Five reasons you can't lose weight – from too MUCH exercise to fizzy water
YOU'RE eating well and exercising more, but the number on the scale doesn't budge. Sound familiar?
Trying to shed the pounds can be frustrating and disheartening – especially if you're not seeing the results you want.
But there might be another surprising explanation as to why you're hitting a wall with your weight loss.
It could be as simple as actually exercising too much or not getting enough kip.
Here are just some of the reasons your daily routine could be preventing you from ditching the excess weight…
1. Not getting enough sleep
A lack of sleep can surprisingly contribute to inches around the waistline.
Research has shown that those who get between six and eight hours sleep a night have a greater chance of achieving their weight loss goal, than those who slept less or more.
The study, carried out by experts from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, also found that lower stress levels were associated with greater success at weight loss.
Dr Neil Stanley, sleep expert at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, says: "There seems to be a strong link between lack of sleep and putting on weight.
"You feel wonderful when you wake up from a good night's sleep.
"In these modern times, we regard sleep as a waste of time. But sleep is central to good physical and mental health."
2. Drinking coffee
If you're someone that relies on coffee to get you through the day, you might want to rethink how many cups you're having a day.
Cutting down on coffee could actually help you reverse the direction of that dial on the bathroom scales.
Nutritional director Rick Hay said: "Coffee is a nervous system stimulant.
"Amongst its many effects on the body, coffee can accelerate the pace of various body functions and, in so doing, our blood sugar levels drop to generate the energy necessary for such functions."
Coffee can accelerate the pace of various body functions and, in so doing, our blood sugar levels drop to generate the energy necessary for such functions
You may think that means coffee can help you burn calories faster, that is sort of correct – but it’s not the full story.
"When our blood sugar levels drop, our brains instantly get us to eat something to reset to those correct levels," Rick added.
However, once we start eating, there is a delay between the point we have actually eaten enough and the brain getting the message that we are well fed, this means we end up eating more than we actually need to.
3. Exercising too much
This one may come as a welcome surprise.
Rick says that working out too much could actually be having a negative effect on your weight loss.
"If you go for a fast and explosive sprint, the very first thing your body will burn is its muscle creatine phosphate stores, but they only last for about 20-30 seconds," Rick said.
"The body then needs to look for something else if you continue to exercise.
"This is where carbohydrates come into play. Carbohydrates are efficient sources of energy because they release energy fast.
"Gram by gram, fats release more energy (9kcal per gram) compared to carbohydrates (4kcal per gram) however, they do so at a slower rate, so it is not a very efficient process."
This doesn’t mean however that you should shun carbs before exercising.
Rick added: "Your body is constantly trying to synchronise what it burns with how fast it is burning energy at any given point in time."
4. Drinking fizzy water
So, you are probably thinking "I know this already, sugary fizzy drinks are not only bad for your weight, they are bad for your health in general".
But it might not only be down to the sugar they contain.
A study published on the journal Obesity Research and Clinical Practice in 2017 showed that the carbon dioxide in fizzy drinks can affect weight gain by increasing ghrelin release.
Ghrelin, more commonly known as the hunger hormone, is a hormone produced mainly in the stomach and one amongst its many effects is an increase in appetite.
With regards to carbonated drinks, the solution is simple. Just go for their de-gassed, boring-but-safe counterparts
It is ghrelin that controls your appetite in the short-term by alerting you it’s time to eat.
"With regards to carbonated drinks, the solution is simple. Just go for their de-gassed, boring-but-safe counterparts," Rick said.
"And yep, I’m afraid I’m going to burst the proverbial bubble here because that includes sparkling water."
This study showed that, even though sparkling water doesn’t contain any sugars, or artificial sweeteners for that matter, the carbon dioxide itself, the gas that gives the sparkle to your water, can itself lead to an increase in weight via ghrelin release.
5. You're stressed
Stress can have a profound effect on metabolism and gut health.
Our bodies don't really know the difference between physical and mental stress; they'll handle work problems in the same way they would the threat of famine.
The more stressed out we are, the more the body clings to fat reserves and muscle mass.
If you really want to start shifting body fat, you need to get your body (and mind) to relax.
That'll get it to release fat molecules, take the pressure off the gut, and allow muscles to grow.
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And the best way to change your body composition is to increase the amount of lean muscle mass you have.
Dietitian Anna Suckling told NHS England: "Snack on fruit and veg and other low-calorie options such as plain popcorn, crackers and rice cakes."
Wellness specialist Elizabeth Scott also warns that chronic stress can have you reaching for alcohol or food as a means of comfort.
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