Have you ever tried to lose weight only to have your weight loss efforts somehow become stubbornly ineffective, despite your best efforts at losing body fat? Here are 6 reasons that – regardless of your good intentions – your body is probably holding onto body fat.
Don’t let these common mistakes become the EXCUSES that you use for why you aren’t getting RESULTS!
Life is going to come by and smack you in the face from time to time – it happens. Divorce, drama, loss of a job, health concerns about yourself or someone you care about – these things happen. However, they are NOT an excuse to just give up – to the contrary, actually. The more life is a battle for you, the more you need to be EQUIPPED for that battle. Whether that means losing weight and skyrocketing your self-confidence, or if it means beefing up your body’s defenses by engaging in a consistent, effective exercise program, the bottom line is the same; the tougher your life is, the tougher YOU need to be to handle it. Rough times are not a time to give up – they are a time to RISE up!
Your thyroid is out of whack.
If the scale is creeping up, but your eating and exercise routine hasn’t changed, it’s a good idea to ask your doc for a TSH (or thyroid-stimulating hormone) test. Your thyroid hormones help regulate your metabolism, and in those with hypothyroidism, the body produces too little of them. Other symptoms include being tired all the time and hair loss. The good news is that you can work with your doctor to help get your thyroid – and metabolism – back on track, or begin taking a pill such as Synthroid.
If you still believe that starving yourself and only eating once or twice a day is going to help you lose weight, you could not be more wrong. When you don’t eat small, frequent meals throughout the day, your metabolism slows down considerably, and your body goes into “starvation mode” – in other words, your body thinks it is not going to get nutrients very often. Then, when you do eat that “well-deserved” meal late in the day, your body stashes away as many calories from that meal as it can in preparation for the next starvation period. Those calories are stored as body fat, usually in your stomach, legs, butt, and any where else your body can find to keep it. Having large, infrequent meals is the opposite of losing body fat.
You’re feeling “blah.”
Smile! Happiness may be a surprising weight-loss wonder. Worms given a boost of serotonin, a chemical linked to improved mood, cut their fat levels by up to 50 percent, finds a study in Cell Metabolism. “Serotonin signals the brain to speed up metabolism, which hinders fat storage in both worms and humans,” says study author Kaveh Ashrafi, Ph.D., of the University California, San Francisco. Though there aren’t any studies proving that serotonin alone can blast a significant amount of fat in humans, recent research indicates that stress triggers changes in metabolism that increases one’s odds of obesity. A simple deep breath could do your body good.
You eat carbs before you exercise.
If you work out regularly, but aren’t seeing results, you may be using your sweat sessions to rationalize indulging in extra calories. (Think: I jogged for three miles so I can eat that brownie sundae). Or, you may be having the wrong kind of pre-workout snack – such as carb-heavy crackers. To improve exercise-induced fat loss, skip carbs two hours before a workout, says Dan Goldberg, a certified personal trainer at Fitness Forum Health Club in Fayetteville, NY. Those who did so before a 30-minute bike ride burned more fat than those who had a carb-rich snack, report researchers from the Technical University of Munich. Protein-rich foods with dairy, such as low-fat yogurt or a half-cup of chocolate milk, are better pre-exercise options.
High Sodium Low-fat FoodsThe majority of the foods that we eat get their flavor from 1 of 3 things: Fat, Sugar, or Salt (sodium). If you are shopping in the alleged “healthy section” – especially in the frozen foods area – you are probably mesmerized by the Low-Fat labels on everything. What those labels DON’T tell you, however, is that in order to make those foods taste good, they are instead stuffed with carbohydrates and/or sodium, both of which retard your body’s ability to burn body fat and show off the muscles underneath. In addition, since people equate “low fat” as being a low-calorie alternative, they tend to eat more total calories than their bodies need, and those extra calories – despite coming from a low-fat food source – still end up getting stored as body fat. You might as well just eat ice cream and at least enjoy the indulgence, because from a weight loss perspective, those low-fat foods are usually not going to actually help you lose weight.
You do extreme diets or fasts.
If you’re fasting to try to melt fat faster, it could backfire by sending your body into starvation mode and slowing down your metabolism. “You’re going to lose lots of water weight by fasting or doing a liquid-only diet, but you’ll also lose muscle because you’re depriving your body of essential nutrients such as protein,” says Joy Dubost, PhD, RD, CSSD, also a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. That makes it harder to lose later because it leaves you with less muscle to burn extra calories and boost metabolism.
You only do cardio.
Studies show that resistance training, such as lifting free weights, followed by a cardio session burns more fat than cardio alone. “For the average person, it’s best to do cardio after weight-training because your muscles need fuel to for maximum lifting performance,” says Goldberg. “If you deplete that fuel with aerobic exercise, you won’t get as many fat-burning benefits from weight-training.”
Your “best intentions” to really stick to your workout program or your nutrition plan are nothing more than self-indulgent hot air if you don’t back up those intentions with actual, consistent work towards those goals. A lack of planning on your part does not mean that your body is going to forgive you and start releasing body fat even though you forgot to bring a healthy lunch, or because you left your workout towel in the dryer at home. Plan out your day (or your week) in advance to be sure that with regard to your nutritional needs or your workout regimen, you are prepared every single day to do what you need to do to get results. At the end of the day (week, month, year, or decade), your body doesn’t care about your lack of planning. All it cares about is whether or not you did the work.
You wait too long to eat breakfast.
You may be in a mad rush to get out the door in the morning, but putting breakfast until 10 a.m. when you wake up at 7 only starts you off low on energy – and slows your metabolism. “The simple act of eating could raise your metabolic rate by as much as 10 percent,” says Susan Kleiner, R.D., co-author of The Good Mood Diet and The Power Food Nutrition Plan. “You’ll actually burn more calories by having breakfast first thing.” To save time, make breakfasts that you can grab-and-go the night before: Try hard-boiling protein-packed eggs, or making smoothies to store in the fridge by blending a cup skim milk, 3 ice cubes, and 1 1/4 cup frozen strawberries or blackberries.
If any or all of these reasons that your body holds onto body fat are a part of YOUR lifestyle, now is the time to make a change. Don’t beat yourself up because of what you’ve done in the past – just plan and follow through on doing better in the future. At the end of the day, you are either overweight, or you’re not. And YOU are the only person who controls that.
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