13 Reasons Why You May Be Struggling To Lose FatLuke Coutinho
There are billions of people around the world. Yet one of the most googled words is still – fat loss and belly fat loss.
Today I want to address this based on pure experience. As we keep learning through our client success stories, we realize that there are people who achieve massive weight loss and fat loss the right way and others who do it the wrong way.
You can choose to follow fad diets and exercise programs, which we do not recommend. But let me tell you, even if you choose to do these, they won’t work for you unless you have the basics in place.
I have pulled out 13 learnings from our most successful clients that I will share with you about fat loss. Reflect and introspect on your own life, if you’re struggling with fat loss and stubborn belly fat right now. Maybe there will be a few pointers that you will be able to relate to. Start tackling them by moving to action. When you act on these pointers, one at a time, you will probably get the results you’ve been chasing for the longest time.
From my own experience over the last decade consulting clients across the globe, I’ll tell you this:
Fat loss should never be difficult.
It becomes difficult because we do it the wrong way, chase the wrong goals, or lack discipline and consistency. Your body doesn’t want to hold on to so much weight. There are things you are doing that are forcing it to hold onto that weight. No magic pill can help you burn that fat off your body. If it existed, everyone would be on it – no matter how expensive it was. But it doesn’t exist.
Here are some of the biggest obstacles between you and your fat loss journey.
#1 Poor sleep
When you change this, you will realize how easily the weight starts sliding off your body. The world may have sold you an incomplete truth saying your diet is the most important factor – when it comes to fat loss. Yes, your nutrition is important. If you eat the best and most expensive foods but are chronically sleep deprived and struggle to sleep a wink, you will have problems burning body fat.
Sleep is underrated. You burn fat when in a state of quality deep sleep. Not only this, but when you are sleep deprived, you create the perfect environment for a hormonal imbalance which is the second biggest obstacle for most people trying to lose fat.
Fix your sleep cycles. Adopt a solid nighttime routine. Follow sleep hygiene practices. Go to bed around the same time (preferably between 9 to 11 PM).
#2 Late-night meals
Eating late-night meals once in a while is okay. But if you are doing it every day, it’s a big problem. You’re setting yourself up for failure, not just fat gain or the inability to lose weight but also acidity, indigestion, bloating, inflammation in the gut and pancreas, and so on.
Your body is not designed to break down food that late at night. Avoid eating late every day and getting straight into bed. Move your last meal of the day close to sunset or within two hours after sunset.
Undereating is a big problem. When you undereat, you slow down your metabolism. Now before some of you start quoting fasting as undereating, let me break this myth down. Fasting is not undereating, it is a scientific way of eating and living. If you do it the right way, you can lose weight, and excess fat, clean up your system, reduce inflammation, and improve your skin and hair, among other benefits. But when you undereat and starve yourself, you are destroying everything – lowering your immunity, increasing inflammation, creating toxicity in your body, and hampering your metabolism which is key to burning fat.
Some people think, “Oh! I ate a heavy meal right now. Let me undereat or just skip my next meal.” That’s not how it works.
Overeating is just as problematic as undereating is. Many people think so, “I am eating well Monday to Friday and working out well.” But the minute you step into the weekend, you are overeating like there’s no tomorrow. By loading on all those extra calories, you are negating everything you did during the week. You are stuck in a vicious cycle that promotes fat gain rather than losing it. Just avoid overeating.
#5 Constant grazing
If you’re constantly munching every two hours, you are not helping fat loss. Of course, if you are diabetic or going through a certain medical condition where your doctor requires you to eat every 2 hours, that’s different. For everyone else, if you’re constantly eating and snacking, you’re constantly spiking insulin. Insulin is a fat-storage hormone. When you do not use the energy, it gets stored as fat, especially in your belly area midriff – love handles, and muffin tops as they call it.
You may be eating mindlessly because there’s a snack on your desk or you are stressed or sad. Cut down the constant grazing. Keep a gap of four hours between every meal. I can guarantee you you will arrive at your right weight.
If you are intermittent fasting and have an eight-hour window, keep a four-hour gap between your two meals. Don’t eat throughout those eight hours.
You need to give your digestive system a break for the migrating motor complex system to work. It is a natural gut cleanse that happens every 90 minutes. A sweep that cleans out your digestive system. When you keep snacking, you do not allow this to happen. Keep four-hour gaps to activate your MMC. Know more about it here.
#6 Not building muscle
People who only do cardio all the time, listen up. Yes, you will lose weight no doubt about it. But you’re going to have flabby skin and loose muscle. It won’t be easy to burn all that fat easily. You have to pair cardio with muscle building. You can do this with strength and weight training using your body weight, resistance bands, or weight training equipment.
Walking works if you are relatively fit and don’t have a lot of weight to lose. I would encourage you to walk and pair it with bodyweight training to build muscle, not just for fat loss but also to build the health of your bones and sustain your muscle tissue.
Keep your exercise regimen holistic. Walk, do yoga, add simple exercises to build lean muscle like push-ups, squats, lunges, and so on, use resistance bands – mix it up. That’s what the body needs. A lot of people only focus on cardio and not building muscle. This leaves them with belly fat and midriff fat.
#7 Not addressing your hormonal imbalance issues
It is an uphill task to lose weight if you have a hormonal imbalance. If you have a thyroid-related issue and are happy with your doctor’s medication without making any lifestyle changes to fix it, you will struggle with fat loss. You are addressing your hormonal imbalance only at a symptomatic level and not the root cause. I cannot tell you the number of women living with high prolactin levels. This could be due to stress or an existing medical condition – you need to get it checked. If you have high prolactin levels, it’s very difficult to lose weight.
When we get their testosterone levels checked, a lot of men find that their T-levels are abnormally low. Unless you fix it, there is no way you will lose all that belly fat or build that muscle.
Women, if your estrogen levels are too high, you need to get it checked. If you have endometriosis, ovarian issues, fibroids, cysts, and so on – these are indicators that you have estrogen dominance. Belly fat is very difficult to lose when you have it. Understand your hormonal balance by doing your blood tests. Manage any lifestyle conditions you have currently that involve your hormones.
#8 Too much sugar and junk foods
This one is a no-brainer. Too much sugar, junk, aerated drinks, sugary sports drinks, and so on will lead to fat gain. Keep your nutrition clean. At the same time, avoid overdoing foods that claim to be healthy. For instance, if you are loading on those jaggery cookies like there’s no tomorrow because it is healthier than white sugar, you need to stop. A little bit of jaggery is not going to harm you. But when you mindlessly overeat it, it is a high-calorie food. You are adding calories you do not need. Keep it balanced. Don’t overeat.
Read the labels carefully. Check the serving sizes. How many calories, protein, fat, and carbs do they contain? Today, several companies are misleading us with clever marketing. Similarly, nuts and seeds are great. But they are high-calorie foods. If you have more than your daily requirement they will add to the fat.
#9 Fruit juices
Stop drinking fruit juices. Eat your fruits whole.
I know people who have five different types of fruit juices a day without realizing that all they are having is a glass of sugar. Then they complain about excess fat, diabetes, and feeling sluggish. You are supposed to eat your fruit whole. You can choose to juice your vegetables if you want. When you juice your fruits, you break down all the fiber and denature all the protein, vitamins, and minerals.
Avoid fruit platters too. Eat one or two fruits at most, and spread them out. Otherwise, you will land up overdoing fructose and spiking your insulin. Want to know more about 5 mistakes to avoid while eating fruits? Read this.
No matter who you are and what you do, if you are chronically highly stressed, your cortisol and adrenaline go up, your testosterone falls, and your estrogen goes up. All this will lead to you holding onto your belly fat. Yes, a few people even lose weight when stressed because they don’t eat or their appetite falls. But it is not the right way to lose it. In many others, stress can also cause them to overeat. It upsets your hunger and satiety hormones like leptin your ghrelin. So, address your stress levels. Your fat loss plan is incomplete without it.
Make time to destress with meditation, hobbies, deep breathing, pranayama, listening to music, or doing any activities that help you. Just eating organic food and working out is never enough. Part of losing fat is managing your stress.
#11 Laziness and procrastination
If you’re lazy and constantly procrastinate, no one can help you with your fat loss. You start with a program, then get lazy, take a holiday, and do not work out for five days. Don’t procrastinate until a month. If you lost 5 days, jump back on track on the 6th day. Don’t wait for the next week or month. Start today.
Let me tell you this from my experience of coaching thousands of people across the world. Everyone starts great. They say, “I am eating healthy. I am working out.” My immediate question is but how many times a week? If your answer is twice a week, you and I both know that it will not be enough. We need to be real with ourselves. Find out your perfect truth. Be honest with yourself. Tell yourself where you are lacking and fix it. Accept and address that inaction.
#12 No discipline, no consistency
Nothing in life works without consistency and discipline. Everyone who is chasing any program out there, let me tell you right now. Maybe the programs didn’t work for you. Introspect and ask yourself if you lack discipline and consistency.
#13 Lack of recovery and rest
If you’re constantly only working out and not resting enough, you will not lose fat. Let me tell you a story. There was a lady that I knew at the gym. She used to be yoga, weight training, cardio, and so on 3 to 4 hours a day. One day, I walked up to her and asked her, “Why are you overtraining?”
She said, “Luke, I need to lose all this belly fat.” I told her, “If you listen to me, I will give you results in 14 days.” I told her to stop coming to the gym so often. Do yoga one day, go home, the next day just do cardio, the third day do weight training, the fourth day take a break. On the fifth day, repeat. In 14 days, she lost inches. Her nutrition was fine. The only thing that needed change was her tendency to overtrain. When you overtrain, you have a build-up of lactic acid, cortisol, and adrenaline. Rest and recovery are important. Prioritize them.
The bottom line
Fat loss is not just about your diet plan but your overall lifestyle. Start with these 13 changes. See how it works for you.
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