Podcast Image Why You're Not Losing Weight Part Two

October 27, 2021 by Megan Dahlman

Why You're Not Losing Weight (Part Two)

Megan Dahlman Strong Mommas Podcast

Imagine this: you’re moving right along, going about your life, and then one day you happen to step on the scale and come face to face with the reality that things aren’t right. That somehow, slowly over time, you’ve gained 20 pounds and none of your clothes fit anymore. And the panic sets in. And start thinking of all the things you probably should do to fix it… to get the scale going in the other direction. But in that moment, you feel horribly discouraged.

My mission is helping moms love their bodies. To truly experience this, it starts in the heart and the mind. Understanding where your value and your worth lies, establishing your identity in Christ and His loving purpose for your life, and even discovering the unique way that God designed your body - your body type.

But coming to a place where you can honestly say that you love your body also encompasses having a body that’s healthy, strong and feels great. And sometimes, if you have gained some weight and because of that you feel like you’re not in your best shape, then we need to address that, too.

And often it feels like you’re doing all the right things to accomplish that, but nothing is changing. And so you start to panic and wonder why you’re not losing weight. So hopefully in this two-part series, we’re able to get to the bottom of why this is happening.

Yesterday, I helped you set the stage for having the right mindset about weight loss.

Today, let’s take a closer look at your exercise and workouts, and then some of the other lesser understood variables (like sleep, stress, and hormones) and how they might be the culprit for your weight loss struggles.

Your Workouts: If you want to experience good, quality weight loss (where you’re losing body and maintaining or even building muscle), then you need to be physically active for at least 5 hours total per week.

Now, we can be smart about it and build up to that, and even break those 5 hours down into different types of activities and intensities.

1. Establish a plan that helps you build up to that gradually over time.
Do NOT run out and get a gym membership and pump away at the gym for a solid hour 5 days a week. You’ll burnout, hurt yourself and hate exercise.

Instead, determine where you’re at right now. Look at a typical week, and figure out how many hours total you spend exercising each week. Take all of your physical activity into account, even going for walks. Add it all up.
Is it half an hour total? 3 hours? 0 hours?

Once you know your current baseline, plan to do just one step better. So if you’re physically active for only 1 hour total per week (let’s say you go for a 10 min walk 6 days a week), then step it up by turning one of those 10 minute walks into a 20 minute walk. And then continue to build up over time so that you’re eventually exercising for 5 hours total on a consistent basis.

2. Break up what that activity looks like. Walking 5 hours a week is awesome, but to see real change, you really need to have some more variety.

Think of the typical workout sessions as being either high intensity, medium intensity or low intensity. You should be exposing your body to each of these levels of intensity. So do some of your total time in high intensity, some of it in medium intensity, and some of it in low intensity.

A great example of this is how the workouts look near the end of Jumspstart 60 (which is my beginner program that follows Jumpstart 30).

Each week, I guide you through some full body workouts that move you quickly through circuits of bodyweight-only exercises that get your heart rate up (high intensity)

Each week, we also do some workouts that are a little easier, not so fast and intense...include more stretching (medium intensity)

Each week, we also do some days that are just stretching and going for some walks (low intensity)
It keeps it balanced, you’re getting close to that goal of being physically active 5 hours per week, but you’re being smart about it and avoiding burnout.

So, if you want to experience good, quality weight loss (where you’re losing body and maintaining or even building muscle), then you need to build up to being physically active for at least 5 hours total per week at a variety of intensity levels.

Now, let’s take a closer look at some of the other lesser understood variables (like sleep, stress, and hormones) and how they might be the culprit for your weight loss struggles.

You could have the best nutrition and the best workout plan, but if you’re not getting enough good quality sleep, if your stress is off that charts, and your hormones are all over the place, it will feel like nothing is working, and you’ll be wondering why.

Sleep: Ideally, you need between 6 and 8 hours of sleep every night
If you’re not consistently getting that, ask yourself why, and see if there’s anything that you can realistically do to improve your sleep.
To help you determine a good bedtime, decide when you need to wake up, then count backwards from there.
For example, I know that I feel best with 7 hours of sleep (8 I’m too groggy, 6 I’m too tired). So I need to wake up at 5:30, and 7 hours leading up to that is falling asleep by 10:30. Which means I need to be in bed close to 10:00, lights out no later than 10:30.

Your Stress: Living with chronic (ongoing) stress impacts your body far more than you think it does.

It might just be a low buzz in the background (covid!), but it can still wreak havoc on your body.

Last year was stressful! I’ve come out the other side, but there’s still a low level of stress and anxiety, and I can feel my body dealing with it. I’m sure if I were to get my stress hormone levels tested (like adrenaline and cortisol), they would be on the high side. I eat well, I train well, I sleep well, but I still have this buzz of anxiety that causes me to have shortness of breath all day long, tension headaches and constant knots in my neck and shoulder blades.
And guess what, increased levels of stress hormones can make it extremely difficult to lose body fat.

So what should you do?Remove as many stressors as you possibly can (delegate, ask for help, stop scrolling through social media!)

Lower the amount of expectations you place on yourself
Manage your stress as best as you can by taking breaks, going for walks, breathing exercises

Your Hormones: Speaking of stress hormones, your hormonal environment plays an important role in your ability to lose weight.

Stress hormones - we just briefly talked about that. When your adrenals are pumping out cortisol and adrenaline at unnatural rates, it has a snowball effect on everything
It impacts your sleep, your eating habits, your motivation and energy levels
Other hormones (estrogen & progesterone & thryoid) - these mainly impact the speed at which your metabolism operates, your hunger and fullness cues, your cravings, and your energy levels.
How you respond to these hormones determines whether or not you’ll lose or gain weight.
Having fluctuating hormones does NOT mean you’re doomed, it just means it might take a little bit more effort and a little bit more time. So you better choose habits that you can stick with for the long haul.

If you’re not sure if these are within normal ranges, it would definitely be worth having them checked out.

Takeaway and action steps:

So, to answer the big question of “Why are you not losing weight?” let’s recap:

  • Are you too focused on the weight loss outcome that you’re getting distracted and not being diligent enough with the day-to-day tasks? Do you step on the scale, don’t see it move, and so you get discouraged and give up?
  • Are you eating the right quantities of nutrient dense foods 90% of the time? Or does it look like you’re overeating calorie dense foods and only eating healthy foods 60 or 70% of the time?
  • Are you moving in some way every single day, and starting to intentionally build in several days/week of strength training, then gradually amp up the intensity from there? Or are you just going for a brutal run once every 10 days and being completely sedentary in between?
  • Are you sleeping well, handling your stress well, and making sure that your hormones are balanced and in check? Or does everything feel intense, hurried and out of alignment?

I have a client that I worked with for years. She was strong, she worked out regularly, and she ate pretty healthy. But she could never get the scale to budge. (She got her sleep in check and it finally moved)

Friend, weight loss is not easy. There are a lot of factors in play. So when you see other people on social media dropping 20 pounds in one month, please do not let yourself get discouraged. If you know that you do need to lose some weight to feel your best and to truly be healthy, do it the healthy way. It may take a bit longer, but it will be much longer lasting.

If you are willing to do the right things and you want it, you really want to see those changes happen, then I’m here to help you get it right.

Make sure to sign up for my Jumpstart30 program and I’ll guide you every step of the way and make sure you get there. There’s a link below to get signed up...I’d love to see you there.

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