‘I’m exercising, why am I not losing weight?’

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A dietitian has the answer.

Photo: iStock

It is one of the most frustrating complaints of clients who are actively trying to lose weight – they are eating well and exercising regularly yet still the scales refuse to budge. So if you are hitting the gym without any real results, here are the most common reasons that you are not getting the changes on the scales you are looking for.

You are not moving enough

While exercise raises heart rate and increases the number of calories we burn each day, the harsh reality is if you spend much of the day sitting, even when you do go to the gym, you are unlikely to be burning significant amounts of body fat. Unfortunately, exercise does not compensate for sedentary lifestyles which see us spend 10-12 hours a day sitting as we work, commute and relax in front of the television at night. This means if weight loss is your goal, you need to be clocking up at least 10000 steps each day as well as exercising at least 3-4 times each week.

You are doing the same workout

The body is very good at becoming efficient at what it does regularly which means if you do the same workout or run the same path every time you exercise, over time you will burn fewer and fewer calories doing it. This means if you want to exercise for maximal calorie burn, you need to mix up your workouts. The more you change things up, do different things and challenge your body in different ways, the more calories you are likely to burn over time.

You are not exercising at the right intensity

The goal of any exercise or workout is to challenge the muscle cells to burn fuel more efficiently, and as such your heart rate and how hard you are breathing is a relatively good indicator of whether you are working out at a reasonable intensity. This means if you are spending time in the gym but barely breaking a sweat, or can continue a normal conversation for the entire duration of your workout, you are not training hard enough. Mix up your sessions by including some interval training; add hills or sprints if you run regularly or invest in a few sessions with a trainer to help teach you how to push your training limits.

You are eating more because you exercise

The virtuous feeling that often accompanies a tough workout is also the thing that can drive us to treat ourselves with extra foods we would not usually eat simply because we have been ‘good’ and gone to the gym. If your goal is weight loss, you will not need to eat more because you are training, rather you will need to make sure your food choices are filling with plenty of protein, salad and vegetables. Especially when you consider that a couple of chocolate biscuits contain more calories than the ones you have burnt in your workout.

You are not doing the right type of exercise

Everybody is different and as such not all workouts suit all people. For example some people get great results from weight training, while others find it bulks them up. Some people can lose weight with plenty of walking, while others need to be running. If you regular routine is not working for you, it may be time to try something new because it nothing changes, nothing changes.

See this week’s exclusive tip from body + soul’s personal trainer, Damien Kelly..

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