If you've been sticking to a strict healthy eating and fitness plan for a while but are failing to see the results, it may be time to take a look at what is sabotaging your success. From dieting blunders to physical factors, check out the top 10 reasons why you're not losing weight.
Over-compensating for exercise
Many of us are familiar with the temptation to reward our workouts with an edible treat (well, you've just burned off all those kilojoules, right?). However, by increasing your kilojoule intake to fuel or reward your sessions you may be undoing all the hard work of your workout.
You may even be taking in more than you have actually worked off, leading to weight gain rather than loss.
Not getting enough sleep
You may think that cutting back on sleep to make time for a workout is a great idea. However, not getting enough sleep could actually minimise the benefits of exercise. Not only does sleep deprivation affect exercise performance and endurance, but it slows down your metabolism, increases appetite and makes you more likely to give in to your cravings. Lack of sleep can also increase stress levels, which can contribute to weight gain.
Too many sugary drinks
You watch what you eat, cut back on fatty foods and don't snack between meals, but have you considered the amount of kilojoules you may be drinking?
The main kilojoule culprit when it comes to drinks is alcohol, but you should also consider the kilojoules in fruit juice, smoothies, soft drinks and hot drinks. Every kilojoule counts towards your daily intake.
Eating large portions
If you're eating low-fat, healthy meals but are still not losing weight, it may be worth looking at your portion sizes. With the increasing portion sizes many of us consume, you could be eating the equivalent of six or more standard serving sizes each day.
The food you're eating may be healthy, but it should still be eaten in moderation.
Eating too little
Eating too much food can cause you to gain weight, but eating too little can also make it surprisingly difficult to shed those pounds.
Your body has a natural instinct to protect itself so when it is not given an adequate amount of food it will go into starvation mode, causing the metabolism to slow down and the body to hoard fat. As a result, it will become much more difficult for you to lose weight.
Perhaps even worse for your waistline than eating too much or too little is flitting regularly between the two extremes. If you constantly take up and abandon faddy diets or go through a process of starving yourself one minute and bingeing the next, you will play havoc with your metabolism and cause your body to store more fat. Eating too little causes the metabolism to slow down, but following this period with a binge will cause your body to quickly pile on the weight.
If you've fallen into a rut with your exercise routine, you may no longer be getting the most out of your workouts. Not only can doing the same exercise activities over and over bore you, making you less motivated and more likely to skip your workout, but it will also diminish the intensity and results of your training. As your body becomes more efficient at a certain activity you will no longer need to work as hard at it, meaning you will burn off fewer kilojoules.
You don't need to lose weight
With the growing obesity problem around the world, it seems everybody wants to lose weight. However, you may not be one of those people who need to shed the pounds. Rather than striving for an unrealistic body shape, ask yourself if there are medical reasons you need to lose weight. If not, it may be time to ditch the diet and work out your self-esteem instead.
Obsession with the scales
Many people obsess over their weight as a way of measuring how much body fat they have lost or gained.
But a set of scales will not tell you how much of your weight is fat, muscle or water, and therefore is not an accurate representation of fat loss.
For a more accurate indication of body-fat levels, try tracking changes in your measurements and the fit of your clothes.
Many medical conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid problems and hormonal imbalances can cause you to gain weight and make it difficult to lose.
Also, hidden food allergies or intolerances can make it difficult to lose weight. Your medical condition itself may not cause weight gain, but the side effects of medications may pile on the pounds, so make sure to speak to your doctor about this.
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