Not Meeting Your Weight Loss Goals?
Many people start working out, achieve some results, and then reach a plateau where weight loss stops. When that happens, it’s easy to get frustrated. Here are three reasons paying attention to what you’re eating can help!
- All calories are not created equal. Weight loss is all about having a calorie deficit -- expending more energy than you take in. But the quality of those calories is extremely important. According to Casey Spence, nutritionist at the Littleton Family YMCA, people need protein, carbs, and fats to contribute to satiety, satisfaction, and energy.
According to Spence, you should aim to get 10% to 30% of your calories from protein, 45% to 65% from carbohydrates, and 20% to 35% from fat. These values are broad and they vary based on your age, gender, and physical activity. You can track your levels using nutrition applications such as My Fitness Pal or the USDA’s Super Tracker, and a nutritionist at the YMCA can help you determine a customized plan.
- The better you eat, the better you’ll be able to meet your goals.A lot of people try to lose weight by eating less. But not eating enough can slow down your metabolism and make it harder to lose weight. In addition, eating the right foods – and enough of them – gives you more energy to work out harder, which helps build more muscle and burn more fat.
To make sure you’re eating enough, Spence suggests to use a nutrition application to determine your caloric needs. Then divide your calories throughout the day to ensure you’re getting fuel when you need it and when it is most convenient.
- The machines may be wrong.Sometimes people feel they can “eat back” the calories they burn off. However, cardio machines often are not accurate, and they don’t give users a true caloric indicator.
According to Spence, a better way to judge how many calories you’re burning is to listen to your body. After making sure you’re eating enough calories every day, check in with yourself before, during, and after working out. Having low energy or getting lethargic or light headed is a sign that you actually need to eat more to keep your metabolism steady.
If you have hit a plateau in your weight loss, ask about the Nutritional Counseling and Healthy Cooking with Ease classes at your YMCA. We can help you plan meals, eat better, and reach your goals.
Nutrition expertise at the YMCA
The two dietary professionals are here to provide nutrition counseling, lead classes in healthy cooking and meal planning, and share helpful nutrition tips that can improve your overall health. If you’re struggling to meet your fitness goals, or you just want to start eating better, learn more about the Y’s nutrition programs, and look for regular YMCA emails on Food for Spirit, Mind, & Body.