Weight loss is something that we all struggle with at some point in our lives. For some of us, it’s been an entire life of hating the scale and for others, it’s only been since bringing a beautiful little baby into the world. Regardless of how long you’ve struggled, there are basics we all know… like we need to consume fewer calories than we burn in order to lose weight and that the habit of stopping for drive-thru needs to stop. Despite this, there are times when you’re doing all the right things, but that weight loss just won’t happen as you hoped.
So what do you do?
Well… when this happens, you need to dig a little deeper and look outside of your exercise habits.
Here are 5 reasons why your weight loss may be slow going.
1. You’re Stressed Out – Between work, taking care of children and making sure your home is clean, how could you not be stressed, right?! Stress releases something called Cortisol (also known as “the stress hormone”) and in today’s society, excessively high Cortisol levels are all too common. Cortisol encourages the storage of body fat (especially around your midsection), and it has been linked to other health issues such as depression, anxiety, sleep problems, digestive problems and heart disease.
Solution: Try limiting the length of your workouts to 30 minutes (long workouts can place unnecessary stress on the body), surround yourself with positive people who focus on being happy, practice yoga or meditation (stop laughing…it works!), and make sure you get 7-9 hours of sleep.
2. You’re Not Sleeping Enough – This ties in directly to stress. Not getting enough sleep can raise levels of Cortisol in your body because it stresses the body out. When you get the proper amounts of sleep each night, your body produces Growth Hormone, which has the opposite effect on the body of Cortisol. Growth Hormone encourages fat loss, supports a healthy immune system, and helps to keep your organs functioning properly. Making sure you get enough sleep will also help you to cut back on calories. Many times we are eating out of boredom or because we are stressed.
Solution: Cut out caffeine filled drinks after 12 noon, unplug from electronics (including television) 1 hour before bedtime. Electronics/tv can be stimulating and they emit a blue light that mimics daylight and stops the body from producing melatonin. Try doing some yoga before bed to calm your mind and reduce stress.
3. You’re Not Drinking Enough Water – You’re probably sick and tired of hearing about how important water is to your health. Despite the “nagging” on this topic, most people still don’t drink enough of it.
There are so many benefits to drinking water, one of which is proper kidney function. When you’re dehydrated, your kidneys can’t function properly and your liver has to pick up the slack. This is bad because your liver is responsible for the metabolism of fat, which means fat cannot be metabolized as properly when your liver has to work twice as hard to remove toxins. See where I’m going with this? So next time you want to roll your eyes when someone asks if you’ve been drinking your water, don’t!
Solution: Drink more water….of course! Start each day with a glass of water and make sure you always have a bottle of it nearby. Also, before reaching for a snack, drink a glass of water. Chances are you’re dehydrated and not actually hungry.
4. You’re Not Eating Enough Fiber – Here’s another one you’ve probably heard a million times. Fiber aids digestive health and helps to create a sense of fullness, which makes consuming less calories easier because you don’t feel hungry.
It’s estimated that only 5% of Americans get enough fiber. 5%!! Most people think they’re getting enough fiber from grain-based products like bread and cereal, but the reality is these highly-processed foods have been stripped of their nutrients as well as their fiber.
Solution: Eat more fruit and vegetables, and choose whole grains, like brown rice and steal-cut oatmeal, instead of their processed counterparts.
5. You Have Poor Digestion – This is a lesser known issue, but it’s becoming more talked about. The gut is incredibly complicated, and scientists are only scratching the surface when it comes to understanding how gut bacteria actually works. But one thing is clear: whether you want to improve your ability to lose fat, boost your immune system, clear up your skin, or even just feel better on daily basis, it all starts with your gut health.
Unfortunately, many people don’t realize their gut isn’t functioning properly until there is a major issue. However you can take steps to help prevent poor digestion today.
Solution: Reduce stress, minimize the consumption of legumes, grains, sugar, processed foods and pastured dairy (I’m sure you’ve heard of Paleo or Whole30, which are different nutrition lifestyles that many feel make for a healthier gut and incorporate some of these principles), and take time to properly chew your food. This allows saliva to begin breaking down food and makes it easier for your body to digest.
Did you have any ah-ha moments while reading this? Think some of these could be to blame for your slow weight loss? Share your thoughts or game plan below in the comments.