The struggle is real when you have a plan to lose weight, research the latest diet, invest the time and money into that diet, just to find out that you’re not losing the weight! Even though there can be many factors that affect weight loss, the following top reasons can be why you are struggling to lose those stubborn pounds!
1. Portion Distortion
When going on any diet plan, unless the food is weighed out and measured, it is easy to either underestimate or overestimate the number of calories you are consuming. Many diets out there, such as the plant-based diet, keto diet, low-carb diet, promote eating until you’re comfortably full or even to eat as much as you want, as long as you’re eating the “approved” foods from that program. However, if we consume more calories than we burn, our bodies will eventually store those calories as fat. Even if those calories come from vegetables, fruits, or any other healthy foods, too many calories consumed will lead to fat storage.
Nutritional research has shown that we tend to eat more if given larger portions or if given the freedom to eat as much as we want, such as at a buffet type setting. Research has also shown that premeal planning is the most powerful predictor of the amount consumed. There are phone apps, such as My Fitness Pal, that will give you an accurate view of your caloric and nutrient intake and help you determine approximately how many calories you need a day to lose weight based on your gender, height, weight, age, and activity level. You can then measure and weigh out your foods to match your daily caloric needs in an effort to reach your target goal weight. Portion control plates and containers are other great tools to help track how much you’re eating.
2. The Types of Foods You’re Eating
Processed foods that are full of preservatives, chemicals, toxic substances, and other unnatural ingredients, are going to play havoc with your body chemistry. Also, your body will store those toxic chemicals as fat. When you don’t feed your body whole natural foods, it will mess with your hormones, insulin levels, and overall body chemistry, which will eventually affect your weight. Don’t buy processed diet foods! Just don’t! Whole natural plant foods (fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes) are not only full of nutrients and healthy fiber, it will help you get the weight loss results much faster and will also help balance out your body chemistry and improve your overall health! This leads to the next reason for stalled weight loss, which is lack of nutrients.
3. Lack of Nutrients
As stated above, there are certain “diet foods” that lack nutrients and are toxic to the body, such as yogurt with refined sugar, processed rice cakes, and weight loss bars. Your body needs live nutrients from raw and living foods (fruits, vegetables, greens, nuts, seeds, and sprouts) to perform at its optimal level. Our bodies are made up of trillion of cells, which require the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to perform their jobs. If our cells lack any one nutrient, then certain processes in our bodies are compromised because the cells don’t have the raw materials to do what it is designed to do, such as properly regulating our metabolism. Eat a diet of nutrient rich plant-based whole foods, and your body will come into balance. Once the body is in balance, it will then start shedding off the extra weight.
4. Lack of Sleep
Research has demonstrated that lack of sleep raises cortisol levels, slows metabolism, and can accelerate the development of insulin resistance, all leading to weight gain and even obesity. In addition, there are two hormones that control our appetite throughout the day. Leptin, which suppresses the appetite, and ghrelin which increases our appetite. When we’re sleep deprived, it can alter the ghrelin and leptin levels in that the ghrelin hormone is increased, which will make you want to eat even more. Also, it has been shown that we tend to make poorer food choices when we’re tired. It’s very tempting to eat a piece of chocolate cake and drink some soda just to wake ourselves up during those afternoon slumps! Instead, go to bed a little earlier and drink some herbal tea that helps aid in getting a good night sleep.
5. Chronic Stress
When our bodies are in a state of chronic stress, our cortisol and adrenaline levels are high, which makes it more difficult to lose weight. In fact, chronically elevated cortisol levels can cause weight gain! Finding ways to relieve stress will help you not only feel better but will also help you lose those stubborn pounds. Praying, meditating, going for a walk, reading a good, taking a hot bath, are some examples of ways to relieve stress.
Not only do our bodies require all nutrients, minerals, and vitamins to run optimally, it also requires water to ensure that our bodies function properly and remains healthy. Water is the main component of every organ, muscles, and bones. When it comes to metabolism, water helps the body burn more calories. When one is not drinking enough water, the metabolism will slow down due to dehydration. Studies have shown that drinking 2 cups of water before a meal, can increase your metabolic rate by 30 percent! Water promotes weight loss by helping suppress the appetite and by increasing fat loss through lipolysis, which is the breakdown of fats (Thornton, 2016). Therefore, the more water you drink, the less hungry you are and the faster your metabolism can work to burn off those extra calories.
7. Health Challenges / Medical Conditions
Health challenges, such as thyroid disorder, diabetes, PCOS, can make it more challenging for one to lose weight. Certain medications can also make it difficult to lose weight. The optimal solution is to consume a diet that is going to help you both overcome your health challenges and help you lose the extra weight. So what is the solution to these top 7 reasons and what is the best diet for both weight loss and for improving your health? In my next article, I will go into detail on what the perfect diet is for overcoming these challenges and for losing weight effortlessly.