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PA Blog/Habits/The Challenges Of Losing Weight When You're Already Doing It All And Still Not Getting Results

The Challenges Of Losing Weight When You're Already Doing It All And Still Not Getting Results

Do you feel like you've tried everything to lose weight but aren't getting the results you want? You're not the only one!

lose weight | online personal trainer | blog image

We often hear about how we should be exercising, eating healthy, and drinking plenty of water - but sometimes, even that isn't enough. Losing weight is a complex process, and it can be a challenging, time consuming and tedious task to figure out why some methods don't work for everyone.

In this post, we’ll discuss the common reasons why we plateau when they we to lose weight, no matter how hard we’re working at it. So, if you’re trying your hardest and feeling discouraged by lack of progress and if you’ve ever wondered what to do next when you’re already doing it all to lose the weight - keep reading!

The Lose Weight -
Weight Gain Cycle

Losing moderate weight 101 – exercise & calorie deficit (aka eating fewer calories) – Simple right?

While yes, these can initially garner results, it’s not exactly realistic and, overall, not sustainable within the average day-to-day lifestyle habits we've developed.

The issue lies in the fact that it’s highly likely (almost guaranteed) that you’ll regain the weight you lost as soon as you ‘fall off the wagon’ – but really, you were set up. This wagon wasn’t one that you could realistically stay on to begin with.


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Possible Barriers To Weight Loss

When it comes to physical health and mental health, losing weight (and losing fat) is a top priority for many. However, weight loss can involve unique challenges when pre-existing medical conditions become factors that get in the way. Moreover, individuals can face environmental barriers that prevent them from achieving their desired results. Finally, weight loss also ties heavily into one's lifestyle and the types of choices we make every day (aka habits) that enable us to either reach our goal or not. Let’s dive into how these top 3 perceived barriers that can greatly affect the outcome of trying to lose weight.

Medical Conditions

Some health conditions can affect weight loss efforts and the ability to keep the weight off long-term. And unfortunately, sometimes going hand-in-hand with these conditions are prescription medications that, as a side effect, can cause weight gain via hormonal changes and sometimes slow the internal metabolic system.

While we may not be able to cure certain conditions, there are ways to downsize the effects through reducing inflammation within the body which can often alter conditions to improve, and in some cases, when appropriate, by taking a holistic approach and removing (when safe to do so and approved by your physician) prescription medications from the roster completely.

Environmental Barriers to Weight Loss

This is the second biggest of the obstacles to losing weight – your environment. Does it help you thrive or quit before you’ve even begun?

If you’re in an environment that does not support or appreciate the efforts towards your weight loss, you’re playing at a severe disadvantage, and it can be immensely more difficult to change eating behaviours and alter habits that no longer serve you.

For example, if your cupboards are filled full of foods that you simply should not be eating, it’s going to be hard to eliminate those foods from your diet. Try opting to not allow these types of foods to live in your cupboards. And if they are bought or brought into your home, they're consumed in one sitting and removed afterwards. Less temptations, less slip ups.

Maybe getting to the gym is a chore; It’s a long drive there and seems like a longer one back. Or perhaps you need a ride, and that’s not always an option. If accessing the gym is the issue, why not bring the gym to you? 

 Pro Tip: You don’t need much equipment - a couple of pairs of dumbbells and a yoga mat, and you’re well on your way!

 Coaching Moment: Can you recognize any environmental barriers in your space? If so, write them down and then right beside the barrier, write
 2-3 solutions. I bet there’s at least one.


Lifestyle Factors

This is a huge roadblock for most – in fact, it’s the biggest obstacle to losing weight. Do you have a conducive lifestyle set-up to help you lose or add weight?

From your daily diet, meal prep, planned training, with the support of family members, how stressful situations are managed (put down the cookies & glass of wine and step away…) and in general, the day-to-day choices, these become the lifestyle habits which in turn alter the trajectory of our life, good or bad.

For example, let’s say you work a stressful job and the the routine is to come home and eat whatever it quickest and drink anything that will take the edge off, watch TV into the night to disconnect from reality and get to bed at some point. I get it. Stress can be life-sucking at times and a quick-fix seems like the path of least resistance. Plus it feels good in the moment. The reality though is that compounded over time, this becomes the crutch to which stress is handled and mismanaged.

And hey, I know that you know that you want to choose healthy food, commit to an exercise regime, get enough sleep, and try to reduce your stress, but it’s truly an uphill battle of the lifestyle factors surrounding you that support the change you’re trying to make.

Micro habits within your lifestyle compounded over time can become positive lifestyle factors - if you choose wisely.

It Usually Comes Down to Stress & Support

The big 2 – stress and support.

When I hop on a call with any potential client, this is one of the first topics we discuss before we even touch on fitness and nutrition. Why? These can either be the anchors that weigh us down or the rocket fuel that catapults us towards our goals.

The reality of the situation is that you can work as hard as you want to lose that weight with the most extreme weight loss diets and calorie deficits, but with the edge of stress weighing you down (quite literally), you’ll have a very hard time to truly achieve your goals and stay there.

According to the Cleveland Clinic , a 2017 study showed a connection between the stress hormone cortisol and being overweight. It was also noted that higher cortisol levels have been associated with carrying those extra pounds in the waist area, known to be a stubborn area for most — which is what we sometimes refer to as visceral fat and is mainly linked to stress. Reduce the stress, and who knows, maybe that stubborn area might just flare down, finally.

But the question is: are we willing to make the necessary changes to turn this stress train around? This means having hard conversations, creating boundaries, and overhauling the way we’ve been living for a healthier and more cohesive lifestyle.

routine | stress & support | blog image

When it comes to support, ultimately, the blueprint is in the seed (us), but how we flourish, grow, and thrive that very much depends on the soil which nurtures and supports us. Are you in the right soil - soil that supports and helps you grow?

Coaching Moment: reflect and write down how you're you doing, really. What does your stress and support situation feel and look like? What would you like to see improved? What's worked in the past? What's helping you at this moment? Who can you share this with for more support?

Overcoming weight loss barriers with your daily routine

The key to guaranteed, sustainable weight loss? Consistency.

Consistency over the micro habits that drive your day and over time will compound. Much like your savings account, you’re going to start to see the numbers shift (downwards in this case!) by stacking these seemingly small habits over time.

These habits stack like blocks upon another, and suddenly, you look 1, 2, 4, 8 weeks back, and if done consistently, results are quite literally guaranteed.

Sleep

We talked about stress and how that can affect the body, how the hormone cortisol is linked to weight gain and retention. Sleep is when we get to power down, reset & rest and reduce cortisol.

But what happens when we don’t give ourselves that luxury? Mental & physical overwhelm and increased levels of cortisol.

It’s tough to say when sleep was labelled as the anti-hero, as something you’ll do when you’re dead or simply the pass time of the ‘lazy’. In this hustle culture, sleep is at an all-time low, with people getting as little as 4 hours a night and getting up to start their regular day. Yikes.

The scary fact is that according to the CDC, 1 in 3 Americans are not getting enough sleep, which is strongly correlated with diabetes, heart disease, mental health disorders and obesity, just to name a few. 

There are many factors that contribute to good sleep, but here are the top five tips that clients and I have tried and tested with the best results to date.

  • Create a bedtime routine. Sit down and work out an intentional routine from the moment you stop eating dinner, and what your power down routine looks like. Our bodies love and crave structure and routines. E.g. Think of a child’s bedtime routine - the same every night for predictability and mood stability. Create similar steps and systems that support your winding down. You deserve this.
  • ​Power down technology one hour before bed. I can feel you rolling your eyes. I get it. This is a hard one – having to cut the umbilical cord from our phones. But rest assured, the world will not implode if you’re not scrolling on FaceBook moments before dosing off. Challenge: Try a no-tech in the room at bedtime for 30 days and see the amazing results. The Sleep Foundation shares more info on this topic here >>
  • Limit water 3 hours before bed. This is to reduce or eliminate washroom breaks that can break up and alter your quality of sleep. Small sips are allowed, but keep it to a minimum.
  • ​​Power nap. Sometimes we’re busy humans and ones that travel for work (and play), but we cannot negate to prioritize our rest so that we can feel good and function. Even a 5-10 minute nap or ‘resting your eyes’ can do wonders to reset and calm your system.
  • ​​Bonus tip: get a white noise machine. This will help drown out odd creaks or honks in the night and keep you in a restful sleep. Plus, if you have a partner that snores it can help drown out that sound, too! Double bonus!

Hydration

Drinking water is boring, says my client. I hear that. I really do. It’s unsexy and overall can be overwhelming to figure out how much you should be drinking, hitting that daily goal, all the while trying to not take up residency in the washroom with your 20th washroom break for the morning.

The sad truth is that according to Quench Water, several studies report that 75% of adults in North America are compromised from chronic dehydration and report drinking only 2.5 cups a day on average. Resulting in less than productive or efficient individuals as possible. Put simply, in a first-world country, we’re pretty dehydrated. Plus, we’re failing to take advantage of other valuable and awesome health benefits that increased water intake can provide.

For example, if you’re hydrated, your skin will look clearer, age slower and appear healthier and more youthful (who doesn’t want that?). And if you’re hydrated, you will feel more awake during the day. Trust me, that 4th cup of coffee is not helping. Research suggests that if you’re hydrated, you will have much less brain fog and actually make smarter and more decisive decisions.

  • Figure out how much water you need. Here’s how you do it – take your weight and divide it by two, whatever that number is, drink that amount in ounces every day. E.g. I weigh 168lbs and half of that is 84, so I should be drinking 84 ounces a day. Note: this is just a baseline.The variability comes in if you’ve been in the sun for long durations, been working out vigorously, drinking alcohol, etc.
  • Take your time drinking. Simply chugging the water in one go will not be helpful. I say this because this is a ‘hack’ most try and soon realize they’re peeing it all out within the hour. The idea is to hydrate the body adequately throughout the day. To do this, you’ll take your magic hydration number from before and divide it by 10. Why 10? This has been a realistic breakdown and timeframe to drink over the course of 10 hours throughout the day while tapering off from water up to 3 hours before bed to reduce sleep disturbances. E.g. my magic hydration number was 84, so on the hour over 10 hours, I will drink 8.4 ounces.
  • Pair your water with a salty friend. Water alone simply is not enough! Maybe you’ve heard of a friend being hungover or yourself, and we want to opt for electrolytes to feel better. We’ve peed them all out from alcohol, and when we consume mass amounts of water alone, the same effect can happen. The idea of electrolytes and why a lack of them makes you feel less than ideal is because they’re a micro-nutrient and one that balances the scales, and in this case, salts (high-quality ones, not your white table salt) enable the uptake and absorption of the water you’re working so hard to ingest. Water paired with some (very yummy) electrolytes adds the unfair advantage of levelling up your hydration game and feeling amazing. Check out my favourite electrolytes to pair my water with here.
  • Drink from a straw. It’s just easier to drink and will make it more likely for you to consume your magic hourly number.

Movement

I have no time, says my dad. He’s a busy chef at an extremely high demanding and fast-paced restaurant. This was the exact reason why my father needed to start working out and was the main obstacle to losing weight that was standing in his way.

There’s this misconception about having a busy and demanding job and justifying that the job is their exercise. It's the furthest thing from the truth. But I get it; you’re busy and already juggling one to many things.

When you’re working, generally speaking, I’d argue that you’re not counting your reps or trying to strengthen a specific muscle. Or perhaps there’s an area on your body that just needs some lovin’ and rehab… it's not the most opportune moment to do so while working.

Lastly, here’s the irony of it all – carving out more (from your already impossible schedule), intentional time to show up to do a workout, will actually make you more productive and help you get more done.


Free Workouts

I’ve been asked what’s the bare ass minimum. In honesty, it depends on the person, but as a generalization, it would be 30 minutes a day of intentional movement. If you can do that then you’re already ahead of the curve.

Less than fun fact: in a 2010 study with 184,190 participants who reports sitting for more than 6 hours a day with low levels of activities found that the mortality rate was 71% higher than that of those who moved on a regular basis for 30 minutes a day as a baseline.

Here’s what your easy 30 minutes can look like…

  • ​Slow, moderate, or fast-paced walk outside
  • ​Climbing the stairs. Go up and down, rest 30-60 seconds at the bottom and go again for 30 consecutive minutes
  • ​Pop your favourite podcast or music list on and go for a run. Take walking breaks as needed.

Simplicity is Key 🔑

Movement isn’t just about that dedicated time, it’s your lifeline.

Daily movement in a world of sedentary lifestyles is on the decline and in short supply.

By making healthy choices and using the following movement micro-habits stacked upon one another,
you’ll see great results in 30 days to break those weight loss barriers.

Secret: I did not reinvent the wheel! These are already things we’ve heard before.
They may seem simple, but I promise they work if you actually stay consistent with them.

  • Take the stairs whenever you’re able
  • ​​· Park further away from the door and walk
  • ​​· Take a walking meeting on the phone instead of zoom meeting
  • ​​​· Grab your lunch buddy and walk for the last minutes of your break
  • ​​· Set a timer for every 60-90 minutes to get up from your desk to move/ stretch

P.S; Even older adults should continue to move until the day they leave this life.

Family Members & Friends

Asking a family member and/ or friend to partner to be physically active with you in this journey can be hugely beneficial in taking a proactive approach to hold yourself accountable and can play an important role in your success. Here are some of the reasons why accountability is essential:

  • Having someone who can hold you to being mindful and present in the process is invaluable. They are there to motivate you, facilitate conversations related to growth opportunities, and point out pockets of progress along the way.
  • ​​Knowing there's a support system dedicated to guiding you along the way keeps you on track as tasks undoubtedly come up that challenge personal discipline and capacity.
  • ​​​Research shows that greater accountability substantially increases productivity by creating focus and tangible feedback loops like positive reinforcement when goals are met, and attainment increases over time. This promotes further accountability as momentum builds
  • ​​ With the support of an anchor outside of our everyday ecosystem reduces feelings inside that we are alone in our pursuits.

family training | online training | blog image

Travel Workouts

Traveling can make it difficult to stay physically active and maintain regular movement habits and can be a huge culprit as one of the major obstacles to losing weight. Here are some tips to give your body the movement it needs, even when away from home:

travel workouts | programming | online personal trainer | blog image
  • Take a walk by sightseeing in your destination – this will help you get in some light physical activity while exploring a new area!
  • ​Break up long car or plane rides with periodic stops and exercises to prevent strain on your back and legs.
  • ​​Bring along an excise mat or non-bulky gym equipment so you can squeeze in quick workouts wherever possible. (These bands are a great option!)
  • ​​Find other ways to keep moving; opt for working out easily with a travel workout plan, do stretching, yoga, or dancing for 20 minutes each day.
  • ​​Choose accommodation options that include recreational facilities (swimming pool, basketball court, etc.) – these are great areas that support physical activity during your travels.

Regular Gym Routine

Lifting weights is an essential part of a regular gym routine that can completely transform your physique, and health and overall help with your weight management. To get the most out of your time in the gym, consider these tips:

  • Start small. Focus on the basics when it comes to exercise for natural strengthening.
  • Keep your goal in mind. Understanding what type of results you wish to have from lifting weights will be beneficial in developing an appropriate workout strategy with your personal trainer.
  • Form - Precision matters. Incorrect form can lead to improper training and even prevent the achievement of perfect results and can result in injuries. Start by vetting what weights are right for you by having your form and technique checked by a trained professional with experience training clients with your specific goals in mind.
  • ​​Accomplishments – Give yourself realistic milestones along your journey. Set achievable mini-goals along the way instead of obsessing over the end result so that each win can act as motivation going forward.
  • ​​Think long-term. Those initial benefits will soon become part of second nature, setting a foundation for sustained success and shifting focus towards more difficult sets and with more weight for a continuous progression over time.
personal trainer | online personal trainer | blog image

Personal Training

When you're looking to get the best and most sustainable results from your fitness journey, a personal trainer or online coach is your go-to option. Here are the top benefits of hiring a professional personal trainer:

  • Provide you with insight. About areas of improvement that need extra attention to help guide you on a path towards success based on your goals and body composition.
  • ​​Customized for your unique needs. With individual sessions and progress reports, you can make all the difference in seeing real performance strides and overall health optimization for you and you alone.
  • ​​Reduce overwhelm. Avoid confusing research online and duct-taping information and programming together. When working with an experienced frontline exercise expert will provide sound advice backed up by science to increase lean muscle mass and to help reduce body weight based on your unique body composition.
  • ​​The support you need. Besides tailored training plans, many trainers offer attendees motivational guidance – something crucial for staying consistent over time.
  • ​​Safety & guidance. Personal trainers are affiliated with access to equipment which gives you an opportunity to safely use complex machines, ensure you’re lifting weights properly and prevent injuries due to incorrect setup & motion techniques.

Nutrition

Nutrition and nourishment are topics that tend to spark long conversations with friends alike. We often have differing opinions on certain diets according to personal preference or exploration. Personally, I am an avid believer in well-balanced, nutrient-filled meals along with indulgences and little treats here and there. Taking care of yourself shouldn't consist of a restrictive diet but rather one that allows both physical and mental health to indulge in a balanced way to enjoy life, but also reap the rewards of high-performing fuel, aka healthier, non-processed foods.

Weight loss involves persistence but ultimately strategies must be chosen in a way where keeping the weight off can feel manageable and achievable. There are various types of tried and tested healthy diets & eating plans, such as whole foods, plant-based dieting or extended fasting, that all promise their own logical outcome -- however, it is important to personally decide which kind (if any) fits with your behavioural patterns and body composition.

Processed Foods

One of the most important steps to losing weight is reducing the amount of processed foods in your diet.

Eating processed foods can often interfere with weight loss goals since they often contain more sodium, added sugar, calories and preservatives than whole foods.

For busy professionals, simple tips to lower their consumption of processed food can lead to better long-term health outcomes 100% of the time. Here are a few leading offenders within processed foods you might want to cut back on (especially with kids!).

  • Snack crackers
  • ​​Jarred pasta sauces
  • ​​Packaged frozen dinners/ pizzas
  • ​​Pre-cupped fruits and vegetables
  • ​​Ice cream bars
  • ​​White bread and pasta
  • ​​Frozen and canned products
  • ​​Prepared meats such as hot dogs and bologna

  Pro Tip: Check the ingredient list provided on packaging for added sugars, sodium and partially hydrogenated fats. And just because it says ‘low       calorie’ doesn’t always mean it’s the best option – it’s just good marketing; if there’s a whole food (minimally processed) option of that food with     more calories, that would be the best option!

 Limiting these items in favour of nutrient-dense foods will not only help keep calories down but also reduce long-term risk factors associated with   weight gain, such as high blood pressure, developing metabolic conditions and high cholesterol.

Lean Protein

When time is scarce, and meals take a back seat to other obligations, getting the right kinds of lean proteins is key! There are plenty of options that provide your body with nourishment, even on your busiest days. Here are a few great sources of lean protein to keep in mind for your eating plan:

  • Eggs – An easy source of vitamin D and omega 3s. Perfect for breakfast or a midday snack.
  • ​​Greek Yogurt – Low in sugar, high in protein, blended with fresh fruit for an easily customizable nutrient powerhouse.
  • ​​Lean Meats – Having enough iron and zinc is key to staying healthy throughout the day–lean meats provide these essential nutrients.
  • ​​Nuts & Seeds – Dry roasted nuts such as pine nuts and pumpkin seeds make for quick snacks or toppings for salads and veggie dishes without sacrificing nutrition.
  • ​​Beans & Lentils – Easy to cook up during meal prep or add small amounts of flavour on their own as desired!

No Challenge. No Change.

breath work | online training | blog image

Breath Work

Breath work has become an increasingly popular choice for those looking to promote weight loss and overall health. Breath work is just that; using breath control and techniques to achieve goals. There are a few different exercises which can allow you to gain the benefits:

  • Deep breathing: Taking slow deep breaths, breathing fully from your diaphragm, can help shift your energy levels naturally and consequently lead to weight loss as well as reduce stress over time.
  • ​​The 2X breath. This is a fan favourite for my clients. All you have to do is take one breath in for a count of 2 and count 4 on the exhale. You can increase the inhale to 3 and out for 6 seconds and finally inhale for 4 and out for 8 seconds. Do this as long as it takes you to relax.
  • ​​Alternating Nostril Breathing: Involves breathing through one nostril, holding the air in before prolonging long exhalations through the other nostril. Studies suggest this technique contributes towards improved quality sleep and digestion, thus increasing weight loss while also decreasing general levels of anxiety and fatigue.

A Healthy Routine vs Weight Loss Diet

The journey of weight management and loss is not a one-step mission. There are multiple building blocks that frame it and act as a foundation for your goals. Achieving your goals does not have to involve strict diets or trendier meal plans, which alternative methods of food can have slow progress and transitions.

Modifying small routine habits can provide better digestibility and long-term minimal results compared to substitution or elimination tricks on reduced calorie provision and letting go of all guilty pleasures.

Gradual steps from within the journey, such as the way you eat, sleep, hydrate, move and breathe, can all make huge impacts on the vitality and longevity of your life. Remember: you’re in the driver’s seat; you make these micro-habits choices every moment of the day. Choose wisely!


Lastly, the only factors you should truly worry about in terms of making a change are sustainability and starting small; habit stacking from one small choice to another until those compounds over time and you start to make this choice automatically without a second thought!

masterclass | blog image | what is habit stacking

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