As a personal trainer, having worked with a whole array of clientele, I often see the same problems and plateaus with nutrition for fat loss. For good reason, it’s drilled into all of us that nutrition for fat loss is something you need to get right, or else things just won’t work. It really is true – you can’t “out train” a poor diet. Combine this with the fact that every corner you turn, every magazine, book, or Internet site you browse, all provide conflicting information (some of which is a load of tripe anyway). It’s easy to see why people get lost and lose the nutrition battle. So here’s the top six reasons your diet is killing your fat loss results, from a source you can trust.
You Skip Breakfast
For whatever reason, many people are out of the habit of eating first thing in the morning. There seems to be this misconception that if you start the day in fasted mode, you’ll burn more fat. This isn’t the case at all! Numerous studies show a correlation between eating breakfast and consuming fewer overall calories throughout the day. With breakfast, something is better than nothing. However, the ultimate breakfast would be one that is low in carbs and high in protein and fats. Carbs release serotonin, a calming neurotransmitter. Not a great way to start your day I’m sure you’ll agree. Does the phrase “carb coma” ring any bells? A combination of protein and healthy fats for breakfast will allow for a gradual rise in blood sugar levels right up until lunch. So eggs, meats, fish and nuts are in. Oats, cereals and toast are out.
You Favour A Low Fat Diet
Eat fat, you get fat right? Wrong! Fat is not the enemy. The misconception that fat is unhealthy and will make you gain fat, probably stems from the fact that it does pack a punch calorie wise (9kcal per gram), combined with the spin the media likes to put on things. And it’s true, people will remove fat from their diets and will see a drop in weight on the scales. However this is probably down to a drop in total calories as opposed to the removal of the macronutrient itself. The restriction of dietary fats in someone’s nutritional regime could result in a lowering of:
– The mineralocorticoids responsible for water and mineral metabolism alongside the actions of the kidneys.
– The glucocorticoids responsible for metabolism, inflammation, wound healing and myocardial and muscular integrity
– The androgens, often categorised as “male” hormones due to their role in male morphological development, however they are important for both sexes for sexual and reproductive functions as well as the development of muscle tissue and bones. Androgens can also prevent some fats from being stored.
– Vitamin D, the secosteroid commonly referred to as the bone vitamin, but it also serves many metabolic and supportive bodily functions including fat loss, muscle strength and recovery.
You Eat Too Infrequently
The evidence sounding meal frequency is somewhat sketchy, however, eating little and often seems to work for most people. The theory makes sense, as the process of digestion uses calories. So if you’re constantly giving your digestive system small jobs to do, you’ll increase your resting metabolic rate. Eating little and often also means that you’ll never go hungry, and we all know it’s in those desperate moments of hunger we raid the naughty cupboard for a quick fix.
You Consume Too Few Calories
This problem is all too common. Maybe it’s taking the “eat less move more” rule to the extreme or just out of sheer laziness, people often consume too few calories for their requirements. Remember as humans our bodies need a wide variety of nutrients to keep it functioning efficiently. Fat loss is also a function that requires nutrients and energy. Yes it’s true, you do need to be in a calorific deficit for fat loss, but to much of a deficit is bad news. An extreme deficit means you’ll strip off lean tissue as well as cause a whole host of metabolic and endocrine issues that will kill fat loss and maybe even encourage weight gain. This includes a down regulation of the thyroid, a lowering of the metabolic rate, increased cortisol and insulin/leptin resistance.
You Consume Too Many Calories
You eat protein at every meal, half of your plate is covered with greens, you watch your carbs, favouring low GI options wherever possible and you snack on nuts, but still nothing’s happening. Have you ever heard of the expression “too much of a good thing”? As much as I place emphasis on the quality of the food we eat as opposed to the quantity, you still can’t get around the fact that if you consume more calories than you expend, that excess energy needs to be stored. If you think you’re in this position, try tactics like using a smaller plate so you can portion control your meals, or keep a food diary to make you more accountable.
Your Diet Doesn’t Function In The Background Of Your Life
You could have the leanest, cleanest diet in the world, but if it doesn’t function in the background of your life, it’s a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. The more you have to think about your diet, the higher the chance of it failing in the long term. Every one reading this will be unique, so finding the best ways to make your diet function in the background of your life is far beyond the scope of this post. However, choosing behaviours like the ones listed below will allow you to eat a good diet, without it getting in the way of your everyday life.
– Prep your lunch for the following day at the same time you make your evening meal.
– Carry a water bottle around with you every where you go.
– Diarise a couple of weekly food shops, so you can ensure your household is always stocked up with fresh fruit and vegetables, greens and meats.
– Plan the meals you’re going to eat well in advance. Do you know what you’re having for dinner tomorrow evening? Whilst you don’t need to plan out every meal down to the last micronutrient, it’s a wise choice have something in mind you’re going to have. If you have no idea of what you’re going to make, you’ll have to think about it on the spot. This is when the extra effort becomes too much and you’ll end up resorting to the easier options such as ready meals, takeaways or skipping the meal entirely.