An old adage says, “Losing weight is easy, it’s keeping it off that’s hard!”
But what happens when losing weight isn’t easy? Because for many folks—maybe even you—losing those last five to 15 pounds can feel nearly impossible.
What are you supposed to do then? Well in that case it may be time to dig a little deeper to find the hidden obstacles standing in the way of your losing weight.
Stopped losing weight? 6 common culprits…
Following are six common, but often overlooked, reasons it can be tough to shed those extra pounds
1. Lackluster workouts:
Take a good hard look at your exercise routine. It’s easy to slack off without ever realizing it. Especially if you’ve become bored with what you’re doing.
But even if you haven’t changed a thing, your workout might not be working for you any longer. Because the truth is, if you’ve already lost some weight you may need to ramp up the intensity.
An easy walk around the block may once have been plenty to kick your body into weight loss mode. But now that you’re in better shape, you likely need to do more to lose more.
Make sure you’re fitting a cardio workout in at least three days a week. Swimming laps, a stationary bike, water aerobics or even an all-out dance-a-thon in your own living room fit the bill.
Then work on strength training two days a week. I like to use resistance bands and keep it interesting by looking up new routines on YouTube.
Refocus on your workouts and you may find yourself losing weight once again.
2. Diet soda:
Despite diet being right there in the name diet sodas can sabotage your attempts to lose weight.
According to research, including a long-term study which tracked more than 3600 people, the more diet soda you drink, the greater your risk of obesity. And that holds true even if folks don’t increase the calories they’re eating.
If you’re looking for the fizz factor swap out artificially sweetened “diet” soda for seltzer with a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange.
3. Weekend cheating:
A cheat meal is a great way to step away from a diet and relax a little. It can help you avoid feeling deprived so sticking to your plan is easier. But if your cheat meal has morphed into an entire cheat weekend, losing weight will be an uphill battle.
Relaxing the rules a bit on the weekend could help you meet your goals. But going completely off your diet for two or three entire days will sabotage your diet.
4. Skipping meals:
Overeating is an obvious problem if you’re trying to lose weight. What’s not so obvious is that skipping meals can backfire on you too.
When you skip a meal to try to save on calories you’re actually far more likely to overeat later when you’re hungry. But that’s not the only problem with skipping.
According to researchers at Vanderbilt University, when you deny your body the regular fuel it expects it often responds by shutting down fat burning. In other words, if you eat inconsistently it causes your body try to store fat, rather than burn it.
5. Shortchanging sleep:
Tossing and turning at night could be contributing to your weight loss plateau. According to a meta-analysis of more than 600,000 people of all ages, folks who don’t get enough sleep are between 55 and 89 percent more likely to become obese than those who are well-rested.
Lack of sleep messes with your hormones. When you’re sleep deprived, your body pumps out more ghrelin, the hunger hormone. So you get the munchies. At the same time, it dials back leptin production, the hormone that tells you you’ve had enough.
The result is you’re far more likely to overeat. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, folks eat up to 500 extra calories when they haven’t had enough sleep. And more often than not sleepy snacking consists of junk food, which can keep you from losing weight.
6. You don’t need to:
You may have stopped losing weight simply because you don’t need to lose anymore. It’s possible you’ve already reached your body’s ideal weight.
Eventually, your body reaches a “set point,” where it functions best. If you’re healthy—with balanced blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol for example—but still trying to lose weight it might never happen.
And in many cases, you may not want to. In fact, an Australian study found that people over the age of 60 who carry an extra five to 10 pounds are actually healthier. They tend to live longer. And they’re better protected from osteoporosis too.
If you’ve stopped losing weight and can’t figure out why, one of these six common causes could be the culprit.