The Not-So-Obvious Reasons Why You Can't Lose Weight

Why does your body cling to excess fat when you are exercising and eating healthy?  

In my work as a health coach, I find that many people hit a plateau when it comes to weight loss. 

You've been working hard to do everything "right" for a few months, yet you are still not seeing the results you want. 

If you have been trying to lose weight but you can't get the scale to budge, this could be due to many different reasons. 

Here are a few things to consider:  

1. You're dehydrated

  One of the most important things any person can do regardless of body type is to drink adequate amounts of water each day. 

Dehydration results in a number of different problems, including fatigue, depression, and weight gain.  And guess what? Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, which leads to overeating. 

That's right, sometimes you're not hungry, you're dehydrated! Then because you don't have enough water to facilitate the elimination of toxins in the body, the toxins get stored as fat.  The body will resist burning this fat because there is not enough water to carry out the toxins stored in the fat, and so you can see the vicious cycle that exists. 

How much should you drink?  This depends on a number of factors which will vary for each person, but the general rule is 1/2 to 1 ounce of water for each pound of body weight per day.

2. You're stressed

Stress is a major cause of weight gain. 

Many people don't realize the levels of stress present in their lives, perhaps because they are so used to it that it has become their new normal. 

Let's define stress as: a state of mental, emotional, or bodily strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.

Stress can come from a job, a relationship, an illness, or the day to day need to “get everything done”. 

When you are under stress, your body goes into fight-or-flight mode which triggers a series of chemical processes, producing particularly higher amounts of the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. 

Some of us live in this chronic state of emergency due to constant unrelieved pressure, which means that abnormal levels of these hormones are consistently present.  Elevated cortisol can cause you to crave “comfort” foods, which are typically sugary and fatty.

Instead of eating for comfort, it is important to practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, massage, and spending time in nature.


3. You're Sleep Deprived

 Did you know that a lack of sleep can slow your metabolism and lead to intense food cravings?  

Sleepy people eat on average 300 more calories per day. 

Your body has no energy, and this is interpreted as hunger.  You naturally gravitate towards junk food and carbohydrates because of the signals being sent to your brain.  When you eat more carbs than you burn off, the excess is stored in the body as fat. 

Also worth mentioning:  excess body weight can restrict respiratory function.  This affects the quality of your sleep and can cause sleep apnea, which is indicated by loud snoring. 

So you can see how, much like the first two factors on this list, lack of sleep places you in a cycle of food cravings leading to weight gain which leads to poor quality of sleep which causes more fatigue and it repeats continuously. 

The amount of sleep you need varies but most adults require 7-8 hours to be fully rested. 

Stay tuned for parts 2 and 3, to be continued...