Dieting is hard. Anyone who’s tried giving up her favorite food—and ratcheted down portion control with an iron will—knows that hard truth.
Even if you’re doing everything “right,” it can still feel like it’s not enough to shed pounds. You’re eating plenty of healthy, nutrient-rich foods and coming in at a calorie deficit. So why isn’t the scale dropping?
Here are a few things that could be halting your weight loss that have nothing to do with your diet:
You’re Not Exercising
While a calorie deficit is often the most significant factor in weight loss, this concept glosses over the critical role exercise plays in burning calories, boosting your metabolism, and fighting the cravings that come with dieting.
Apparently, people who regularly exercise are far more likely to make changes to their diet and stick to them.
If you’re getting your steps in or reaching new goals in the weight room, you’re far less likely to overeat or to break down and desperately devour an unhealthy snack later.
You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep
Have you heard about leptin and ghrelin? No, they’re not some fantasy novel characters or the name of a hot new band. Leptin is produced by fat cells. The less leptin you have, the more your body thinks you’re starving. Ghrelin is a chemical produced in your stomach that controls hunger.
How does any of this relate to how much you sleep?
Well, when you don’t get enough sleep—say, 5 hours instead of the recommended 7 to 9 hours—guess what your body does?
When you couple that with the fact that sleep deprivation inhibits your ability to make good decisions, you’ve got a recipe for diet disaster.
If you’re working on getting your weight down, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Rolling out of bed a couple of hours early to hit the gym will do you no good if it cuts into the rest you need to thrive.
You’re Stressed Out
These days who isn’t stressed out?
There will always be fewer hours in the day than you need to get everything done, so it’s easy to whip yourself up into a fluffy cloud of anxiety.
But, can stress really ruin your attempts to lose weight?
It absolutely can.
High cortisol levels often present as:
- Muscle weakness
- Difficulty concentrating
- High blood pressure
If you think it’s the stress that’s keeping the weight on, try out some relaxation techniques, pick up a hobby you enjoy, spend some extra time cuddling with your pup, or try one of these quick and easy tips to de-stress fast.
You might soon find that the load seems a little bit lighter.
Your Mindset Sucks
Most of us would never admit it, but we’re often our own worst enemy in the battle for weight loss.
If you find yourself uttering phrases like “I’ll never be able to lose weight” to “why bother trying if I’ll just fail after a week, “… it might be your attitude that’s holding you back.
Merely believing that you can do it and believing that you’re succeeding can make a world of difference.
Knowing you need to change isn’t enough to succeed.
You have to believe you can.
An Underlying Medical Condition Might Be to Blame
So, what if you’ve tried all of this—and more, but you’re still struggling to lose weight?
If that sounds like you, then it may be time to talk to your doctor.
Several health conditions can hinder—or completely stall— your weight loss efforts, regardless of how much you’re sleeping, exercising, or how well you eat, including:
These are just a couple of the most common culprits when it comes to stalled weight loss.
Go chat with a medical professional about what you’re experiencing. Stalled weight loss or unexplained weight gain may be a symptom of a bigger health problem.
If you don’t have a health issue preventing you from losing weight, try tracking your food for a few days. It could be possible that the amount of calories you’re actually consuming is not the same amount you think you’re consuming.
Remember, eat well, move well, stress less, and sleep well, and your body should be on it’s way to optimal health and weight.