by Jenelle Robinson, Ph.D., CHES, Assistant Professor and Health Sciences Program Director, WVSU Health, Human Performance and Leisure Studies, firstname.lastname@example.org
Many of us have tried several diet plans and succeeded. The truth is, most all diets work at helping a person to lose weight. Most dietary regimens for weight loss are based on lowering your total daily caloric intake (many times anywhere from 1200–1500 calories). However, there are some individuals who restrict their caloric intake but don’t see weight loss. These are areas that must be adjusted in order for us to continue losing weight.
1. Your body has to get used to your new regimen.
Many times, our bodies just have to adjust when we throw something different at it. When we change up the amount of calories we consume, introduce different foods or begin a new exercise program, it may just take a little time to adjust, but it shouldn’t take weeks.
2. You are not physically active enough.
You may have decided to start exercising in your efforts to lose weight, but if an individual has not significantly changed their eating habits, they are only exercising enough to maintain their current weight. Couple the exercises with a change in your eating habits to see results. If you have already changed your eating habits, you may need to lengthen your exercise regimen just a bit. Exercise at least 30 minutes to an hour, five days a week.
3. You are still eating too many calories.
Many people decrease their caloric intake in efforts to lose weight but only enough to maintain their current weight. A general rule of thumb is to consume 1200-1500 calories per day. But this will definitely depend on your gender and current weight.
4. You are eating too few calories.
What a paradox. Either you are eating too many or too few calories. While eating too many calories is not good for weight loss, eating too few calories is not ideal either. The actual act of eating enables your body to burn more calories. People who only eat one or two times a day and aren’t losing weight are likely suffering from a slowed metabolism because their bodies are used to fewer meals. For weight loss, it would be advantageous to eat at least five to six times a day. Ideally, a person should consume three regular meals (300-400 calories) with small 100-calorie (or less) snacks in between.
Hypothyroidism slows down the rate at which your body burns energy (calories). Many make great strides to eat fewer calories, eat healthier foods and exercise but see no success because they have this issue with the thyroid. There is not a whole lot that can be done besides medication and possibly surgical procedures. Check with your doctor for your options.
6. Your hormones are out of whack!
Your hormones can play a significant role in your ability to lose weight. Some ways to balance your hormone levels are to limit stress and get some sleep. Regular exercise may also help with regulating your hormones. If all else fails, your doctor may be able to prescribe medication or some type of regimen to help with this.
7. Your medication is interfering with weight loss.
Speaking of medications, taking certain medications can cause you not to lose weight. Check the labels and the pages that come with your medication to see if weight gain or water retention is listed. This may be the culprit.
8. You aren’t going to the bathroom enough.
You can eat all of the healthiest foods in the world, limit your calories and exercise like an athlete in training, but if you are only using the bathroom once a week, your weight loss will probably be limited. Simply put, weight loss could come through having good, consistent bowel movements. Also, drink more water (8–10 cups/day), which could help with “moving things along.”
9. Your body has gotten used to what you have been doing.
Many people have lost a tremendous amount of weight, only to reach a point where they stop losing weight despite sticking to a strict diet and exercise plan. The problem is that they likely have plateaued — the body has gotten used to what they’re doing. Just think, the more weight a person loses, the less food that person will need. So you can’t keep eating the same amount of food you ate 20 pounds ago and expect to continue to lose weight. The answer to this is simple: eat less OR exercise more OR eat less and exercise more OR change up your exercise routine to a higher intensity.
10. You are cheating on your “diet” more than you know.
There are those days when you get cravings…several cravings throughout the day. What you don’t realize is that giving in to these cravings is adding more calories than you know. If you only “go on a diet” and don’t make lifestyle changes of healthy eating, you will have cravings frequently and will probably cheat more than you know. People who do extreme dieting may often eat few calories but may splurge and have high-calorie or high-fat snacks. This adds up to more calories eaten and less weight lost. If you make a lifestyle change of just eating healthy and eating less calories, you don’t have to splurge, you can just set a standard of incorporating the things that you like to eat (that may be higher in sugar and fat) on a regular basis (i.e., allowing yourself one piece of cake only on Saturdays).
How many of these are impacting your weight loss?