By Tina Paymaster, PHASE IV Functional Nutrition & Health Specialist
The journey to losing weight – easy for some and a frustrating enigma to many others. If eating “right” and exercising were the magical solution to dropping pounds, the weight loss industry wouldn’t be the billion dollar giant it is.
Yet so many people are still approaching weight loss with outdated thinking.
If you feel like you’re doing everything right and still not losing weight, check out the 8 reasons why you may not be losing weight and get your metabolism back on track.
1. You’re not eating enough
Seems pretty simple – eat less calories and you should lose weight. However, if you eat too little, you can actually end up gaining weight! Every person has a TDEE or Total Daily Energy Expenditure, which measures how many calories your body burns on a daily basis. Your RMR, or Resting Metabolic Rate, defines how many calories you need to eat just to sustain your metabolism. Many people walk into our facility after years of calorie restriction and yo-yo dieting wondering why they can't lose weight. When calorie consumption goes too low, the body turns down calorie burning to match it and maintain balance. This is how the body avoids unwanted weight loss and starvation. However, for many, the consequence (typically a result of yo-yo dieting and over training) is a slower metabolism and potential muscle loss as well. Severe calorie restriction and also cause hunger cravings to increase leading to binge eating and overeating. Some studies show that it can take 8-12 weeks or even more to just stabilize your metabolism again after prolonged dieting and under eating. If you feel like you’ve been eating less but not losing weight, it would be a good idea to have a Resting Metabolic Rate Test done to see how fast or slow your metabolism is and how much you need to eat to support it and still drop those pounds.
2. You’re eating the same every day
If you’re eating the same way on your cardio, weight training and rest days, this could be why you’re holding onto weight. Your body requires more calories to support more intense activities and proper recovery. Otherwise, just like mentioned above, it will hold onto fat and even break down muscle for the energy it needs. On days you go for long runs or rides you will need more overall calories. High intensity exercise will require more carbohydrates and weight training days will require more protein. Our personalized nutrition programs take into account your daily activities and give you guidance as to how to eat to support them for the best results.
3. You’re overtraining
You’re hitting two back to back soul cycle classes a day, then hiking 7 miles on the weekend, getting in one HIIT class and doing heavy weight lifting three times a week. Sounds like dedication, but there is such a thing as too much exercise. Your body uses two types of fuel: carbohydrates and fat. When you’re doing high intensity exercise, typically your body is only tapping into carbs for fuel, leaving fat to stay stored right where you left it. The solution here is training your body to use fat as its preferred source of fuel through Periodization Training.
In addition, overtraining and not taking enough recovery days will lead to higher cortisol levels, which can eventually leading to adrenal fatigue, high blood glucose levels, hormone imbalances, muscle loss, weight loss resistance and even weight gain. This is why at PHASE IV, all of our personalized metabolic and strength periodization training plans emphasize daily, weekly and monthly recovery. “Basically, the Periodization model builds the athlete up to optimal performance with a stair-step series of methodical, progressive challenges and recoveries that strength your body and keep brain and brawn fresh.” It is “a model of human adaptation that provides predictable outcomes when exercise is done in a scientifically rational sequence.” (Healthy Running Step by Step by Robert Forster P.T. and Roy M. Wallack)
4. You’re doing the same thing over and over again
It’s been six months since you started your new workout routine and while you saw great results in the first two months, the scale the past few months hasn’t budged. Did you know that every 6-8 weeks your body adapts to the activity you are doing? The human body reacts to the stress of exercise by increasing hormones such as testosterone, growth hormone and insulin. This helps the body adapt to stress and become stronger. However, after about 8 weeks, the stress response fades because the body becomes fully adapted to that one type of exercise. Continuing the same types of exercise can not only result in “hitting a plateau” because of stale workouts, but also in overtraining and injury. Periodization training keeps your hormonal system peaked throughout the year which will help you optimize your metabolism, become a “better butter burner”, maintain peak energy levels and improve overall performance.
5. You’re not sleeping
Sleep is essential to weight loss. At night, our cortisol levels are supposed to decrease, allowing us to settle into a good night’s rest. However, being constantly stimulated throughout the day and staying up late disrupts this natural biological process. As discussed earlier, when cortisol levels increase, blood glucose levels increase. Overtime, this can lead to insulin resistance, Type II Diabetes, increased fat storage, increased hunger and weight gain. Make sure to prioritize sleep getting at least 7-8 a night and also incorporating daily stress reduction practices such as meditation, breath work, spending time in nature and yoga, to support more balance cortisol levels
6. You’re not drinking enough water
Thirst can often disguise itself as hunger. Therefore, not drinking enough water throughout the day can make you reach for food more often, even though what your body really needs is more H2O. In addition, when your body isn’t supplied with enough water, the filtration rate of the kidneys decreases, causing an increase in water levels in the body, which can tip those numbers on the scale as well. Aside from balancing water levels in the body, the kidneys also help to flush out toxins and it needs adequate water supplies to do this. Water also promotes regular bowel movements, another way the body removes toxins. Increased toxic load in the body can lead to digestive issues, immune suppression and weight gain. Some studies have also shown that drinking water increases Total Daily Energy Expenditure by 24-30% within 10 minutes of drinking water and the effects can last up to 60 minutes.
7. You’re eating too much too late
After 6pm your digestion begins to slow down as the body prepares for relaxation and sleep. However, many people are still eating the bulk of their calories at dinner time and late into the night. Stressful schedules and impaired digestion can often cause irregular eating habits throughout the day and strong hunger later in the evening because the body is screaming for food. However, when digestion is weak, your body can’t absorb nutrients or eliminate toxins and waste as efficiently. This can lead to digestive issues, reduced immune function and inflammation in the body. In addition, many people are less active in the evening and therefore are not burning off the calories they are consuming which can lead to weight gain. It’s best to eat the bulk of your calories earlier in the day, making lunch the main meal of the day, when digestion is the strongest.
8. You’re still drinking your calories
Aside from sugar-laden sodas, iced teas and coffee drinks which are obvious weight gain culprits, the focus here is on alcohol – whether it’s a margarita or straight vodka on the rocks, regular alcohol consumption can be the one thing standing in your way from losing those unwanted pounds. The fact is, your body can’t store alcohol, so it needs to metabolize it immediately. When your body is doing that, it puts metabolizing fat on the back burner. So if you’re eating a clean diet, getting your ZZZ’s but still throwing back a few drinks a night, you may want to give your body a break from the booze for a bit and allow your metabolism to focus on the fat.
At PHASE IV we do a variety of metabolic testing and create personalized science-based nutrition and training programs that will help you lose weight in a safe and sustainable way.
Contact us today to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation with one of our staff members.