If you feel like you’ve tried absolutely everything – dieting, counting calories, exercising for hours, and following meal schedules and you’re still not quite satisfied with the results, don’t give up just yet. Most likely, the reason why you’re still not losing those few extra pounds is due to something other than your diet and activity levels.
Bright Side has compiled a list of possible reasons why your weight loss has hit a plateau.
7. Hormonal changes
Throughout a woman’s life, her body goes through hormonal changes as it prepares itself for puberty, pregnancy, giving birth, and menopause. All of these processes influence the metabolism and can sometimes cause weight gain. Although this is perfectly natural for the female body, it can sometimes cause some inconvenience.
Step 1: Gradually increase the amount and the intensity of your physical activity. A few exercises that may be enough for a young woman are not always enough for women who are over 40 years old. You should also try to make your workouts as diverse as possible: swimming, yoga, aerobics, sports and whichever activity you enjoy. The general rule is that the older you get, the more physical activity you need.
Step 2: Consult a doctor. Medical tests and professional expertise from specialists are absolutely necessary to make sure you know what to expect during a period of hormonal change.
6. Eating too much fruit
Fruit is considered to be a healthy snack. However, it is important to keep in mind that some types of fruit have many calories and contain a lot of sugar, such as glucose, fructose, and sucrose. Consuming too many calories from fruit may be the reason why your extra weight is not disappearing.
Step 1: Substitute sweets such as cake and chocolate with your favorite fruit. The key is to not eat too much fruit.
Step 2: Remember that different types of fruit have different nutritional values. Green apples, along with grapefruit, pomegranates, and pineapples, contain the least amount of calories.
5. Health issues
Weight gain can also be caused by problems with your gastrointestinal tract due to toxins, constipation, polycystic ovaries that influence the production of male hormones, and thyroid malfunctions that slow down the production of hormones.
Step 1: Take note of anything that causes you physical discomfort throughout the day. Examine your body and make a list of things that worry you.
Step 2: See a doctor as soon as possible. A specialist will analyze your symptoms, determine the cause and will offer a treatment plan.
4. Taking medication
It often happens that the list of possible side effects of certain medications is so long that many people prefer to ignore it altogether. Other people think that the benefits of medication are far more important than their possible side effects. Antidepressants, birth control pills, antihistamines, antipsychotics, steroids, beta-blockers that are prescribed to treat certain conditions are examples of medications that often cause people to gain weight.
Step 1: Study the list of possible side effects of every medication before you start taking it. Then pay attention to how you feel after you take the pills.
Step 2: If you suspect that some medication is causing you to gain weight, don’t hesitate to see your doctor and ask him or her to prescribe something different. If you decide to stop taking the pills on your own, or end up finding an alternative, it may actually cause you more harm.
3. Emotional overeating
Despite the fact that the stress is most likely psychological, it can influence your appearance more than you think. Emotional dependence on food can come in very different forms:
- Rewarding hard work with food
- Food as a way of satisfying needs that have nothing to do with the food itself. For example, “Chocolate is a great aphrodisiac.”
- Food as an antidepressant: delicious food gives us positive emotions
Step 1: Try to tell the difference between the types of hunger you’re feeling: is it your stomach that needs the food or is it your head? Most of the time, if you want something very much, and you want a lot of it, it means that it is definitely not your stomach that is hungry.
Step 2: Find a substitution for food. A simple “no” is not enough because sooner or later you won’t be able to resist. It’s important to understand what you really need is to be in a good mood! Go for a walk, take a hot bath, draw, watch a movie, etc. Every time you want to eat when you are anxious, do something fun instead.
Many people think that feeling stressed can cause a reduced appetite and lead to weight loss. In reality, the opposite is also possible. When your body is under stress, it starts producing more cortisol, the hormone that increases your appetite. This is because our body senses that we are stressed and may be in danger and believes that we need to save our energy in order to protect ourselves. Nowadays, we feel just as stressed about our appearance and our weight as we would’ve felt thousands of years ago about impending danger. But since there is no way to explain this to your body’s defense mechanisms, it’s possible that your weight gain is actually caused by stress.
Step 1: Learn a relaxation method and let yourself rest every day. Do something that makes you feel calm on a regular basis.
Step 2: Consult a specialist. It is possible that the real causes of your stress are not evident and a qualified psychologist can help you.
1. Lack of sleep
Many studies indicate that there is a connection between gaining weight and lack of sleep. So, according to the research of the American company Mayo Clinic, people who sleep no more than 6 hours a day gain 11 more pounds every year than those who sleep at least 7 hours. A one-hour difference can make a great impact!
Step 1: Change your priorities. We are pretty sure that you can find an extra hour of sleep if you spend less time online, lying on the couch, or watching TV.
Step 2: Stick to a schedule. The later you go to bed, the less efficient your sleep will be.
Do you know of any other reasons why those last few pounds can be so tough to shed? Share them with us in the comment section below.
Illustrated by Alena Tsarkova for Bright Side