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How to achieve weight loss

Updated: May 7, 2022

Why am I not losing weight?

Fat loss is never a straight forward process to which may come as a shock... just eat less, exercise more right? But there are many obstacles that can get in the way, especially if you feel you are eating in a calorie deficit. Perhaps you not actually in one!

So… how do I achieve successful sustainable weight loss?


In order for you to lose wight you need to eat and drink fewer calories than you burn (easier said than done- right?) [1]. Therefore, if you take in more calories than you burn, then you don’t have a calorie deficit and you unfortunately won’t lose any weight. The trick here is to ensure a slight deficit and nothing to big (200-300kcal/day) . If you start consuming <1400kcal/day , your body is more than likely going to hold onto all the food that you eat in an attempt to conserve energy. This will down regulate vital functions of your body (e.g. menstrual cycle).

The total number of calories burned each day by yourself is called “Total daily energy expenditure” [2]. This includes the calories you burn through exercise, when digesting food and when your body is maintaining basic bodily functions such as breathing. In order to calculate the amount of calories your body burns at rest you need to estimate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). To do this, you need your gender, age, height (cm) and current weight (Kg). There are many calculators online to help you work out your BMR. We recommend consulting with our specialist weight loss dietitian to ensure that you are doing it correctly and not causing any harm.

How do I achieve a calorie deficit?

Once you have worked out your total daily expenditure you can begin to establish a lower amount of calories to take in! For example, if you use 1,800 calories a day but you only take in 1,600 you have created a total calorie deficit of 200 calories. When you have yourself a calorie deficit, your body needs more energy right? Therefore, it takes energy stored in your fat instead of food and causing a calorie deficit, which helps you lose weight.

Losing weight isn’t a straight line, it has its ups and downs, many people struggle with the concept considering it sounds so easy.

There are three simple steps to achieve a calorie deficit.

  1. Diet Change: Cut portion sizes by a little, reducing snacking and try to choose lower-calorie foods.

  2. Exercise: By increasing your activity level even just by going on short walks a day can increase your calorie output.

  3. Combine diet and exercise: By increasing your exercise slightly and reducing your calories intake it can help you long-term weight loss making your diet sustainable. Combining both of these factors aids the process and provides optimal results - It's a 2 for 1!

As mentioned before there are obstacles that can get in the way of weight loss; once you hit a certain point of your weight loss journey were you can begin to stop seeing results and there are some reasons why your weight loss may be slowing down. One of these reasons is Metabolic Adaption [3], and occurs when your body adjusts the metabolism of your food input. Essentially it is body responds to the amount of food consumed, so when you hit a point in your journey you aren’t loosing weight it could because your body has fully adapted to your calorie deficit.

Picture this - Before your weight loss journey you are consuming 2000kcal you then decide to lose weight so you go to calorie deficit of 1600kcal, this works for a short period of time, then the drop in weight stops going down. What has happened? Your body has adapted to being able to cope with 1600kcal so will prevent your body loosing weight by keeping a stable weight and going through starvation. How magical is that? Therefore, 1600 kcal is your body new BMR. To overcome this barrier and to continue losing weight you need to increase your calorie deficit and/or increase physical activity.

REMEMBER THOUGH - there will reach a point in your journey you cant reduce your calories anymore therefore exercise will be the only way to reach calorie deficit.

The most disheartening aspect is finding out you might not be in a high enough calorie deficit! Perhaps you could be underestimating you food intake?Research has shown that many individuals under estimate or under report their food intake, meaning you may not even be in a calorie deficit!

Stress! Stress! Stress! When we are feeling stressed it can lead to poor eating habits such as skipping meals, overeating and binging on unhealthy foods. When we are stressed a hormone called “cortisol” is released. Usually when this hormone is released we often find ourselves craving sugar and giving into these cravings. It's the start of a vicious cycle: stressed, our body releases cortisol, we crave sugar, it stores as fat, we gain weight, we crave more sugar, eat more sugar, gain more weight!

Sleep can also put a halt to your weight loss, so getting adequate, quality sleep is an important part of a healthy weight loss plan [4]:

  • Believe it or not sleep and appetite work hand in hand together. Therefore, lack of sleep can increase your appetite. Neurotransmitters (chemical messengers that allow nerve cells to communicate) ghrelin and Leptin help control hunger. Whilst ghrelin promotes hunger, and leptin promotes the feeling of feeling full up. A lack of sleep increases Ghrelin (the hunger hormone!) and decreased leptin (the satiety hormone).

  • It can hinder you food preferences. Being tired has associated with eating foods high in salt, sugar and fat as your body is craving energy.

  • Poor sleep means less energy so you are less likely to have motivation to partake in physical exercise.

  • Extra time awake can led to increased opportunities to eat


6 steps: Be honest with yourself…

  1. Stop constantly eating out as this can cause inaccurate calorie counting, meaning you might not be in calorie deficit.

  2. Have a good night sleep: aim for at least 8 hours a night!

  3. Increase physical activity, even just a ten minute walk!

  4. Limit stress where you can and find ways to relax to slow down the release of cortisol.

  5. Find balance and don't restrict as his will only make you crave foods more and end up binging more calories than what you are trying to avoid.

  6. Join our Weight Loss Program!

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