There’s nothing quite like the feeling of satisfaction, accomplishment and energy that comes from losing weight. Seeing results from the healthy choices you make around food and exercise is the ultimate motivator to keep moving forward. But what happens when you stop seeing results? What happens when you feel like you’ve suddenly hit a wall and it seems like your progress has stopped? That’s the point when so many people revert to their old ways and end up gaining back the weight they’ve lost and maybe even more.
If you’ve been coasting along on your weight loss journey but now feel like you’re not seeing the results of your effort, there are many potential reasons why. Ask yourself if any of the following apply to you.
You overeat healthy foods. Regardless of what food you’re eating, portion sizes do matter. Just because a food is healthy for you doesn’t mean you have license to eat as much as you want. Nut butters are a great example of a food that is good for, but also really high in calories. Just two tablespoons contain about 200 calories. So, pay attention to your serving sizes regardless of what you’re eating.
You’re falling for “healthy” processed foods. Food companies are wizards at taking a processed food and marketing it as healthy. Labels such as organic, vegan, natural, gluten-free, etc. don’t mean that a food is good for you. Your best food choices will always be whole foods, so don’t be tricked into buying packaged and processed foods with a misleading label.
You’re really slacking on the weekends. I know lots of people who are diligent about their healthy habits during the week, but when the weekend comes all bets are off. But remember, balance is key. It’s better to exercise moderation. Don’t deprive yourself of foods that you like during the week only to go overboard during the weekend. It’s better to exercise moderation all week long.
You’re not eating enough. Yup, you heard me. If you’re not losing weight it may be because you need to eat more. Recognize that much of our biology is primal. Restricting calories will make you lose weight in the short term. But doing that for too long will make your body think it’s starving. So, your body will instinctively slow your metabolism down and start to store any food you eat as fat.
You need more carbs. If you’ve lost weight quickly on a low carb diet, you should know that much of that is water weight. Women especially are sensitive to carbohydrate restriction. So, while you might lose weight fast at first, going low carb for too long can disrupt your hormone levels which ultimately leads to weight gain. Be sure to include healthy carbs that come from whole foods like vegetables, fruits and grains in your diet.
You’re taking in hidden calories. Many times when people are tracking their food and caloric intake, they forget to keep track of the additional calories in the condiments they’re using. So, you might track the calories in your salad, but forget to add in the calories from your dressing. Or, you know the calories that are in your main course, but don’t consider those in your side sauces or condiments.
You’re over training. You might be killing it with your workouts but remember that rest and recovery time is important. While staying active is great, there is such a thing as too much exercise. Weight training and cardio puts stress on your body. In the right amount, this stress is what makes your muscles stronger and helps your body shed fat. But chronic stress affects your body negatively. It alters your hormone level, heightens your appetite, increases your food cravings and affects your blood sugar. So, don’t overdo it.
You’re just going through the motions. On the flip side is the possibility of not training enough. Are you still pushing yourself with your workouts or just going through the motions? Are you working up a sweat? To see continued progress you need to give your body new challenges. That means periodically upping the weights on your strength training and increasing the intensity of your cardio.