Each year, tens of millions of Americans vow to lose weight, yet more than half of those who lose weight will gain it back, and the more weight lost the lower the chances of keeping it off. So what can you do if you want to shed a few pounds and keep it off, or if you are trying but not losing weight?
You can start by setting a no-fail game plan for losing weight by avoiding these pitfalls. Research says that these are the reasons why you may not be losing weight:
Why You May Not Be Losing Weight
You exercise a lot but not are watching your diet closely enough.
Maybe your strategy is to still eat all those high calorie foods, but exercise twice as much. Unfortunately for those of us who love a good Zumba class, that game plan doesn’t work. Exercise is important to a healthy body, but it won’t necessarily be enough to take off extra weight – and keep it off without also watching your calorie intake. In time, our bodies adapt to those higher activity levels, so that we don’t necessarily burn extra calories even if we exercise more.
You are looking for a quick fix.
It’s sort of the new American way, right? People who have tried losing weight via the good old diet and exercise route report much lower satisfaction with the results than those who go to weight loss surgery and prescription weight loss medications. Did you know that the most common search terms on the web about weight loss are about losing weight fast and losing weight without trying? Guess what, folks. Losing weight is about making lifestyle changes, and those can take some time.
You don’t know why you gained weight in the first place.
Most people approach weight loss via diet and exercise. However, the people who achieve long term success do so by analyzing how food makes them feel and why.
Your psychological relationship with food and exercise may actually be the biggest reason for weight gain. We become emotionally attached to food from the time we are very young. Food is not only used for nourishment; but also for celebration, reward, and consolation. If we overlook those feelings, we will feel unfulfilled and sabotage our efforts to lose weight. Weight loss is just as much about our emotional wellbeing as it is about diet and exercise.
You don’t keep a food diary.
Having a diary of your daily food intake allows you to look for patterns that you may not have realized before. This will allow you to tap in to any unhealthy habits, and perhaps learn how or why they got started in the first place. Perhaps you will notice a certain time of day that you typically reach for a snack, or maybe you will find that your mood is dictating your cravings.
One large scale study found that keeping a food diary can double a person’s weight loss. The key to breaking bad habits is to understand them, which will allow you to create new, healthier habits.
You gave up at a plateau.
The human body is designed to resist attempts to lose weight. Just what we need, right? As if our mother’s apple pie wasn’t enough of a barrier. Research proves that weight loss from exercise and calorie restriction will simply stop at a certain point.
If you aren’t losing weight because you are at a plateau, don’t give up. Consider increasing your exercise routines for a little while, perhaps with longer workouts, higher intensity, or cross training. Weight loss isn’t like a slide at a playground. There will be ebbs and flows, so make sure you have a stick-to-it attitude until you achieve success.
You are too optimistic.
On the other hand, being too optimistic could also be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. When negative emotions are causing you to eat too much, eat the wrong foods, or both – you have the ability to improve through awareness of those harmful habits. Once those habits and the emotions behind them have been identified and overcome, confidence will grow and sustained weight loss will take place. When people already feel great about themselves, it may be harder to distinguish the patterns that could have caused weight gain.
You skip the cardio and lift weights instead.
Anyone who has been to a gym has likely seen one of those lunkeads who can lift six gazillion pounds but does not even glance over at the cardio equipment. A study out of Duke University found that aerobic training is actually a better mode of exercise for burning fat than resistance training, and a combination of the two. It is also a more efficient method of exercise for losing body fat, which means that you can spend less time watching lunkheads if you are running on the treadmill.
You don’t consume enough calcium.
Are you getting enough calcium? It may be worth taking note. Though we’ve heard since childhood that calcium is vital to our health, many of us still do not consume enough of it, either in our regular diets or via supplements. Boosting calcium intake can help with weight loss in people whose diets are calcium deficient, as it seems to curb the desire to eat.
You don’t get enough sleep.
Inadequate sleep is strongly connected to weight gain and obesity. Sleep is a key part of any weight loss plan, though the advice of getting more sleep to lose weight is often ignored. Late bedtimes and sleep deprivation contributes to weight gain by increasing the stimulus to consume more food as well as increasing appetite-regulating hormones.
You don’t drink enough water.
Water is an easy appetite-control agent that people too often ignore. For those who don’t drink enough of the clear stuff, increasing water consumption is an effective weight loss strategy. In fact, people who drank two cups of water right before eating a meal eat fewer calories during that meal. Doing that before each meal can lead to a significant reduction in calorie intake.
Get your no-fail game plan for losing weight ready by avoiding the pitfalls mentioned here. So, who’s thirsty?
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