5 Reasons Your Fat Loss Has Stalled in 2019
We’re smack dab in the middle of that time of year where people start to falter on their New Year’s resolutions. It’s okay, you’re certainly not the only one and there’s no need to be too hard on yourself.
Fat loss can be tricky, and oftentimes what derails many people are simple “things” they may be oblivious to. My buddy, P.J. Striet, who’s a fantastic fat loss coach, was kind enough to contribute today’s guest post.
5 Reasons Your Fat Loss Has Stalled in 2019
I know: you vowed and resolved to get all “shredsville” come January 1st.
If it’s working out for you thus far, fantastic…commence to kicking more ass.
But if you started out strong that 1st week or two of the new year, and now maybe things seem to be flaming out like season two of your favorite binge show you had such high hopes for, well…it’s no mystery as to why.
Here are FIVE likely culprits (for many it’s more than one as if one breaks down others seem to synergistically follow) and how to get back on the track to looking like Rambo or Linda Hamilton in Terminator 2.
#1: You Were Not in The Correct Caloric Deficit to Begin With
A common problem I see in New Year’s dieters (or frankly with anyone who decides to lose fat at any time) is that they take a qualitative approach. That’s a fancy way of saying they vow to “eat clean,” make better choices, exercise portion control, etc.
And hey that’s great.
That’s a positive step in the right direction for many.
However, the reality is…what gets measured gets managed.
While qualitative nutrition methods can work, I typically only see them working for a short while before someone stalls. It’s kind of a crap shoot: maybe you are in a caloric deficit on some days and on others maybe you are not. And over the course of time, you will eventually stall using the “I’m trying to eat cleaner/better” approach.
If you want to bake the best cookies, you don’t look at the box and say “Ok, I need eggs, milk sugar, oil” etc. and just start throwing random amounts of those in a bowl and mixing them up, hoping for a jaw dropping finished product. No, instead, you’d not only have the right ingredients, but you’d also measure out the ingredients-what the box calls for to get the best result-in the proper amounts.
So, if your fat loss has already started to sputter out into the new year, you may want to consider moving towards a more quantified approach.
That means setting calories somewhere between 10-12 calories/lb. of body weight, making sure protein is where it needs to be (.8-1g/lb. of bodyweight), and drawing up a meal plan for yourself which fits that mold. I can virtually guarantee you’ll start moving again.
#2: You Have A Concrete Meal Plan but Your Compliance Sucks Dog Ass
Shock-A-Khan alert: having a perfect, macro-optimized meal plan on paper means little if it’s not implemented and followed. For whatever reason, that’s a difficult thing for people to wrap their heads around but I digress.
In my experience in working with hundreds of fat loss hungry clients over 20 years, compliance to a plan has to be 90%+.
That’s the result getting range.
Fall into the 70’s or 80’s?
Expect maintenance (at best) or a little regression.
Fall below that?
Well…I don’t think I have to tell you and won’t insult your intelligence (although many are dumbfounded as to why they are not dropping doing things half the time, but, once again…I digress).
Many will say “that’s just too regimented and stringent…that just doesn’t fit into my lifestyle!” Well, sorry: It is what’s required. If you want the prize, you have to do what’s necessary. Your prior lifestyle put you in a bad spot-to a point where you wanted to change and lean up-so you can’t really expect things to mesh with YOUR lifestyle…not logically.
This is now your new lifestyle.
Beyond that, 10% or so of the time, you can loosen it up a bit.
Let’s put that in perspective.
If you eat four times a day, 365 days/year, that means you can be off your plan 146 times per year and still get some great results.
That’s hardly dietary prison.
It’s just the lifestyle.
And, again, if getting leaner and losing fat (and then maintaining it) is something you say you want to do, then you can hardly moan about what it entails. You are not being forced. It’s a choice.
#3: Your Preparation Is “No Bueno”
This goes hand-in-hand with point #2.
Preparation drives compliance and compliance drives results. If your prep isn’t up to snuff, the entire thing falls apart.
Yes, meal prep is a big component of this.
There is no “ideal” way to meal prep, and different strategies work for different people based on life circumstances. Some bulk prep for the entire week. Others bulk prep for a few days or bulk prep only certain items (like cooked meats) for a few days and then do it again mid-week. Some people bulk prep some items for the entire week and prep “on the spot” for other foods. Some people do a hybrid of all what I just listed.
No matter what you do or how you choose to do it…you need to DO IT!
Preparation also means getting in your calendar (Sunday IS A GOOD DAY FOR THIS 🙂 and trouble-shooting the week ahead, identifying potential roadblocks, and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, plotting out your desired off plan meals/special occasions (TRUE special occasions…NOT “Wine Wednesday”).
Get in your meal adherence tracker (there are several online or just create one in excel or google sheets)) and mark it all off ahead of time, to include your pre-determined off plan meals.
I tell my coaching clients to mark every meal off for the week as 100% compliant and then back track, plotting out when they might be or want to be off plan while staying within the result getting range of compliance (90%+). Then you have the entire week laid out in front of you and you expect success.
It’s on paper.
It’s then just a matter of doing what you said you’d do and honoring the contract you made with yourself.
#4: You Are Getting Caught with Your Hand in The Cookie Jar (Extras)
If you have a sound, quantified meal plan, are following it with a high degree of compliance, are prepared…but your fat loss is stalling, or you are regressing…you might want to be honest with yourself about the extras.
The spoon fulls.
The hand fulls.
The four glasses of wine you forgot about last week.
The two times you finished up your kids’ uneaten chicken tenders or mac and cheese.
Just understand, a little of this + a little of this + a little of this will eventually not be so insignificant anymore and can either drastically reduce or wipe out the caloric deficit you are in on paper. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had to dive deep with clients who are reporting 100% compliance to a plan which has them in a large deficit but are either consistently stalling or regressing (because it’s rarely physiologically possible for that to be happening). When I start to ask them if “maybe they forgot about some things”, the vast majority of the time, well, they have.
If this is “you” …clean it up.
#5: Your Off-Plan/”Cheat” Meals Are Outrageous
As I said above, there is room for deviations from your meal plan (10% or so) while still getting great fat loss results.
That said, if your off-plan or “cheat” (and hey you are only cheating yourself) meals leave you feeling and looking like that guy Kevin Spacey fed to death in the movie Se7en…waaaaayyyyy too much.
“But I only had two cheat meals last week!” is a common thing I’ve heard from clients over the years.
When I ask them what those entailed, Joey Chestnut would have been appalled.
You can, in fact, derail all your weekly progress in a meal or two (typically on the weekends).
It’s really not that hard.
So, if you are going to be off your plan (and you can), it needs to be kept mindful. You need to act like and eat like an adult. You can’t look at these meals as a reward (are you a dog?) or an opportunity to “get it all in”.
That’s disordered, low-achiever thinking.
So, after all that, if your New Year’s attack on fat isn’t going quite as you’d enthusiastically hoped for on January 1st…where are you falling short? It’s one or more of the above…trust me. Be honest and introspective with yourself and course correct.
If you don’t, you’ll be back again January 1st, 2020 vowing to do the same deal, and this whole thing stays on repeat like a bad Spotify workout playlist.
About the Author
P.J. Striet is a 20+ fitness industry veteran and the owner of Revive Fitness Systems LLC, an online coaching company solely dedicated to helping the general adult population meet their fat loss goals. His work has been featured in the likes of Shape, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Vanity Fair, and he has also contributed to several popular fitness industry books, in addition to authoring his own, The 60-Second Sweat.