You work out regularly, try to watch what you eat, but you just can’t seem to lose the extra weight. It’s frustrating and you feel like giving up completely. Wouldn’t a better solution be to identify the problem and work to overcome those problems?
1. You may be eating more calories than you burn in the gym.
Safe, permanent, measurable weight loss requires a calorie deficit. The number of calories you consume must be less than the number you burn every day through your metabolism and exercise. To lose one pound of fat you must burn 3500 calories. You can eat 3500 fewer calories, burn an extra 3500 or a combination of the two, this math will never change.
2. You may be burning fewer calories than you eat.
Same math but from a different angle. You may be eating a healthy, natural diet, you’ve cut out the pizza, chips and colas but you still can’t lose weight. This time you need to look more closely at your exercise program, you need a new approach or you need to step it up and increase the frequency and intensity. If you train 30 minutes 2 or 3 times each week, you may need to increase to 60 minutes 5 days a week. If you enjoy your Yoga class but don’t see fat loss results, you may need to add cardio and resistance training before or after or on alternating days.
3. You may be eating too many snacks and treats.
That frappuccino you had this morning contains more calories than a large meal. If you snack between meals, stay away from traditional snacks, chips, candy or colas. All calories with no nutritional value. It may seem tedious, but a simple 99 cent spiral notebook as a food diary can help you identify problem areas, times of day and circumstances that cause unchecked junk and calorie consumption.
4. You are not practicing portion control or eating 5-6 smaller meals a day instead of the traditional 2-3 meals.
Unless you are following an intermittent fasting diet, you should not go longer than 3-4 hours between meals. Doing so will cause large spikes and peaks and valleys in blood sugar, insulin and cortisol, hormones responsible for burning or storing fat. Additionally, if you skip meals, your body senses the interruption in your food supply and anticipates a famine. Your brain begins to prepare for long periods of no food by storing body fat for emergency fuel. While you are working hard to lose fat, your body is working harder to preserve body fat stores.
5. You are not dealing with stress.
The stress of daily living, work, school, family, etc. Your brain deals with stress by craving “happy hormones” endorphins and dopamine which are released following a sugar rush. Sugar activates the same dopamine receptors as illicit drugs, and your brain will cause you to crave sugar in order to get its fix. Stress causes stress eating and that stress eating involves sugar. Stress eating also leads to binge eating and emotional eating episodes. Dealing with your stress can avoid this stress and sugar cycle.