Are you doing everything right but just not losing weight? It can be really frustrating to feel like your food and workouts are dialed in but nothing is happening. Over the years, I’ve discovered that there are many reasons people struggle to lose weight. Below I’ve given you seven of them. Consider them food for thought, no pun intended. 🙂
Please comment below if you personally have experienced other things that keep you from losing weight. I’d love to hear from you.
Your stress is too high.
A stressed out body secretes cortisol. Cortisol is a “fight or flight” hormone. It prepares the body and mind for emergency. When life was simpler for us humans here on Earth, cortisol happened during true emergencies like being chased by a bear, having a car wreck or getting mugged in the subway. Now that our lives are fast-paced, crazy and multi-tasking, cortisol output is sky high all the time.
Cortisol and weight loss are mutually exclusive. They don’t happen at the same time. If you’re trying to lose fat, you have to manage your stress. Whether you meditate, practice yoga, take timeouts or naps or break up with social media for a while, it is imperative that you mitigate the stress in your life.
You’re working out too much.
Workouts are a stressor to the body. Fat loss and muscle gain happen during recovery periods between workouts. If you work out every day and/or do long periods of constant state cardio (aerobics classes, running, elliptical machine, stair stepper, etc.), your body is always inflamed. Inflammation impedes fat loss. If you’re working out more than three (maybe four) times per week, it’s too much.
To burn fat, you have to build muscle. This means that you should be lifting heavy weights at least twice a week.
My exercise regimen includes heavy lifting two to three times per week along with about 10-12 minutes of metabolic conditioning (think short bouts of cardio at maximum exertion).
You’ve been a yo-yo dieter most of your life.
If you’ve gained and lost the same fat over and over again, your body is just plain confused. It’s not sure what you’re going to do to it next, so what does any reasonable body do? It holds on to the excess weight.
In these cases, the only thing to do is to treat yourself gently, stay the course and realize that losing fat is a marathon not a race. It just takes time to convince your body that you will feed it healthfully and consistently. But if you stay the course, it will happen.
You’re not eating enough.
If you’re counting calories and trying to burn more than you eat every day, you’re probably not eating enough. Your body is convinced there is a famine on the Earth and food is scarce; therefore, it needs to hold on to every calorie you put into it.
I’ve found that it’s really hard to gain fat on a real food diet. Your body understands whole foods, so if you’re fueling yourself with them, your body knows how to use them. Your brain understands them too, so it will start letting you know when it’s satiated. This way, you will naturally eat the right amount of food.
That being said, if you come from a history of chronic calorie deprivation, it will take time to convince your body that the famine is over. Again, it’s a marathon, not a race.
You’re eating too low carb.
I’m a big fan of low carb eating. In fact, if you’re eating a real food diet of meat, vegetables and fruits, it would be hard to get too many carbs each day. However, I have found that people who remain strictly on low carb diets for very long periods of time eventually plateau their fat loss.
If you have a high carb day at least once a week, this spikes insulin levels and revs up the fat-burning hormones again. My high carb days include sweet potatoes, rice, bananas and different types of squash.
You’re eating too high carb.
High carb foods convert to glucose (a form of energy) in the body. Glucose causes the insulin hormone to spike. Insulin moves into the bloodstream, gathers up the glucose and transports it to storage.
If you maintain a high carb diet full of breads, grains and pastas, insulin is kept very busy trying to locate storage places for all that glucose. When the muscle tissues and liver get full, the next storage spot is your fat cells. Consistent high carb eating results in fat cell expansion and constant food cravings.
When you eat a balanced diet of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, this doesn’t happen as easily. Stay away from those high carb foods to keep losing weight.
You aren’t getting enough sleep.
Sleep is a necessity for humans. When we are asleep, our body works to detoxify and refresh. As an added bonus, being rested helps us manage stress better. Without proper sleep and all the functions that happen during the night, your body may not let go of fat stores. You have to be committed to getting at least 7 1/2 hours per night every night.
Leave me a comment and let me know what you think! What else has kept your from losing weight?