You've worked hard the past couple of months; weighed every portion of chicken breast, kept to your training schedule, and ensured that you have at least eight hours of sleep every night. Yet for some strange, unfathomable reason, you're unable to shed that last bit of weight.
Unfortunately, weight-loss isn't a linear process. It would be terrific if it were, because getting in shape would suddenly become a whole lot easier. Human bodies are in fact, extremely adaptable devices. We've encountered drought, famine, pestilence, yet we've always managed to bounce back, stronger than ever. Weight-loss is no exception. Here are seven reasons that might explain why your weight-loss progress has ground to a halt.
1. You've adapted
When you subject your body to a prolonged period of lower-calorie eating, it slowly becomes more efficient at operating with a smaller energy supply. Since the body's first priority is survival, the minute it arrives at a comfortable functioning arrangement, also known as homeostasis, you stop losing weight. Even though cutting more calories may be your first instinct, consider other ways to ramp up daily caloric expenditure instead. Increasing the density of your workouts is one way to achieve this while triggering beneficial metabolic adaptations as well.
2. You're inflamed
Inflammation can tamper with your body's ability to properly absorb nutrients and minerals. When that happens, your ability to recover becomes compromised. This can manifest itself in several ways, such as persistent fatigue, bowel problems, and decreased immunity. Processed foods are the usual suspects when it comes to inflammation. Consuming foods that are rich in probiotics, such as Greek yoghurt or kimchi, is a great way to combat inflammation. Keeping stress levels low will help, too.
3. You're too impatient
Contrary to what fad diets would have you believe, it takes more than eight weeks to complete a successful weight-loss program. By truncating the process to fit into an arbitrary allocation of time, you discount the fact that everyone is built differently and therefore will require different approaches to achieving weight-loss. Even if you put two people on the exact same diet with the exact same training regimen, chances are their progress will be remarkably different from each other. Give yourself ample time to achieve your goal. It's a journey, not a destination.
4. You're not challenging yourself
If you're not challenged, you won't grow. Simple as that. As you get closer and closer to your goal-weight, you will need to become more aggressive in pushing yourself; squats with an empty barbell isn't going to cut it anymore. By constantly striving to improve, you force the body to adapt by being stronger, faster, and leaner.
5. You're cheating too often
Cheat meals are indeed important. They rev up a lagging metabolism, something that is all too common with weight-loss diets. They also give the mind a much-needed break from disciplined eating. However, it is important not to take this rationale to the extreme. You should not be cheating every other day. Also, remember that it's a cheat meal, not a cheat day. One cheat meal every week should be all that you need.
6. You eat out too often
There's nothing wrong with eating out once in a while, especially if the situation leaves you with no other choice. However, be aware that restaurants are in the business of selling you food, not keeping you nourished. Even if the meal looks healthy on the outside, you will never know for sure what actually goes on inside the kitchen. Studies have also indicated that the average restaurant meal weighs in at 1,200 calories. You would be much better off planning your meals beforehand.
7. Too much cardio
Even though aerobic work is a great way to burn fat, people tend to take it to the extreme with the mindset of “the more, the better”. An excess of cardiovascular work can hinder the weight-loss process through cellular inflammation and reduced insulin-sensitivity. Cardiovascular work should be a complement, not the focus.
The last few steps of every journey are the ones you should be most careful about. Keep these reasons in mind, and see yourself fly past the finishing line.
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