If you’ve been on the hamster wheel of diet and exercise but are not losing weight, then you may be making some common mistakes.
If you think that you have hit a plateau or are not losing weight at all, you needn’t worry. It’s common to hit a temporary plateau, but it doesn’t mean you’ll never lose fat.
Your weight can fluctuate depending on a number of factors. For example, the foods you eat and your hormones can affect how much water you retain, in turn affecting your weight. Also, through exercise you can gain muscle while losing fat. Since muscle weighs more than body fat, your scale may not reflect any weight loss at all.
To better gauge how much weight you have actually lost, it’s important to measure your body fat percentage. There are simple ways to do this, including measuring your waist or even measuring the fit of your clothes. If you want more accurate measurements, you could use DEXA scans or Bod Pods to evaluate your body composition.
One of the most common ways people start off an exercise program is with steady state cardio for long periods of time (for example on a spin bike or treadmill). Although you may burn fat initially, this approach will eventually start to strip away muscle, lowering your resting metabolism.
On the other hand, resistance training helps build muscle. This in turn will lift your resting metabolism, since muscle burns through more calories than does fat. Also, instead of doing long, steady-state cardio, try high-intensity interval training. This type of workout will burn more calories in a shorter period of time.
If you don’t get enough sleep, levels of ghrelin, known as the “hunger hormone,” start to increase in your body. Ghrelin is responsible for increasing your appetite, which can lead you to consume more calories than you would if you weren’t sleep-deprived.
The high calorie counts in soda, energy drinks and even fruit juices can add up over the course of a day, and excess calories will be stored as fat. Try unsweetened tea or simply drink plain water instead.
A high calorie count and lack of nutritional benefit make alcohol a problem for those who are trying to lose weight.