By Coach Juan Rojas
Losing fat can be a very challenging journey. Many have gone years and even decades with living a lifestyle that is less than optimal for proper health and body composition. Oftentimes it takes years to get a large amount of fat off of their body. If it took you years to become severely overweight, it can take a long time as well to lose all that stored energy and coach your body to operate at it's highest capacity.
It makes me extremely happy when I see individuals begin their fat loss journey because I was once there as well. I grew up extremely overweight all my life and at 15 years old I decided to make a change. It was very tough at times to change my lifestyle habits but one step at a time I was able to lose 90 lbs. From there, I made even bigger goals and now I have it set as a goal to be one of the best professional bodybuilders in the world. But along the way, I faced times where it was extremely difficult to continue burning fat. It seemed like I was doing everything right but the fat was just not coming off. Many clients also come to me with similar issues and with the proper guidance and coaching they are able to resume their fat loss and strive towards the physique they want.
Many times people think that the solution is simply to do more exercise and cut calories more. If we were machines, a linear approach like this could probably work, but we are complex creatures with so many variables that the way we respond to things can vary so much between individuals. Although you might think you are on the right path, oftentimes individuals are baffled when they learn that something they did not think was a big deal can actually be what is blunting their fat loss. Here are the top 5 things that people might not realize hold them back from seeing results with their fat loss:
1. Snacking- This is one of the biggest culprits. You might be eating the perfect 4-6 meals a day whether given by your coach or if you are doing your own diet, but if you are snacking this will hold you back. It is very easy to pack on a few hundred extra calories a day by taking little bites here and there of certain foods. The worst part about snacking is that once it becomes a habit, it is very hard to break. I suggest if you are going to snack, have snacks planned just like you would your meals and make sure that they can fit into your nutrition program. Snacking mindlessly on whatever is "around" can be what is holding you back.
2. Sauces- It is very easy to turn a low calorie nutritious meal into a super high calorie meal with the wrong amount of sauce. Sauces like bbq or mayo based sauces can be very high in sugar and fat and could be adding a lot more calories to your day than you think. Not to mention, they are not very filling. Try to find alternatives and maybe even make your own low calorie sauces if you decide you want to use them.
3. Not Meal Prepping- Poor Preparation Prevents Poor Performance. There are many people who do not take time in their week to prepare their meals and this only leads to failure. When your meals are not prepared it is very easy to eat out. Even if you eat out something that you feel is somewhat nutritious, keep in mind that restaurants do not have the goal in mind of keeping you true on your fitness path and fat loss journey. Their goal is to feed you something delicious so that you come back to eat there.
4. High Inflammation- There are certain foods that can cause inflammation in certain individuals when eaten. This inflammation makes your body very unhappy and can stall your fat loss through different mechanisms, including down regulation of certain hormones.Some foods that can cause many people issues with inflammation are foods that contain dairy, gluten, peanuts etc. I am not saying you should completely block these things out, but it is dependent on a person by person basis.
5. Over Restriction- How often do you see somebody who wants to begin their fat loss journey going from eating fast food everyday to eating only fish and vegetables 4 times a day because they plan on losing 30 lbs. in 30 days?
I see this scenario all the time! These individuals that over restrict not only end up feeling miserable with low energy levels and decreased performance, but they also put their health at risk. Not only is their physical health affected but so is their mental health. These are the individuals who will follow everything perfectly for 2 weeks and then binge for 2 days because they cannot take the extreme diet anymore. They do a combination of slowing down their metabolism and overeating junk for a few days. They end up even unhappier with more fat on their body and a potential eating disorder.
Although there are many more reasons why you might be feeling stalled in your fat loss journey, these are some that I commonly see. This is why it is important to reach out to a professional who can help you create your meal plan and overall fat loss program. Stop wasting time and kick start your fat loss goals again!
With the pursuit of achieving the best possible physique and helping hundreds of clients do the same, Juan Rojas has dedicated his life to finding the best strategies for transforming human bodies. Constant research, trial and error and continous education in the exercise physiology and nutrition field, Juan Rojas thrives off finding the most efficient ways to transform your body and live a happier and healthier lifestyle.