"Losing weight is like a game of dominos. It doesn't matter how hard you flick the pieces if they aren't set up correctly. Train as hard as you want but it won't make a lick of the difference if the fundamentals are off. "
You've made the decision to start losing weight. Congrats! That is a great decision that will reap you many benefits. So naturally, you made some changes to your daily habits and routines to facilitate the process. You may even have done so homework on how to lose weight most effectively. A month goes by, you step on the scale and.....nothing. Haven't lost a pound. You're furious for wasting your time and chalk it up to "bad genetics". You did EVERYTHING RIGHT and still didn't lose weight. But you're forgetting something...
Occam's razor. It's the problem-solving principle that the simplest answer to a problem is usually correct. You likely are not doing everything right despite thinking that you are. Now, you likely will get a bit defensive at that and I totally understand. It's human nature to want to think we are correct and are doing well at a task. I would urge you to please, let go of your ego for a moment and look at your situation objectively. I have helped many people lose weight over the years, many of whom started working with me when they did "everything right" and still didn't lose weight. The vast majority of the time these clients did not have a physiological disorder or other rare factors preventing them from losing weight - they just weren't doing as thorough of a job as they thought. Take a look at these lists and see if anything sounds familiar to you:
Here's What You Should Not to Focus On
These items have a very low return on investment when it comes to your mental bandwidth. In the context of weight loss they will confuse you more than help you.
-Your carbohydrate or fat intake (both of these nutrients are fine to eat)
-Meal timing (it doesn't matter as much as you'd think for weight loss)
-How your neighbor/friend/wife lost a bunch of weight on the "whogivesahoot" diet (that's them, this is you, and they are making it sound easier than it was)
-Which protein shake/vitamin is best for weight loss (there is no "best" one and these aren't strictly necessary anyway)
Here's What You SHOULD Focus On
These items are the simple, time-tested, research-backed, proven ways to lose weight with the most efficiency over the long term.
1. Tracking your calories, as completely and accurately as possible. You CANNOT lose weight without expending more calories than you consume. How do you know how much you consume if you aren't keeping track? By the way, your "eyeballing it" method is not accurate and nobody is good at it.
It is worth noting that you can gain weight from eating nothing but the healthiest foods on the planet. Food quality is important for how you feel and how you function so it is worth eating well! However, losing weight is about math. If you eat too many calories of healthy food you will still gain weight.
Furthermore, be careful of "easy to miss" calories that hide in unexpected places. Cooking oils, sauces, and caloric beverages, for example, are culprits that can add several hundred calories per day to your intake without you even realizing it. Make sure that if it touches your lips or food in any form, it gets logged.
2. Exercising harder and more frequently. You need to expend more energy than you consume. Most of that stems from proper nutrition, but stack the deck in your favor by increasing light-moderate exercise sessions into heavy-vigorous exercise sessions when appropriate and increasing your exercise frequency. Make habits out of daily walks in the evening and additional light exercise interspersed into your day.
3. Being consistent. Saved the best for last. To lose weight, you cannot simply track your calories for a few days, do some pushups, and then get frustrated when things don't change. You must respect the process and practice patience and consistency. Track your food every day for weeks and months, not days. When you have lost significant weight, then you can start to think about eating via intuition again. Until that time, you need to be diligent. Remember, if this is something you REALLY want, this will not be much of a burden. I am being 100% serious when I say: ask yourself how seriously you want to lose weight and if spending literally 10 min a day tracking food is a reasonable cost? If the answer is no, expect rough waters ahead.
Be Your Own Straight Line
What's the quickest way between any two points? A straight line. You know where you want to end up with your weight loss. The more consistent you are with the basics, the straighter your line will be and the faster you'll get there. The more you take these simple things for granted, the longer it will take if you get there at all. Losing weight is like a game of dominos. It doesn't matter how hard you flick the pieces if they aren't set up correctly. Train as hard as you want but it won't make a lick of the difference if the fundamentals are off.
Remember Occam's razor! It could be the case that you aren't losing weight because of a disorder, ridiculously poor genetics, or because somebody cast a spell on you.
Probably not though =).