Losing weight can be an incredibly challenging endeavor. At some point, it’s likely you’ll become frustrated by an absence of visible results. Many people give up on their weight loss efforts when they don’t see their desired outcome within a short period of time. When weight loss starts to seem impossible, consider some of these surprising reasons for stalled progress.
Inaccurate Calorie Counting
Calorie counting is one of the more tedious tasks of any dietary plan. Consuming too many or too few calories can seriously hinder your weight loss progress. When dieting, people tend to underestimate the true number of calories they’re taking in. Condiments and sugary beverages like juice or soda have calories, too—but they often go unaccounted for.
Just as you can eat too many calories, you can also eat too few. That may seem odd, given that most people consider calorie restriction to be the key to losing weight. However, the fear of overeating often leads to an insufficient caloric intake. This is particularly worrisome if regular exercise, such as lifting weights, is part of your health regimen. The energy that is depleted must be replaced in order for the body to function properly.
In terms of exercise, it is a common misconception that intense cardio is the best or only way to lose weight. While cardio does burn some fat, weight training is actually more productive. By adding weight lifting to your routine, you’ll build muscle mass while reducing fat mass.
Poor Sleep Quality
Another largely unconsidered reason for slowed weight loss is poor sleep quality. According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, about 164 million American adults struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep. In addition to leaving you feeling exhausted and unfocused, a lack of sleep can make you feel hungry when you don’t really need to eat.
Ghrelin and leptin are two hormones that tell your body when to eat and when to stop eating. When you’re sleep deprived, the balance between these two hormones is misaligned. Feeling tired leads to skipped workouts and long periods of inactivity. Low energy also makes coffee and sugar look more appealing than water and vegetables.
You can improve your sleep quality by maintaining a regular sleep schedule, even on the weekends. You should also attempt to remove distractions, such as television, from your sleep environment. Things that keep you awake, like cigarettes and caffeine, shouldn’t be used within four hours of your planned bedtime.
Another potential obstacle to your weight loss is dehydration. While it’s important to drink an adequate amount of water for many reasons, proper hydration becomes especially important when trying to shed pounds. Drinking water before meals is a trick that will help you feel fuller. That means you’ll eat less and decrease between-meal snack cravings.
Your metabolism kicks into overdrive when you’re well-hydrated, too. A fast metabolism means your body is burning energy quickly and it will keep looking for more energy sources. Essentially, then, burning fat becomes easier.
Dietary restrictions, medical issues, and injuries can impact weight loss efficacy. However, gaining an understanding of how your body works is incredibly advantageous. When you know what your body needs, you can adjust your dietary plan accordingly.