One of a dieter’s worst nightmares is reaching a point of no longer being able to lose weight. This “plateau” happens for seemingly unexplained reasons, even when everything else is being done “right.” So what gives? Why do people get to point of being unable to keep losing the weight they want to lose? Part 1 of this topic covered the first five unexpected reasons: food addiction, high stress levels, poor gut bacteria, where you live, and your genetics. If none of these reasons seem to explain why you can’t lose weight, we’ve found five more surprising reasons that might be behind your weight loss plateau:
You aren’t getting adequate sleep Sleep is one of the most important ingredients of a healthy lifestyle. Poor sleep increase your risk of obesity by 55%. Lack of sleep reduces cortisol levels, and increases growth hormones that encourage weight gain . Not getting enough sleep also suppresses the hormones that help control hunger. One study found women who got less than four hours of sleep ate an average of 300 additional calories and 21 extra grams of fat than normal . It’s true that everyone needs a different amount of sleep to operate normally, but in general 7-9 hours is a good range to be in. If you usually get 7 hours of sleep and always want to hit snooze, you probably need closer to 8 or even 9 hours. If you allow yourself 8 hours of sleep but always wake up before your alarm, your body might do just fine on an average of 7.
You need to drink more water Staying hydrated by drinking enough H20 is a great weight loss technique. While there’s nothing about water itself that makes you burn calories faster or lose weight better, by drinking water before a meal you will fill up faster, which helps with portion control. One study even discovered drinking cold water helped participants’ metabolisms speed up, and curbed their cravings for sugary beverages . Your kidneys are one of the first to suffer when you don’t drink enough water. When they don’t work right, your liver starts working overtime to compensate. And when your liver is working to make up for your kidneys, your liver can’t properly metabolize fat. If that isn’t enough to motivate you, consider this: in one study, participants who drank 17 ounces of water 30 minutes before every meal lost 44% more weight than those who didn’t!
Your diet lacks enough fiber You’ve heard about protein being a key to feeling full and not overeating. While it’s true a high-protein diet helps with this, it’s also true that fiber has the same effect. Fiber is a carbohydrate our bodies can’t digest. As such, it slows down our digestion, helping us stay feeling full for longer. The best part about fiber is how it stabilizes our glucose and insulin levels. Carbohydrates are eventually converted into sugar by our bodies. Eating high-fiber carbs makes those carbohydrates “complex,” meaning they take longer to digest and be broken down into sugar. Since less than 5% of Americans get enough fiber, this could very likely be a contributing factor to your weight loss plateau!
You forget to do strength training Cardio is great. In fact, cardio forms of exercise are really important if you want to lose weight. However. The rubber really meets the road when you add regular strength training to your cardio routine. Weight training will build muscle mass, which will increase your metabolism. You’ll wind up in better shape, preventing injuries by strengthening those muscles and joints. The best part, though, is that strength training helps you more effectively burn fat while maintaining your muscle mass! Too much cardio and you lose that hard-won muscle; weight training protects it.
You eat too many health foods This might sound contradictory. Of course you need to eat healthy food! But what many people don’t realize is how many calories their healthy food has. Yes, there are a ton of benefits to eating nuts, eggs, and avocados, but all three of those foods are also really high in calories. If you eat too much of even the good stuff, you’ll easily start consuming more calories than you burn, ultimately resulting in weight gain instead of weight loss. Start using a calorie counter for the sake of information; you probably don’t even realize how many calories you’re eating! Simply becoming aware of the snacks – even the healthy ones! – you might need to cut back on could be a huge help in getting out of your plateau. Tracking down the reasons behind why you can’t lose weight might take time, but between the five reasons we discussed in part one and these five reasons in part two of why you aren’t losing weight, you’ve at least got some clues of where to start looking!