Beat the Top 10 Fat Fighting Road Blocks
Even the best laid weight loss plans can go awry... Let’s take a look at the top 10 reasons why those extra kilos refuse to budge – and what you can do about it.
You stand at the door of your wardrobe and bite your bottom lip, wondering whether you will finally fit into that pair of jeans you bought and vowed you would lose the weight to wear. And, Damn it, you still can’t get them done up! What’s gone wrong?
Unfortunately there are many reasons you don’t lose weight as quickly as you would like, or find the needle of the scales is stuck on a particular number and refuses to budge.
1) You have no goal
Not setting achievable goals is a little like getting into a car and just starting to drive, without any idea of where you are going. After all, how are you going to know when you have reached your destination? With weight loss, if you don’t set a target, it’s easy to forget about the challenge, and as time drags on, that goal doesn’t get any closer. Decide how much weight you want to lose within a reasonable time frame (a good healthy target is 0.5kg’s per week) to help reach your target.
2) You’re not combining diet and exercise
Cutting kilojoules will help you lose weight, as will your exercise programme. However just cutting kilojoules can put your body into starvation mode which slows down your metabolism. If you do the both together your chances of losing weight (and keeping it off) increase dramatically. Exercise increases your metabolic rate, which helps you burn fat. It also increases muscle mass, which does the same thing. It’s a win-win situation.
3) You’re stressed
Constant stress increases the cortisol levels in your blood, which makes you gain weight and makes it harder to lose.
Cortisol has been called the "stress hormone" because excess cortisol is secreted during times of physical or psychological stress. This disruption of cortisol secretion may not only lead to weight gain, but it can also affect where you put on the weight. Some studies have shown that stress and elevated cortisol tend to cause fat deposition in the abdominal area rather than in the hips
Maintaining a regular exercise programme will help to alleviate stress, lower cortisol levels, lower your blood pressure and increase your fitness.
4) You’re not eating enough food
Cutting your kilojoules back to much drops your metabolic rate and your body goes into starvation mode, conserving fat because it thinks you are starving. As soon as you eat more food, you will put the weight back on (and often more). Rather eat several well balanced small meals a day and don’t skip breakfast.
5) You have no support
Get some support from family or friends. It’s always easier to achieve your goals when someone shares them with you and can encourage you along the way.
If someone else wants to join you in losing weight, that is even more of an incentive to ‘stick with it’. Hanging out with like minded people is positive peer pressure. If it’s easy to pick up bad habits from people, it’s easy to pick up good ones.
Be aware that family and friends may unknowingly sabotage your weight loss attempts by offering you treats or goodies. Tell them what you are doing and ask for their help. No real friend would refuse it.
6) You’re not getting enough sleep
Get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation can not only cause insulin changes by increasing glucose intolerance, but it may also increase hunger so you are more likely to resort to comfort food and binge eating that leads to weight gain.
These ‘eat more’ messages from your brain may be intensified by decreased leptin, a hormone secreted by fat cells, which helps switch off your appetite after a meal. Studies suggest that leptin levels diminish if you’re not getting enough sleep. Aim for 8 hours a night.
7) You’re not eating enough fibre
Keeping your fibre intake up means you feel full for longer after eating, and high fibre foods slow digestion, so that your stomach empties gradually. Studies have shown that high fibre foods can also increase production of a hormone called cholecystokin, which helps to regulate appetite. Choose unprocessed and unrefined foods to keep your fibre intake up. You can also start the day with a high fibre breakfast.
8) You’re taking medication
This is a difficult one. Some drugs will alter your metabolism, causing your body to burn calories more slowly or to store fat. Medication related weight gain has become a real issue over the last decade, as obesity increases and more people are taking treatments for chronic diseases. Discuss any possible weight gain side effects with your doctor but don’t stop taking your medication until your doctor has found an alternative.
9) You’re at a plateau
If you have been losing weight and then suddenly everything comes to a grinding halt, you have probably reached a plateau stage. This means that your body has gotten used to your exercise programme and new eating habits and if you still want to lose more weight you may have to step it up a gear. Add an extra session in the gym or extend your workout by about 15 minutes. If you run or walk try adding another couple of kilometres. If you are able to afford it this is a great time to invest in a personal trainer to give you an extra push along.
Check out this list of fundraising ideas from the British Red Cross.
10) You’re losing focus
Boredom is a huge factor in not losing weight. You need to revisit your goals and mix your programme up a little. You may even need to take a couple of days off and give your body and brain a rest.
Deprivation is no fun. If you have been really strict with an eating plan and you are getting sick of the daily grind, go out for dinner and treat yourself to whatever you fancy. It’s only one meal and you can get back on the wagon tomorrow. It’s certainly better than throwing away your whole healthy eating plan.
Try a new exercise class, hire a trainer, get a friend on board with you and stay positive. It can take years to put weight on and you’re not going to lose it overnight. Don’t give up.
If you can see yourself in one of these profiles above you can make a few simple changes to get back on track.
Sometimes it can take more than a new attitude to exercise, so if you’re not dropping the weight you want and you’re convinced your goals are realistic, talk to your doctor about whether there may be any other mitigating factors.
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