So you’ve been hitting the gym pretty consistently and eating healthy for awhile, but you’re still not losing weight. What gives? Shouldn’t all this hard work be paying off? I’ve seen quite a few people in this situation and want to share a few major things people often miss out on that hold them back from losing weight.
3 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight
Sugar. Now I’m not talking about just candy, desserts, fruity pebbles, etc. I’m talking about all sugars — including refined carbs. They are holding you back from losing weight. What are refined carbs and what foods have them? You’re not going to like the answer. Refined carbs are processed food, put simple. They are hidden in almost anything packaged: white bread, white rice, pasta, snack food, condiments, and so much more. Read about them in my post Why Refined Carbs Are Bad for Weight Loss to learn more about them.
Let’s talk about condiments for a second. A couple of weeks ago I made a healthy dinner for my boyfriend and I, chicken breasts and vegetables. Instantly, out of habit, he dug the barbecue sauce out of the fridge to dip his chicken in. The chicken didn’t NEED barbecue sauce, but he is so used to eating foods with condiments he did it almost mindlessly. I picked up the bottle and looked at the sugar content. 16 grams of sugar in 2 tablespoons of BBQ sauce. Sadly, that was a higher sugar content than the ice cream that was in our freezer. I’d much rather use my daily sugar intake for ice cream than BBQ sauce, wouldn’t you? Checking labels is crucial.
Why are refined carbs and sugars bad? Basically, they don’t give your body the proper energy it needs. They are quickly digestible and cause spikes in your blood sugar levels, afterwards leaving you drained of energy, and probably craving more bad food. Ever had that after lunch afternoon crash and brain fog? You might want to take a closer look at what you’re eating for lunch.
2. Not Drinking Enough Water
Most people don’t get nearly enough water each day. I’m not talking about coffee, or juice, or soda… just water. The old rule of thumb is to drink 8 eight ounce glasses of water a day. That’s 64 ounces. I have also heard that you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water. Some even think that’s not enough… I shoot to drink between 100 and 150 ounces of water a day. Just around a gallon, maybe more on days that I’m really active.
So how does water help with losing weight? Water is something your body needs to function properly. We all know this. When you’re dehydrated, your physical, mental, and emotional health take a hit. Your memory and attention are affected, you may have headaches, your energy is low, and what about cravings? Often times, cravings are just a mask for dehydration. Next time you’re craving a bag of chips or a slice of chocolate cake, try drinking a couple glasses of water first.
3. Not Getting Enough Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can really hinder your efforts to lose weight. The most obvious reason here is that without enough sleep you won’t have enough energy to exercise. But there is so much more to it than just energy. Your body need adequate rest for your muscles to recover, and even to build or maintain muscle. Sleep deprivation can lead to muscle loss. Sleep impacts your hormones — hormones that turn your food into energy, control how hungry you are, your cravings, and how your body stores/uses fat. Even worse, your cravings will most likely be more of those evil refined carbs, that don’t give you sustainable energy. If you want more details on how sleep affects your body and losing weight, read this article.