Many people who lose weight fail to keep it off. Others try to lose weight and plateau, hitting a standstill before they come close to their weight loss goal. So when it seems like you have tried everything, what do you do?
The truth of the matter is that there are many reasons you may not be losing the weight that you want. Some have to do with your diet, while others have to do with the methods you are using to meet your weight loss goals. The good news is that by learning more about your body and the science behind how it works, you can both achieve and maintain your weight loss.
When it comes to weight loss, there is no such thing as starting tomorrow. Start right now by reading through the pages of this book. By the end, you will have some insight into the reasons why you are having trouble losing weight.
Mistake #10: You’re Making Efforts, but You Are Not Tracking Them:
Many people consume more calories each day than they think—even hundreds more. It is true that making small changes to your diet and lifestyle, such as moving around more and making healthier eating choices, can help with weight loss efforts. If you are not tracking what is happening, however, you may not be doing enough.
In today’s age of technology, it is easier than ever to track your calories and activity. There are countless apps and devices designed to help make losing weight significantly easier. Some devices may track calories burned or how far you walk, while others measure sleep patterns and heart rate, too. Even calorie counting apps can be sophisticated, letting you scan bar codes of the foods you eat or input food items to calculate your total caloric intake.
The apps and devices that you choose to work with are ultimately up to you. Keep in mind, however, that by knowing what is working and what isn’t, you can drastically improve your efforts.
Mistake #09: You Think That Healthy Foods Have No Calories:
When you are trying to lose weight for better health, keep in mind that it is not always the numbers that matter. For your body’s metabolism to stay at a healthy rate and for you to diet without feeling hungry, you should seek foods that are wholesome in nature.
Did you know that many diet foods contain processed ingredients that are not-so-healthy for your body? They may be low in calories, but they are also low in nutrition. For example, diet sodas are a popular choice for people looking for a low-calorie soda alternative. However, diet soda has actually been seen to increase people’s weight in a few studies, although science is still out on the reasoning behind this.
Instead of seeking out these foods, opt for more wholesome foods. Eat a diet rich in protein, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables. When you are making food choices, do not count calories—make your calories count.
Mistake #08: You Are Not Eating Enough Protein:
One of the most important foods for a person who is trying to lose weight is protein. Protein has numerous benefits for people trying to lose weight. One of the first things to note is that when you pay attention to your body cues and eat when you are hungry, protein can stave off hunger. This is because the body digests it slower, so it stays in your stomach longer. Protein consumption also boosts metabolism. Finally, the way that protein affects the brain can also increase weight loss.
High levels of protein can alter the hormones produced by the area of the brain known as the hypothalamus. It is the hypothalamus that helps regulate weight. When you consume higher amounts of protein and reduce fat and carbs, it reduces the production of the hunger hormone and increases the production of satiety hormones that tell your body it is full. This means you may eat fewer calories. For most diets, it is recommended that around 30% of your daily caloric intake should come from protein.
The quality of the protein you are eating can also affect how quickly you are losing weight. Consider lean meats for protein, such as fish, chicken, and hamburger with lower fat content. Whole grains and beans are other good, wholesome sources of protein.
Mistake #07: You’re Skipping Out on the Weights:
Many people know the importance of trying to be more active when trying to lose weight, but did you know that regular muscle workouts are an important part of losing and maintaining weight loss? The body is not always picky about what it is burning. If you are not using your muscles regularly, you may find that your dieting regimen is causing you to lose muscle mass in addition to fat. This is because the body will burn this up to make up the reduction in calories, too, especially if you are not working out.
You also will find that you look better once you have lost weight if you continue to tone your muscles. It can help reduce the amount of extra skin that is left behind once you lose weight. Additionally, lifting weights can help keep your metabolism working how it is supposed to, preventing the slow down that can bring your weight loss efforts to a screeching halt.
You do not have to strain yourself to lift weights. Start with a few repetitions of low weight, even if it is just 10 or 15 pounds. As you increase the weight you are lifting, you will burn more calories and improve the way you look.
Mistake #06: You Are Doing Too Much Low-Intensity Cardio Training:
When you are trying to lose weight and get healthier, cardiovascular workouts can speed up your progress. Some workouts, such as jogging and running, have received bad publicity in the last few years because of their impact on joint health, but there are plenty of alternatives that can get your heart pumping fast. This includes swimming, jumping on a trampoline, and using an elliptical machine.
In the past few years, one type of exercise that has received a lot of hype for burning fat is high-intensity interval training or HIIT. During this type of exercise, you keep a steady pace and then you work to increase your heart rate for a set period of time. Then, you take another small break, but keep moving. For example, you would jog for five minutes and then run for two, followed by another period of jogging.
In general, cardiovascular exercise is a critical part of weight loss. It helps burn belly fat, which can be stubborn to get rid of. It also offers numeral health benefits, including reducing your risk of heart disease and eliminating visceral fat, which builds up around the organs.
Mistake #05: You Are Not Sleeping Enough:
Studies show that individuals with poor sleeping habits are more likely to be obese. These statistics show a 55% greater risk for adults and an 89% greater risk for children. A study conducted by the University of Chicago uncovered the reason behind this correlation—“metabolic grogginess.”
When you do not get enough sleep, the fat cells in your body feel the deprivation. The result is difficulty using insulin, which can lead to insulin encouraging fat storage in your body. This can even cause insulin resistance, storage of fat in the liver, and diabetes.
Additionally, a lack of sleep upsets the balance of leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is responsible for telling you when you are full, which means you feel hungry even when you are not. Ghrelin stimulates hunger and reduces hormones in excess, and a lack of sleep encourages its production.
Additionally, not getting enough sleep can affect the frontal lobe, which is responsible for decision making. This can leave you more susceptible to poor dieting choices because it becomes increasingly hard to resist the temptation.
Mistake #04: You Aren’t Choosing the Right Diet for Your Body:
One of the problems with fad diets is that they treat everyone as the same rather than as the individual that they are. For example, some people respond well to a reduced-calorie diet, while others cut out fat and are successful. However, not everyone’s body is built the same way. For some people, low-carbohydrate diets are the best option.
One variation of low-carb diets is a Ketogenic diet, where you increase protein and fat intake while reducing carbohydrates almost completely. Some studies have shown that in the short term, these diets cause as much as two to three times the amount of weight loss as a typical low-fat diet. Additionally, low-carb diets can improve good cholesterol levels, manage blood sugar, and improve triglycerides.
Ideally, the diet you choose should reflect factors like your metabolism and what your problem areas are. This will help you find the diet that is most effective. Additionally, keep in mind that many diets have additional health benefits, not just weight loss. Consider what will help you the most, and adjust as needed until you see the results that you want.
Finally, be patient with the results. You often cannot tell if a diet is working for several weeks because of the numerous factors that cause weight to fluctuate.
Mistake #03: You Are Drinking Too Much:
It is not always the food that we are putting in our bodies that is the problem when it comes to weight loss. Even supposedly healthy drinks, such as vitamin beverages and juices, are high in sugar, which can contribute to increased caloric intake. This is problematic because beverages are not filling. This means that you are taking in these extra carbohydrates and still craving food. These drinks are okay in moderation, but too much can be problematic.
The amount of water you drink can also affect how much weight you are gaining or losing. When you drink water, it has been proven that the number of calories you burn can be boosted for the next hour and a half by an impressive 24% to 30%. Another study showed that drinking about two cups (17 ounces) of water about half an hour prior to a meal increased weight loss by 44%. This means that if you are dieting, drinking water can drastically boost the results you are seeing.
Alcohol can be another problem beverage for weight loss. Beers and some types of sugary liquors have a high sugar content that can add unnecessary calories. Additionally, most alcohols contain seven calories per gram of liquid. This does not mean that you have to quit completely, but try to drink only moderate amounts of alcohol. You should also stick to vodka and other spirits, mixed with a beverage that does not have calories.
Mistake #02: You Are Trying to Lose Too Much Too Fast:
People who are trying to lose weight often want to see results fast. The problem with this is that rapid weight loss is not healthy for the body. It is also nearly impossible to maintain if you go back to a normal or less intense diet and exercise regimen.
The best way to lose weight is gradual. The people who are most effective at maintaining their weight loss may lose just 1 to 2 pounds of weight each week or less.
Something else to keep in mind regarding expectations is that there are external factors that can influence weight gain. For example, having conditions like PCOS, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or sleep apnea can cause weight gain. There are also many medications for treating different conditions that can cause the person to take them to gain weight. If you believe that an underlying condition or a medication may be the root of your struggles in losing weight, consult with your physician about the best route for you to take.
Mistake #01: Your Body Needs a Break:
Constant dieting is not healthy. Additionally, when you diet for a long period of time, you may find that you start gaining back weight the moment you decide to try and manage your weight rather than losing it. This has a lot to do with the body’s set point, which can be lowered—but must be lowered gradually to be effective.
Sometimes, the best thing to do when you plateau with weight loss is not to fight back harder by reducing calories more or increasing your workout. Instead, try taking a break from weight loss, and work to maintain that weight. By maintaining a lower weight, you will help adjust your body’s weight set point.
Ideally, you should take a break and try to maintain that lower weight for one to two months before starting another diet and exercise regimen. During this time, make sure you are getting plenty of sleep and still working to build lean muscle. By doing this, you are encouraging your overall health and ensuring that you maintain your weight loss instead of gaining it back, as many people do.