Hit a plateau? Check out these ten reasons for why you’re not losing that weight, and tips to get back on the right track.
1. You’re Not Eating Enough
Skipping meals can throw your metabolism into a tailspin – and so can eating too few calories. Our bodies try to protect us from starving during famine seasons by holding onto every last calorie that we put into them, and when you eat too few calories, that is exactly what your body thinks is happening. If you’re following a very low calorie diet and aren’t seeing results, try upping the calories and adding in some healthy fats.
2. You’re Eating Diet Foods
Packaged diet foods sound like they should help you lose weight, but many of them don’t quite get it right. They could be full of sodium, or low-fat but high in sugar, or they might simply lack the combination of nutrients that your body needs to lose weight. Stick to whole, fresh foods instead of anything frozen.
3. You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
Multiple studies have found that people who only get 5 hours of sleep per night tend to gain more weight than people who get at least 7 hours. Why? Sleep deprivation causes your body to pump out cortisol, which makes you hungry and slows down your metabolism. Catch enough winks for better weight loss.
4. You’re Adding On Muscle
Don’t worry, this is a good thing! Muscle is heavier than fat, so you may see numbers on the scale go up even as you slim down. Focus on how you feel, how your clothes fit, and how much body fat you have, rather than your actual weight, and remember that heavy muscle actually helps you burn calories faster.
5. You’re Drinking Your Meals
Our bodies don’t register calories that we drink as well as calories that we eat.
So when you chug a smoothie, protein shake, or other liquid meal (or when you drink a soda or a low-cal lemonade or fruit spritzer), you don’t feel satiated after – leading to snacking and more calorie consumption.
6. You’re Not Counting Add-Ons
Watch out for those calories that you don’t count as part of your meal. Sauces and dips, for example, can quickly add up. Sugar and cream in coffee are two other big culprits. If you’re trying to watch what you eat, remember to pay attention to what you’re adding to your food before you eat it.
7. Your Exercise Routine Is the Same Every Time
While your exercise routine may have been super effective at first, over time you might have hit a plateau. Essentially, your body has adjusted to the amount and type of exercise that you’re doing, so mix it up. If you normally run on the treadmill for a steady half hour, work in some sprints. Add weight to your lifting routine or try a few new moves.
8. You Need to Calm Down
Like sleep deprivation, stress causes the body to produce a ton of cortisol that leads to weight gain. Add to that the overeating that often goes with stress and you’ll see why a positive attitude and weight loss go hand in hand.
9. You Have a Medical Condition
Certain medical conditions may make it hard for you to lose weight, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism. If you’ve been trying to lose weight, have been sticking to a diet and exercise routine, and aren’t seeing results, consider getting a check-up to make sure that there’s not a medical issue impeding your progress.
10. You’re At a Healthy Weight
Finally, the fact of the matter is that you might be at a healthy weight for your body, regardless of how you want to look or think you should look.
You may eventually get to a point where your body won’t healthily lose weight and keep it off, no matter how good your habits are. Remember that fitness is about health and work on maintaining it!
What do you do when you’ve reached a plateau?