You start second-guessing everything you're doing. Maybe I'm eating too much? Should I work out harder? Do I have to live on lemon and hot water?
So you cut more calories and do an extra 30 minutes of cardio on top of the 30 minutes you were already doing. Unfortunately, after another week, you're still not losing. Now you want to give up altogether.
But before you throw in the towel, ask yourself this: Am I eating enough? Am I doing the right training?
Contrary to popular belief, sometimes you have to eat more to lose weight. While that may sound counterintuitive, it often does the trick. Here's why:
• Metabolism is the key to weight loss. If you don't eat enough, or often enough, your metabolism slows to a crawl and weight loss becomes more difficult, especially when you're exercising.
That's why skipping meals isn't a good idea if the goal is to shed pounds. Another surefire way to jack your metabolism up is to strength train. Muscle has this awesome ability to burn fat. The more you work them, the more fat they burn.
Always eat breakfast to kickstart metabolism and try eating mini-meals throughout the day to keep your metabolism fired up. Make sure you are on a solid strength training program in addition to your cardio.
• To keep your metabolism up, you must eat. Conventional wisdom dictates that when you first start dieting, the less you eat the better. While it's true that you often should eat less, eating too little can backfire over time.
As your body composition changes, your body will think it's starving, which can make it hold on to fat. To avoid this, most experts agree that over time you shouldn't eat fewer than 1,200 calories per day for women, 1,500 for men.
If your daily diet consists of fewer calories than that, consider eating more. Then you need to focus on the type of calories you are eating. You don't want to eat 1,200 calories of ice cream.
• Your muscles need to work hard. You need to be strength training at least two to three times per week. The treadmill, elliptical or bike is not enough. If your using five-pound weight, you're probably not lifting enough. The best advice I gave someone that asked me about her workouts at home was to switch from those five-pound weights and try 10, 15, 20 and 25 pounds.
She tried them and progressed week by week and lost more weight week by week. Just make sure you are using correct form and on a great exercise program.
And remember that figuring out to what to eat, how much to eat, and when to eat isn't easy. That's why people often refer to losing weight as a journey. It takes a few different paths to get there.
Sometimes you have to adjust your ratio of protein, fat, and carbs to start losing again. Or adjust your calorie level, which can include eating more to lose weight.
Finally, if you're still on the fence about needing to eat more to lose weight, you might be asking, why do I know some really skinny people who barely eat?
The answer is you can eventually lose weight by not eating; it's called starving.
Reduce calories enough and your body will start breaking down its muscle tissue, and this will result in weight loss. However, it makes your body increase its emergency hormonal responses, which also causes your body to be stressed and hang onto fat, making it very easy to gain the weight back again.
That's called yo-yo dieting and you don't want that. I've seen people gain more weight and be even more out of shape.