Thursday, February 23, 2012

I eat healthy and exercise. Why can't I lose weight?

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I do know this happens to a lot of people but I also know there are only a few reasons for it. I have listed some of the reason I have found why you might be hitting this plateau.

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Exercise Reasons:
Your body adapts quickly and your body's fast adaptation to change is the reason you have to change your workouts more often.

Increase intensity
Change up your routine by doing drop sets, supersets, negatives and slow reps are all classic examples. Other ways you can increase the intensity of your workout are decreased rest times, circuits, forced reps etc. When you’ve been using the same routine for a while it’s easy to get stuck in a rut, you think you’re training hard but your intensity level has been dropping slowly without you knowing it.

Change the order of your exercises
If you were doing cardio first before weight training switch to cardio after weight training. Your body will adapt to your normal routine so change it up.  Switch up your exercises.

Change the number of days you train

Build more muscles: In muscle building, less is more. If you want to get bigger you don’t workout more. This is one of the most common mistakes of new lifters. Dropping back to 3 days from 4 or 5 will mean you build more muscle. Your body can really benefit from the extra rest.

Slimming down: Try different workouts for 5 days a week. Push yourself to your real limit. Try new classes at the gym that take you out of your comfort zone. Run, walk, jump, swim, plates, yoga, kickboxing, are just a few things that you can try.

Life Reasons:

You’re under too much stress
The stress response system is subconscious; it responds to stimuli and nothing else. Emotional stress, physical stress, financial stress, relationship stress – I hesitate to even make these distinctions, because the body does not differentiate between sources of stress. They all cause the body to produce cortisol, the fight-or-flight hormone that catabolizes muscle, worsens insulin resistance, and promotes the storage of fat. For 200,000 years, stress meant a life or death situation. It was intense and infrequent, and the cortisol release was arresting and extreme enough to improve the chances of survival. Today, our body responds to a stack of paperwork the same way. Traffic jams are like rival war bands. A nagging boss is like a rampaging mastodon, only on a daily basis. Take a step back from your life and take stock of your stress levels – they may be holding you back.

You need to watch your carb intake.
Carbs are key, as always, especially when you’ve got weight to lose. Veer closer to the bottom of the curve, taking care to avoid all processed food (hidden sugars). You might also try skipping fruit.

You’re eating too much.

Low-carb isn’t magic. It reins in wild hunger and tames insulin, but calories do still matter – especially once you approach your ideal weight. In fact, those last few pounds often don’t respond to the same stuff that worked so well to get you to this point. Eating nut butter by the spoonful and hunks of cheese without regard for caloric content may have gotten you this far, but you’ve got to tighten things up if things aren’t working. And that’s the real test, isn’t it? There is a metabolic advantage to eating according to the PB, but if the weight isn’t coming off, something’s up – and calories may need to come down.

You’re not getting enough sleep.
Chronic levels of sleep deprivation cause the release of cortisol, our old fat-storing friend. The biggest spike in (fat-burning, anabolic) growth hormone plasma levels occurs in deep sleep. And a recent sleep study showed that truncated sleep patterns are linked to weight gain. Get seven to eight hours of sleep a night.

You’re eating too much dairy.
Some people just react poorly to dairy. We see this time and time again listed in the forums; dairy just seems to cause major stalls in fat loss for a good number of folks. There are a couple speculative reasons for this. One, folks coming from a strict paleo background may not be acclimated to the more relaxed Primal stance on dairy. Reintroducing any food into the diet after a period of restriction can have unintended consequences on body composition. Two, dairy is insulinogenic, which is why it’s a popular post-workout refueling tool for athletes. Does a non-strength training PBer need to drink a few glasses of milk every day? Probably (definitely) not.

Health Reasons:

Hormone Imbalances.
The best way to manage weight gain from hypothyroidism is to control the condition. If you get your metabolism back up to speed, the weight shouldn't keep adding up. You'll also have more energy, which can help motivate you to exercise.




  1. Nice post Michelle. I can say for sure that changing up routines makes a difference. I noticed a big difference in my workouts and how I felt when I switched to a hard gainers, 3 days a week program. And a side note, my abs have been sore all day from your routine yesterday! Tomorrow is Back to day one of my lifting program. And abs up again. Should I do abs first, im usually pretty spent after my routine. Don't want to skip abs after an intense lifting session. Guess I answered that myself huh. Anyway thanks again for all you do for us.

    1. I am so excited for you. Yes, you did answer your own question. Lol I bet this time around it won't be so hard and you won't be as sore. Let me know how it goes. I have a couple of ab routines you can chose from.

  2. Well not as sore now, but during the workout it was intense. I've never trained my abs that long or with that many exercises. And I can sure feel it. Don't know why? Well, mostly being lazy and giving up. But that's a thing of the past thanks to people like you and hard work. I was up pretty much all night at the firehouse so I went and did my lifting this morning, came home ate, slept and did abs when I woke up. Now I'm about to rest some more.

    1. My lazy is when I do nothing but workout. I get nothing done and when I am done working out I still have to clean, cook, take care of my daughter abd work.

      I have read that the best exercises to do for your abs last 45 minutes. So thats why I made it like that. Plus I love abs.

  3. Thank you SO much for this. I am a college student and while I knew my lack of sleep was a problem I never knew that stress was a hindering factor as well! It all makes so much sense now. Also, I found your site via pinterest a few days ago and I have to tell you how much I've enjoyed it and found your exercises helpful. Thanks for everything and keep up the great work!

    1. Thank you. I am so glad you have found my blog. Let me know if you need any more help.

  4. In reference to hormonal imbalances, I have severe PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome, which can be a huge factor in keeping weight off, because your body is consider a "fat-hoarder". I've read many things that said it is 10 times harder for someone like me to maintain a healthy weight. When I was diagnosed at 15 this scared me, and I battled bulemia. Now, I've switched to all natural, whole, clean foods, which helps control my hormones and overall health, and take the challenge as an oppurtunity to be 10 times stronger. Thanks Michelle for all your inspiration in workouts and body confidence, I wish I this had been around a few years ago, but I hope your blog helps other young girls stay away from the trap of eating disorders.

    1. Thank you. That is my hope too. I am glad you sharred your story. Thank you.