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5 Things Holding Your Weight Loss Back

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If you’re working hard at the gym and doing your best to eat healthy, yet you can’t seem to lose unwanted weight, this article is for you. 


Embarking on a weight loss journey requires an understanding of various factors that contribute to effective and sustainable results. Despite your best efforts, it can be quite difficult to lose some extra pounds. 


This article will delve into science-backed reasons as to why you may be having a hard time losing weight. 





Not Tracking Calories

Tracking calories can be a helpful way to gain a better understanding of how you’re fueling your body. It’s a tangible and quantifiable way to measure how many calories you’re eating on a daily basis. 


The act of logging your food intake helps draw awareness to your dietary habits and can help hold you more accountable for your food choices. 


Tracking calories can be a helpful way to be intentional and specific about putting yourself in a calorie deficit, which means burning more calories than you consume. While a calorie deficit will not always lead to weight loss, it can be a helpful place to start.


Be sure you are still fueling yourself with adequate nourishment, as undernourishing yourself – or consuming too few calories – can actually slow metabolism and impede weight loss efforts. 


Tracking calories also promotes portion control, may help prevent overeating, and enables you to make informed choices about the types and amounts of food you consume. Ultimately, it provides structure and encourages mindfulness so you can feel empowered to make better dietary choices. 


In fact, research highlights the benefits of tracking calories and has found that those who maintain a food diary may lose twice as much weight compared to those who don’t (1).





Not Eating Enough Protein

Protein is a necessary component of everyone’s diet, however, ensuring adequate protein is key when working towards weight loss. 


Studies continue to find that diets higher in protein lead to increased feelings of fullness and an increase in lean muscle mass. The more lean muscle mass someone has, the faster and more efficiently their metabolism will work, potentially contributing to weight loss (2).


Not eating enough protein can make it difficult to lose weight for various reasons. For one, inadequate protein may lead to a reduction in muscle mass which can reduce overall metabolic rate. Plus, protein helps people feel full and less likely to overeat empty-calorie foods that may be more likely to contribute to weight gain. 


Without eating enough protein the body may favour storing fat over burning fat, which can of course hinder weight loss efforts. 


If you’re not sure if you’re getting enough protein in your diet you can utilize an online protein calculator, or better yet, consult with a registered dietitian for recommendations tailored to your body, lifestyle, and particular needs. Most people need about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. People who are more active or those who are seeking weight loss may benefit from increasing their protein intake to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. 



A Diet Too Low in Fiber

There is significant evidence to support the benefits of consuming a diet high in fibre. When it comes to weight loss, consuming a high-fibre diet is paramount. 


A diet too low in fibre can slow digestion and negatively impact gut microbes that play a role in metabolic health, and of course, a low-fibre diet doesn’t help you feel satiated. 


So what exactly does fibre do to help with weight loss? Scientific studies suggest that diets high in fibre are correlated to an overall lower body weight and more optimal metabolic health.  Also, fibre-rich foods are typically nutrient-dense and lower in calories, which can help people feel full while working towards a caloric deficit (3).


Additionally, fiber promotes healthy digestion and regulates blood sugar levels and prevents blood sugar spikes which can lead to sugar cravings and weight gain.


Essentially, fibre helps reduce the appetite and lessens the likelihood of overeating. 





Inadequate Physical Activity 

Exercise and regular physical activity is necessary for successful weight loss. A combination of resistance exercise and endurance exercise can encourage fat loss and improve overall metabolic health. 


Exercise allows you to burn more calories than simply eating less. Plus, if you work towards building muscle, your body will burn more calories at rest, meaning even after exercise your body is working to burn fat. 


If you’re not moving your body appropriately, it is more likely that the calories you consume will be stored as fat. Aim to incorporate regular movement into your daily routine. To find a routine that is sustainable and realistic, choose a movement that you enjoy whether that’s yoga, running, dancing, or hiking. 





Not Sleeping Well

Quality sleep is a critical but often overlooked factor in weight management. Research has found that poor sleep leads to impaired glucose metabolism and increased appetite. 

Poor sleep can hold you back from weight loss as it impacts hormones and metabolism. Poor sleep causes an increase in the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and a reduction in leptin, the hormone that helps us feel full. As a result, people end up eating more and tend to have higher cravings for high-calorie foods. 


As a result, people who struggle to get enough sleep may find it particularly challenging to stick to a healthy diet and exercise routine. 


Prioritizing your sleep hygiene is an integral piece of your health and weight loss journey. 



Why Weight Loss Is Not Appropriate for Everyone

Remember, weight loss is complicated and is definitely not appropriate for everyone, especially for anyone with a history of an eating disorder or disordered eating. 

There are several reasons why you may not be able to lose weight such as hormonal imbalances, medical conditions, or genetic reasons. 


You may choose to speak to a Registered Dietitian or nutrition professional to better understand if weight loss is right for you. 


Remember, weight loss is not the only driver of health and well-being. Even if weight loss is not appropriate for you, everyone can work towards leading a healthier life by improving their diet, prioritizing sleep, and increasing physical activity. 





Are There Supplements That Help With Weight Loss?

No dietary supplement can replace the benefits and importance of following healthy habits. Ensuring good nutrition with adequate protein and fibre, consuming an appropriate amount of calories, engaging in regular physical activity, and getting enough sleep are necessary in the pursuit of weight loss. 


However, there are some ingredients that can potentially help increase metabolic rate and speed along weight loss efforts. 


For example, caffeine can help increase metabolism and encourage fat burning for some people (4). There are other natural ingredients that have been shown to have similar effects such as moringa, turmeric, and grains of paradise. 



Key Takeaways

Optimizing your weight loss journey involves a multifaceted approach. By addressing the intricacies of caloric tracking, protein and fibre intake, regular physical activity, and quality sleep, you can overcome barriers and achieve sustainable results. 

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