So, you’ve been cutting down on fat, reducing carbs and exercising regularly. You’ve even learned to resist the ice cream aisle at the grocery store. Awesome! But, you are just not losing weight. Here are a few things that might be keeping the scales from cooperating with you.
1. Mindless Eating
Admit it, this is probably what made you overweight in the first place, right? It’s a sneaky occurrence that usually happens when you’re thinking about anything and everything other than FOOD. It’s eating when you’re watching TV. Popcorn at the movies. Sampling things while cooking. It’s something you don’t think about…it’s something you just do!!
So it makes sense that to overcome mindless eating, you need to start practicing MINDFUL eating. Things like only eating with others, sitting down to eat and really appreciating the food that you eat will go a long way in improving your food consumption.
2. Overeating the “good” foods
As losing weight has become a national pastime, there are oodles of articles available about foods that are “approved” because of their health benefits. For example, things like nuts, dark chocolate, avocados and honey are all considered “good ” foods. Granted, these are all great sources of nutrients and are beneficial, but it doesn’t mean that it’s okay to gorge on them.
3. Eating too little
If you are not eating enough during the day your metabolism will slow down. Your body will think it’s starving, so it will slow down your calorie-burning capacity in order to “survive.” Also, your body will adjust to the low caloric intake the last few hours of the day, by trying to hang on to the food through the night in preparation for another day of “starving.” Plain and simple – eat early and eat often and eat healthy!
Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone” and is released in our body when we are agitated. Cortisol inhibits weight loss, catabolizes muscles, worsens insulin resistance, and promotes the storage of fat. We all have stressful situations in our lives and people are biologically “wired” to react differently to stress. One person may secrete higher levels cortisol than another in the same situation. Studies have shown that people who secrete higher levels of cortisol in response to stress tend to eat more food, and food that is higher in carbohydrates than people who secrete less cortisol. If you’re more sensitive to stress it’s especially important for you to learn stress management techniques and maintain a low-stress lifestyle.
5. Diet junkie
Once you have committed to losing weight and following a better nutrition program it’s easy to become obsessed with your newfound knowledge. There is a plethora of information on the Internet about weight loss and the latest and greatest “cure”for belly fat, cravings, etc. Your diet is obviously what will determine your body’s loss of weight, but there is more to life than worrying about everything you put in your mouth and micromanaging your nutrient intake. Switching from one diet fad to another can be counterproductive–staying on a healthy plan will produce results for the long haul.
6. Too much exercise
Although regular exercise is a necessary component of a healthy lifestyle, and smart training (lifting heavy things, walking lots, getting your heart pumping) can speed weight loss and improve body composition, there is such a thing as too much exercise. After all, effective exercise is effective because it challenges our physiology and propels us to rise to the occasion and improve ourselves by getting stronger, faster, and with more lean mass and less body fat. Taken to the extreme, exercise becomes a chronic stressor and a steady source of cortisol release. Chronic stress in any form can also induce a hypothyroid-like state, where metabolic rate is lowered and weight loss slows or stops altogether, and exercise-induced chronic stress is no different.
7. Eating schedule is out of whack
There is a considerable amount of evidence that maintaining a regular eating schedule can improve the metabolic response to meals in some people. Women in particular seem to benefit most from a “regular meal pattern.” Although adhering to strict tines for meals is not necessary, completely skipping meals is never a good idea. Leaving home in the morning without eating breakfast, working through lunch of, fasting all day in preparation for a big meal in the evening-skipping meals like this, especially on a regular basis, is likely to undermine your weight-loss efforts.
Unfortunately, when it comes to weight loss, there are no magic bullets. Body transformation is based on making consistent, healthy lifestyle changes. Remember, you are not just “on a diet,” you are overhauling old patterns with new ones. It takes time and commitment, but reaping the benefits in how you look and feel makes it so worth it.
8. Consistency is key
When we first start a healthy meal plan with appropriate calories for weight reduction we follow it religiously. We are thrilled with our weight loss and watching the pounds disappear. During this time it is easy to start “cheating” a little. Gradually we are back in our old habits and the weight loss stops. Be consistent with healthy food choices so you continue to reach your weight loss goal and keep it there.