If You're Super Active And Not Losing Weight, You Need To Read This Article
Do you feel as though you live an active lifestyle, exercise regularly, but somehow struggle to lose weight? If you do, don't worry, because it's a common problem. In this article, you'll discover the most common reasons you're super active and not losing weight. And you'll also learn practical tips to get your weight loss journey back on track.
Being Active And Not Losing Weight Is A Very Real Problem
"Getting The Basics Right Can Be More Difficult"
Your feelings of frustration are common.
Filled with motivation, fervour, and determination, you set about trying to lose weight. Although you've tried before and not succeeded, this time things are different. Fad diets and crappy supplements have been thrown out of the window. Replaced by a calorie deficit and diligent tracking in MyFitnessPal.
After a couple of weeks, the scales won't budge and progress is at a stand still.
Is it you? Are you destined never to lose weight, despite doing everything right?
Or is there something else you've not considered?
To give you the answer, I'm going to share an email I received and show you how to practically overcome the issue of being active and not losing weight.
Marcus is clearly someone who's active and not losing weight. And his struggles emanate from being unable to calculate a calorie deficit accurately and keeping hunger at bay. Both very common issues for extremely active people.
So let's look at why that's the case and what you can do about it.
Active And Not Losing Weight? Let's Start With Calories
"Figuring Out Your Required Calories May Take Time, But That's Ok"
Any time you're not losing weight, you need to start back at square one with calories.
The principle of a calorie deficit for fat loss still applies, but it becomes harder to estimate. Let's look at Marcus's lifestyle as an example.
He has a very active job, which involves an incredibly high step count each day. And it's likely to be the case his step count is never the same from one day to the next. As I'm sure is the case for you too. Nor is the type of activity involved in those 20k steps likely to be the same each day.
When you reflect on your own active lifestyle, estimating exact calorie burn is almost an impossible task.
In addition to that, Marcus is carrying machinery on his back. So this could be adding 5, 10, 15kg or more to his body weight. Again, making calories difficult to estimate due to the increased calorie burn.
So what's the answer?
Estimating Calories If You're Very Active And Not Losing Weight
Estimating calories with a high-degree of precision is likely to be challenging. So trial and error will come into play.
Separating exercise from your general lifestyle can help define a more specific calorie target. And this is why the Iron Paradise Fitness Calorie Calculator is set up to do just that. You can access it here for free to estimate your calories.
Often, there's a temptation to set your calorie intake as low as possible. And while there's nothing inherently wrong with rapid weight loss, it can prove more challenging for those who lead a very active lifestyle. So don't be too aggressive.
Ultimately, figuring out your required calories might take time to get right. But be patient and make logical adjustments every 2-3 weeks as needed.
Here's three broad rules to follow to make sure you get those calories right;
- A calorie deficit still matters most for weight loss. If you're not losing weight/fat, you're not in a deficit.
- Estimate calories as accurately as possible and don't be too aggressive with your deficit if you struggle with hunger. Use my calculator if you need help with this.
- Stick with your calories for 2-3 weeks and adjust as necessary.
If you're active and not losing weight, you're not in a calorie deficit. Knowing how many calories to eat may be more challenging due to high calorie burn, so use trial and error over a number of weeks.
Active And Not Losing Weight? Time To Look At Food Choices And Meal Timing
"Think About Your Active Lifestyle As A Period Of Extended Exercise. Fuel For It!"
Broad guidelines and simplistic rules are great. But they have limitations.
Creating a calorie deficit and increasing step count is good advice for losing weight and getting rid of stubborn fat. But in a person-specific context, you need a little more depth.
For example, if you're already very active and not losing weight, telling you to be more active isn't the answer. So this is where other elements of nutrition are thrust into the spotlight.
Enter food choices and meal timing.
Marcus is struggling to combine an active lifestyle, calorie deficit, and hunger. Those energy crashes and feelings of uncontrollable hunger may be very relatable.
In truth, approaching weight loss for an active person is different to someone spending their working life stuck behind a desk. Working a job that keeps you constantly active is akin to intense exercise for an extended period of time. And just like intense exercise, you need to fuel for it.
Timing Calories And Carbs
Allotting more calories to the earlier part of the day, may help fuel the activity in the morning and keep hunger at bay until the next meal.
Keeping carbs high is also likely to be a beneficial strategy. While not essential, carbs are the body's preferred source of energy, and can help avoid the feeling of an energy crash.
What you eat makes a big difference too. Opting for high calorie foods that are potentially less filling will work against you. So opt for filling foods that keep you fuelled for the activity and keep hunger under lock and key.
Here's 3 tips to get food choices and meal timing right:
- Think of your day job as a period of extended exercises. Fuel for it within the framework of your calorie deficit.
- Adjust meal timing and the calorie density of each meal to match where in the day you need energy the most.
- Keep protein intake high (c. 1.6g/kg or above) to increase feelings of fullness.
- Opt for low calorie/high volume foods, such as green veg and fruit to help with satiety.
- Experiment with carbohydrate choices. For example, potato will be more filling than bread.
- Avoid mindless snacking. It rarely satisfies hunger, but can cause calorie consumption to spiral.
If you struggle maintaining a calorie deficit, focusing on meal timing and food choices may be your saving grace.
Active And Not Losing Weight? Have You Set Yourself Up For The Process?
"Often, The Answer Lies In The Basics"
Weight loss is hard. You don't need me to tell you that. My guess is you know it already. And when you're very active, you'll potentially face more challenges. And that means having the right mindset becomes even more of a priority.
Here's your reality check.
Even when you master calories, get your meal timing strategy worked out, and optimise food choices, it's still going to be hard.
There'll be times when you feel incredibly hungry. Times when you need to work hard to battle cravings and feelings of low energy. And there'll certainly be times where you fuck up and veer off track.
But the important thing to remember is you don't have to be perfect. Doing the right things, more often than not, is what you should aim for.
And here's a few things to consider to help with that.
Practise Mindful Eating
If you're very active and not losing weight it may be as a result of inhaling food at every turn and never mindfully eating. Giving yourself time to eat is a practice often overlooked in the modern world.
Meals are frequently eating on the move, or while sat in front of the TV. But this approach does very little to help control hunger and create a feeling of fullness.
An adjustment to your eating pattern may feel alien at first, but stick with it. Like putting the reps in at the gym, you get better at more skilled over time. Think of Mindful Eating as satiety bicep curls.
And here's a few top tips to get your form nailed;
- Eat away from distractions, ie your phone and the TV. And yes, that means no Instagram.
- Don't eat on the go. Stop, sit down, and take the time to eat your meals.
- Ask yourself if you are really hungry. This is important for avoiding mindless snacking that racks up calories.
- Chew your food between mouthfuls. Savour the flavour and stop eating like a human Dyson.
- Put down you cutlery between mouthfuls. This stops you eating like a production line.
- Stop when hungry. Don't eat everything simply because it's there.
With those 6 tips in place, learn to eat the food on your plate without judgement. But remember, this is a skill as much as bench pressing and squatting. And you won't get it right first time.
Focus On Recovery And Don't Over Exercise
If you're already leading a very active lifestyle, the temptation can be to do more. You might love working out, running, and being active all the time. But this can start to work against you at some point.
Too much cardio might increase your feelings of hunger. And the temptation is always to eat more than you actually burned during those bouts of exercise. So moderate your exercise according to your goal.
For example, if body recomposition (losing fat and building muscle) is your goal, cardio isn't essential. After all, with a naturally active lifestyle, there's unlikely to be a need to do MORE from a health perspective. Put your attention into training for your goal. More, more, more is rarely the answer. Often, it's about doing fewer things REALLY well.
And when it comes to recovery, don't underestimate the power of adequate sleep and nutrition. A highly nutritious diet, combined with 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night can make all the difference. Like the best magic supplement for fat loss, building muscle, and health you could ever find.
So don't sell yourself short.
Mindful eating, sleep, recovery, and not over exercising are basic fundamentals you can work on to optimise your ability to lose weight. Don't be tempted to skip the low hanging fruit in search for the supplements at the top of the tree. Because they're probably rotten anyway.
The Bottom Line On Why You're Active And Not Losing Weight
Being extremely active and not losing weight is a common issue. But the fundamentals still apply. Getting those fundamentals right might be more challenging, so careful thought in relation to your nutrition can make all the difference.
A calorie deficit, a higher protein diet, optimised sleep, eating nutritious foods, and a meal timing strategy are five of the most basic elements of nutrition to get right for anyone. But if you're active and not losing weight, there's nuances within that framework you need to pay more attention to.
Ultimately, developing a nutrition plan that is personalised to you and based on proven guiding principles, will be the key to success. Apply the information within this article and you'll be well on the way to living a leaner, healthier life, for good.
And if you want to accelerate that process, my 1-2-1 coaching programme, The Lean Life Method, can help you do just that.
Here's How To Calculate How Many Calories You Need To Achieve Your Fitness Goals (And A Free Training Programme)
If you want to get on the fast track to a leaner, healthier, stronger body, I've got something for you. Simply click the link below and you'll get access to my free online calorie and macro calculator. Designed to take the headache out of knowing how many calories you need to achieve your goals. Plus, you can grab my Lean Life Kickstarter Pack. In it you’ll find a free 4 week beginner’s training programme (complete with exercise videos and a workout tracker), free recipe packs, plus so much more.
So if you want all that, go here.
But for now, all I’ll say is… Keep living the Lean Life and I’ll see you soon.