If you’re into any weight loss program, you’ve tried these formulas:
Calorie in < Calorie Out = Weight loss
More exercise = Weight loss
When I didn’t see results from these equations, I realized that weight loss is not a simple math equation. There is more than one factor involved.
Honestly, if it were too easy, 486,000 people wouldn’t be asking Google every year, “How to lose weight fast?”
Even the second most asked question about fitness is “What’s the best way to lose weight?”
Being one of those enthusiasts asking google about ways of losing weight, I discovered some shocking reasons for my weight loss plateau.
If you’ve tried everything to lose weight yet found them inefficient, this post is for you.
I have compiled some not-so-commonly discussed roadblocks in the path of losing weight and how you can overcome them.
You’ve Reached a “Weight Loss Plateau”
Did you know that your metabolism slows down with weight loss resulting in burning fewer calories than you did at the beginning?
That means, if you can’t lose weight (for no obvious reason), you have reached the weight loss plateau.
The reason is muscle loss. Muscle is lost along with fat as you lose weight. And since muscle aids in keeping your metabolic rate(calorie burning) high, losing muscle decreases the speed of weight loss.
Even if you eat the same calories as before, your slower metabolism will limit weight loss. It doesn’t matter if you burn more calories than you consume.
What You Can Do
- Increase strength training
Resistance training aids in fat reduction by increasing post-exercise fat burning and muscle mass formation boosting metabolic rate.
- Examine your habits
Take a look at your previous eating and exercise logs to see where you are. Prevent yourself from eating too much or exercising too little. Experts say that intermittent relaxing of restrictions adds to plateaus.
- Watch your calories
Increasing the gap between calories in and out is better to overcome the weight loss plateau.
- Increase the intensity and frequency of your workouts
Your body may have become accustomed to the exercises you do daily. So, changing activities, increasing movements, and varying the frequency of exercises can play a huge role in overcoming the weight loss plateau. Change your routine every month. As long as your muscles are challenged, they’ll keep burning fat.
- Increase muscle mass
To increase the metabolic rate, gain muscle mass by undertaking hypertrophy training. Research shows that you’ll rebuild muscle faster on your rest days if you feed your body carbohydrates.
Your Gut Is Acting Against You
According to WebMD, the gut microbiome that digests meals and absorbs nutrients has a massive impact on your weight-loss ability.
Researchers studied the gut microbiome of 77 twins, one with obesity and the other without.
Obese twins had different gut microbes than their non-obese twins. They also found that overweight people had a decreased variety of gut bacteria, which meant fewer kinds of bacteria in the gut.
Furthermore, other studies found that when mice were fed with the gut flora of obese persons, they gained weight. So, gut bacteria may be linked with weight gain/loss.
The human body cannot digest fiber, but certain good bacteria in the digestive tract can. Research attests. That also means that gut bacteria that break down fiber produce a variety of compounds that improve gut health and may help people lose weight.
It’s also found that people who consume more fiber tend to be leaner, signaling the crucial part of gut bacteria in digesting fiber.
What You Can Do
- Increase your intake of whole grains, nuts, asparagus, bananas, green vegetables, beans, etc.
- Secondly, eat probiotic foods rich in good bacteria, such as Sauerkraut, Kefir, Kimchi, Kombucha, Tempeh, etc.
- The addition of polyphenol-rich foods, such as dark chocolate, almonds, blueberries, green tea, etc., aids in developing healthy gut bacteria.
- Do not overuse artificial sweeteners as they kill the gut bacteria that aid in metabolic activity.
- Use spices like turmeric, ginger, cinnamon in your cooking as they help you get rid of harmful gut microbes.
- Consume a vegetarian diet if possible. Studies have shown that vegetarians’ gut microbiomes differ significantly from those of meat-eaters — the vegetarian diet contains a high amount of prebiotic fiber that keeps the gut healthy.
You Are Unaware of Your Stress Eating Habits
Did you know that certain meals trigger the brain’s secretion of opiate-like, “feel-good’ neurotransmitters called serotonin?”
Since the pandemic made people feel lonely, frightened, or bored, turning to food to “self-soothe” became an unnoticeable habit.
According to American Psychiatric Association studies, many of us are much more nervous about the world situation. So, it’s natural to seek solace in food and drink.
The University of Liverpool’s recent research showed that nearly half of those polled developed unhealthy eating habits after the lockdown. A staggering 47% started exercising less than they used to before the pandemic.
Long story short, the unlimited access to food and alcohol, lack of structure, and financial anxieties forces you to overeat and drink.
What You Can Do
- Preparation is the key
Make a meal plan and stick to it. Keep a shopping list handy to prevent making impulsive food choices. Set aside time for “treats” as well.
- Drink plenty of fluids
It’s important to stay hydrated to avoid fatigue, sluggishness, and poor focus, as well as an increased desire for food. When you’re thirsty, it’s easy to mistake that for hunger. You can also consume two glasses of water 30 minutes before a meal to suppress your appetite — research suggests.
- Keep moving (a lot)
The benefits of exercise don’t have to come from a grueling workout; simply getting some fresh air and a change of scenery can positively affect mood and general health.
- Consult an expert
Emotional eating or binge eating can be a temporary phase or a deeply stressful behavior. Consult your primary care physician or a licensed specialty expert if you are experiencing anxiety about your eating habits.
Weight Loss Is a Journey. Don’t Lose Hope.
So, now that you know what could be stopping you from hitting your monthly weight loss goals, nothing can stop you.
Whether you lose weight or not, always remember — Motion is the best lotion in keeping your body healthy and fit.
Don’t stop trying. Don’t stop exercising. Don’t lose hope!