Here is a very interesting article that compiles a list of "common culprits thwarting dieters’ weight-loss efforts."
The list includes:
1. You Aren’t Tracking What You Eat
“Most of the time, when someone comes into my office saying they aren’t losing weight, the problem is that they are eating a lot more than they think they are,” says Holly Herrington, a registered dietitian and clinical nutritionist with the Center for Lifestyle Medicine at Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation. “Almost every single person underestimates how much they are eating.” You can blame oversized restaurant portions, mindless munching and “health halos” for that, she says.
"She recommends tracking everything you eat, at least for a couple months, with apps like My FitnessPal, which will help you learn proper portion sizes and how your favorite health foods measure up calorie-wise. In one American Journal of Preventive Medicine study, people who kept daily food records lost double the weight of those who didn’t track their food intake."
2. You’re Not Sleeping Enough
"A bad night’s sleep can wreck your weight-loss efforts through a two-pronged approach. For one, it makes you hungry and likely to overeat. “When you don’t get enough sleep, your levels of cortisol and also ghrelin, a hormone that increases the sensation of hunger, rise,” explains board-certified internist Dr. Patricia Salber."
"Second of all, not getting enough sleep could make your body store what you do eat as fat. For instance, a 2011 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that just one night’s bad sleep caused healthy men’s resting energy expenditure – the number of calories they burned by simply being alive – to drop by 5 percent. The number of calories they burned after each meal also dropped by 20 percent."
“Sleep deprivation and sleep apnea may affect blood sugar levels and increase insulin resistance,” says endocrinologist Dr. Michael Bergman, clinical professor of medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center. “Sleep disorders, namely obstructive sleep apnea, [have] been associated with the development of Type 2 diabetes.”
3. You’re Eating the Same Numer of Calories You Did on Day One of Your Diet
"Oh, the weight-loss plateau: At the beginning of your diet, you were losing weight and feeling great. But now, you’re doing the exact same thing, but with zero results. That might be the problem. “As you lose weight, your caloric needs will change,” Herrington says. “The smaller you get, the fewer calories your body needs, so the fewer calories you’ll need to eat to continue losing weight.”
"If your weight-loss results have plateaued for one to two months, she recommends gradually cutting back on calories. Start by eating 100 fewer calories a day and see how the scale shifts in a couple weeks’ time. Don’t cut back too much, though. Most women shouldn’t eat any fewer than 1,200 calories a day and men shouldn’t eat any fewer that 1,700 a day. Meanwhile, you should never feel famished or low on energy, she says."
4. You’re Constantly Stressed
"Acute stress – say from a looming work deadline or relationship drama – can cause your appetite to go MIA. But if the stress keeps up and becomes chronic, too-high levels of the stress hormone cortisol can increase your appetite, particularly for high-carbohydrate foods, according to Salber. “When stressed, people seek to comfort themselves and relieve the tension,” she says. “All too often, that means turning to sugar or starchy foods.” High-carb foods can cause a quick spike in blood sugar and feel-good serotonin levels. But both crash quickly, and put you in a vicious cycle of stress and overeating."
"Meanwhile, by stimulating the production of insulin, cortisol also increases your body’s tendency to store calories as visceral fat. A type of fat that hangs out in the abdominal cavity and likes to hug your vital organs, visceral fat is associated with the development of insulin resistance and, in some cases,diabetes, Salber says."
"If you can’t remember the last time you weren’t stressed, consider visiting your doctor or a therapist to help you manage your stress levels and get healthy. Mental health issues, including stress, are no different than physical health issues, she says. They deserve professional help."
5. You’re Using Artificial Sweeteners
"Artificial sweeteners, whether you stir them into your coffee, get them from diet sodas or spoon them from your yogurt container, are an easy way to cut calories and sugar in the short term, but they could harm your long-term weight-loss efforts. Case in point: Research from the University of Texas found that over the course of 9.5 years, the average two-a-day diet-soda drinker puts on five times more belly fat than do people who abstain."
"That could be because your brain responds to artificial sweeteners by telling you to eat more sweet stuff, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Meanwhile, they may also throw off the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut, Salber says. A 2014 study from the Israel-based Weizmann Institute of Science’s immunology department found a significant correlation between the consumption of artificial sweeteners, gut bacterial configuration and a tendency to develop glucose intolerance, which contributes to the development of obesity and Type 2 diabetes."
"Eliminate any artificial sweeteners in your diet and replace them with sweeteners that also contain vitamins and minerals, such as honey and maple syrup. Just make sure to count their calories."
6. You Have a Medical Condition
"While rare, underlying health conditions can make weight-loss difficult to achieve on your own. For instance, Cushing’s disease, marked by excess cortisol levels, and polycystic ovary syndrome, a common endocrine disorder in women, can both contribute to glucose disorders, Bergman says."
"Meanwhile, hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, can also contribute to weight-management issues. About half of thyroid disorder cases in America are undiagnosed, according to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists."
"If you aren’t losing weight, but feel like you are following your body’s caloric needs and are exercising between two and five hours a week, Herrington recommends talking to your doctor about your weight-loss concerns. He or she may be able to run some simple tests to make sure a health condition isn’t behind your frustrations. If something is amiss, treating it will do more than help you lose weight."
So have your weight loss efforts been meeting with any resistance lately? If so, why?
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