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10 reasons you're not losing weight

You’d think with companies like us delivering fresh nutritious food direct to your door and gyms popping up around the country in every imaginable place, it would be more convenient and simple than ever before to lose weight. And yet it’s an issue many people perpetually struggle with. The question is – WHY? Below are some common diet complaints:

  • You’ve lost weight and regained it
  • You’ve lost weight and plateaued
  • You haven’t lost any weight but have gained more muscle

If any of these sound familiar, you will be making a mistake somewhere in your diet or training regime. Here at MuscleFood we’ve seen everything – from all carb diets to paleo to fasting – so we’ve picked up on a few diet mistakes that you ought to avoid in 2015 and beyond!

1. Eating fake health foods

NutritionalsIt’s very easy to be drawn in by a green label with bold claims about nutrients and omega 5, but what are you really putting into your mouth? Take most cereal bars for example, they are full of fibre and certainly look healthy enough – oats, fruit, dark chocolate – what’s the danger?

These bad boys more often than not are appetite inducing sweets masquerading as healthy snacks. Flip over the box, how much sugar is hidden in there? How much fat do they add to ensure you confuse it with a satisfying meal?

Looking at a carefully crafted marketing campaign – otherwise known as the box – it can be easy to rationalise that these fake health foods are good for you and a better choice than the Kit Kat you were going to have. Sadly all they do is sell a lifestyle you’d like to live, not the reality.

2. You work out, so you eat more

Losing weight relies on one broad principle: create a fuel deficit to force your body to use fat stores for fuel. It sounds simple, but getting the balance right can be difficult if you don’t pay attention to what you’re eating.

If you’re relying on your workout to lose weight, you’re fighting a losing battle. After a workout your body is starved of glycogen stores and quite possibly in a state of hypertrophy. The biological response is hunger, therefore you eat more and the deficit you created through a workout is essentially cancelled out.

Instead aim to alter your diet overall, and any additional deficit created through exercise is a bonus leaving you to refuel with the right stuff and turn that fat into lean muscle mass.

3. Neglecting cardio

Cardio is for women! Alright, we hear you. When you go the gym largely the people on treadmills and in cardio-centric classes are women, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a part of your routine regardless of if you’re a man or a woman.

High energy cardio creates an oxygen debt which results in a metabolic boost that lasts long after the training session is over. So whilst there is an argument that weight lifting will burn more calories during your workout, adopting any kind of cardio – with interval training being one of the most effective forms – gives you a metabolic boost and thus helps to increase your ability for fat conversion long after the workout is over.

4. Protein shakes & bars

There are a host of options when it comes to supplementing your diet with protein. The key is to make the right ones. If you’re aiming to lose fat, you need to ensure the protein blend or bar you choose is set up to help you achieve those.

For example many protein bars and shakes contain sugar, and whilst this isn’t a bad thing in moderation, it will seriously affect your macros and push up your calories along with it. If you’ve made allowances for that, fine. But if you’re focusing entirely on the protein content and not the other ingredients, you could be inadvertently halting your weight loss through hidden calories.

As for excess protein itself making you fat, that is widely debatable so we’ll leave it up to you to do your own research on that topic.

5. Too much, too soon

Remember the feeling of enthusiasm after January 1st, turning over a new leaf and wanting to start a new diet and training regime right away? Whilst this is commendable, maintaining your enthusiasm is more important. If you immediately create a huge calorie deficit, cut out all carbohydrates and train 5 times a week when you were at best a once-a-week gym goer in another life… you will burn out.

Doing too much too soon not only leads to feeling demoralised once your enthusiasm begins to wain and the reality of the hard-work involved crashes down, it can also lead to a host of injuries, a drop in your immune system, and therefore eventual abandon of any progress.

Instead, start small and build up. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

6. Adopting a diet, not a lifestyle change

All diets work if you follow them correctly. But what a diet cannot do is sustain your goal weight in the face of returning to long-term bad habits. The term diet suggests a short-term change, whereas what you ought to be doing is making a lifestyle change to sustain your fat loss.

For this reason, following the Atkins Diet, 5:2, Slim Fast or any other form of unrealistic lifestyle advice simply sets you up for failure. It encourages an endless cycle of following a diet, returning to normal eating, following a diet and so on.

Instead aim to make sustainable changes. Are you really going to eat 500 calories twice a week for the rest of your life? Probably not.

7. Saying YES

Indulgence foodsYou might think you’ve got your training plan down and your diet completely nailed, but how accountable are you for everything you consume in reality? If you work in an office environment it is common to indulge in saying yes. What we mean is, remember that birthday last week when your co-workers shared cake? Did you say yes? When you met a friend after work to have a pint, you said yes.

It’s easy to say yes to these small indulgences, but they quickly add up and derail fat loss goals. You will become demoralised if you see a halt in progress.

Learn to say no. Once you’ve reached your goal you can say yes again, but for now it’s best to practice saying no thank you.

8. Eating Extreme Amounts of Fat

Fat is not the enemy, it’s an essential element to any diet. But eating extreme amounts of it even via healthy sources (nuts, avocado etc), you will become very fat indeed. Those on a low-carb diet are particularly guilty of this, as in order to feel satisfied they crave high-fat foods in place of the carbohydrates they are restricting.

But on the other end of the spectrum, avoiding healthy fats entirely through ingredients like butter or egg yolks can be equally harmful. The body needs these fats and cholesterols to produce the hormones necessary to sustain a higher metabolic rate. So it goes without saying, everything in balance.

9. Skipping Breakfast

It seems obvious, skip breakfast to save calories/macros right? Although this is true, by skipping breakfast you are not only giving yourself a sluggish start to the day, you’re setting your body up for metabolic failure. Or to be more accurate, a very slow metabolic rate.

A small amount of carbs, protein or a combination of both, is the perfect way to kick-start your metabolism at the start of the day. During sleep your body is in a fasted state and thus seeks to slow down or hault fat conversion altogether. By missing this essential meal you are not moving from this fasted state back into thermogenesis.

It can lead to increased hunger throughout the day, testing your willpower and setting you up to give into temptation and make unhealthy choices. There are arguments to be made for training in a fasted state, but that warrants an entire article in itself! Don’t skip breakfast folks, even something small is better than nothing at all.

10. Obsessing about fat loss, not hypertrophy

BreakfastIf you are entirely preoccupied with losing fat, you’re missing one of the most powerful tricks in the book. Moving the focus from fat loss into building lean muscle mass through hypertrophy is the key to shifting those extra few lbs. Woman are particularly susceptible to making this mistake, but we’re all guilty of it at one time or another.

Continually focusing on fat loss and religiously following a deficit diet, your body will adapt and your results will plateau. Psychologically you will feel defeated and claim “diets don’t work” when in reality, you need to change what you’re doing to encourage fat metabolism once again.

Building lean muscle should be your priority even if your primary goal is to lose fat mass. Building lean muscle helps the body to become more efficient in burning fat stores for energy. You should be eating as if you want more muscle mass and training to achieve it.

Don’t let any of these mistakes hold you back! Check out the Muscle Food success stories to find out how our customers achieved their diet and weight loss goals!

Check out our Super Lean Slimming Selection! Everything has LESS THAN 5% fat.