Do you eat clean and work out regularly, but you’re still overweight ? Are you struggling to get rid of love handles and get shredded abs? Sometimes good nutrition and regular exercise are not enough. External factors, such as poor sleep, stress, and medications, can affect your progress and lead to weight gain. It’s important to identify these factors and then find a way to break that plateau. Here are five possible reasons why you’re not losing fat:
The choices you make every day affect your body weight. A hectic lifestyle can ruin your health and cause you to pack on pounds. A study published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism has shown that over 70 percent of students gain weight during college. The study was conduced on 131 students for four years. Most of them have gained about 12 pounds as a result of their poor eating habits, lack of sleep, and alcohol consumption.
Want to lose weight? Get more sleep! Research indicates that people who don’t get enough rest experience increased hunger and unhealthy food cravings. Lack of sleep is one of the main causes of weight gain. This bad habit increases cortisol levels, causing your body to store fat. It may also cause sugar cravings and make you eat more than usual. Try to sleep at least eight hours a night, or take a nap in the afternoon.
The link between stress and weight gain has been long studied. According to the American Psychological Association, more than 40 percent of high-stressed people use food as a way to cope with daily problems. When you’re stressed out, you may end up overeating. At the same time, your cortisol levels will increase. This process slows your metabolism and promotes weight gain.
No one can deny that crash diets work. Unfortunately, the results don’t last. Most people gain the weight back within weeks. When you’re on a strict diet, your body is deprived of essential nutrients. Over time, your metabolism will decrease. Fad diets also affect cardiovascular health and physical performance. Their risks outweigh the benefits. The only way to lose weight and keep it off is to make permanent lifestyle changes and eat healthy most of the time.
Certain medications may cause weight gain on long term. This includes antihistamines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, beta blockers, oral corticosteroids, mood stabilizers, and diabetes medications. Some of these drugs stimulate the appetite and cause fluid retention, while others slow your metabolism and impair glucose control. However, this doesn’t mean you should stop taking your medications. Ask your doctor to recommend you a different product, or find natural alternatives to prescription drugs.