- You’re eating the wrong kinds of kilojoules
You’ve been religiously counting your kilojoules and sticking to your recommended daily intake – so why aren’t you losing weight? A 2006 study by the University of Texas at Austin in the US showed that ideal weight and overweight participants ate a similar number of kilojoules, however, the kinds of kilojoules that they ate were quite different.
The participants that were overweight had diets higher in fat, while ideal-weight participants consumed more fibre and fruit. “Pay attention to the kinds of kilojoules you eat,” recommends registered dietitian Abby Courtenay, suggesting that you switch out convenience foods for plenty of fresh vegetables, a moderate amount of fruit, wholegrain, legumes, lean protein and plant fats. “Try fill your plate with a variety of colourful fresh or cooked vegetables,” she says. “Not only will they fill you up, but they will also make your meal more satisfying.”
- You’re skipping meals
The less you eat the more weight you’ll lose, right? Wrong. A 2011 study by the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain showed that adults who skip breakfast are more likely to be overweight than adults who eat it.
Courtenay recommends a high-fibre breakfast with some fat and protein to keep your blood sugar levels stable and also keep you feeling fuller for longer. Some great options are All Bran Flakes with milk, plain yoghurt and some pumpkin seeds, oats with banana, peanut butter and plain yoghurt, or scrambled eggs with corn and avocado.
- Your medication is making you gain weight
There are a long list of medications associated with weight gain, from antidepressants to birth control, hormone control, steroids, beta-blockers and blood pressure medicines.
If you’re not losing weight like you’d expect to, consider if you’ve started any new medications recently. If you do think your medication is to blame, speak to your doctor about trying an alternative that may not have the same effect.
- You’re not getting the nutrients you need
If you’ve radically changed your diet, you may find that your body’s not getting all the nutrients you need. This may leave you feeling tired and weak – and susceptible to cravings for caffeine, sweets and simple carbohydrates (that is, sugar products such as table sugar, jams, fruit juice, fizzy drinks, etc.). A lack of magnesium and iron is a common culprit for this sort of fatigue.
To remedy this, Courtenay recommends that you add readily-absorbable heme iron to your diet with meat, poultry and fish, and pair non-heme iron (from plant sources like peas, beans and lentils) with vitamin C-rich food to improve absorption. Boost your magnesium intake with pumpkin, sunflower or flaxseeds.
If you’re eating healthily and exercising regularly, but not seeing the results you want, don’t give up. Visit a doctor to try and help you discover what your personal barriers may be, or consult a dietitian to help you find an eating plan better suited to your personal make-up.