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First of all, if you are not seeing the results you were hoping for at first, DO NOT PANIC!
I suggest using both the scale and a measuring tape to see exactly how much progress you're making. Sometimes, even though the scale shows nothing, the tape may reveal that you've made more progress than you could've imagined!
It might simply be that your mind is going faster than your progress is. What I mean by that is that you should not expect to see results before your body gets used to your new routine!
The time it will take for your body to start changing will depend on many factors, some are directly related to your habits, and some are completely out of your control.
Here is a quick list of what some of these factors are:
1. Are you overeating?
Now, when people talk about overeating, they do not only mean eating junk food, it can also be that you're eating too much of healthy foods. Even though vegetables, fruits, or whatever it is that you're eating is considered "healthy" it does not mean that you can eat as much as you like.
I know, they also say that you can eat just as many vegetables as you like, but nobody means that literally, you must still show a little restriction and self-control!
2. Are you exercising enough?
Of course, everyone will tell you that "exercising even 15 minutes each day is better than nothing" which is true, of course. But is "better than nothing" good enough?
Most people who have lost a significant amount of weight report that they exercised at least 45 minutes to 1 hour each day and that most of it was either cardio or HIIT*.
I suggest you do around 30 minutes of cardio or 15 minutes of HIIT and 15 minutes of cardio and then do other exercises for the rest of your workout.
Strength training was also reported as being effective for weight loss, as it burns fat and builds muscle. The thing with this kind of training though is that people have reported that they did not see progress right away because muscle is heavier than fat, so it might seem like your weight on the scale didn't change, or you might even have "gained weight" according to the scale, but it might just be that you're building muscle!
3. If you're exercising enough, you might be experiencing DOMS.
Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness, also known as "muscle fever" is the muscle pain and weakness that you may start feeling up to a day after your workout.
Nobody can explain DOMS, although a popular belief is that DOMS is caused by micro-tears in the muscle tissue, which would then have to heal, your body would retain fluid at the location of the trauma and it would make you temporarily gain up to four pounds of weight!
It could take up to a month and a half for the weight to drop, so be patient!
4. It may be that you're not getting enough sleep!
I know you keep hearing that without ever hearing an explanation for it, however, here is what I could find for this topic:
Losing sleep may make you feel hungry, even when you're not.
Sleep deprivation may affect the secretion of cortisol, one of the hormones that regulate your appetite.
When you're tired, you may skip exercise or simply move around less, burning fewer calories.
Being stressed out has the same effects as those I have just listed.
5. You might have hit a "plateau."
At some point, your body is bound to adapt to your new workout, it becomes more used to it. Over time, your body will burn fewer calories if you keep doing the same exercise. Your weight loss may slow down or even completely stop.
Here are some possible reasons for this phenomenon:
- You never change your workout: Your body needs to be challenged so that it doesn't get used to your workout as quickly, so change your program every four to six weeks. Instead of changing every exercise, you may also change the number of repetitions you do, the time you take to do each set, the intensity at which you do your exercise or (if you are doing strength training) the weight of your dumbells or whatever accessory you are using.
- You may not be eating enough calories: If you don't provide enough calories for your body to sustain your level of activity, it will stockpile calories instead of burning them.
- Overtraining: If you exercise too much (too long or too intense), your body can react by decreasing the number of calories you burn during your "rest days."
6. You may not be eating enough protein.
Eating enough protein can help to reduce cravings throughout the day, it also helps prevent metabolic slow down (the plateau) and it helps prevent weight regain.
It was also reported to help with muscle soreness after a tough workout.
7. Do you drink alcohol?
Alcohol can be a very bad idea when you are trying to lose weight, as it is very high in calories. So, drink with moderation!
8. Maybe you've set the bar a bit too high?
Believing in what fitness gurus tell you on youtube about losing 10 pounds in 3 days is definitely one of your worst enemies...
What you should do is set realistic goals for yourself, so instead of being disappointed for not reaching that fitness guru's goal and thinking that you're not good enough, just set a goal that you are sure to reach, and if anything, you might be surprised if the results are better than your expectations!
There are, of course, other factors that could be responsible for the lack of results in your weight loss journey but I will personally stop there, if none of those apply to you, I encourage you to search for answers either on Google (even though there are some things you should just not rely on Google for!) or with a healthcare practician (a doctor, a kinesiologist, a nutritionist, a personal trainer etc.) who could help you understand what is happening.
Thank you for reading this through to the end and do not hesitate to share it with your friends, who knows, somebody else could find this information useful and you might be bringing hope back into someone's journey!
* HIIT= High-Intensity Interval Training