"7 Reasons Your Weight Loss May Have Stalled" Review

If you’ve hit the weight loss wall, you may want to review these reasons. They will help you rethink your approach (from the MSN/Today article "7 Reasons Your Weight Loss May Have Stalled”).

1. You overestimate how many calories a workout burns.

If you sign up for a fitness class that claims to burn 800 calories or an hour, or even provides a calorie burn total for you — it could be completely wrong.

Huh? It's because the amount of energy exerted in the class varies from person to person. Are you punching your fists as hard as the instructor in the kickboxing class, do you weigh the same amount as her and how fast are your feet going? These questions need to be answered for an accurate calorie burn count.

Unless you're wearing a heart-rate monitor, it may be misleading to make a blanket statement about the number of calories you're burning in a 45-60-minute workout class.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: In all honesty, I wouldn’t lean on the calories you burn during your fitness sessions. Considering the number of factors (i.e. intensity, ability, etc.) that can affect your caloric output, the actual is tough to determine the actual number of calories. Also, you can easily wipe away any progress no matter the number with a Snickers bar. You’ll have better luck minimizing your caloric intake instead (to a certain extent).

2. You think that the cardio machines are always right.

As a certified personal trainer, I've heard this from my clients time and time again: "But the elliptical machine says I burned 500 calories in an hour, even though I felt like I could've fallen asleep!"

These machines are programmed to give estimates as to how many calories you're actually burning. They typically don't know anything about you: your body size, weight, body fat or exertion level. Many machines only account for how fast you're going, so they provide an inaccurate estimate of how many calories you're burning.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Well said. I always estimate on the low end.

3. You swear by your calorie counter app.

When you're tracking your food in these apps, Lisa De Fazio, a registered dietitian, suggested that most people do not accurately measure or estimate portions, so their daily caloric intake is often actually more than what they list on a food-tracking app.

"For example eating 1/2 cup rice versus 1 cup of rice or 1 tablespoon dressing versus 3 tablespoons, all make a big difference in daily caloric intake. These calories add up!" she explained.

Another registered dietitian, Deborah Malkoff-Cohen, said that she tells her clients to only trust calorie-tracking apps for pre-packaged items.

"Everything else is totally subjective. For example, take an apple. Is it a small, medium or large apple? Every app will give you a different calorie count," she noted.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: There’s no way around this problem…Unless you physically measure the food ingredients yourself. I realize that this task is more of a burden. Since you’re motivated to truly lose weight, though, it may be worth it to measure your favorite foods once for reference. If you plan to eat it anyway, you might as well know the truth behind it.

4. You spend most of your day sitting.

When you're burning a ton of calories in a grueling workout, but then sitting at your desk all day or lounging on the weekends, you're not burning many calories beyond your workout.

If you label yourself as "extremely active" in health apps, they can wrongly assume that you're not sitting all day. As a result, they'll overestimate the number of calories your body burns throughout the day.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Exercising 5-7 days per week for an hour apiece doesn’t make you active unfortunately. An active person moves all day (not sits). Challenge yourself to add extra steps during the smallest tasks. The cumulative effect will show itself on the scale.

5. You never switch things up.

If you've been doing the same weight-loss program that's focused on the same workouts and the same restricted calorie diet, your body can tell. When your body gets used to a certain type of exercise, the amount of calories you burned initially aren't necessarily the same amount that you're burning after doing that routine 25 times.

To prevent this from happening, try to change up your workouts every couple of weeks. Mix in cardio with high-intensity routines, try cycling classes or take a speed walk. Keep things new and exciting!

Personal Trainer Wisdom: I'm not sure I agree with the idea of switching things up to keep your body surprised. I’m not sure there's an anatomic truth in that statement. I can give you other reasons to switch it up, though. First, you may be building your muscular strength and endurance for that particular movement (making it more stable and strong to handle thus easier on the body). Which is wonderful but less effective for burning calories in the short term (unless you value the muscle building that's occurring and the calorie burning benefits of the muscle growth). A small pivot to something a little different may relight the body in the way you want (but don't overlook the progress you've made in other areas). Second, slight modifications to your typical movement may recruit a whole new level of stabilization (which is more taxing to your system). Be mindful of your progress and switch/spice it up when necessary. Don’t sacrifice your overall progress, though, for the sake of burning more calories.

6. Your pre- and post-workout snacks are caloric catastrophes.

When you're reaching for a snack, whether it's for energy before a workout or post-workout recovery, there are a few things to consider. According to De Fazio, you should think about the type of workout and its intensity, as well as the length of the workout before deciding what kind of snack to eat.

"Typically carbohydrates like a banana or a 150-calorie protein bar is ideal before an hour workout," she said. As for a post-workout snack, De Fazio suggested a protein smoothie or an apple with peanut butter. If you're working out longer and harder, such as going on a long-distance run or bike ride, that's when a higher-calorie snack would be appropriate.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Eliminate the idea of a “snack” (shame on your mother)…It’s nothing but a filler treat with little intent. Instead, plan your meals accordingly. Eat 1-2 hours before your workout to supply the fuel you’ll need for work (exercise) and refuel not long after your session to avoid any nutritional deficiency. Your meal may be as little as 150 or as high as 5-700 calories. Either way, be certain it is a thoughtful combination of fiber, vitamins, protein, and fat. Anything that is a powder or highly processed bar doesn’t count.

7. You've already lost weight.

Once you've lost weight, your body needs less calories to do everyday activities and therefore less calories to lose more weight.

"When someone is overweight it is like a healthy weight person carrying 50- or 100-pound weights and going through daily activities. The extra weight puts stress on the body and uses more calories to do everything, from housework to grocery shopping to driving," De Fazio said.

While counting calories isn't always the most accurate or even always the best way to lose weight, it can be a helpful benchmark to determine where to start in order to reach your goals. Getting a good baseline to know how many calories a day you should burn and consume in order to hit your weight-loss goals is very helpful, but it's important to remember that other factors such as stress, sleep, and other lifestyle issues play an important role in overall health.

Personal Trainer Wisdom: Assume that you’ll use a number of techniques while pursuing your weight loss goal. If you’re mindful of your progess, you’ll identify the appropriate change necessary to properly challenge yourself at your new weight. Try to determine the perfect combination of activity and nutrition every 3 weeks to continue your momentum.

Photo Credit:
Cycling Runner–Should we depend on the caloric estimates on the cardio equipment? Is it actually getting you closer to your caloric goal?

Article Credit:

Author: Michael Moody Fitness with excerpt sourced from the article "7 Reasons Your Weight Loss May Have Stalled" on MSN.com (Today).