7 reasons you might not be losing weight

So when you have always been trying to 'loose weight' for as long as I have been, you end up working out what works for you and what doesn't in terms of the number on the scale going down. Eating less helps. As time goes on and you realise a diet of 1200 calories is not sufficient, healthy or acceptable, you start to work out that the number on the scale means nothing. The low number of calories are a waste of time, and that when us girls say we want to lose 'weight' we really mean we want to lose FAT.

Weight and fat are not the same. I am sure by now, we have all read the same articles. The ones that show the picture of what fat looks like in comparison to muscle. Despite reading and hearing from all the professionals, we still jump on the scale and look down expectantly with hope and big, glassy eyes and watch as the digital numbers move. We step off, and off, we breathe out so we are not heavy with air. We take off out shoes, our jeans, our undies. Gaad dam it we take off our jewellery and take out our hair tie. We do a best of three, because you can never be too sure and pray that the scale reads lower than it did... what, six hours ago. Disappointed, if not horrendously disappointed when the number does not show that you are now half a stone lighter.

DO NOT WEIGH yourself if this is the case. There are other methods to track progress. Less torturous, more specific ways. Take pictures, measure yourself with a tape measure. Get your fat percentage tested. 

Hopefully you are wanting to build lean muscle. If so, the scales will not budge a great deal. In the last 13 weeks I have lost 2 inches all over and NOTHING on the scale. NOTHING. That's because I have lost fat rather than weight. So when I discuss weight in my posts, what I am talking about it 'fat'

There are so many reasons that you may not be losing fat. So many times I have tried to lose it and failed, other times I have not been trying and pounds have dropped off. Working out what stops me from loosing fat/weight/bloat is a long, tedious, schlog. It takes a lot of experimenting, entering food diary data and tantrums. This is what I have worked out.

You're not drinking enough water. Water helps keep your body in a state of balance. If you are dehydrated, water will stay in your body as much as possible, rather than excrete the water, causing bloat and water retention. Hydrating your muscles so that they work properly, flushing out your kidneys and liver so they are not wasting time working on the toxins you're putting into your body, but they can actually work on burning fat. Water will fill you up when you might head for a bag of crisps instead. Water is needed, in abundance, to help with your weight loss.

You're not eating enough-You've been on a diet for years. Diet as in a low amount of calories. Your bodies metabolism has slowed right down after experiencing going into starvation mode. You are not burning fat at the speed in which you could be, as your body will hold on to the nutrients you do eat, for dear life to sustain it's balance and survive. Eat, eat some more and then eat a little bit more. If, like me, you spent a long time under eating to lose weight, try reverse dieting to slowly increase your calories. I will do a post on that soon. More calories, more food? I am in!

Too many treats-I am a treat fiend (treats not cheats) as I hate the connotation of cheating. This is a lifestyle and not a test. I live for treats. Cheesecake, pie, cheesey carby, fatty treats. But there is a fine line between treats and GET IT ALL IN MY MOUTH RIGHT NOW AT THE SAME TIME! I stick to 80/20% rule. I try and eat at least 4 times a day. That is 28 times a week. That means that 4-5 times during the week I can treat myself to a pudding/snack or treaty dinner and still see results. Yes results will be slower, but results for me are often about my mental state surrounding food, or my rep count and less about the inches around my thighs. So slow results are ideal to keep this as a lifestyle and not a quick fix.

You are eating too much salt-Simple as, salt dehydrates you, therefore you have excess water retention. Cut out adding salt to food, if you do salt things use pink Hymalayan salt. Why (because everyone says so) :) No, because it is less processed. The lesser things are processed the better it is for us.

You are not getting enough fibre-Fibre is hard for the body to digest, therefore your body will work harder to break it down, therefore burning more calories. I find it really hard to get enough fibre so occasionally I will drink Psyllium husk. Its pretty grim, but it helps clear out your insides (you poo a lot)

You are doing too much of one type of cardio-You're running miles, your cycling for hours... and nothing is happening. Don't get me wrong, cardio is great. It is so essential to a healthy lifestyle. Cardio helps you burn calories. It helps keep your heart healthy, it helps your metabolism. But doing bursts of high intensity training in intervals means your body will work harder, for a shorter time and even after your session, where as you won't get that same affect with steady state. The point. Do both in your programme. 

You're being mean to your body-This one is bar far the most important and detrimental one. I am a culprit. I have stood in front of the mirror, scrutinising... which you can read about HERE. I still find myself standing in front of the mirror sometimes, saying nothing but mean things to it. My waist isn't small enough, my belly not flat enough, my thighs not slim enough. All the whilst I am being so horrifically nasty to myself, why would I then go out into the world and nourish my body. Whilst my self worth felt non existant and my self esteem lost somewhere between 5-10yrs old, I found it so much harder to treat my body better whilst I thought nothing good anout my body. Eat well? Exercise? Be healthy? What was the point? Quick fixes and negative talk continued (on bad days,the talk still does) But the more you start being kinder to your body, the more you want to look after it. The more you look after it, the more kinder you are to yourself. Its a catch 22. But the body shaming and the bad vives in the mirror havent worked this far... so the only thing left to try... Be kind to yourself. Say nice things about your body. Be grateful for what you do have. And I bet you a slice of cheese and jam on toast, that suddenly you will be on your way to having the body you want, deserve, desire. Mentally and physically.

Inspo from Squat Mango...

For the launch of my new blog  I wanted to speak to girls who have inspired me to dream big, be open, honest and put myself out there. After deciding to do more 'lifestyle' posts about food and exercise (soon as it is a massive part of my life) This one in particular is a massive inspiration for me. I stalk her Instagram like a crazy fan girl and always look forward to her transformation posts and her honest captions about how her journey is going. I have been following Kayla Itsines on Instagram for years, and working her twelve week training programme recently, you end end up following a massive community. Natsbbg (who is now on week 35) is one of the many I started to follow. She is nothing but open in her posts about her fitness journey and she inspires me on those mornings when I want to sleep or snooze for hours on end, to get up and go to the gym, because hard work pays off. Natsbbg begun her own blog Squat Mango and is selling a recipe book off the back of her amazing hard work and transformations.  Nati talks a lot about what she eats and how she trains on her Instagram  so I wanted to ask this gorgeous girl some different questions. How she began believing in herself and what pushed her on her journey... It is so awesome to get to speak to other girls about body image and liking ourselves as it is something I have struggled with since I was an eleven year old kid standing in Tammy girl wishing I could wear a crop top and denim shorts. I wasn't in it alone.

Were you always confident?

I’ve had my times where I’ve been very confident, and I've also gone through some times where I have had 0 confidence. A lot of this confidence has depended on my body image. I was always fairly lean, until the end of high school / beginning of college. I started drinking A LOT and my then boyfriend broke up with me right when I was starting university. I partied way too much and started gaining weight. I started looking for acceptance while partying, thinking the more guys liked me, the more I would like myself. I was dependent on guys to feel good about myself. For example, there’d be nights where I’d go out and lots of guys would ask me to dance with them. This would be a successful night for me. Then there’d be nights where no one would ask me and I’d feel incredibly sad. Its weird to think about how much random men’s opinions would mean to me. There came a time where I decided I shouldn't put my happiness in other people’s hands, let alone random guys who actually meant nothing to me. I decided I was the maker of my own future. My life kind of took a turn, as I decided I didn't need a man or anyone for that matter to help me feel better about myself. I decided to be happy and confident and I learned to love myself despite my flaws. Turns out, a few weeks after I decided all this, I met my current boyfriend (we've been together for 4 years now!). I know this answer might not really answer the question well haha but what I mean to say is, I've had times where my confidence has been on the floor. I've lost and gained weight and this has always been something that affected how I viewed myself. But my confidence has been great ever since I started loving myself for who I am and not for who other people want me to be.

What actions do you take to be kinder to yourself (physically/mentally)

There’s days where I’m so hard on myself! I have to remind myself that in order to truly be happy, I have to be good to myself. I have to treat myself but I also have to maintain a healthy balance. Food is very important to me. I’ve started eating healthy and it has changed me, physically and mentally. But I’ve reached a stage where I can’t be healthy 100% of the time, so I do enjoy some treats now and then. And when I do, I beat myself up. But then I say to myself “HEY! YOU DESERVE IT!” because beating myself up isn’t going to help anyone! I wake up everyday and promise myself i’m going to make a good day out of it! I smile as much as I can and I think positively, even when i’m feeling down. It’s easy to get caught up in the bad things, and it’s important to remember how many good things I have going on in my life and I have to remain thankful.

Have you always dreamed big?

No! I’ve always dreamed small actually. I started this instagram thinking, “hm, maybe i’ll share my picture and inspire a few people”. I NEVER thought I would actually inspire so many people. I was looking for small jobs that didn’t really make me happy (i considered working in a bank.. what!??) and suddenly I decided, "hey.. I could make a recipe book! That’s not hard right?” I realised I could do anything I set my mind to! And now my recipe book is being sold all around the world and I couldn’t be more excited! I’ve actually got a lot more plans for myself and my brand (squatmango) coming up!!

What would you say to your younger self, in hind sight, about loving yourself and body image?

Never let anyone define you. If you’re not happy about yourself today, make the necessary changes in order to be happier! Love yourself each and every day! Eat the right foods, and treat yourself right. Never settle for less than you deserve. You only have one body, so treat it right and love yourself every single day.

Love natsbbg x



Pick your fights...

Ok, so balance. What does that really mean? It used to mean if I ate a bacon sarnie at breakfast, I would probably eat some kale for lunch and skip dinner. Balance to me always sounds too vague. It's a lazy persons way of saying 'Everything in moderation' or 'only eat one slice of pizza, not the whole thing' PAHAHHAHAHA! One slice, who are you kidding. Why would I only have one slice? This is not the school canteen where they limit you to one measley slice. This is life, my life, and I will not only eat one slice of pizza. But that is the toss up. How much do you want to 'feel' good in that bikini you saw on that girl on Insta. You are pretty sure that just buying the bikini means that you will immediately look like said girl in the Insta pic. Despite your boobs being three sizes smaller, and your bum being three inches bigger and your waist... well your waist does not look like that unless you are wearing spanx. But you know for sure, eating one whole pizza is not going to contribute well to how you 'feel' in your bikini. 

So the dilema ensues. You really want that pizza. You really want that lemon drizzle cake that is oozing lemony, sugary, syrup at you and the sponge is so gaaad dam moist that you could imagine a mini version of yourself jumping on the sponge and then sinking, being engulfed in one big lemony, spongey, cakey heaven and you think. 'Faaak it, who wants to 'feel' that good in a bikini anyways. It happens, what? Like once or twice a year? Noone cares., Noone actually cares. And so, you eat the pizza, but then you also eat the dough balls AND the cake. Washed down with half a bottle of wine and when you get home you think, 'Ahh I've been naughty already so... why not eat the left over ice cream in the freezer.' Get it out the way ready for tomorrow, when you are going to be good. When you are going to start that diet. When you are going to only eat the 1200 calories you allow yourself and tomorrow you will forget about the lemony oozy syrup and the cheesey whole pizza and you will move on.

Except, if you suffer from this ongoing, crappy, but real, body image issue, you won't. You won't move on. The guilt will eat you up and the sugar and the flour will  make your belly cramp and your head hurt and you will wish you had just said no to that bit of left over Ben and Jerrys. Or you wish you had just turned down meeting your friends. You should have just gone home, alone, and eaten kale on air bread with a helping of avocado butter with pumpkin seeds sprinkled on top with some egg whites. DAM IT. Why can't I just be one of those healthy people. Why do I need to diet? Why do I not have the body I want and why, if I want it so bad can I not just stick to a nutrition plan of turkey mince and leaves. 

Why? Because that life right there is a sucky one. One where you are always on a diet. One where you are always on a treadmill. One where you are always standing in front of the mirror lifting bits up, sucking bobs in, trying different angles to see which way you look skinnier, fitter, healthier. That life SUCKS BUM HOLE. After fifteen years of this, I did not want it anymore. It hurt my head. My soul. My relationships with others, my relationship with myself. 

So I began a journey of eating healthier (most of the time) Eating a balanced set of foods daily. Don't get me wrong. In the two years that I decided against no more diets, no more binges, no more counting calories or feeling shite about my body... I have infact done all of those things. I have tried the 5:2 diet, macro counting, binged on weekends a few times and cried when I haven't seen results quickly. My journey is a journey. Not one where I suddenly woke up perfect at life, because I will never ever be perfect at life. So I just began to pick my fights.

It was my boyfs advise, one night when we were at an italian restaurant and I was torn between stuffing my face with everything on the menu or having a salad and crying whilst I watched him eat his whole pizza. He told me to pick my fights if it was causing me this much stress. What can I not live without? What can I say no to? Really. Give or take. I could not say not to the Arranchini balls. I could say no to the pizza. I could not say no to the salted caramel cheesecake, but I could say no to the two glasses of wine. 

People want quick fixes. I so did. I wanted to look like those instagram girls in bikinis. I wanted to look toit, and firm and I wanted it in four weeks. Then the four week mark would come, and maybe I would be a bit smaller, I would weigh 8lbs less and I would be happy about it. For a week. Until I started eating everything and anything I could because I was no longer 'being healthy' anymore.

This lifestyle did not work. It took my sanity (OK that's a bit dramatic) but it took a part of me. I was either all or nothing. The saddest bit was that it was literally about weight. I had no intention of being healthy, of living a balanced lifestyle, of feeling nourished or getting my head into a state where none of this mattered so so much.

So I began picking my fights. 

Instead of a chocolate bar everyday, I have a cube of dark chocolate. Instead of having a Mac Donalds every month, I have an Honest Burger. I can live without the bun on most burgers, but I can't live without the fries, any fries, all of the fries. I can live without cake everyday at work, if it means when I actually go out socialising with friends I can have the gooey, cheesey fritters. I don't need pizza at home from Tesco, but avoid a pizza express pizza? Hell no. I pick my fights. I chose what is worth it for me. I decide what I LOVE, what I don't, what I enjoy with friends and what I don't need at home alone. 

For me, this is 'flexible eating' There is a more technical term for flexible eating, which I will do a post on, but to keep it simple. This for me is how I started my journey.

To a healthier body and a healthier mindset.