It’s a tale as old as time. You stand on the weighing scale or in front of your mirror, staring at your body in disgust and wonder what in the world happened to you. You’re unhappy with the reflection that you see in the mirror and are most likely disgusted by the number that you see on the scale. In a sudden fit of inspiration, you go out, buy every healthy ingredient in the market vowing to eat healthier. Perhaps you even head out to the nearest gym and secure yourself a membership, promising to yourself that this is the beginning of the brand new and healthier you. You keep at it for a month and then revisit your nemesis, the weighing scale. You step on it and are horrified to find that you haven’t lost a single pound. Where did it all go wrong, you wonder. This is a scenario that isn’t new to many people out there. They scratch their heads in bewilderment and wonder why they haven’t lost any weight. Maybe in your case, you have lost weight but are at a loss as to why you didn’t lose more than you thought you did. Well, if you’ve gotten to this point, it’s time to ask yourself these questions.
Are You Drinking Enough Water?
There’s a reason why every diet in the world will tell you that you need to drink a lot of water. Getting enough water in the day can make a huge difference being staying satiated between meals and going on a high-calorie food bender. Water not only keeps us hydrated, it also keeps us full. In fact, many times, when your stomach grumbles we mistake it for hunger when in reality, we’re really just thirsty. Make sure you get at least half a gallon in a day and the next time you think your stomach is telling you to eat, grab a glass of water first and see if that makes a difference.
Are You Overdoing or Under-doing Your Exercise?
We all know that not getting enough exercise in will eventually contribute to weight gain, but did you know that the opposite can also cause problems? Contrary to popular belief, there is such a thing as too much exercise, and when you overdo it, you could cause your body stress and even inhibit the production of the adrenal hormones that fight stress. When you don’t get enough exercise in, your body will lose muscle mass in addition to fat. So what’s the best solution? Maintain an exercise regimen of lifting weights and getting cardio in several times a week should be your goal.
Are You Eating Enough Protein?
Most people think that protein is for individuals trying to gain muscle, but protein is actually absolutely crucial to weight loss. Protein helps reduce your appetite, allows you to get full faster and will also keep you satiated longer. The density of protein makes it a great choice especially when you factor in its calorie count. Try making your daily caloric intake 30% protein. This will also aid in boosting your metabolic rate. Remember, protein doesn’t necessarily mean meat. There are tons of other ways to add protein to your diet including vegetables and legumes. Besides, too much meat is bad for you anyway.
Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
You’ve probably heard over and over again that it’s optimal for a human to get 8 hours of sleep a night. This is certainly true for overall health and mental function, but it’s also a necessity if you intend to drop pounds. Sleepless nights contribute to weight gain through two hormones called ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin is a hormone that signals your brain to eat while leptin is what helps you feel full. When you’re sleep deprived, your body produces more ghrelin and not enough leptin. To put it simply, this combination is a recipe for disaster and will more likely contribute to weight gain rather than weight loss.
Are You Reading Nutrition Labels?
You’ll be surprised with what companies can get away with nowadays in terms of marketing. Many people out there have been hoodwinked and completely fooled by false advertising and tricky claims made on supposedly healthy food labels. The front of food packages can have words like low-fat or heart-healthy, but the back of the label is what you should really be looking at. It’s best for you to learn how to accurately read food labels and check the ingredients list, calories and nutrient breakdowns on food labels before buying it. A simple rule of thumb to follow is “less is more”. So the less items there are on the ingredients list, the better the food is likely to be. It’s also a very good idea to avoid food that has any form of corn syrup in it.
Are You Eating Whole Foods?
If you’re scratching your head in consternation about even trying to decipher food labels, the best solution is to avoid processed food and go for whole, single-ingredient foods instead. Processed foods play a huge role in health problems and weight gain, so choosing whole ingredients is a must. In fact, if you are used to eating a diet that includes a lot of processed food, switching to a whole-food diet alone will be enough to kick start your weight loss. Choosing whole, nutrient dense ingredients will rid your body of the chemicals, salt and sugar that packaged food pretty much always comes with.
Are You Tracking What You Eat?
Sure, your fridge may be stocked with healthy food, but are you getting the appropriate amount of each food group in your daily diet? This is where keeping a food journal comes in handy. After all, there’s a reason why any nutritionist or fitness expert advise people to keep track of what their eating. It gives you a better picture of what your caloric and nutrient consumption is like on a daily basis. It will also prevent you from over eating as you are more conscious of what you are putting into your body.