I’m a 72 year old woman and overweight. Since January I’ve been doing a gym programme with a personal, trainer, twice a week for an hour, But I’ve not lost any weight, and I’m disappointed. What am I doing wrong?
Many factors affect our ability to lose weight and I would need to know more detail to be able to say which ones are relevant to you. But here are some possible stumbling blocks.
Many medications have the side effect of weight gain, and it may be that one of these is sabotaging your hard work in the gym. This is something you’ll need to check out with your GP.
Is your workout doing as much as it could to help you lose weight? As you have a personal trainer, the answer is probably “yes”. But in general, you should be doing cardio exercise (heart and lung work which raises your breathing level) for 20 to 30 minutes each session (the length of time depends on how hard you are working); and weight training, using the gym machines. The weight training is particularly important because it will help to boost your muscle mass, and the more muscle you have, the faster your body burns up calories. Plus, the weight training will “tone up” your body so it will look trimmer and more defined.
Now for the honesty check. What are you doing when you are not at the gym? To make your exercise régime pay dividends, your daily lifestyle needs also to be increasingly active. That means at least 30 minutes cardio activity (brisk walks, swimming, cycling), on at least three more days every week. Get used to always walking up stairs and steps rather than taking lifts or escalators. Get off the bus a stop early and walk. Carry shopping bags. Go to dance classes. Join the Ramblers for long weekend walks. Play games in the garden with the grandchildren… In short, keep on the move!
Have you got your eating pattern right? It is common, when people get into a new exercise routine, to unconsciously “allow” yourself to eat a bit more than you used to, because you are doing all the extra work in the gym. But if you want to lose weight you will need the discipline not to let this happen, and also to change the pattern of your eating away from fatty and sugary foods and more towards fruit and veg.
Finally, even if you never shed a single pound, you should not feel disappointed that you have made such a big effort to get into an exercise habit. The workouts will be having very important positive health effects for you, including reducing your chances of getting diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. With more energy, better muscle tone and a spring in your step, you should be feeling happier, healthier, and hopefully proud of yourself for having made the effort.