9 Reasons Why You Aren’t You Losing Weight?
(This is Part III of our weight loss series. Also check out Part I of the series, Ten Useful Tips to Lose Weight and Part II: Losing Weight, 7 Reasons Why It Is Easier Said Than Done)
Ever felt that frustration? No matter how hard you work at it, you simply don’t seem to lose weight! Menawhile your friend sheds his or her pounds gracefully. What is wrong? We can really break this topic into two parts: factors that you can control, and factors that you cannot. Heredity is among the latter, which can be defined as a metabolic predisposition to store more and lose less. But even for many people who have a hereditary predisposition, some of these insights might help them shed some.
Awareness is everything. Well not everything – it has to be backed by action. But it starts with awareness. So, are you aware of what factors are hindering you from achieving your goal to lose those extra pounds and to keep yourself healthy? Here are nine reasons why you might be having this challenge:
- You are not exercising enough
- You are not sleeping enough
- You stress yourself too much
- You are eating too much
- You do cheat on weekends
- You’re too impatient to see results
- You have a medical condition
- You’ve reached a plateau
- Maybe you really don’t need to lose weight
Your exercise is not enough
Exercise and lose weight, easily said, but hard to do for most of us! Burning calories with exercise is not magic. You must work harder through high intensity interval training, tabata training, metabolic conditioning etc.
If you are a beginner, you may find any amount of exercise hard to finish and you may end up hurting your weight loss efforts. It is of utmost importance to understand how much exercise you need and how can you fit it into your daily schedule. Consistency is key.
There are many exercises to choose from, and you can choose those that are more fun and engaging for you. You must, however, include both cardio and strength training exercises to maximize weight loss along with building up healthy muscle mass.
You are not sleeping enough
Much of the restoration of gut health and digestion happens while we sleep. Not sleeping enough interrupts the body’s natural metabolic processes. When you are deprived from sleep, it may affect the hormone (secretion of cortisol) that regulates appetite. We also feel weak and move around less when we don’t get enough sleep, which means we burn lesser calories. Sleep deprivation makes you cranky, confused and can even make you feel depressed or angry. Of course, not sleeping enough can also mean more frequent trips to the refrigerator that certainly does not help with weight loss.
You stress yourself too much
Being stressed increases the production of the hormone cortisol which can cause an increase in appetite as well as extra fat storage around the abdominal region. This is a big NO since abdominal fat is linked to diabetes, heart disease and other health problems.
Stress and weight gain (or lack of weight loss) go together. Better deal with stress by relaxing even a few minutes a day, have a massage as often as you can, or shorten down on work hours and define some leisure time. No matter how stressful life is, we all have the ability to turn off a few switches and relax for a while. Remember, being stressed does not solve anything anyway.
You eat too much
This one is an obvious one, but must be mentioned because it is the biggest rule violated by all. What you eat and portion sizes add up to your total calorie intake that translates to weight.
If you have time, make a detailed food diary for one week, without changing any of your eating habits. Be as specific as possible, looking up your calorie and nutrient content and adding up your calories for each day. You’ll be surprised how those calories can sneak in when you’re not keeping track.
The other way around if you don’t want to do all that work is to simply assume that you are off-track. Find a good meal plan that tells you how many calories you need in each portion and stick to that. Make sure you are eating a balanced meal and foods that you enjoy (within reason, of course). Set week-to-week goals, combined with exercise, and let your goals guide you!
You do cheat on weekends
You are wasting your efforts to lose weight if you have the mindset of cheating on weekends. You may be taking two steps forward and one step back. But worse yet, the taste of the foods you normally crave can easily pin you back to your old habits.
That being said, a little reward doesn’t hurt. Say you like ice cream. Pre-decide that over the weekend you will treat yourself with one small scoop of the ice cream of your choice if you reach your goals. The quantity is important and reflective of your growing discipline. Also, instead of food, you could reward yourself with some other non-food related things like a trip to the movies, a massage, a new pair of shoes. You could also go for one of the many low calorie treats available today.
Bottom line – do not go off track, stay the course.
You’re too impatient to see results
Losing weight won’t happen overnight. Being patient and taking it one day at a time will allow you to enjoy the journey instead of focusing on the destination. Give your body time to respond to what you’re doing. It may be weeks or months before you see significant changes, especially if you are also building your muscle mass along the way.
Think about better health as a goal – not just weight loss. Your feeling of well-being will them become a great reward.
You have a medical condition
One medical condition known to affect weight is thyroid disease as it can cause a decrease in metabolism and may lead to weight gain. It’s important to explore every avenue if you’re truly following an exercise program and a clean diet and still not losing weight. Instead of frustrating yourself, consult your doctor and see if there is anything you can do to circumvent your problem.
You’ve hit a plateau
When speaking of diet and exercise, reaching a plateau means that your body has reached its potential for its current given conditions. As your body adapts to your workouts, it becomes more efficient at it and, therefore, doesn’t expend as many calories doing it. You may find that after your initial weight loss, your progress will slow down and eventually stop.
Remember that your body is probably the smartest machine in creation – its ability to adapt is unmatched by any technology known today. Some common reasons for plateaus include:
- Doing the same routine workouts. Your body needs to be challenged to progress, so make sure you have variations in some part of your program every 4-6 weeks.
- Not eating enough calories. You can actually stop losing weight if your body doesn’t have enough fuel to sustain your level of activity.
- Overtraining. Your body sometimes responds by decreasing the amount of calories you burn during the rest of your day if you overdo exercise.
Keeping an exercise calendar and tracking your workouts, how often you change them and whether you’re working too hard, or need to boost your intensity, helps you monitor if you have reached a plateau, and what you need to do to get past it.
Maybe you really don’t need to lose weight
If you’re overweight or obese, losing weight may be important for staying healthy. But, if you’re very close to your goal and can’t seem to get rid of those last few pounds, ask yourself if you really need to lose them.
You don’t need a weight lose program if you have a normal body condition. Examine yourself by asking these questions in front of your mirror:
- Are there any other reasons that you need to lose weight? (Set aside cosmetic reasons).
- Are you at risk for medical conditions such as diabetes or heart disease?
- Is your BMI in an unhealthy range?
- Are you within your ideal weight range?
Remember that you could hurt yourself by following a diet routine that denies your body its necessary nutrition. So the motto is: stay fit, happy and healthy. It’s your lifestyle, it’s your choice!
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