Dieting and Working Out but Not Losing Weight

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Maria Lorenz
Join me on my "I Fit and Healthy" journey! Maria is an Upstate New Yorker interested in all things healthy-living related! She started the "I Fit and Healthy" Blog to document life and her pursuit of healthy living. By day she work in digital media and advertising. By night she’s a first-rate wife and mom of two crazy little girls! She is self-proclaimed addicted to her iPhone/iPad and always on the hunt for the latest health tools and fitness gadgets.

For the past 8 weeks I have been sticking to a 1300-1400 calorie diet – keeping my fat to about 40 grms, and keeping it high protein and low carb. I swim for 1 hour 3 times a week, walk for 30 minutes 6 days a week, and about 5 days a week about a 20 minute jog. I try to make sure there are at least two workouts per day if not 3.

I am getting pretty frustrated because I am not seeing any results, not on the scale or with the fit of my clothes. It makes it hard to keep working this hard. Some have suggested to me that I need to eat more calories to make up for my workouts. This confuses me, as most experts say that to loose weight you have to burn more calories than you take in, so why would eating more cause weight loss. What do you suggest? Thanks! [via Ask Questions]

Let me get something out of the way first. If you want to lose weight, do not focus on your scale weight or losing pounds in general. Focus on developing healthy eating habits and staying physically active; if you do that, the weight loss will follow. Now let’s get to the nitty-gritty of your situation.

When you say that your diet is high in protein and low in carbs, what does it mean? Do you actually know your daily protein and carbs intake? If you do not, you need to figure it out and keep track of these numbers. I will get back to that later…

If you are not losing weight on your current diet and exercise plan, you do not need to increase your daily calorie intake, but you do need to cut back a little on your workouts. Three workouts a day? Even professional athletes usually keep it to no more than two workouts a day, so you are definitely overdoing it.

Swimming and walking are really good exercises in general and they are extremely useful for someone who wants to lose weight, so keep swimming and walking, ditch jogging for now, but you still need to do further adjustments. You do not need to exercise even twice a day; three times a week – for example, Monday, Wednesday and Friday or Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday – is all you need.

Why you are not losing weight. There are three main variables that are at play here: your daily calorie intake, your daily carbohydrate intake and your exercise intensity. The way I see it you are already pretty much at the bottom of your daily calorie intake. You can go as low as 1200 calories a day, which is an absolute minimum, but I would not do that, stay in your current calorie range.

Protein and carbs. I would, however, start paying very close attention to your protein and carbohydrate intake. Remember I said earlier that you need to know your daily protein and carbs intake? My problem is that I do not know what those numbers are for you, so I cannot tell you something like “increase your protein intake by this much and decrease your carbs intake by this much,” but the idea here is to consume enough protein while keeping carbs in the moderate to low range. Eliminate all sources of simple carbs and stick to complex carbs from wholes grains, fruit and vegetables, the latter being the preferred source.

Exercise intensity. If you are not losing weight, you need to increase your exercise intensity. Instead of swimming for 1 hour, swim for 40 or even 30 minutes but with a lot more intensity. Instead of walking for 30 minutes and jogging for 20 minutes, only walk for 30 minutes but walk faster than you did before.

The bottom line: Ditch simple carbs completely, consume only complex carbohydrates, protein and good fats. Spread your daily calorie intake between 4 to 5 meals. Eat enough protein and gradually reduce your carbohydrate intake. I would not go below 100 g carbs a day, but some people do fairly well even at 50 g. You need to experiment and find a number that works for you.

Swim and or walk 3 times a week and do not forget to rest. Your body needs to recover from exercise. If it does not properly recover, your metabolism is not going to perform well, which can hinder your weight-loss effort.


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