Embarking on a diet to lose weight shifts the relationship between your body, mind, and food. You change exercise habits, eating habits, and your mindset to get everything right to drop those pounds.
And then it doesn’t happen. You step onto the scale and it either goes up, stays the same, or budges one centimeter under what it’s been for years. Why?
Whether you decide to sign up for a program or go it alone, dieting isn’t easy, and lack of progress is frustrating. But there are factors that could be hindering your goals – some within your control and some not – and pinpointing what they are can finally help you move the scale.
Here’s what could be affecting your efforts:
You’re Short on Calories
People aim to eat less calories, but if they’re too, too low, you run the risk of interfering with your body’s metabolism. It can slow down and put a stop to your weight loss.
You’ve Switched to Low-Fat
It may sound counterintuitive, but you need to eat fats in order to live. Healthy fats like olive oil and omegas keep the body and its organs functioning properly, and stave off hunger. Additionally, foods that are labeled as “low fat” often contain excess sugars, and therefore, unhealthy calories.
It’s Your DNA
Scientists are still studying the role genetics play in obesity, but there are genes that influence hunger, body size, weight loss, and weight gain. It is possible that you are predisposed to facing difficulties with your metabolism or how your bodies stores fat.
You Go Hungry
Skipping meals puts your body in a state of stress, and stress produces cortisol. Cortisol causes the body to store fat in places you don’t want it. Make sure you are eating throughout the day – small meals if necessary – and having healthy snacks too. Starving yourself isn’t healthy and it certainly won’t help to keep the pounds off.
Not Enough Water
The idea of filling up on shakes, smoothies, and juices may sound ideal, but if you’re not drinking enough water, you won’t be able to burn fat at all. Stay hydrated!
Lack of Support
Is there anybody around to back you up? Having a strong support system can help you stay on track, meet goals, and feel motivated. Your support can come from different sources like a health professional, an online network, or friends or family. All the better if your tribe joins you on your journey!
Known or unknown health conditions could be throwing a wrench in your plans. Hypothyroidism, PCOS, medications, or stress can alter your body’s ability to lose weight. Instead, they may cause you to gain it. See a physician if you suspect a health issue is at the root of your stalled weight loss goals.
Going Overboard with the Wrong Foods
It’s not just chips, ice cream, and fried foods that do you in. Foods that fall under the “healthy” or “superfood” category like avocados and nuts are high in fats and calories, and eating way too much will pack on the pounds, even if they are “good fats”.
You’re Not Exercising Enough
Any weight loss plan should include some form of physical activity to kick-start your metabolism and help you burn off fat. A well rounded regimen should include cardio, strength-training, and periods of rest.
You’ve Gained Muscle
If you are exercising, it is possible that you’ve gained muscle mass in place of the fat that has been lost. It may seem like you’ve plateaued but it’s working. A look in the mirror can help you tell.
You’re Low on Protein
Not only does protein sustain the body’s needs for fuel and survival, but it also plays a role in regulating the hormones that help you burn fat. Don’t cut it out of your diet; eat a moderate amount of healthy protein so your system can metabolize fat.
It’s common to hit a dead end with dieting, but don’t forget to show yourself some love for the small victories. A combo of eating the right foods, exercise, and rest can put on you a path that works for a long time. And remember, it’s a journey!
Are you struggling with your diet goals? What’s been the source of your weight loss woes? Which diet plan has worked best for you?