You decide to get on the scale again for what feels like the millionth time, just to see the number remain the same as it has over the past couple of weeks. You feel like you have tried numerous tactics to lose weight and nothing seems to be working. Now you are losing your patience, and worst, you are losing your motivation to keep going.
No matter how soon you want to get to your weight goal, it is a slow process that can be held up by various factors, including stress, diets, sleep, and exercise, just to name a few. But how?
Stress is inevitable, and yet humans have not figured out efficient mechanisms on how to manage it. When your body senses a threat, a stressor, or goes into “fight-or-flight” mode, it releases hormones. Specifically, the “stress hormone” otherwise known as cortisol. It lingers around after the threat fades away, and tells your body it needs to replenish your food supply, which then causes you to eat more than you need to. Not only that but also the cortisol is stored from chronic stress and is prone to settling in your belly, turning into visceral fat, because of the large supply of blood vessels and cortisol receptors in that area of the body. Too much cortisol slows down your metabolism by trying to conserve energy to manage all the stress.
Solution: Find something that calms down the tension in your life to help with weight management. Write in a journal, mani/pedi, exercise! You’ll be surprised.
Perhaps you have heard of a few of the trending fad diets: Keto, Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, and the list go on. Why do some diets seem to work for some and not for others? Well, if you let people practice their current fad diet long enough, you’ll see that it stops working for them as well, and their weight slowly, or abruptly comes back. Diets work as the short term quick fix, but they are not sustainable. They are often difficult to carry out for long periods of time and can seem quite restrictive.
Solution: You have to go with something that you can stick with forever, such as making small changes to your eating habits, slowly and progressively. Try substituting that sweet tea or soda for a glass of water, or substituting those cookies or fries for a bowl of fresh fruit. Small changes create habits that can last a lifetime and yield major results on the scale.
Sleep is used to regenerate the body. Get refueled for the next day. Without it, we feel helpless and overly fatigued. Insomnia can affect the hormones in our body that regulate our appetite. There are cravings that we tend to sense more when we are tired and lacking sleep. If you’re human and not sleeping enough, you tend to lack self-control and the ability to fight temptation when it comes to food as well.
Solution: Get the recommended 6-8 hours of sleep a night. Not just one night, but every night. Your mood, appetite, and overall wellbeing will feel a lot better being fully rested. For the sake of trying to lose those pounds you have been trying to get rid of, create a sleep schedule and stick to it,
Perhaps you have a favorite exercise routine or group fitness class, and you can’t seem to steer away from it. Or maybe you have grown bored with the routine and cannot seem to get that “runner’s high” or feel good after your workouts anymore. And with both cases, you just can’t seem to keep the weight loss trend going that was once a success. Now is the time to switch things up. Once your body does the same exercise for so long, it adapts to those movements and is no longer working as hard as it did when you first started the routine. Once you become efficient at one exercise, your body no longer has to burn as many calories because it has mastered the movement.
Solution: Mix up your workout routine. One day/week may be for circuit training or HIIT workouts. The next may be solely for cardio or just strength/resistance training. The best way to go about planning your workouts is to combine cardio and strength training. Cardio is good for improving your aerobic fitness and burning the most calories, while the strength/resistance training is maintaining or gaining your muscle mass. More muscle means your body is burning more calories at rest, therefore increasing your metabolism. You get the best of both worlds in one workout to aide in weight loss.
Just Keep Going
When times get hard, and motivation is lacking, just remember why you started your weight loss journey. The end goal is to live longer, healthier lives. Whether you want to be around for your grandkids, or you just want to decrease the amount of medication you are using to manage your health, the end goal is for you. Make your goal so attractive that you cannot help but to work towards it. It is not easy, and some days are downright not fun, but just keep going.