- We often believe we're in a calorie deficit when, in reality, we're not tracking correctly, according to fat loss coach Patrick Wilson.
- In one untracked meal and drink, it's simple to reverse a calorie deficit.
- Consider taking a diet break to re-energize your body and mind.
- More on Working It Out can be found here.
I'm growing stronger and gaining muscle, yet I'm still gaining weight. What should I do to change it?
Three times a week, I teach high-intensity rebounding classes, and twice a week, I weight train. I don't think I can add any more sessions without jeopardizing my relationship, friendships, and sleep schedule.
I've always been active, engaging in exercise that I enjoy for both mental and physical benefits, but I've always been overweight (particularly around my midsection) due to comfort eating in my early adolescence.
I used to be a vegetarian, but I just started eating meat again and upping my protein consumption. I've gained muscular mass, but I'm still having trouble losing fat. I'm not sure if I've been in a calorie deficit for long enough — I'm eating 1,700-1,800 calories per day (around 120 grams of protein) — or if there's something else I should be doing. I also walk between 8 and 12 thousand steps per day.
It's great to hear you're enjoying your workouts, gaining strength, and maintaining your protein consumption.
These are all excellent indicators of good health, but I understand being dissatisfied if your objective is fat loss and you're putting in a lot of effort but not seeing results.
However, you're correct that training more frequently isn't a good idea Because our bodies require rest in between exercises.
It's difficult to say what the solution will be for you without knowing your height and weight or how long you've been in a calorie deficit, but I spoke with personal trainer and fat loss expert Patrick Wilson to find out what some choices might be.
Make sure your calorie intake is regular.
I was in a similar scenario to you a few years ago, and it wasn't until I truly focused in my nutrition and started counting calories that I was able to control my portion sizes, reduce overeating, and see results.
Because you know your calorie intake, it's likely you're already tracking your food, but Wilson says clients frequently believe they're in a deficit when they're not.
"Keep track of the calories you consume from foods, drinks, and quick snacks," he advised. "When you track every day for 2-3 weeks (even weekends) and discover what your actual intake is, it might be eye-opening."
Yes, you can eat the remaining crusts from your niece's sandwich, a few fries from a buddy, and the milk in your tea.
To see results, you don't have to achieve your calorie target exactly every day (fat loss coach Jordan Syatt recommends aiming for 80 percent consistency), but keep in mind that weekend calories do matter.
From personal experience, I know how simple it is to reverse the calorie deficit you've built up over the course of the week with one Saturday night of food and beverages.
You can still go out and have fun, but make decisions that are in line with your objectives. That could mean opting for a gin and light tonic instead of a drink, taking a couple of pieces of pizza home as leftovers, or opting for a side salad rather than fries.
"If you notice you're consuming more calories than you believe, make some changes," Wilson advised. "Incorporate additional vegetables, fruits, and protein sources to fill you up for fewer calories."
Make sure your calorie goal isn't too low.
If you're having trouble meeting your calorie goals, it's possible that your aim is too low. For some people, 1,700-1,800 calories may be a healthy weight-loss goal, but if you're a very active person with good muscle mass, that may be too low for you to maintain.
"Having a smaller deficit will make it much simpler to stick to and will help you keep more muscle," Wilson explained. "You'll have more stamina to push yourself during workouts, and you won't lose as much muscle mass as you would in a more severe shortage."
It's easier to stay to a more moderate deficit, which is vital for long-term improvement.
To boost your metabolism, consider taking a diet break.
You may be suffering diet weariness and burnout if you've been trying to maintain a calorie deficit for a long time. Taking a purposeful break to reset both mentally and physically is an excellent method to get around this.
Wilson suggests giving it two to four months and aiming to eat at your maintenance calories, possibly gradually increasing to rebuild your metabolism – metabolic adaptation occurs when we are in a calorie deficit, which means our metabolism slows.
Wilson added that while your weight may rise and you may gain some fat during this time, it can be advantageous in the long run - a few months is nothing in the grand scheme of things.
"Aim to lose fat and be in a deficit again when you've built up your metabolism," he continued, "but your new maintenance will be greater, so you won't have to cut calories as low to make fat loss progress this time."
You'll likely feel emotionally and physically refreshed after a break from dieting and eager to get back to your fat-loss objective. But, along the way, be patient and nice to yourself, and make sure you're having fun.
Wishing you well,