You are careful with what you eat, but the weight still remains. You exercise, you drink plenty of water and nothing happens. So what are you doing wrong?
You are trying to lose weight, but nothing seems to be working. Each day passes by and with each step of the scale you lose hope that the weight will never come off. You’ve reviewed what you eat a million times. No, make that a trillion times. You know you exercise so that can’t be it, right? Well, here are at least 3 reasons why the weight might not be coming off how you’d like.
Reason #1: You’re eating the wrong things
- Whole wheat bread: next time you go grocery shopping pick up a loaf of whole wheat bread and 9 times out of 10 (yes, even brands like Weight Watchers and Wonder bread) you will see the words “refined” or “enriched” flour (which is flour stripped of its natural nutrients and “not-so-natural” nutrients are added to replace them) or “high fructose corn syrup” (which has been linked to obesity) listed in the ingredients. Bottom line: the first ingredient in whole wheat bread should be, as you guessed, whole wheat, and the bread should contain other wholesome healthy ingredients.
- Organic: just because the word “organic” is on the food label does not make it healthy. Organic sugary snacks and cereals may use organic ingredients, but still may contain high amounts of sugar and other unwanted ingredients.
- Flavored yogurt: if the yogurt does not contain whole fruit, chances are the sugar content is high. It’s healthier to buy the plain yogurt and add your favorite fresh, or frozen, fruit to it.
- Fat substitutes: most fat substitutes do just as they sound – substitute for the fat in the food. Some substitute just for the taste. But just because low-fat or fat-free is advertised does not mean more should be consumed. Still stick to the serving size regardless of the low or no fat content.
Reason #2: You’re not strength training
Many people just think that going to a few aerobics classes or going for their daily morning runs are enough to lose weight. But strength training plays a very important role in maintaining and/or increasing lean body mass (muscle) and will, therefore, help to burn more fat.
Two reasons often heard why people don’t strength train are fear of gaining too much muscle or a common myth that a lot of fancy gym equipment is needed. In fact, you don’t need to be afraid of gaining too much muscle because those that gain muscle, like bodybuilders, have huge fitness regimens that come nowhere close to the fitness regimens of the “everyday-fitness-folk”. As far as fancy equipment goes, all you need is you! Remember, back in high school gym class you did those push ups? Well, start there and build on that. A good guideline is to begin with the government’s recommendations for physical activity and that should get you off to a good start.
Reason #3: You’re not getting enough sleep
These days everyone is on the go. Got to get the kids to school, got to get to work, got to, got to, got to! No rest and all “play”! Lack of sleep may lead you to be hungrier during the day. Your brain sends out certain signals due to sleep deprivation, fatigue and hunger, however, those signals tend to get mixed up. So instead of taking a nap, which is what the body really wants, you end up eating more, thinking that was what the body wanted.
So sleep deprivation can lead to an increased appetite (which can lead to obesity), but one other thing to understand is that obesity can lead to sleep deprivation. Many overweight and obese people tend to have sleep problems, such as sleep apnea. So if you’re suffering from sleep deprivation because you’re obese you may also find yourself eating a lot throughout the day. The cycle just keeps going around and around and yet no progress is ever made. Addressing the issue of the sleep problem itself, with the assistance of your doctor, should reverse the cycle and help you get more sleep. By getting more sleep, hopefully, that gets your mind off of food.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
- American Heart Association.
- Herrera, L., Kravitz, L. Yes! You Do Burn Fat During Resistance Exercise. IDEA Fitness Journal. 2009:6(4)
- Sleep Foundation.