If you are trying to lose weight and are finding it difficult, there might be a good reason behind it. In fact, there may be a bunch of good reasons behind it. If you are having difficulty losing weight, it may be because there is not just one, but a number of factors preventing you from achieving your goals. The truth is that there are a lot of things in society today that are working against you and you will not meet your weight loss goals addressing only one or two of them. Here is a list of potential barriers to your weight loss journey. Consider which ones you may need to give up in order to meet your goals.
1. Fad Diets
Fad diets are the ones that promise significant weight loss in a short amount of time. Sometimes they have special foods for you to buy. You may lose a lot of weight quickly if you start one of these diets, but you are not likely to keep it off. The best way to “diet” is to simply develop new habits. It is the old habits that have gotten you where you are and until you change those. Leaving them for a while and then coming back will do more harm than good.
2. Losing Sleep
Believe it or not, sleep is incredibly important to weight loss. A good night’s sleep is an important part of good health in general, but it does affect your ability to lose weight.
- It increases cortisol levels. Cortisol is the stress hormone. When you do not get enough sleep you may find yourself more agitated. There is a reason for that. Increased cortisol levels can also affect appetite and your stress and agitation may lead you to poor food choices.
- It can slow metabolism. Metabolism is just a combination of all of the body’s processes that affect how it uses energy. If you have a quicker metabolism, you process fuel more efficiently. Inadequate sleep can lead to a slower metabolism. Regular deprivation can lead to weight gain.
- Reduced sleep can lead to a reduction in energy. When you are tired, you do not want to work out. You will also find the planning necessary to make healthy food choices daunting. When you are tired, a drive through will be so much easier than actually making a meal.
3. Eating Out
There is nothing wrong with eating out from time to time, especially if you are able to exercise some self-control. But, let’s be honest: how easy is it to make a good choice when you are seated in a place where the aromas and pictures in the menu are enticing you to make bad choices. On top of that, many restaurants serve extra large portions. Eating out from time-to-time is fine, but making meals at home should be your go-to.
4. Fat Free Foods
Fat is not as bad for you as we are often led to believe. In fact, fat is a necessary part of our diets. It promotes a sensation of being satisfied. It is also necessary to help with the absorption of certain fat-soluble vitamins like A and D. When it is removed from food, it can lead to receiving fewer nutrients. Fat free foods can also allow cravings to continue, leading people to overeat.
5. Sodas, Juices and Lattes
Most people do not really see these items as a threat because they are beverages. Who really counts beverages as calories, anyway? The truth is, however, many of the unneeded calories that Americans consume, they consume by drinking soda. Sodas, juices and lattes are some of the biggest culprits, but flavored beverages use sugar as well as other additives to give you flavor. Your best bet is just plain old water. Other drinks will not hydrate you as well as water does. And water has no artificial flavors or sweeteners.
6. Skipping Meals
Starving yourself on a regular basis can lead to slowing down your metabolism. A slower metabolism burns fat slower. This is also another great way to get those hunger hormones, gherlin and leptin, to get crazy. When they are out of sync, you may be led to eat more than you really need to.
7. Distractions While Eating
If you are going to have a meal, turn off the television and put away the cell phone. Not paying attention and allowing yourself to be distracted can cause you to consume more calories than you should. Paying attention will allow you to enjoy your food more and eat less. Conversely, having a dinner partner can have the same effect. If you enjoy great conversation while you eat, you will eat more slowly. This allows your satiety response time to let you know when you are full.
8. Processed Foods
While processing foods has allowed them to have a longer shelf life, the processing often strips foods of flavor and nutrients. Most manufacturers will enhance the foods with salt, sugar, the bad kind of fat and a lot of things you have never heard of and probably should not be consuming in order to make them more palatable. And while those same manufacturers can also fortify processed foods with the nutrients that have been removed, it is not nearly as good as the nutrients that were in there originally. Your best bet is to make foods at home, from scratch when possible, from whole food ingredients.
A drink or two from time to time is okay. Depending on what you are drinking, it can even offer some health benefits. But when you drink to excess, there are a lot of ways to wreck your goals. First of all, alcohol has calories. Remember how beverages can help pack on the calories? It can also make you want to binge on junk. And if you are buzzed or even drunk, your ability to make good decisions is already impaired. You will not be likely to choose good foods when you are tipsy. And, when you are impaired, you may not be fully aware of how much your are eating, either. Finally, if you drink to excess and wake with a hang over, you are probably not going to want to exercise or even think about what sorts of food you should be eating. If you are going to drink, have one or two drinks. Do not binge.
10. Negative Attitude
The mind has incredible power over the body. Looking at the glass as half-empty will not get you as far as seeing it as half-full. If you are looking at how far you have left to go, you may never get there. Instead, give yourself a little credit for the things you have already achieved. Recognizing your accomplishments and being grateful for where you are is the best way to motivate yourself to keep going. If you need help with this, get a buddy to exercise with you. You can help boost one another and keep each other moving forward.
11. Unrealistic Goals
You may never get to be a swimsuit model. Very few people ever do. However, you can be healthy. And not being a swimsuit model does not mean you do not look amazing. Setting an unrealistic goal is the quickest way to failure. When you can’t reach your goal, you may decide there is no point in having a goal and give up. Set a goal that is right for your health and well-being. Also, give yourself smaller, incremental goals to reach your bigger goals. It will help to keep you motivated and prevent you from being discouraged.
12. Sedentary Lifestyle
Being busy and being active are not the same things. Many jobs have people working at a desk in front of a computer all day. That may pay the bills but it does not contribute to your health or your weight loss goals. Losing weight requires action– and activity. Getting active and staying that way is a great way to boost your metabolism. Additionally, exercise promotes the production of “feel good” hormones and helps to stave off things like depression and anxiety which can also side track your weight loss goals. And while it is a good idea to set your alarm clock a little earlier so that you can get to the gym or make an effort to get there after work, there are also a number of ways to incorporate more activity into your everyday life as well.
- Fit in some extra steps by parking farther away from your destination. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and try to take a couple of minutes of break time every hour or so to stretch your legs.
- Ride a bike or walk. If the place you are going is not too far away, you do not have to take a car. Get a bike and ride it to the store or to work. You could even walk and avoid the bike purchase. You could even just take a walk or a bike ride in the evening to relax or clear your head after a long day of work.
- If you are going to watch something on television, see if there are exercises you can do as you watch, such as riding a stationary bike or using small weights. You could even give up sitting around in front of the television in exchange for playing a sport or engaging in some other activity. Engaging in sports is not only good for staying active but also for engaging with others socially.
13. Eating Right Before Bed
Do not eat right before going to bed. Give yourself at least three hours in between. That means if you go to bed at 11pm, make sure to have your dinner before 8:00. Your metabolism slows down while you sleep and so any nutrients you take in right before bed will be stored rather than used. This will contribute to weight gain.
Bonus: Don’t Go It Alone
Community is important in just about everything that you do. Having a partner or a community around you can encourage, inspire and support you. That’s why programs like Weight Watchers has meetings. Having others around you who are also striving for the same goals helps you to remember that you are not the only one. You are not alone in your weight loss journey.
It can be a tremendous relief to know that others have endured or are enduring the same struggles that you are. It can also be uplifting to have a support system of like-minded people. You can also encourage one another by sharing information that you have gained. If you have a problem, you may find someone else in the community who has experienced the same problem and can offer you a solution.
Two (or more) heads are always better than one. Having a partner or a community gives you someone else to be accountable to. If you are only accountable to yourself to go and work out, you may find it easier to make excuses not to go. If you have a friend that you are supposed to meet to work out together, you will be less likely to skip your session. There is no doubt that having a community will help you to stay on track.
Losing weight has a lot of benefits. You will be healthier and being healthier will make you feel better. You can stave off certain chronic diseases like type II diabetes. You will have more energy to do the things that you love. You will look better, too. In order to lose weight, however, you must make certain lifestyle changes. When you give up your bad habits and commit to a better lifestyle you will be amazed by the improvement.
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