If you’ve ever struggled to lose weight despite the fact that you exercise regularly and make healthy food choices, you’re not alone. Articles, Internet forums and televisions shows are often filled with people who express frustration over the feeling that their workouts, well, apparently aren’t working out.
Here are some reasons why you’re not shedding those pounds — whether you need to lose 5, 50 or more — and what you can do to start seeing some changes.
1. You rely on exercise alone to lose weight
It’s no secret that exercise and eating right are important in achieving (and maintaining) weight loss; relying on just one over the other won’t yield effective results, at least not as fast as you’d like. To support this theory is a recent study published in Current Biology which notes that the human body learns to adapt to higher activity levels. Therefore, people who exercise more with the mind set that doing so will torch extra calories will be disappointed to know that that won’t necessarily happen. In a nutshell, as summarized on Science Daily: People with moderate activity levels had somewhat higher daily energy expenditures–about 200 calories higher–than the most sedentary people. But people who fell above moderate activity levels saw no effect of their extra work in terms of energy expenditure.(1,2)
Solution: Consider varying your routine. If you always walk, try using the bicycle or elliptical. If you always run, consider walking on an incline. Do what you can to kick your body out of the routine it’s come to know and you’ll likely start seeing results. And of course, don’t just keep your weight loss efforts at the gym. Make sure to eat healthy foods that promote weight loss and keep portions under control. Avoid unhealthy fats, processed foods and added sugars. Keep it as fresh and clean as possible.
2. You take certain medications that slow weight loss
In an ideal world, no one would be on any medications. However, visits to the pharmacy to pick up prescribed drugs are common; scripts are often written at the drop of a dime. In reality, many issues could be significantly resolved through dietary changes and wellness regimens, but that’s an article for another time. The point is, many people are on various medications, many of which can thwart weight loss. A wide range of medications, ranging from antidepressants and hormone medications to cholesterol-lowering drugs and even migraine meds, can lead to weight gain.(3)
Solution: Speak with your doctor to ask if weight gain is a side effect and if so, ask if there are other brands you might be able to take instead. Depending on your health issue, you may also want to look into alternative medicine. In that instance, a professional may be able to advise various methods that don’t carry many of the problems (weight gain and otherwise) often associated with traditional medical approaches. Certain foods, oils, herbs and supplements may help your condition without thwarting your weight loss goals.
3. You aren’t trying hard enough to lose weight
It’s a hard fact to hear, but the truth is that maybe you’re not giving your weight loss efforts the attention you think you are. Skipping workouts or not varying their intensities can hold you back as can snacking too often on the wrong foods or having one too many extra servings.
Solution: Instead of rewarding your intense workout with two slices of pizza with thoughts that you deserve it or that your activity will burn off those extra calories, focus on the bigger picture. Remember that both exercising and eating right go hand in hand when you want those numbers on the scale to decrease, so make sure you’re truly paying attention to what you do in both areas. You know when you’re merely strolling on that treadmill or when you’ve indulged in unhealthy foods. Do your best to stay on track and take both concepts into consideration with utmost mindfulness.
4. You’re eating hidden, harmful sugars that stall weight loss
It’s been shown that just cutting out sodas, which contain high levels of sugar, can help you lose weight. Many people report losing weight just by eliminating such drinks alone. If you’ve done the same, good for you. However, you might be surprised where other sugars lurk and pack on the pounds.
Solution: Avoid added sugars as much as possible. Don’t sprinkle it on top of your cereal, add it to oatmeal or use it in your coffee. Refrain from eating processed foods which are typically loaded with sugar. Sugar occurs naturally in foods that are healthy for you such as fruits, so be sure to stick to that. And at all costs, don’t consume artificial sweeteners which have been linked to a variety of health problems, including weight gain. In that regard, it’s been shown that they actually trick the mind so that you crave ultra-sweet foods. In turn, you may ultimately choose fattening items over ones that contain natural sugars like apples, or choose to put sugar on healthy foods to give it the sugary flavor you’ve come to expect. In reality, they don’t help you lose weight and do much in the way of destroying your overall health.(4)
By taking these steps into consideration, you’re bound to experience weight loss or weight loss maintenance in a healthy manner.
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