When you've been sticking to your diet and hitting the gym faithfully, it's frustrating to step on the scale and see the same number as the week before. It might seem like you're doing everything in your power to shed pounds, but that might not truly be the case. Take a look at some common pitfalls to see if they're hindering your weight-loss efforts.
Weight loss is all about calories in vs. calories out, but it’s easy to overestimate the calories you’re burning through exercise or underestimate the number of calories you’re eating. Registered dietitian Lisa Young recommends writing down everything that goes into your mouth for a week and using a reputable calorie counter to figure out an accurate calorie count. It’s also key that you pay attention to the amount of food you put in your mouth. If you’re eating meals or snacks in front of the television or computer, you’re probably consuming many more calories than you think. Measure out your food before you sit down to eat it to combat this problem.
Too Little H20
It’s no secret that water is helpful for weight loss – it helps suppress your appetite so you don’t overconsume calories. It plays another role in weight loss, though, according to “Fitness” magazine – dehydration means your kidneys don’t function properly, so your body turns to your liver for help. Because of this, your body stores the fat you eat rather than burning it off. According to Dr. Pamela Wartian Smith, you should drink around half your body weight in ounces of water each day.
Desk Job Dangers
Even a regular exercise routine can’t necessarily counteract the effects of an otherwise sedentary lifestyle -- such as one of an office worker who spends eight hours a day at a desk. According to a study published in 2003 in the “Journal of Physiology,” sitting for a few hours a day causes your body to stop making lipase, an enzyme that inhibits fat. To counteract this, get up and walk around as much as possible, whether it’s taking a 15-minute walk on your lunch break or just lapping around the office to speak with your co-workers.
Ball of Stress
It’s not only your brain that gets frazzled by stress; your body does, too. According to Smith, the stress hormone cortisol triggers your appetite, slows your metabolism and increases production of a brain chemical, neuropeptide Y, which boosts carb cravings. If you constantly feel overwhelmed, it might be time to slow down -- and possibly get some more sleep. Registered dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick says getting fewer than five hours of sleep a night can alter hormones responsible for hunger and fullness, causing you to overeat.