulated metabolism. Before your body will drop fat efficiently, you need to rejuvenate your metabolism by eating more food and focusing on other modes of recovery, like stress relief and sleep.
It’s when your body feels safe and that it trusts there is a consistent food supply that it will start dropping body fat.
Life stress? Sleep deprivation? Imbalanced hormones? Gut issues? They all send the body’s stress response into overdrive.
Same thing goes for overtraining. If you’re not giving your body time to rest and recover, that stress response stays elevated and the muscles you work so hard to build aren’t actually getting any stronger, faster, or bigger.
Your recovery is just as important as your workouts.
You’re Eating Too Many Calories
Here’s the science: the secret to fat loss is a caloric deficit. Put whatever bow and branding you want on it, but no deficit = no fat loss. You can absolutely follow a Paleo or Keto diet and still be consuming too many calories to lose fat.
This is why we recommend tracking your food, at least for some part of your life, to build awareness around your caloric intake.
You Don’t Eat Enough Protein
Being lean or toned isn’t about losing weight. It’s about having a solid amount of muscle mass with smaller amounts of body fat. Protein is essential to maintaining muscle mass when focused on fat loss. Protein is also the most satiating macronutrient.
So, getting enough protein is key to getting lean.
Have questions or want to work one-on-one with a coach? Schedule a free introductory call here.