You've been staying away from the extra calories by swapping fries for carrot sticks, keeping away from alcoholic beverages, and diligently hitting the gym every morning, but you haven't seen even a pound drop from your weight.
Does this ring a bell?
If that's you, you should check to see if bad habits and common mistakes are contributing to your self-sabotage of your weight loss journey, before you completely decide to stop your weight loss program because it's just too hard, it's not for you, and you are dying to have a slice of pizza.
1. THE EXERCISE YOU ARE DOING IS WRONG & UNSUITABLE FOR YOU
For the longest time, we correlate losing weight to a lot of cardio time. But science has proven that cardio is not always the best thing to do when losing weight.
Scientific research has proven that jogging or bike riding - both are slow cardio training, increase your appetite and stimulate your body to retain belly fat due to hormonal changes. Extended cardio training is also a reason for muscle loss - and this is bad news if you want to lose weight because muscles are responsible for burning your fat and helps boost your metabolism.
Avoid sole and extended cardio training, instead do resistance-based workouts and train in short, sharp intervals - muscles are the ones you need to train not your lungs.
According to a study published in the Journal of Metabolism, people who participated in high-intensity interval training lost fat nine times extra than people who had slow cardio exercise. High-intensity interval training encourages your body to burn the extra calories even after 48 hours of your exercise due to its afterburn effect.
2. HOURS OF INACTIVITY
Before gadgets became widely available, people were mostly outside - taking a walk to meet their friends, and being active in interacting with their neighborhood. But now, we tend to glue our eyes on our phones, spend our time home in sitting on the couch in front of tv after a long, hard day at work, and instead of commuting we take our cars to get us where we want to - and the consequence is, you guessed it, bigger waistlines and sizes.
Regular trips to the gym simply cannot make up for the supposed movement that we could have daily - because long periods of inactivity stop your regular metabolism, increases your insulin levels, which results in fat-storage mode for your body.
A study conducted in the UK found out that people who exercised are likely to have a 36 percent lower risk of obesity over people who sit all day. That is a stated fact, but the more surprising conclusion they had was that people who regularly exercised and are always active throughout the day have a lower risk of obesity by 74 percent!
What to do: find the time and the opportunity to add movement to your daily routine and spend less time sitting in front of your desk or television.
There are countless ways on how you could have extra movement - park your car in the next block, walk while you're talking on the phone, use the stair instead of the escalator - there are many ways!
You can use a pedometer app to accurately measure how much you move, and it can also keep you motivated to keep moving in an easy and affordable way.
If you have a full-time desk job, you can do stretches every 30 minutes, or maybe walk outside to find a place to eat during lunchtime.
3. YOUR FOOD INTAKE IS NOT ENOUGH
Another myth in losing weight is that not eating - skipping meals or crash dieting - would surely bring your weight down, however, that's not really the case. Not getting enough food into your system is actually one of the main reasons why people tend to become bigger and heavier when they stop in their weight loss journey, or if people continue their journey, they don't shed more pounds and have a stagnant weight.
Countless studies confirm that people who do not eat breakfast - the most important meal of the day - are at risk by 450 percent in being obese, and having an additional 5cm average of waist.
Whenever you skip meals, you slow your metabolism, which results in muscle loss and the body's automatic response of using fat reserves which can make you hungrier as time pass you by.
Instead of lowering your food intake, you should eat three full meals with snacks to consistently take charge of your metabolism and keep your hormones happy.
High protein foods such as lean meat, fish, eggs, and whey, fibre foods such as vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, as well as good fats such as avocado, nuts, and olive oil are good foods to work your diet around on - it makes you full and are also good fat burners.
4. CHOOSING THE WRONG SNACK FOOD
Snacks are your go-to food when you run out of energy, and it should be included in a healthy eating plan, however, there are some snacks that are bad for your weight loss program.
Most snacks available in the market actually contain a lot of hidden sugar which contradicts what is considered a healthy snack. Some of the most popular food that is often included in a healthy diet, but is actually bad to eat are flavored yogurts and muesli bars.
One small tub of fruit-flavored yogurt that brands itself with no added cane sugar actually contains 23 grams of sugar more than unflavored ones. This snack-sized tub already contains the daily maximum recommended by the World Health Organization of sugar intake. And muesli bars that are considered to be low-fat and full of natural goodness are actually made of sugar!
Before you shop for snacks, research about it - every ingredient - and read the label, as a healthy snack might actually contain more sugar than what is acceptable in a healthy diet plan. Snacks that are naturally low in sugar and high in protein are your best bet when it comes to snacks as these benefits your weight loss. Some of the smarter snack choices are nuts, canned fish, plain Greek yogurt, boiled eggs, fruit, and low-sugar protein bars and shakes. You can also find suitable supplements, this article on Geoleaders.com could help shed some light.
5. DITCH THE EXTREMES
If you tell a person that you want to lose weight, their automatic response would be “you should go on a diet.” However, being on a diet may actually be the cause of what's preventing you to lose weight.
Extreme diets that only take up specific kinds of food groups or liquid diets can actually damage your health in the long run, destroying your metabolism, and risking your body of having a nutritional deficiency. Extreme diets should never be done in the long term. Studies have proven that dieting correlates to future weight gain and that 2 out of 3 people who go on extreme diets weight more days or weeks after they finished their extreme diet plans.
So how should you take on the challenge of eating - by eating the right foods and living a healthy lifestyle. The 90/10 rule is perfect for anyone - a healthy, balanced diet 90 percent of your time while giving in the 10 percent to your cravings and favorite treats.
Studies show that treating yourself weekly can prevent weight-loss lulls, kickstart and increase your metabolism, and improve your body's fat-burning efficiency. Added to that, regularly rewarding yourself and not depriving your body of the good things in life have several mental health benefits that are good for you!