Losing weight isn’t the simple process everyone seems to think it is. Which isn’t to say that anyone thinks it isn’t hard work and doesn’t take a lot of effort. But a lot of people think they understand the basic gist of it – eat healthy, exercise more, and… that’s about it, right? Sure, it takes effort, but the process is fairly easy to remember, surely? Well, weight loss really isn’t so simple as that. Your body is quite a complex thing, after all!
A lot of people who aim to lose weight may run into two problems. The first is that they never seem to lose any weight, or may even have gained weight. In this scenario, it’s clear that the person in question is probably doing something very wrong with the fundamentals of weight loss. The second problem – and this is a common one – is that the person hits what is called a weight loss plateau.
They’ll noticeably lose weight for a while. But then it stops. They’re still exercising and haven’t been eating unhealthy foods, but the pounds simply aren’t going anywhere. This seems to defy science, right?
What could be happening in this situation is that your body is simply becoming accustomed to the exercise and diet you’ve thrown at it. It’s adapting, meaning you’re no longer pushing your body in the way that you were, say, a few weeks ago. This is the weight loss plateau!
In either case, we’re going to be looking at some of the key mistakes that people make when it comes to shedding the weight they feel has been holding them back.
Ghrelin vs your diet
Those who haven’t been losing a significant amount of weight are usually those who have failed during the dieting process. The fact is that our minds sees food intake as relative; you may have seen this in obese people who claim that they don’t eat that much and are confused as to why they’ve put on so much weight. They’re probably genuinely convinced that they don’t eat that much. But, except in rare and extreme cases, your weight has a correlative relationship with the amount of food you’re eating.
This can kick in when you’re dieting. Because you’ve made a conscious effort to reduce food intake, or improve what you’re eating, you may start ignoring, say, the increase of snack consumption. Unhealthy eating during a diet is very common – and your body is working against you a little, here.
When you diet, your body starts producing more of a hormone called ghrelin. It’s also known as the “hunger hormone”, because, well, it makes you feel hungry. And they don’t increase a little when you’re on a diet – they increase a lot. So diet “cheating” tends to occur because of an increased perception of being hungry – which is why people ignore it so often. You’re not exactly supposed to starve yourself, right?
Unfortunately, ghrelin hasn’t shown any sign of being suppressed by drugs or supplements. So how can you fight against it? Making sure you get enough sleep is absolutely key, as is coupling your diet with exercise. An increase in muscles mass is associated with lower ghrelin levels. You should also ensure there’s plenty of protein in what you’re eating!
A more serious approach
A lot of people make the mistake of taking too informal an approach when it comes to weight loss. They don’t have schedules, timetables, reading material, support, records, any of that. They’ll simply cut a few things out of their regular food intake, go for a few runs a week, and that’ll be about it.
This is admirable, for sure, and it will definitely do your body some good. But it can only go so far. You may lose weight with this approach, but it won’t be a particularly consistent or even significant weight loss. You‘re going to have to get more “serious” about it, to put it one way!
One of the best things you can do is ensure that you’re keeping records of your progress. You can write things down, take photographs of yourself, etc. If you’re not formally tracking your progress, then you’re going to lose track of things eventually. Make sure you have a consistent diet and exercise plan. Don’t just set yourself to run whenever you have the time (unless you have no other option!). You should set specific times and days in which you’re going to do specific exercises for certain amounts of time.
Following a specific workout plan or guide can work out very well for you, especially because they often come with the materials you may need to keep track of and schedule your exercise, as well as your diet. But make sure you take the time to research each plan you come across. You may have heard of the Bikini Body Guide, for example, but you should be reading reviews and checking out alternatives before you subscribe to anything!
Trying new things
The weight loss plateau I mentioned earlier is, more often than not, hit because your body has gotten used to the treatment you’ve been giving it. The chances are you may not have to adjust your diet (although you may want to increase protein and energy levels, and you’ll see why shortly) if it’s lost you weight so far. But things will be different where exercise is concerned.
What you may need to do is increase the amount of exercise you’re doing. That, or try out new things when it comes to exercise. You should aim to exercise new areas of your body, develop different muscles, and use equipment you haven’t used before or haven’t used enough. Let’s say you’ve done pretty well so far by running and lifting weights. Perhaps it’s time to throw cycling or even swimming into your routine?
By switching things up, you begin to exercise new parts of your body. You also begin to push the limits of your body. Remember: it’s by pushing those limits (safely!) that you actually improve your body’s abilities. Your limits get further away from you when you exercise – this is good, but you’ll never really improve or continue to lose weight unless you keep chasing that boundary with new and challenging routines.