Whether you want to lose weight or simply maintain your healthy weight, there are triggers that can thwart even the best of intentions. Know what they are!
Let’s be honest, most of us want to lose a few pounds. But, even people who aren’t interested in losing weight probably don’t want to gain weight from fat, and they certainly don’t want poor health. In the quest for weight loss or management, many people focus on the traditional, yet ineffective in the long run, strategy of calories in and calories out, coupled with increasing exercise. While this might work in the short-term, it’s not going to provide long-term success or happiness.
Another issue with the calories-in/calories-out method is that it doesn’t consider some other key elements that could be not only negatively affecting your health, but that can also cause weight gain or the halting of your weight loss efforts. Below we will explore some of the top lifestyle triggers that could explain why you aren’t able to get rid of those extra pounds you’re striving to lose.
Moderately Sedentary Lifestyle
The average American, even among those who are regular gym goers, more often than not leads a moderately sedentary lifestyle. While some do go to the gym often for an hour or two a few days of the week, this is only a small percentage of your life. What’s going on day to day with the rest of those hours makes a difference to your health and to your weight loss goals. Studies have indicated that those who are moderately active more often throughout the day on a regular basis are healthier and lose more weight than people who do a single burst of exercise. Between desk jobs, driving, relaxing, watching TV, computer work, and everything else in our modern world, we are far less active than we sometimes realize. This can be remedied by making sure to exercise regularly and be up and moving a minimum of ten minutes each hour.
When we are stressed, especially under chronic stress, our body doesn’t function optimally. Stress creates an imbalance that throws off the natural systems of the body, which thrive when in homeostasis. When we’re stressed, our cortisol levels increase, which is a fat-storage hormone. Generally, when we’re stressed we don’t digest as well, meaning that we won’t be as nourished, we’ll get more inflammation, retain more water, and throw off our gut microbe. Also, when we’re stressed, we don’t sleep as well, we don’t have as much energy or motivation (not to mention strength or endurance). We tend to have more cravings, increased appetite, and everything is just off. Getting stress levels under control should be the first focus of any health or weight loss program if you want to be truly successful.
Food Intolerances or Allergies
Just because some foods are generally healthy, such as organic dairy or raw broccoli, doesn’t mean that your system is handling those foods the way it should. For whatever reason, whether it’s an imbalanced gut microbe, autoimmune, leaky gut, or other such problems, eating foods that cause intolerance or allergies leads to a lack of true nourishment, increased stress on the body, and inflammation. When this happens, we tend to get more bloated, retain water, have constipation, and experience other such symptoms that are not only signs of lack of nourishment, but also hinder weight loss efforts.
When we aren’t focused on the source and quality of our food, but rather on the number of calories, we’re likely consuming a lot of toxins in the form of bad oils, preservatives, coloring agents, and more. If you combine those toxins with medications, stress, contaminated water or air, and other such common sources of additional toxins, it’s easy to see how most people are likely toxic to some degree or another. When we’re toxic, we’re going to have a harder time losing weight. Because our fat stores are one of the safest places for the body to store dangerous toxins, flushing fat storing these toxins is going to be a fight. The body doesn’t want to let go of the toxic fat in an effort to protect itself. This means the more toxic your body, the harder time you’re going to have truly losing fat. Additionally, when you’re toxic, you tend to retain more water, have more hormone imbalances, have less energy, and other such issues that can influence health and weight loss.
The good bacteria (probiotics) inside of and on us are key to health and life and also to weight loss goals. If the microbiome is out of whack for whatever reason (stress, poor diet, medications), then the body is not going to be able to manage weight properly. If you’re looking to boost health and change your weight, the gut and the microbiome is one of the very first places you should look.
Too Much Sugar (or sugar replacements)
This can be more difficult than some people realize. Due to marketing, hidden sugars, and other such sneaky tactics, the average American is consuming far more processed sugar than they likely realize. Sugar thwarts weight loss efforts and leads to a list of other problems, especially the more processed versions such as high fructose corn syrup. Want to lose weight? Lose the added and processed sugars!