It’s the most common complaint that personal trainers hear from their clients these days - “I am working out, but I still can’t seem to lose any weight!”
How many of us have experienced this same frustration and confusion? We tear into a new workout program with tremendous ambition, and we get back on the scale after a week or two only to become dismayed at the fact that we haven’t lost a single pound in all that time.
How about all of us?
Those daily or weekly “weigh in” moments are the best times for us to remember that weight loss requires patience but finding anyone who is willing to accept that after a solid week of high-intensity, oxygen-gulping burpees and tuck jumps is another matter. Frustration can lead to discouragement and discouragement can lead to the abandonment of our workout programs.
So, here’s another piece of advice that may help: You can’t out-exercise bad eating habits.
When we set those body-transformative fitness goals or lofty weight loss targets of 10, 15 or even 20 lbs., we need to understand that our bodies aren’t built to achieve that kind of result without the proper nutritional intake and doing away with those long-established, poor eating choices. Physical fitness professionals and personal trainers pound this message into their clients all the time: weight loss has a direct and powerful connection to nutrition and healthy eating choices. People are more successful losing weight when they make more sensible eating choices that include fiber, protein, plenty of water, and vital nutrients.
Your Fitness, Your Diet…Your Choice
We get it. Just about every gym and fitness club from Canary Wharf in London to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco had to shut down during the pandemic, and that timeline was only prolonged by the omicron and delta variants. It was a long-lasting, global event that, until very recently, isolated everyone into the confines of their own homes. That unexpected isolation gave way to a lot of bad eating decisions that rapidly became habits…which are hard to break. While COVID has been blamed for fueling unhealthy diets and accelerating eating disorders in society, we can’t get comfortable blaming external factors for all our circumstances. We need to remember that we make our own personal choices when it comes to what we choose to eat.
That certainly doesn’t mean that society makes it easy for us to eat healthy, but there are a few very helpful concepts to keep in mind if we’re going to make better eating choices.
Fast Food is Rarely Healthy Food
Healthline.com published an article years ago called “13 Effects of Fast Food on the Body” that’s worth checking out, but the cliff notes version is that fast foods are heavily processed with chemicals that are crazy high in sugar and sodium – a bad formula for weight loss not to mention that fast food can lead to excessive headaches from blood sugar spikes, diabetes, heart disease, and a whole host of other health problems.
In fact, the fast food industry has turned much of its attention towards our children, but that’s a topic for another day.
A Word About Those Carbohydrates
We can’t have a discussion on nutrition and fat loss without addressing the big question about carbohydrates. The Atkin’s Diet exploded onto the scene in 2003 and aggressively fanned the flames of the anti-carb movement. At the height of its popularity more than 10% of the America population claimed to be on a low-carb diet like Atkins.
Now we hear the word ‘carbs’ and instantly think they’re entirely bad. They aren’t. However, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that diets focused primarily on losing weight are made to be more successful by limited caloric intake, and not necessarily the omission of one specific nutrient.
Personal trainers often recommend their clients cut back on sugars and starches, or excessive carbohydrates which can be achieved by choosing whole grain foods over those high in refined carbohydrates. By doing so, we decrease our levels of hunger and that means consuming fewer calories.
With a low carb diet, our bodies are forced to burn stored fat for energy instead of carbs. If you choose to eat more complex carbs like whole grains, you’ll also benefit from higher fiber content which digests more slowly and keeps your hunger satisfied longer.
In fact, one study from 2020 study essentially proved that a low carbohydrate diet can be very successful for losing weight in older populations.
A Diet to Achieve Weight Loss is Flexible
It’s already difficult enough to eat healthy in our fast-paced society and you’ll find that a strict protein-only diet can be challenging to uphold. How many of us can really commit to broiled chicken, brown rice, and mineral water every day? People need to have a strong support system in place to commit to this strict lifestyle and what often happens is that people get fed up with starving themselves and then temptation creeps in which sends them back to their old eating habits.
The best approach is to have a weekly “meal plan” in place, so long as you permit yourself a bit of flexibility. Adopt a framework-style approach that provides healthy guidelines of what foods to avoid in the week to come, rather than a rigid set of rules that only allows certain foods.
Be Wary of Social Media Diets
Our society can be very easily influenced by what they see on social media, and the proliferation of new diets and “can’t miss” weight loss strategies from social media influencers has never been higher. It’s easy to get caught up in the hoopla stirred up by models and celebrity fitness trainers, but they’re not always the best choice for your own lifestyle. In fact, certain influencers have been known to “fake” weight loss results by using angles and different types of lighting. Be warned - not everything on Instagram is as it seems.
Personal Trainers (PT) Have the Expertise and “Know How”
As society moves beyond the pandemic and inches closer to another summer, there is a renewed focus on nutrition and weight loss. Many people are discovering that hiring a personal trainer (PT) is one of the most effective ways to learn about, and adopt, a nutritional lifestyle that can accelerate their weight loss progress.
A PT is a fitness professional that is trained in designing an effective exercise program that is tailored to the unique dynamics of each client. In other words, a PT can look at your lifestyle and help you integrate the best eating choices and workout program to propel you toward your goals. Rather than applying guesswork, typing “pt near me” into your search engines can be a key first step in building a relationship with a PT who can offer a wealth of knowledge on the many different diets today and set you up with a tailored workout program that fits perfectly to you own unique lifestyle.