The road to weight loss is one of the most arduous journeys you can take. It is full of cravings, dietary changes, and intense workouts. To begin with, you may see some quick results as the body sheds off some of its excess weight rapidly, but then you may hit a plateau and find that losing weight past that point is exceedingly hard. Why is that?
1. You’re looking at the wrong metric
Many people seem to be under the impression that our weight consists of all that fat we want to burn, but that is very far from the truth, as water takes up a lot of our weight, as does muscle tissue. When exercising regularly, you may find that your weight changes very little, if at all, but that doesn’t mean you’re not burning fat. Rather, what this means is you are converting all of that flabby fat weight into more compact muscle mass. For these reasons, using weight as a tool to measure fat loss could present you with a false image. If you want a better metric for your fat-burning efforts, you should measure waist circumference.
2. You need to increase your workout’s difficulty
One of the reasons you might have hit a plateau is that your current training regimen just isn’t hard enough for you, anymore. If you’re focusing on cardio try to lengthen your exercise or add resistance or incline, if you’re using an exercise machine like a treadmill or elliptical. If you’re doing resistance training, add more weights, repetitions or tougher techniques.
3. You need more protein
Protein is the single most important part of any diet aimed at transforming the body. It inhibits appetite hormones, helps the body retain muscle mass while it’s burning fats and it promotes a faster metabolism. Popular foods rich in protein include:
4. You’re eating too much salt
Salt is a global addiction. We eat salt-rich foods because we like their savory taste, but salt has two nefarious ways it messes up with our body weight. You might have heard that eating salty food may dehydrate you. Well, that’s wrong, as eating salt actually causes the body to conserve more water, not less. This is why dehydrated people are often given salty foods. The flip side of this is that it may cause the body to retain more water than it actually needs, which may account for a lot of weight you can’t seem to shake off.
Another way salt may be sabotaging your weight loss program is by making you hungrier. The process of water conservation is draining on the body, and so you find yourself eating more to satisfy your body’s energy requirements. And once you stop munching on those salty snacks, you’ll often find yourself looking to balance the saltiness with some sweet treat or drink.
5. You need to lay off of alcohol
Most alcoholic drinks are high in calories and low in beneficial nutritional values, but that’s not the worst thing about them. Alcohol notoriously does away with one's inhibitory control, which includes your sense of moderation and willpower. Consequently, you will often drink more than one glass and will find yourself noshing on pretzels, fries or nuts while you’re downing drinks.
Moreover, several studies have demonstrated that alcohol consumption impairs the body’s ability to build muscle mass after a workout. Drinking a glass every now and then might not ruin your entire diet, but you will have to be extremely vigilant about how much you drink and how often, and not let alcohol dictate it for you.
6. You aren’t drinking enough water
It doesn’t take a genius to know that drinking water is important, but not many necessarily know that it can have a beneficial effect on your diet. Several studies on the topic have demonstrated that loading up on water before meals might make you feel fuller, thus allowing you to fight off the desire to clear your plate.
There is also some evidence that drinking more water, and cold water, in particular, enhances energy expenditure while resting, as it promotes a faster metabolism.