Meal prep can be hard sometimes. And stores are offering an easy solution to that problem – portable and easy meals.
However, most store bought ready meals are packed with excess calories, are often low in nutrients (such as protein and fiber), have a high fat content and most times are rich in sugar.
Companies do these things because they are far more interested in the meal’s flavor than they are in its nutritional value.
Don’t be fooled by foods labeled as healthy. Those foods are also quite often loaded with excess calories, sugars and fats that will throw your diet off balance and disrupt your weight loss.
“Healthy snacks” are even worse. Try and avoid those as much as possible.
Aim to prepare your meals using whole food ingredients. And if you decide to opt-in and buy yourself something from the store, try and get single-ingredient foods.
Atkins diet, keto, paleo, juice diet, low carb, low fat, the list goes on.
Yeah, I said it. Keto is a fad diet.
And I am only touching the surface. There are some niche fad diets that will make you scratch your head in wonder. But people follow them.
It’s easy. Not easy in the sense of easy to follow, but rather easy to understand.
Most of those diets offer two things:
- A promise of fast weight loss
Controlling your diet from scratch can be overwhelming. Especially with the vast amount of information that the Internet offers.
The problem with most fad diets is that they are not based on scientific evidence and quite often can be counterproductive to weight loss.
Other times, diets like the ketogenic one, are based on real science but are extraordinarily limiting and hard to follow. Why get on a diet that will stress you out and once you get off of it you will quickly gain your weight and fat back?
The other issue with fad diets is they are often tricky and misleading.
Companies and gurus are smart. They give you a diet they know will deliver quick short-term results and make you believe they work.
They drastically lower your calorie intake, your carb intake or fat intake. Of course you’re going to lose weight.
The question is for how long until you hit a brick wall and fall in a plateau?
And, as already discussed, your weight is influenced by a multitude of factors. Most diets lead to losing water weight due to their low carb content. Fooling you into believing that you’re on the right track.
If you are following a fad diet and are wondering why you are not losing weight and why are you no longer seeing results, this is why.
Here is a quick checklist to make sure you avoid fad diets.
If you see a “____ diet”. Avoid it.
There you go. I just saved you from wasting your time and money. You’re welcome.
Most fad diets are counterproductive to weight loss or are not sustainable. Instead of following a specific diet, focus on eating whole foods, following a caloric deficit of 300-500 calories, and practice meal timing and cycling. Combine a good diet and exercise for the best results.
24. You’re Leading a Sedentary Lifestyle
Modern life has made sedentary life the new norm.
We’re sitting at desks for the majority of the day. We drive cars or take buses to commute. And we take elevators and escalators when moving indoors.
When you sit for hours without any movement your body experiences a decreased production in lipase (by 90-95%) – a fat-inhibiting enzyme (study), which is shown to help boost weight loss. The same study also claims that exercise did not have an effect on lipase production, but “incidental activity” (such as walking, cycling, walking up stairs) did.
That hour that you spend exercising may not be enough to fight off the 8 hours you spend seated.
Try and switch to less comfortable alternatives. Instead of taking the escalator or elevator, take the stairs. Instead of driving everywhere, walk or cycle.
For example, what I have been doing is is I would get off the bus a couple of stops early, or park my car further away, and walk the rest of the distance.
And if you find yourself sitting at your desk for too long. Stand up and stretch for a bit. Or use your lunch break to take a walk.
This study shows how people who stood up and stretched once every hour saw a boost in their metabolism of about 13%.
The extra 300-600 calories you burn everyday will greatly impact your weight loss.
Focus on moving more throughout the day. Stand up and stretch every hour when you’re seated. Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Walk and cycle rather than always taking the car or public transport. All of these will help you boost your daily calories burned by 300-600, which will benefit weight loss.
25. You’re Not Adding Diversity
I have noticed that adding diversity to my workout and diet has shown to help me a lot when I’m not losing weight or when I plateau.
While some claim that you do not have to add diversity for weight loss. Others state that a monotonous diet can lead to weight loss plateau.
Change your exercise times. Switch it up.
Instead of exercising Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Exercise Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Increase the intensity of your Friday exercise more than what it was last week.
Instead of eating oatmeal for breakfast. Try eating something like an omelette. Changing the foods you eat and their timings help too. Experiment with meals you haven’t tried before.
Anything you can do to diversify your diet and exercise, do it.
Also, this will help make the process far more enjoyable and exciting.
Who wants to do the same thing over and over again? You’ll end up giving up.
Try and shake things up. Change bits and pieces of your diet and workout every 2-3 weeks.
Add some diversity to your diet and workout every 2-3 weeks. This will help prevent metabolic slow down and help prevent weight loss plateau.
26. You’re Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Drinking too much alcohol can prevent or slow down weight loss.
Alcoholic beverages are usually high in calories.
A 12 oz beer is about 150 calories. A glass of red wine is 125 calories on average. If you were to drink four beers, you would be consuming about 600 calories.
Moderate drinking seems to be ok. Heavy drinking, however, is linked to weight gain (study).
Instead of cutting out alcohol completely, I would recommend lowering the amount you drink. Be mindful of its calories and make sure it fits in your daily calorie intake.
Alcoholic beverages are rich in calories. Try and limit the amount of alcohol you drink as much as you can and be cautious of your total caloric intake when drinking alcohol.
27. You Have Unrealistic Expectations
Social media, advertisements, pill pushers, bloggers, fitness gurus. One thing all of these have in common is that they have helped construct unrealistic weight loss expectations.
Weight loss is a slow process. Even when done correctly.
It’s true. You can lose a lot of weight in the beginning. This is called “newbie gains”. It is where your body reacts to the sudden change to your diet, exercise and lifestyle.
Hardly any person can sustain a weight loss of 1-2 pounds every week for months straight. Why? Because it’s unhealthy.
Do not listen to those annoying commercials and landing pages that claim that by following their program you can lose 30 pounds in a month. Simply not possible.
Setting realistic and feasible goals will help make sure that you keep on track and do not get discouraged after suffering unmet expectations.
Depending on your weight and composition, if you are just now starting out you could expect a 1-2 lbs drop in weight per week.
After a while (about 4-6 weeks) you will notice your weight loss rate drop. This is natural as you have probably gained some muscle and bone density in the process.
The longer you keep going and the more you are going to start shifting your attention from your weight to other measurements. Using pictures and video, and measuring body parts to ensure you are reaching your desired body composition.
Realistically, if you’re following a good 12 week weight loss program, you could expect losing about 15-30 lbs. This depends on your starting weight. The heavier your weight, the more you can expect to lose within that time frame.
Remember that weight loss is a relatively slow process. Losing 1-2 lbs every week for months is hardly achievable by many. A realistic goal would be losing 15-30lbs when following a 12 week program (this depends on your starting weight and your commitment). Be critical of influencers and other fitness personalities for creating unrealistic expectations.
Weight loss is no easy task. There are numerous factors that can slow down your progress or even stop it altogether.
At the most basic level you have to remember three things:
- Weight loss only occurs when you are in a caloric deficit.
- Incorporating exercise with your diet is important.
- And, you need to do resistance training.
Try adding other strategies to your program that will help improve your weight loss such as using cheat meals, increasing the intensity of your workouts, decreasing stress, getting more sleep, etc.
And do not get discouraged when you hit a plateau. It’s a natural part of any program.
Most importantly you have to remember that weight loss requires patience, dedication and self discipline. Take your time, do not rush it. Apply changes to your lifestyle slowly over time instead of throwing yourself in the deep end.