3 Reasons Why You're Not Losing Body Fat
Getting lean is never easy. It can take months or even years to lose stubborn fat and shape your body. Most times, diet and exercise are not enough. What you do outside the gym has a greater impact on your weight and metabolism than the 60 minutes you spend lifting weights. Nutrition is important too. Every calorie matters. The fruit juice you drink at lunch, your morning latte, and your daily glass of wine - they all have calories.
If you've been struggling to lose weight for a while, you might be doing something wrong. Here are three common fat loss blunders that could be hampering your progress:
Your lifestyle is a mess
In today's hectic society, it's impossible to avoid stress. When you're juggling multiple jobs, going through a breakup, or working long hours, your cortisol levels go sky high. Cortisol, the stress hormone, impacts your metabolism and energy expenditure. It also disrupts your hormonal balance, promotes fat storage, and slows down weight loss. Chronic stress increases your appetite and triggers sugar cravings, which only makes things worse.
If you're serious about weight loss, reduce the stress in your life. Get more sleep, avoid overtraining, and steer clear of crash diets. Starving yourself and working out for hours is a recipe for disaster. These habits elevate your cortisol levels and keep you from getting lean. Try relaxation techniques, such as yoga, deep breathing, massage, acupuncture, and meditation, to lower your stress levels.
You're skimping on sleep
Good sleep and fat loss go hand in hand. The less you sleep, the higher your chances of gaining weight. If you need an alarm clock to wake up in the morning, you probably need more rest. Even though sleep alone doesn't lead to weight loss, it impacts your metabolism and fat-burning hormones. Additionally, it plays a major role in muscle building, tissue repair, and brain function.
When you're sleep deprived, your ghrelin levels go up and leptin levels drop. Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, makes you crave unhealthy foods and eat mindlessly. Leptin, the satiety hormone, reduces hunger and cravings. At the same time, your cortisol levels increase. To shed fat, it's essential to keep these hormones under control. Aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night. If you're struggling with insomnia or other sleep disorders, consume foods rich in tryptophan, magnesium, zinc, and HTP. These include turkey, beef, oats, cheese, shellfish, and seaweed.
You're obsessed with the scale
The scale only tells part of the story. It's not an accurate indicator of body composition. The numbers you see on the scale say nothing about your lean mass, bone mass, water weight, and fat levels. These factors vary depending on your diet, sodium intake, hormones, and other variables. For instance, someone who's lifting weights can lose fat and build muscle, but stay at the same weight. Just think about athletes and bodybuilders. They are super shredded despite weighting more than the average person. It's not uncommon to see female lifters who weigh over 180 pounds and look lean all over.
Your body weight also depends on what you eat on a daily basis. If you have a carb-rich meal for dinner, you'll weigh more the next day because of the extra carbs. The same goes for sodium, which holds water. Additionally, women tend to weigh more before and during their period due to fluid retention. Some gain up to 10 pounds within a week or so. However, it's just water weight. Don’t let the scale determine how you feel about yourself. Use a skinfold caliper, measuring tape, before-and-after photos, or some old jeans to get an accurate picture of your progress.
- A hectic lifestyle increases your stress levels, leading to weight gain and hormonal imbalances.
- Proper sleep is one of the most overlooked aspects of fat loss. If you want to drop weight, get more Zzz’s.
- The scale doesn’t reflect your lean mass, body fat levels, water weight, and bone mass. There are better ways to track your progress, from skinfold calipers to measuring tape.
- Depending on your hormone levels and diet, your weight can fluctuate throughout the day. High-carb and high-sodium foods may cause fluid retention.