‘I go to the gym all the time but I’m not losing weight!’ How many times have you heard that, or something similar? Now summer has arrived, at least on some days, people are shedding layers, and this has led to some wanting to shed those excess pounds.
So, if you’re exercising more, why aren’t you losing weight? One of the main reasons is that people overestimate how many calories they have burnt off during exercise. The calories burned figure that is displayed on the cardio equipment you use, research by the University of California has found those figures to vastly overestimated. The machines must use very generic calculations to come up with that figure and the study found the overestimation ranged from 7% on the Stationary Bike, 13% on the Treadmill and a massive 42% on the Elliptical. If you are planning your diet around those figures, there’s no wonder you’re not losing weight. People lifting weights or attending fitness classes have also been found to hugely overestimate how many calories they have burned. Many people also like to reward themselves for having been to the gym or exercised in general. A muffin on the way home or an extra slice of pizza in the evening because they worked out that morning, again these are additional calories that hamper weight loss.
The same thing happens with food, but in reverse. Unless you are weighing and measuring what food you eat, it can be difficult to track those calories with any accuracy. A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, states that those people who struggle with their weight can underestimate the calories they consume by up to 40%, that’s huge. Conversely those individuals who are at a healthy weight, underestimate the calories they consume by nearly 20%. When you consider there are approximately 29 calories in just one block of Cadbury Dairy Milk according to calorieking.com, it is easy to understand how people may lose track of how much they have eaten and even totally forgotten about that little snack earlier in the day.
Portion control is also a challenge, people often believe they are eating far less than what they consume in reality. This is especially true when eating out at restaurants or eating takeaways. The sauces and dressing on foods can be hugely calorific and are rarely included in people’s calculations. Then we have ‘the weekend’. People will eat clean during the week and stick to their diet and then overindulge at the weekend. Takeaway food, alcohol and treats as a reward for being good during the week can all sabotage your weight loss effort.
There is no quick way of losing weight, not healthily. The best way to lose weight is to do it gradually and look upon it as a lifestyle choice. Not as a diet but the new way that you eat, to be the healthiest and happiest version of you, and if you want to be successful, track everything so there are no surprises on weigh in day.
You can find the NHS calorie calculator [here](https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/calorie-checker/)
BUPA have an alternative which is also useful and can be found at this [link](https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/tools-calculators/calories-calculator)