This post is going to give you some scientifically-proven top tips about overcoming the problems that are preventing you from achieving your ideal weight. If you have ever asked yourself, ‘why am I not losing weight?’ we will be looking at some of the major problems in the way of achieving your ideal target weight and setting realistic weight loss goals. We will be asking why this is so difficult for some people and what you can do to overcome these hurdles.
If you can answer yes to any of these questions then you have come to the right place.
I’m exercising but I’m not losing weight
Eating more after Exercise? Right, so you’ve started a healthy eating plan, which is far superior to any fad diet by the way, and you are sticking to an exercise regime but the weight is just not shifting. If you find yourself famished after exercising and heading straight off for that burger, or high-sugar food hit there may be a reason why.
For the 30 young, fit participants in this study, the reduction in the brain’s response to food images was spread throughout many different areas of the brain especially those regions that control the liking and craving for food and the motivation to find food.
However, this is not the full story. A 2011 study published in The Journal of Obesity examined exercise induced changes in relation to the desire for food. This study focused on 34 inactive and obese men and women who underwent exercise regimes for 5 days a week and found that 14 people actually demonstrated an increased desire for high fat or sweet foods after exercising. Interestingly, these 14 participants, who demonstrated an increased preference for high-fat or sweet foods during and after a 12 week intense exercise program, also showed a significantly smaller reduction in weight.
In conclusion, for a minority of people, because physical activity actually stimulates the craving for reward foods it does not appear to help promote significant weight loss.
For some individuals, exercise increases the reward value of high palatability, high energy food and diminishes the impact of exercise on fat loss. Early identification of this predisposition could help to optimise weight control strategies by augmenting the health benefits of exercise with dietary modification.
I’ve been eating healthy for months but I’m not losing weight
This is a common stumbling block for many in the fight against the flab. You have chosen the right diet that is suited to your personal eating style. You have set realistic weight-loss goals and even possibly enrolled on a weight loss program such as Weight Watchers. Not only that, but you have combined this with a regular exercise regime that you are sticking to like glue. Still ~ that weight is just not moving.
… And…Here is what you can do about them:-
- Keep a weight loss Diary: A study conducted by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine proved that obese women who kept an accurate food diary lost up to twice as much weight as those who did not. You must record obsessively absolutely everything that you eat and drink and all those hidden calories will start revealing themselves. This can be a real game changer.
- Change the size and colour of your plate: A study by Brian Wansink of Cornell University and van Ittersum showed that if you reduce the size of your plate, you reduce your calorie intake too. If you put a small portion on a large plate, the brain will interpret that as having little food and eat more, however if you put the same size portion onto a much smaller plate, the perception is that of a full plate. This study showed that changing from a 12″ plate to a 10″ plate lead to a decrease in calories of 22%. The same study also showed that the color of the plate impacts eating habits as well. If the food is the same color as that of the plate this resulted in a 30% increase in servings. A good contrast of food color and plate led to a decrease in calorie intake. There you go ~ Invest in some small, white plates and watch those pounds disappear.
- Maintain your motivation: A lot of habits and behaviors are governed by the brain so keep your motivation high and it won’t seem such an uphill battle. See our top tips on motivation.
How do you sleep?
Many scientific studies have proved a link between the amount of hours that you sleep and the likelihood of weight gain.
It has been shown that too little sleep, or sleep deprivation, affects your ability to concentrate and to make healthy food choices the following day. It is not that you actually lose weight in your sleep, but if you are regularly sleep-deprived, your metabolism will not be functioning properly. Combine this with the increased desire for a high-carb or sugary pick me up and that is a recipe for disaster.
Matthew Walker, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology, in a recent study on the connection between sleep duration and obesity, found that:-
…high-calorie foods …became significantly more desirable when participants were
sleep-deprived. The combination of altered brain activity and decision-making may
help explain why people who sleep less also tend to be overweight or obese.
How many hours should I sleep to promote weight loss?
Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day (especially a consistent wake time) was most strongly linked with lower body fat.
Do you weigh yourself often enough?
There is a lot of conflicting evidence about how often you should weigh yourself if you are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight. Some suggest that weighing yourself daily can be counter productive due to natural fluctuations in weight throughout the day (due to water weight). Weight watchers and many other weight loss programs recommend weekly weighing.
However, a new study by Rena Wing from Brown Medical school, suggests that daily weighing is a successful technique that encourages weight loss and weight maintenance providing the results are acted upon. Wing concludes:-
If you want to keep the pounds off, daily weighing is critical. But stepping on the scale isn’t enough. You have to use that information to change your behavior, whether that means eating healthier or walking more. Paying attention to weight – and taking quick action if it creeps up – seems to be the secret to success.
Pacanowski carried out a recent study that showed daily self-weighing is beneficial for weight loss in adults. The study involved 162 overweight participants over a 2 year period. Pacanowski concluded that:-
Self-weighing and visual feedback may be a useful strategy combined with other techniques to promote healthful weight loss.
So to keep track of your weight you could try the Caloric Titration Scale (CTS) which involves weighing yourself daily and marking the data on a chart or computer. If your weight fluctuates a little, normally that is fine, but the CTS very quickly picks up patterns of weight gain which allows for quick intervention and preventions to avoid this. The Caloric Titration Scale actually encourages you to be much more aware of the connection between what you eat and what you weigh.
When did you last have a medical exam?
Medical Conditions associated with weight gain
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Underactive thyroid
- Diabetes (which results in unstable blood sugar) and some treatments such as insulin and medications
- Fluid Retention
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Are you drinking enough water?
Scientific studies have shown that drinking more water actively promotes weight loss. The reasons for this are not yet entirely clear but it has been suggested that drinking more water may lower total energy intake and/or increase your metabolism.
A 2008 study by Stookey examined 173 women aged between 25 and 50 years who were overweight. Baseline assessments were made on factors such as exercise, diet, body weight, percentage body fat, body mass index and waist circumference. Measurements of the above variables were taken again at 2,6 and 12 month intervals.
The results showed that increase in drinking water was connected with significant weight loss and body fat over time.
How much water should we be drinking for weight loss?
Usually women should drink about nine 8 ounce cups of water (this is just over 2 litres) and men around thirteen 8 ounce cups (just over 3 litres). Furthermore, the timing of the water drinking is of importance too. According to Dr. Melina Jampolis, drinking a glass of water before you eat a meal means you will eat about 75 – 90 calories less due to feeling more full before you start. That adds up to a whopping 225 to 270 calories less on a daily basis. You could also look at a water day cleanse.
Remember, whatever you do ……
Questions and Answers
I’m about to start on a weight loss program and need to know a few basic principles.
The basic principle of all weight loss is that your caloric intake must be less than your energy output to start the fat burning process. Find out how many calories you need by clicking here. Below are some top tips for getting started:-
- Choose a healthy eating plan or a diet that is suited to your particular type of eating and needs. To find out how to do that click here.
- Be sure to set out clear, weight-loss goals for successful weight loss.
- Incorporate an exercise routine into your weekly regime to gain muscle mass and burn fat. If you’re a total beginner, start with 20 minutes of light walking and build up from there.
- Develop a regular sleep routine aiming for between 7 and 9 hours a night
- Feel the hunger and do it anyway. In order to lose weight it is normal to feel hungry over certain times of the day. There is no need to feel ravenously hungry at all but you should feel mild to moderate hunger just before your scheduled meal times. Counteract this by drinking plenty of water and snacking on high fibre, low calorie foods when necessary.
- Have a full medical check up and be aware of the side effects of any medications that you are taking
Will I get folds of loose skin if I lose a lot of weight?
Loose skin happens when underlying tissue shrinks and causes a void under the skin’s surface. This happens more when muscle tissue is lost along with fat. However, if you increase the amount of lean tissue that you have, this helps fill the area under the skin keeping it taut.
Ways to help prevent loose skin
What are the recommendations for me to lose 10 pounds in weight?
- Follow a healthy eating, low calorie eating plan
- Exercise regularly
- Drink lots of water
- Stay motivated
- Get Moose to help you adjust your attitude with hypnotic suggestions and Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) techniques
Here are a few motivation quotes to help you lose weight if you have found yourself at a weight loss plateau. Motivational quotes for weight loss can give you a little boost every day if you feel yourself giving up on your best laid weight loss plans.
Choose and repeat the motivation quote to yourself several times a day. Try and choose a quote that suits your mood, so if you are feeling low choose a confident boosting one or if you are in a fun-loving frame of mind choose something that makes you giggle. Motivational quotes can aid you on your journey to weight loss success … and if not they make you feel a bit better for a little while.
Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are Good investments.
I’m not losing weight I’m getting rid of it. I have no intention of finding it again.
Nobody can do it for you. You have to do it yourself.
It takes 4 weeks for you to notice your body changing, 8 weeks for your friends to notice and 12 weeks for the rest of the world to notice. Give it 12 weeks. Don’t quit.
I may not be there yet but I am closer than I was yesterday.
People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing that is why we recommend it daily.
One pound at a time
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Recent Diet Posts
- The Mediterranean Diet: There have been many success stories linked to this healthy eating plan
- The Dukan Diet: Another one of those low-carb diets
- The Paleo Diet: Stone-age shenanigans
- The Military Diet: Extremely low-calorie diet
- The HCG Diet: This one is highly controversial, find out why!
- The Dash Diet: The healthiest weight-loss program around
- The Atkins Diet: The holy grail of the low-carb, high-protein diets
- Bailey BW, Allen MD, LeCheminant JD, Tucker LA. (2014) Objectively Measured Sleep Patterns in Young Adult Women and the Relationship to Adiposity. American Journal of Health Promotion Sep/Oct (Retrieved December 10th 2015) http://www.ajhpcontents.com/doi/abs/10.4278/ajhp.121012-QUAN-500
- Chaput JP, Després JP, Bouchard C, Tremblay A. (2008) The Association Between Sleep Duration and Weight Gain in Adults: A 6-Year Prospective Study from the Quebec Family Study. Sleep. 2008 Apr 1; 31(4): 517–523.(Retrieved December 10th 2015)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2279744/
- Evero N, Hackett LC, Clark RD, Phelan S, Hagobian TA. (2012) Aerobic exercise reduces neuronal responses in food reward brain regions. J Appl Physiol 2012 May;112(9):1612-9.(Retrieved December 8th 2015)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22383502
- Finlayson G, Caudwell P, Gibbons C, Hopkins M, King N (2011)Low Fat Loss Response after Medium-Term Supervised Exercise in Obese Is Associated with Exercise-Induced Increase in Food Reward.Journal of Obesity: Volume 2011, Article ID 615624. (Retrieved December 8th 2015)
- Fildes A, Charlton J, Rudisill C, Littlejohns P, Prevost AT, Gulliford MC. (2015) Probability of an Obese Person Attaining Normal Body Weight: Cohort Study Using Electronic Health Records American Journal of Public Health: September 2015, Vol. 105, No. 9, pp. e54-e59.(Retrieved February 10th 2015)http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2015.302773
- Greer SM, Goldstein AN, Walker MP. (2013) The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain. Nat Commun. 2013 Aug 6; 4: 2259.(Retrieved December 10th 2015) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3763921/
- Kliewer KL, Ke JK, Lee HY, Stout MB, Cole RM (2015) Short-term food restriction followed by controlled refeeding promotes gorging behavior, enhances fat deposition, and diminishes insulin sensitivity in mice. JNB Volume 26, Issue 7, Pages 721–728.(Retrieved December 10th 2015) http://www.jnutbio.com/article/S0955-2863(15)00055-8/abstract
- Pacanowski1 CR, Levitsky DA. (2015) Frequent Self-Weighing and Visual Feedback for Weight Loss in Overweight Adults. (Retrieved December 10th 2015) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3763921/
- Stookey JD1, Constant F, Popkin BM, Gardner CD. (2008) Drinking water is associated with weight loss in overweight dieting women independent of diet and activity. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Nov;16(11):2481-8. (Retrieved December 11th 2015)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18787524
- Wansink B, Van Ittersum K. (2011)Plate Size and Color Suggestibility: The Delboeuf Illusion’s Bias on Serving and Eating Behavior.Journal of Consumer Research.(Retrieved December 8th 2015) http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1917488
- Wing RR, Papandonatos G, Fava JL, Gorin AA (2008) Maintaining large weight losses: The role of behavioral and psychological factors J Consult Clin Psychol. 2008 Dec; 76(6): 1015–1021. (Retrieved December 7th 2015)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2677901/
- Pearson ES.(2012) Goal setting as a health behavior change strategy in overweight and obese adults: a systematic literature review examining intervention components.Patient Educ Couns. 2012 Apr;87(1):32-42. (Retrieved October 8th 2015)http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21852063