Are you relying solely on exercise without changing your diet?
Often people believe they can out exercise a poor diet. You will burn more calories by exercising but if you're not fueling your body with proper nutrition then it might as well be wasted effort. Going for a run or swim won't counteract the effects of eating unhealthy food. In order to lose weight, your body needs to be in a calorie deficit. If you're eating 2,000 calories per day and only burning 800, you're probably not going to achieve the body you want.
Research also shows that exercise alone is unlikely to lead to substantial weight loss for most people. There are three main ways your body burns calories. The biggest way your body burns calories which is also the easiest way is through its basal metabolic rate. Basal metabolic rate refers to the calories your body burns through processes that sustain life, like digesting food, breathing, and thinking. Yes, brain activity can also burn calories. The second way your body burn calories is through physical activity, such as cleaning your house and taking the stairs. The smallest way your body burns calories is through structured physical exercise. If you're trying to lose weight, be careful that you're not exercising too much without adjusting your diet.
Are you drinking your calories?
Many times, people don't realize how many calories can be in a small drink. We know to avoid regular sodas but there a lot of other beverages that may seem healthy but have high amounts of sugar and calories. Even drinks like coffees and iced teas can prevent you from losing weight. The calorie count may not seem too high, but the amount of sugar may be off the charts. If you look at the nutrition label on a can of Arizona Extra Sweet Iced Tea, you'll see it says 90 calories and 25 grams of sugar. Many people assume the numbers listed are for the whole can, however, it is only per serving. There are almost 3 servings per can so one can of Arizona Extra Sweet Iced Tea actually contains 260 calories and a whopping 72 grams of sugar. Starbucks' frozen coffees also contain a high amount of sugar and calories. A Starbucks Frappuccino has around 500 calories and over 60 grams of sugar. Simply adding creamer to your tea and coffee can add up too and hinder weight loss.
A clever way to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee in the morning without adding a lot of calories is to add a splash of Smart for Life's delicious, zero-calorie creamer. Alcohol not only has many negative health effects, but can also prevent you from reaching your goal weight. A couple of beers or cocktails can contain the same amount of calories of an entire meal so steer clear if you're trying to lose weight. Even drinks like smoothies and green juices can be packed with sugar. If a drink says "no added sugars", it still may contain a lot of natural sugar. If you pick up a Naked Green Machine Juice from any supermarket, you'll notice it says prominently on the front "no added sugars", but contains a surprising 53 grams of natural sugar which will still lead to weight gain.
How is the quality of your sleep?
Sleep plays a few different roles in weight loss. Studies have shown that poor sleep can increase the risk of obesity and diabetes. Adults and children who have poor sleep patterns have a 55% and 89% greater risk of becoming obese. If you're not clocking in enough hours of sleep every night, you also risk disrupting your body's ability to regulate hunger. A study of 472 obese adults found that sleep was a significant predictor of the success of an intensive weight loss program. Another significant predictor they found was stress. Sleeping enough hours will also help you fight cravings and make healthier choices. Sleep deprivation can also dull activity in the frontal lobe of the brain which is responsible for decision-making and self-control. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults aged 18-65 get 7-9 hours of sleep per night and older adults get 7-8 hours.
Are you eating enough protein?
This can be tricky because the amount of protein that people should be eating varies. A high protein intake boosts metabolism, reduces appetite, and changes several weight-regulating hormones. Eating a good amount of protein will help you lose weight and belly fat. Protein is actually the most important nutrient for losing weight. If your protein intake takes up 25-30% of your total daily calories, you can boost your metabolism by up to 80-100 calories per day, compared to lower protein diets. If you're a breakfast person, make sure to eat a high-protein breakfast to reduce hunger and cravings throughout the day. It can also help prevent weight regain.
Jessica Coring, registered dietitian, said that the "general protein recommendations for healthy adults are 0.8 to 1.0 gram per kilogram of body weight. Since a kilogram is 2.2 pounds, someone who weighs 150 pounds (68.2 kg) needs about 55 to 68 grams of protein per day." Jessica also said that other factors that affect how the body metabolizes protein or absorbs nutrients, such as pregnancy, lactation, and certain health conditions, also affect how much protein a person needs.
Are you eating too many calories per day?
Studies show that people often underestimate how many calories they are eating. You may not even realize that you're eating way too many calories per day. Try tracking your calories either by keeping a food journal or by using a calorie counting app for two weeks. This will help you determine whether you're eating too many calories or not eating enough. Apps that help you track your calories can also track much more like whether or not you are getting enough nutrients. They can help you determine whether you're getting 30% of your calories from protein. You won't need to calorie count forever, just do a two week test and see how many calories you're eating on average per day. You can then modify your diet based on your findings and establish how much you should be eating.
Are you evenly spacing out your meals throughout the day?
Some people struggle with determining how often they should be eating. Often people either eat too often or don't eat often enough and then binge when they get hungry. Both of these diet methods won't help you lose weight or keep you healthy. Even if you're binge eating healthy food, you are still probably racking up too many calories. Depending on the number of calories, a single binge could ruin an entire week of good dieting. If you're eating too often, it may also result in excessive calorie intake. Smart for Life recommends eating smaller meals more often throughout the day, as opposed to three big meals. This helps your body digest your meals better and keep your energy levels high. Smart for Life makes this aspect of dieting very easy. With pre-portioned meal replacements that don't require cooking, you won't have to plan your meals which saves a lot of time. Our program allows you to eat every 2-3 hours throughout the day, while not going over the recommended amount of calories.
Are you drinking enough water?
Don't underestimate the power that simply drinking water can have on your weight loss efforts. One study looked at the effect water had on weight loss and found that after 12 weeks, people who drank half a liter of water 30 minutes before meals lost 44% more weight than those who didn't. As if that isn't enough to get you to pick up your water bottle, drinking water can also boost the number of calories burned by 24-30% over just 90 minutes. Having a glass of water before eating meals can also help to reduce appetite. Health authorities recommend drinking eight, 8-oz. glasses of water every day. This amount can vary based on health conditions and activity level.
Possible medical condition?
If you believe that nothing above applies to you, you may have a medical condition that is making it harder for you to lose weight. Conditions like hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and sleep apnea can be working against your efforts. Some medications may also make it more difficult for you to lose weight and may even cause you to gain weight. Talk to your doctor to find out if one of these conditions is the underlying cause of your weight gain.