You’ve tried dieting, but the weight just doesn’t seem to want to come off.
Or, you’ve been able to lose a few pounds, but they somehow seem to keep coming back.
These are just some of the frustrations anyone on their weight loss journey experiences.
Yes, I know how it feels because I’ve been there myself.
It wasn’t only until I figured out that dieting isn’t always the answer, at least not if you want to keep the pounds from returning.
For me, understanding the there’s more to our bodies than how much we eat made all the difference.
These are some of the main reasons why I couldn’t lose weight back then. I hope that they’ll help you get to where you want to be.
Why You’re Not Losing Weight
Try going through the list and modifying your lifestyle as needed. Doing so will help you start dropping the pounds.
1. You’re Not Sleeping 7-8 Hours a Night
Many people believe sleep is a waste of time. After all, you don’t look like you’re doing anything while sleeping.
But, that’s far from reality.
Sleep lets your body to recover and repair itself. Just as importantly, it helps regulate your metabolism. Also, it messes with your hormones, including those that affect appetite.
This is why research shows that lack of sleep is linked to weight gain. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body will start craving carbs and fat more.
In another study, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that women who slept less than 4 hours a night consumed 21 more grams of fat and 300 more calories the day after.
To help your body lose weight, try getting 7-8 hours of sleep nightly.
2. You’re Often Stressed Out
As adults, stress is a part of life; there’s going avoiding it.
Stress comes from many sources. It can be from work, your finances, homework or relationships. Whatever the cause, stress releases a hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol increases your appetite making you hungry all the time even when you’re not. More specifically, it makes you crave salty, sweet and fatty foods. All of which isn’t good for you.
Also, high levels of cortisol make your body store more fat. What’s worse is, studies show that most of this fat tends to collect in the belly area.
For this reason, it’s important to try and manage your stress levels. Practicing meditation is an easy way to do so. All you need to do is find a quiet place, relax and meditate for 5-10 minutes a day.
As a bonus, meditation has been shown to promote changes in your brain, making you more resilient to future stress.
Other ways to cope with stress include:
- Deep breathing
- Having a good laugh
- Chew gum
- Write down everything that’s bothering you
- Listen to music
- Hug or cuddle with your significant other
3. You Don’t Keep Track of What You Eat
Losing weight is all about achieving a calorie deficit. This means the number of calories that go into your body should be less than the calories you’re burning.
If you eat more than the calories your body uses on a regular basis, you’ll gain weight.
One way to make sure you’re doing so is by tracking what you eat.
Research shows that people who use food journals and apps are more likely to lose weight than those who don’t. They were also most consistent in doing so.
Keeping track of your food gives you two main benefits.
- You won’t eat too much
- It will help you figure out which foods benefit or harm your weight loss goals
Often, it’s easy to overeat, even when we’re monitoring our what we eat. That’s because similar products can have very different ingredients causing discrepancies in calories, fat, and sugar content.
4. You’re Not Eating the Right Foods
What you eat is just as important as how much you eat. Think about it.
You can eat very little food. But, if those foods contain a lot of carbs, sugar or fat, then you’re probably not doing yourself any favors.
With weight loss, there are a few basic rules that can help you clean up your diet.
- Cut back or eliminate added sugars. Sugar contains empty calories. It does enhance flavor. But, that’s it. Added sugars often come from sodas and sugary drinks. But, they’re also present in pastries, cookies, and cakes. Also, we like to add sugar to certain things like coffee.
- Reduce refined carbs. Refined carbs contain a lot of calories. Plus, they’re quickly converted into glucose when digested. So, your blood sugar to spike more than unrefined carbs like whole grains and vegetables,
- Eat more protein. Lean protein helps you stay full especially when you reduce carbs and sugars. More importantly, it is the building block of muscle. Muscle burns more calories than fat during rest. Thus, helping your shed pounds even when you’re not exercising.
- Stop eating junk food and processed foods. Both of these foods are convenient and often taste good. For this reason, it is easy to get addicted to them. But, they contain a lot of preservatives, sugars, carbs, fats, and sodium. All of which make you gain weight fast.
5. You Let Yourself Go on the Weekends
Many people give themselves a break during the weekends.
It isn’t a bad thing to have cheat days or off days from your diet occasionally. But, completely letting go or binge eating can quickly negate all your hard work.
Overeating or giving into cravings is a common side effect of dieting. This is especially true when you deprive yourself too much.
As a result, you devour everything from pizza to ice cream and desserts.
The same is true of healthy food. Food, even healthy ones, contain calories. So, overeating healthy foods also cause you to gain weight. Or, at the very least, hamper your weight loss attempt.
This is why it’s important not to deprive yourself too much. Instead, approach weight loss as a lifestyle where you eat food that keeps you satisfied and happy.
6. You’re Seated Down Most of the Day
Most of us have desk jobs. This means we end up being seated for hours at a time.
Research shows that sitting down can shorten your life. Even if you exercise, sitting the rest of the day more than negates your workouts.
That’s because you spend 30 minutes to an hour in the gym. But, 8 or more hours not being active. As a result, you burn fewer calories. Also, reduced activity has been shown to slow down an enzyme that burns fat, called lipoprotein lipase.
In addition to weight gain, being sedentary has many other harmful effects. It increases your risk of developing high blood pressure and high blood sugar. Plus, it also reduces bone mineral density making you more prone to fractures.
7. You Don’t Exercise Consistently
Being physically active is essential for anyone who wants to lose weight.
It helps you burn calories faster. And, can keep burning calories long after you’ve left the gym.
This gives you the benefit of losing weight even when you’re watching TV or resting on the couch.
The problem with exercise is it can be difficult to sustain. For this reason, 80% of New Year’s resolutions related to exercise and weight loss fail by February.
To help you stay consistent, try finding activities you enjoy. It doesn’t necessarily need to be regimented like gym workouts or yoga. Sports and gardening are likewise effective ways of burning calories.
When you get bored, switch things up. Doing so will help you keep going.
Weight loss experts recommend doing 60-90 minutes of moderate intensity exercise daily. High-intensity workouts do burn more calories. But, you want to be careful in doing too much because it can wear you out faster.
The goal is consistency over the long term, not working out 4-5 hours daily for two months.
8. You’re Not Eating Enough
Yes, starving yourself can backfire.
Instead of helping you lose weight, it can be harmful to your health.
Eating too little calories causes your metabolism to slow down. As a result, your body burns fewer calories over time. As a result, you stop losing weight.
Staying on strict diets too long can also cause this problem. They make you hit a plateau.
Also, starving yourself can cause you to be deficient in nutrients. All of which your body needs to repair cells and regulate itself.
When this happens, it’s a good idea to increase your calories.
Focus on eating healthy foods, and you’ll notice that you’ll start losing weight again.
9. You Drink Too Much Alcohol
Beer, wine, whiskey or vodka. All types of alcohol contain calories. This fact is something many people trying to lose weight overlook.
The average bottle of beer contains between 140-150 calories. Light beer has significantly less at around 100 calories. On the other hand, specialty and craft beers can have anywhere from 170 to over 220 calories.
For this reason, drinking more than one bottle of beer or consuming a lot of alcohol has been liked to weight gain.
Drinking moderately, on the other hand, isn’t a problem.