There are many reasons why us women can’t lose weight, no matter how much they try and how much they want to.
We go shopping and buy ourselves a nice outfit one size smaller because we’re convinced we’ll fit in it very shortly. Or we keep an old pair of jeans that we love but can’t fit into anymore, because we’re just a few weeks away from being able to look great in it again.
And when we finally do lose weight after making many sacrifices, we just put the weight back on three times faster than what it took to lose the weight!
So what are some of the most common reasons we just can’t lose weight that we might be ignoring?
The first reason could be lack of sleep. Many people suffer from lack of sleep because they go to bed too late. We watch another episode of our favourite show although it’s way past our bedtime and we have to get up early. Or we’re enjoying a nice night out but don’t want to be the first to leave so we wait and wait and end up going to bed in the early hours of the morning.
And unfortunately, how much we sleep is linked to our body’s production of hormones that regulate our appetite. More specifically, lack of sleep triggers higher levels of the hormone ghrelin, which increases appetite and lowers levels of the hormone leptin which suppresses the feeling of hunger.
On top of this, when we’re tired we make less healthy choices. We’re too tired to move or exercise, we’re too tired to prepare a healthy meal and we’re constantly seeking energy boosters. And what’s the easiest and fastest way to get an energy boost? Processed food high in carbs and sugar. So make sure you do whatever it takes to get at least 7 hours of sleep if you’re trying to lose weight.
The second reason most of us sometimes fail to lose weight is the fact that we consume too many calories. But that doesn’t mean that you need to now stick to the “one size fits all” solution of “consuming 1,500 calories a day to lose half a kilo a week” because we’re all different. Our lifestyle is different, our height is different, our hormone levels are different, our age is different, just to name a few. It’s important to reduce our calorie intake however, to a level that works for us. That doesn’t make us feel light headed because we’re starving ourselves but also helps us lose weight.
The best way to monitor calories is by writing down what you’ve eaten and writing down next to each meal or snack how many calories it represents. When you’ve reached the amount of calories you should consume to lose weight, then try to not eat anything else until the next day if you can. If you’re feeling hungry, try to eat something that has very low calories such as some cucumber and celery sticks and drink a large glass of water with it. You’d be surprised how a glass of water or even a herbal tea can reduce the feeling of hunger especially when you eat something that is low in calories.
The third reason we can struggle to lose weight is our lack of exercise. And by exercise, I don’t mean having strenuous, long workout routines. It could just be a walk outdoors, or 20 minutes walking fast on a treadmill or going to work or shopping on foot. If you can fit 20 minutes of movement in your day, you are likely to experience a huge difference in your weight loss journey. Having a fitness tracking app can help you check how much you actually do exercise during the day and help you get motivated. A lot of people find that fitness apps makes them exercise more than they usually would because they love seeing they’ve done lots of steps in a day or love seeing how many calories they were able to burn in a day. So a fitness tracking app could be a tool that keeps you motivated.
A fourth reason many struggle with losing weight is stress. Just like lack of sleep, stress releases hormones that cause weight gain. That hormone is cortisol. And although cortisol stimulates your fat and carbohydrate metabolism and boosts your energy, it unfortunately increases our appetite. This is why during stressful times you might find yourself eating more than usual. Plus, high cortisol levels can increase your cravings for sugary, salty and fatty foods.
So don’t dismiss your stress levels. If you’re facing stressful times in your life right now, seek help either through a professional or by pursuing stress-relieving activities such as meditation, watching fun movies, listening to relaxing music, having a bath or exercising.
A fifth reason it can become tricky to lose weight is because of our social life. Let’s face it. When we’re in social situations, we consume more. We eat more than we usually would and we probably drink more than we usually would. It could be that you spend time with work colleagues, and it’s always someone’s birthday, which leads to eating birthday cake more often than you should. It could be that your kids always have friends over and you enjoy serving them snacks and treats but during that process, you eat a few as well. Or it could be that you’re constantly invited for dinner and therefore end up ordering more than you would usually prepare and eat at home. Or you might be tempted to order dessert when someone else does whereas you would never eat ice-cream and a brownie if you were at home. A busy social life can sometimes make it very hard to lose weight because the temptations are too frequent.
So there you have it, 5 reasons you could be struggling to lose weight that most people ignore. All it takes to help you get back on track is identifying one or two factors that are sabotaging your progress and then finding a way or strategies to eliminate them.