You should be eating well and exercising to create a better life for yourself, not reworking your entire life to look a certain way or weigh a certain amount. Get rid of that mindset!
So, before we even dive into this heavy and often times messy topic, we want to make one thing clear. What works for one person will not always work for another. Just because there's a method on paper that has worked for Julius and Paa does not mean that Sam and the rest of the population can make use of the same exact method.
We are all different and our bodies respond differently to stimuli, our perception and relationships with our bodies, exercise and food are complex. Please always bear in mind that we are all operating from unique places and perspectives. With all that said, we would to suggest that maybe some of these (wildly popular) diet & exercise habits may be the very reason you are not seeing any progress, despite making changes to your training and nutrition.
If you have tried one or more of these methods for weeks or months with little to no change in your health, weight, body composition or energy levels, than you may want to consider a change:
Counting calories or using a meal tracking app
Using a calorie expenditure tracking device, wearable fitness tech, pedometer, etc
Weighing yourself daily or weekly
Working out for more than 8 hours a week or working out 6 or more days a week
Dieting / Cutting calories
1) Counting calories or using a meal tracking app
Embrace a plant based diet (or if this is overwhelming try to aim for around 60% fruit & vegetables & 40% for your meats and grains when grocery shopping. Completely cut out processed foods from your diet and focus on fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and lean meats. Eat when you are hungry and practice recognising your body's signals of feeling full; stop before you feel any discomfort. Drink a lot of water. Don't waste your time researching new ways to cut corners just invest in eating good for your health. Once you know what a healthy diet looks like use your energy to make the right choices and not to track what you are eating.
2) Using a calorie expenditure tracking device, wearable fitness tech, pedometer, etc
DYK: Your muscles will be used and fat still burned even if you are not wearing a witness tracker to your workout?
Once you have a general idea of what it is that you’re supposed to be doing, take the focus off of micromanaging how much you are burning and instead, just show up. Pour yourself into your workouts. Be present and push yourself and have fun with it. You don’t need a calorie readout to know that you’ve pushed yourself or worked hard; are you breathing heavily? Covered in sweat? Muscles shaking? Why do you need a piece of tech to validate your workout?
If you’ve been using this kind of tech for months and you aren’t seeing results, then I'd urge you to consider ditching the tech and focusing on instead a) showing up for your workouts, full heartedly and b) try to be generally active in life; take the stairs, pace while you’re on the phone, take stretch breaks from your desk job, etc. Little things add up; even if you’re not tracking them.
3 ) Weighing yourself
Stepping onto a scale on a daily basis can lead you down a very slippery slope of self-obsession, body dysmorphia disorders, and can greatly effect your self-esteem.
Our weight is constantly fluctuating (esp, women due to monthly hormones changes) and when you weight yourself you can never tell (unless you have one of those fancy scales) just what you are weighing? Is is water? Bone mass? Long story short here, if you have weighing yourself regularly and are not seeing any results than you NEED to ditch the scale for good.
You are not the number on your scale!
4) Working out for more than 8 hours a week or working out 6 or more days a week
If you have been dedicating over 8 hours or 6 days a week to intense training and you still aren't seeing any results, then there is a solid chance that you ain't really doing s**t (pardon the French, tough love?)
First important thing that we love to preach to our clients. Split your workout programs, you can't consistently stick to just one type of training. You body need and wants all the different systems to be used regularly. Don't do too much of one type of training and don't neglect methods you don't like. Seek the discomfort here, do things that challenge your heart, lunges and muscles!
Strength training is one of the best ways to burn fat and it revs up your metabolism like no other, making it work round the clock even while at rest. When strength training we also need to remember to have a healthy representation of strength training for ALL of our muscle groups (not just our legs, or chest). Throw in some cardio, stretching and of course rest days and your program is complete.
Next, duration. Honestly, all you really need is about 40 minutes of activity 3 - 6 times a week is enough and so is 5 one hour sessions or 5 - 6 thirty minute sessions. There are a lot of different ways you can structure your trainings. In terms of frequency, if you are putting in 6 - 7 days a week of trainings and are STILL not seeing results you may benefit from swapping a day or two for light recovery workouts like walking or yoga.
5) Strict Dieting / Cutting calories
Raise your hand if you know that eating way too little can actually cause you to gain weight? Like the other variables on this list this is sort of complicated and dependent on many variables. A drastic change in your calories may cause your body to become more likely to hold on to stubborn fat for fuel because you aren't giving it any/ enough.
So, what's the fix you ask? Refer to point one.
General tip: If you are making smart food choices and listening to your body when its hungry and full than you are already doing GREAT! Now stick with it.