Trying to lose weight or change your body composition can be a frustrating journey.  We expect results, especially if we follow a plan that has proven to work for other people.  (I love this graphic showing how we want it to go, versus what the process more likely will look like.)

When you start to make changes to your diet, commitment and excitement are at 100%.  You’ll do lots of things right that should lead to results.  But occasionally, that darn scale won’t budge.   You are not alone!  Let’s evaluate some of the mistakes that might be holding you back from your goals.

“I have completely changed the way I eat!  I eat less carbs and more fruit.  I rarely eat dessert during the week.  I only eat twice a day.  And I track my food in MyFitnessPal to watch my calories. But I am not losing weight!” 

There are mentions of changes in food choices in this statement, but there is no mention of EATING LESS.  Wouldn’t it be great if the solve was simply to eat less bagels and more protein bars?   We can change out one food for another, but we also need to be in a calorie deficit.  It’s pretty simple.  Consume less calories to move the needle.   The Renaissance Nutrition program targets a calorie deficit that will result in around 1 pound weight loss per week.   Much more and you’ll start to see a reduction in lean body mass.   It’s not flashy, but it’s sustainable.

Another red flag is “during the week”.  Staying on track during the week can be easier than eating well on the weekends.  The weekday routines can actually assist us in implementing healthy changes to our diet.  It’s when the weekend hits, and the schedule relaxes that we find ourselves looking to food as a pass time, entertainment or reward.  There is also the element of “I deserve to eat what I want” on the weekends as well.  It is extremely common to underestimate the amount of food you are actually eating.  A weekend dinner with appetisers, bread, drinks, rich sauces and desserts could easily top 4000 calories.  That one meal could be the difference between losing a pound or not, even if you have been great Monday-Friday.

Two meals a day.  We hear from a lot of clients that they just aren’t hungry for 3 meals, or it feels like too much food.  But skipping meals can actually lead to consuming more than you intend to.  There are two things that happen.  First, the belief that you can eat what you want since you didn’t eat breakfast – so you’ll go for the burger instead of the chicken, or add the chips on the side or grab a cookie.  You’ll feel like you saved calories because you didn’t have them in the morning.  But it is rarely the case.  Another pitfall we often see is that you’ll be REALLY hungry when you do get to the meal.  You’ll grab what’s available and eat quickly.  It leads to overeating and making less healthy choices.  By the end of the day, even with 2 meals, the calories are likely higher than on a day where you eat consistently every 2-3 hours.

You’re logging your food and hitting a calorie target but still nothing?  Logging food isn’t a perfect science.  And we always say something (logged) is better than nothing.  However, there are a few common mistakes.  1.  Estimating quantity.  A heaping spoonful of peanut butter, and the person logs a tablespoon.  You douse the salad with dressing – almost double the serving size.  Using a food scale is an extra step, but it is quick and painless.  You’re already putting in the effort, so it’s time well spent.  2.  Not logging A-L-L OF THE FOOD!  Without an accurate food log, you are left to make assumptions about what is going on.  Stay accountable to your goals and log that meal!  Be honest!  Did you have the cupcake?  Go ahead and put it in.   3.  Choosing the wrong item in MFP.  The green check means the nutritional information is validated.  Did you choose cooked and the description is for raw?  Do your best to pick the correct item.
Don’t lose hope!  The scale can be stubborn, and at the end of the day, it is only one way to evaluate progress!  Need help evaluating your nutrition plan?  We are here to help.
Coach at CrossFit Renaissance
Jessica Thomas
Nutrition, CrossFit, Youth