We are constantly bombarded with news articles and advice on easy ways to lose weight. From “juicing” and detox programs, to Paleo diet plans and intense exercise regimes, it seems like there is an infinite number of ways for us to shed some unwanted body fat. But although you’ve been reading weight loss tips, exercising regularly, and making healthier food choices, the pounds still seem to be clinging to you — and you have no idea why.
Most people agree that the best way to lose weight is to burn more calories than you consume. Sounds simple enough, right? Unfortunately, there are many other factors that can affect your body’s ability to quickly lose weight — many of which are not that obvious.
If you have been working tirelessly to lose weight but are still faced with the same numbers on the scale every morning, the following reasons could be to blame:
1 – You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep.
Research has shown that people who sleep less than 7 hours a night are as much as 30% more likely to gain weight. Sleep deprivation can affect the ways our body communicates our appetite to us. Also, when we don’t get enough sleep, our energy levels drop significantly, making it likely that we won’t work out for as long — or as hard— as we otherwise would be able to.
2 – You’re Not Drinking Enough Water.
We know that we are supposed to drink 8 oz. of water on a daily basis. But most of us don’t really consider why. Not only can hydrating yourself throughout the day help suppress your appetite and prevent you from over-eating, but H2O is also essential for proper liver and kidney functioning. When you are dehydrated, your body is storing more fat than it is burning.
3 – You’re Skipping Meals.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they want to lose weight quickly is skipping meals. Your body requires a certain number of calories and nutrients to function properly. When you starve yourself, you are really hurting your metabolism. Your body goes into survival mode and then clings to and stores whatever you eat next. It is much more beneficial to eat six small meals throughout the day than it is to eat two “regular” sized ones, then skip dinner.
4 – You’re Consuming Too Many Calories from Liquids.
Many people assume that as long as they are drinking diet soda they are fine —especially when it says it contains zero calories. But most of these soft drinks are loaded with artificial sweeteners, many of which can leave you feeling hungrier than you actually are. When you add this on top of the calories contained in the cream and sugar from your morning coffee, plus the calories in the glass of red wine you have with dinner— they can quickly add up.
5 – You’re Overeating Healthy Foods.
It is easy to believe we are free to snack as much as we want, so long as we are choosing grapes and almonds instead of potato chips. But it is important to remember that, in addition to replacing your Milky-Way with a Zone Bar, these healthier options also need to be portioned properly.
6 – You’re Skimping on Essential Food Groups.
For your body to function at its optimal level, you need to maintain a balanced diet of all the basic food groups — including protein, dairy, and yes, even fat. Adjusting your diet is one of the best ways to lose weight, but that does not mean completely cutting out certain groups. Your body needs healthy amounts of (good) fat just as much as it needs fiber and protein.
7 – You’re Getting Too Topping-happy.
Similarly to how the calories in our beverages can creep upon us, toppings, dressings, and condiments can stagnate our efforts to lose weight as well. While your intentions of ordering a salad for lunch are good, the benefits are canceled out when you cover the nutrients from the veggies in bacon bits and creamy piles of ranch dressing. When it comes to salad dressings and flavorful toppings, considering making your own oil and season-based concoctions so you can control not only the portions but the processed ingredients as well.
8 – You’re Not Making Your Workouts Count.
Running, jogging, and other cardio workouts are great for keeping your heart in shape and preventing cardiovascular disease. But if you are looking for easy ways to lose weight, you need to make sure your workouts are incorporating some form of strength training as well. Our muscle burns more calories than fat, so if you are looking to burn belly fat, you need to mix high-intensity regimes into your plan.
9 – You’re Eating on an Empty Stomach.
There is a difference between eating just because you are bored and waiting until you are completely famished before indulging. You don’t want to let yourself get too hungry before you eat because when you do, you are much more likely to overeat. We don’t feel our fullest until 20 minutes after we are done eating, and it can be difficult to pace ourselves when all we can think about is how hungry we are
10 – You Aren’t Keeping Track of What You Eat.
If no one saw us eat it, do the calories still count? Many of us underestimate exactly how much we have eaten throughout the day, especially when we aren’t holding ourselves accountable. Listing out on a daily basis everything we consume can help give us a better idea of how many calories we are consuming, and where changes can be made.