If you think you’re doing everything right but still find yourself asking “why can’t I lose weight?” then read on.
At The Pure Package we are all about having a healthy and balanced approach to weight loss. We believe if you nourish your body with real, wholesome and fresh foods, weight loss will happen naturally as a result. We have helped so many clients over the years in achieving their weight goals and have really managed to understand people’s struggles while helping them through their journeys towards a healthier lifestyle.
These are some of the most common issues and mistakes we have seen people do.
You are eating too often
Many studies actually show that meal frequency has little or no effect on fat burning or weight loss. You should instead, focus on the quality of your food and listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Some people naturally require more food throughout the day, others are satisfied with three main meals. Do what feels right and suits your routine and is adequate for your levels of physical activity.
You are binge eating – even on ‘healthy’ foods
This is very common amongst people trying to lose weight. In an effort to pick healthier foods, we forget that portions still count and everything adds up no matter how healthy it is. Even if something is ‘healthy’, the calories still count. Depending on the volume, just a single binge can often ruin an entire week’s worth of dieting. You end up being stuck in this cycle and never seeing the results you really want.
You are skipping breakfast
Skipping breakfast isn’t the healthiest dietary habit, and it has been linked to weight gain. Many studies have suggested that breakfast-eaters tend to have lower rates of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Breakfast will give you the much needed energy you need to power through the morning. People that skip this meal have a tendency to over eat later on in the day making weight loss harder. Try incorporating something into your morning routine – a combination of complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats is always best to keep your blood sugars steady throughout the morning.
You don’t drink enough water
Unfortunately, you don’t start to feel thirsty until you lose about two percent of your body weight in water – at this stage you are already dehydrated. Your concentration will be lower, your energy will be affected and you will feel hungrier. Many times, we think that we’re hungry, but in reality we’re just thirsty. It has been reported in numerous studies that those who drink more water before mealtimes, tend to eat less and, therefore, have a better chance at losing weight.
You are sleep deprived
Being short on sleep can greatly affect your weight. If you are tired, you usually don’t have the mental clarity to make good decisions – you are more likely to skip the gym, order a take away, and indulge in some late night snacking. Lack of sleep affects our hunger and fullness hormones – mainly Ghrelin and Leptin. When we are sleep deprived our body produces more Ghrelin which signals our brain that is time to eat and we produce less Leptin which is the hormone responsible for telling our brains we are full and that we should put the fork down! On top of this, there is a cortisol spike when we are sleep deprived – this stress hormone signals to the body to conserve energy to fuel the hours we are awake. No wonder we end up over eating and gaining weight as a result.
You are measuring the wrong results
Don’t just focus on the number on the scales – this can be extremely disappointing and cause you more stress. There are many other factors that you can consider that go beyond the magic number on the scales. How do your clothes fit? Try on the same pair of jeans or your favourite top every eight weeks to see if the fit has changed. How are you feeling? Are you more energised, do you sleep better and feel less stressed? Have you become fitter in the gym? Usually if you increase your training, especially if you do more weight training, it is likely that your body composition has changed – try and measure your body fat, which is a much better indicator of health then overall body weight.
You are stressed
Work problems, demanding schedules, family issues… whatever is causing your stress it could potentially be the underlying cause for your unexpected weight gain. One of the main reasons for this is because our ‘stress hormone’, cortisol, rises during a stressful situation and it increases the amount of fat our body stores – especially the dangerous visceral fat stored in the mid-section. When we are stressed we rarely make good food decisions and we develop higher appetite for junk food.
You are too focused on ‘dieting’
‘Diets’ usually don’t work in the long term. Studies actually show the exact opposite – people who consistently diet tend to gain more weight over time. Instead of focusing on dieting, try looking at your weight loss from a different mind-set. Make it your goal to become healthier, reduce cholesterol, feel more energetic and becoming fitter – seeing these types of changes will motivate you more in the long term to stick to a healthy eating plan. The focus should be on nourishing your body instead of depriving it, if you follow a healthy eating plan with calories adjusted to your needs and goals weight loss usually follows as a natural side effect.
You have a medical condition that is making it harder to shift the extra pounds
If you have been following a healthy diet and have been doing all the right things to lose weight but still not seeing any results, it is worth looking into any other possible reasons for why this might be the case. There are some medical conditions that can make weight loss harder and can even drive weight gain. Some of the most common include hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and sleep apnoea. There are also certain medications that will hinder your weight loss efforts. It is always good to know your family history and speak to your GP.
You are getting older
Unfortunately as you get older, your body changes the rate of weight loss and weight gain. Both men and women experience a declining metabolic rate (the number of calories the body needs to function normally in a day). On top of it all, women face the challenging period of menopause where the production of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone slows down. This hormonal shift coupled with a reduction in metabolic rate causes the body to hold onto weight especially in the mid-section. Being more physically active, having a healthy diet and managing your lifestyle can all help with this age-related weight gain.
We have recently launched our Longevity Programme that focuses primarily on balancing hormones through healthy meal plans and reducing inflammation for a more energised and youthful appearance.
Your NEAT has slumped!
NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis. Besides your usual planned exercise, the short bursts of low intensity activity that we do throughout the day such as walking, going up the stairs instead of using the lift or running for the bus can all add up and have a substantial benefit on our overall health – this is known as NEAT and can account for around 350 calories burned in one day in healthy individuals. Remember to keep active throughout the day – just because you scheduled that one hour at the gym each day, there is much more you could be doing outside of that routine to increase your NEAT which will help you burn more calories and lose weight more efficiently in the long term.