You’ve been going to the gym three to four times a week. You’re meal-prepping salads for lunch and chicken with a vegetable for your dinner. You even started tracking your macros because this time, you’re serious about making a change. It’s been weeks now, maybe even a month or two, yet you still haven’t seen any results. Why is that? Here are a few areas you may be overlooking that are hindering your results.
- You aren’t tracking your beverages.
You recently started meal prepping (again or for the first time) and have been tracking what you’re eating on an app. You get excited to add your meals and feel a rush when you end your day right on top of your calorie goals. You get so excited about your meals that you forget about what you’re drinking. Whether it’s a seemingly harmless “health” smoothie you’ve seen at the grocery store or a latte from Starbucks or a coffee with 3 creams (that you have 3 times a day) or even a Gatorade – they all add to your daily caloric intake. You could be drinking an additional 300-500 calories a day and you don’t even realize it, which takes you out of a deficit and right back at maintenance (or surplus) calories.
- You aren’t tracking your cooking oils/butters
You made the switch from vegetable and canola oil to olive and coconut oil. You start putting it in EVERYTHING- coconut oil to cook your eggs in the morning, olive oil for your chicken at night. These secret calories add up. The healthy fats are GOOD for you; just make sure you’re accounting for them.
- You aren’t tracking dipping sauces
When you make homemade potato wedges, are you dosing them in BBQ? How about ranch? Maybe it’s ketchup? Whatever your go-to condiment is, check the nutrition labels. Some are full of sugar and (you might have guessed it) calorie dense! There are numerous dressings out there that are yogurt based to lessen the calorie load. They don’t have as long of a shelf life but they are tasty. I recommend Bolthouse and Simply 60.
- You aren’t being honest about what you eat everyday (see above)
Beverages, cooking oils, and condiments may not be the only calories you’re overlooking in a day. What about the cupcake you had at work because it was Susan’s birthday? Or the handfuls of trail mix you were mindlessly eating while studying? Or that candy bar you found in your coat jacket while you were looking for your Chapstick? Are there random snacks that you are so absent mindedly consuming that you don’t even think to add them to your tracking app/account for them in a day’s worth of eating?
- You’re not being honest about how often you eat our or how often you drink alcohol
Oftentimes, these two go hand in hand. Beer, wine, liquor- all have calories. The mixers you drink with the liquor have calories. The drunk Mexican food you consume Friday night and the McDonald’s breakfast Saturday morning- have excessive calories. It’s a common misconception and trendy ideal that if you workout/eat healthy during the week, you’re free to live it up on the weekend. This is only going to SLOW DOWN or completely HAULT any progress towards your goals. It’s okay to let loose every once in awhile, but if this is a weekly occurrence for you, look for ways to cut back.
- You’re not pushing yourself as hard as you can at the gym
Think about your gym routine. Are you doing the same exercises week after week? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, but when was the last time you went up with weight? When was the last time you changed the rep or set scheme? Are you struggling the last two reps of every set? If you aren’t challenging yourself, you aren’t going to grow your muscles and ultimately see those results you desire.
- You’re not being patient
Maybe you’re already conscious of everything I stated above. You’re tracking everything and pushing yourself hard at the gym. It’s been a month and you don’t even REALIZE the progress you’ve made. You can’t be mad. You have to be consistent, persistent, and patient. You aren’t allowed to question the process until you’ve been consistent for a year. It’s not going to take a year to see the results, but I used this same mentality when I was struggling after month one. Six months later, I’m glad I trusted the process. The physical changes will come!
Disclaimer: this isn’t to scare you from eating cookies your coworkers bring in or dipping your chicken nuggets, but to help you realize where you may be lacking. You can still enjoy your Frappuccino’s and put butter on your toast, just make sure you’re accounting for it in the rest of your day. Cut back on what isn’t necessary while still enjoying the foods you love. Finding that balance will be vital in reaching your goals and making lifelong changes.