These 4 things could plateau your weight loss. But don’t be discouraged—making healthy changes is always the right choice.
You’ve sworn off Girl Scout cookies and soda, you’ve started a rigorous new exercise routine, and you’ve even prioritized 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night (because you know restful sleep is essential for weight loss).
You get on the scale, and bam—to your surprise, the number hasn’t changed one bit. All of a sudden, your motivation and self-esteem take a painful nosedive and you wonder why you’re even trying so hard. What gives?
Your body is an extremely complex well-oiled machine, and everything from your hormones to genetics can play a part in how fast and how much weight you lose. Before you throw in the towel and revert back to old ways, it’s important to remember that years if not decades of lifestyle habits can’t be reversed overnight. True, lasting change takes time, and even if the number on the scale isn’t changing, you are likely reaping benefits that have nothing to do with the number on the scale (which, by the way, is not the end-all, be-all marker of health).
Let’s look at some potential reasons for slow weight loss and how to get over the hurdle you’re in despite all the wonderful new changes you’re implementing to improve your health and well-being.
4 Reasons For Slow Weight Loss
- Stress. Stress does not only cause and exacerbate just about every disease in the book—it can also seriously hinder your weight loss. Are you running on “survival mode” (i.e. living in fight or flight constantly) or living in a prolonged state of stress? Do you overdo caffeine each day just to muster up enough energy to tackle your to-do list? Are you overexerting yourself with an unbalanced workload, whether at home, work, or both? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be living under chronic stress which is a huge barrier to weight loss. Think about it this way: Stress causes the body to produce more of the hormone cortisol, the stress hormone, which sends the message to your body that you are in danger. Whether the danger is real or perceived by your stress, your body then hangs onto body fat, especially in the belly.
But stress in and of itself may not be the only culprit: If you are prone to seeking comfort from sugary or processed foods or overeating during times of stress, the added calories could be thwarting your weight loss goals.
- Lack of sleep. Do you struggle to fall and/or stay asleep? Do you consistently fall short of getting at least 7 hours of sleep each night? Do you lay awake, staring at the ceiling or illuminated numbers on your alarm clock, worried about the next day’s worries? A poor sleep schedule could be an underlying cause to slower-than-desired weight loss. A lack of sleep is also linked to unhealthier food choices, increased hunger and calorie intake, decreased physical activity, and unfortunately, weight gain.
Studies galore show the varying effects of not sleeping enough on weight loss progress. One study found that when people lacked quality sleep, they were more susceptible to late-night snacking and more likely to reach for high-carb snacks (Thin Mints anyone?). In another study at the University of Chicago, sleep-deprived participants chose snacks with double the fat as those who slept at least 8 hours. Getting more sleep means choosing more nutritious foods to nourish your body with.
- Hormone imbalance. If you answered yes to the questions related to stress, you are also probably one of the millions of women affected by a hormone imbalance. In addition to the stress hormone cortisol which slows metabolism and causes your body to hang on to belly fat, a number of other hormones, if out of balance, can derail your weight loss goals and cause medical conditions like hypothyroidism which slows the metabolism. These imbalances could cause more than just weight loss frustrations, like painful periods, bloating, and fibrous breasts. Conversely, when your hormones are in sync, estrogen and progesterone work synergistically to facilitate different processes in the body. When your body is not hormonally optimized, it can trigger not only weight gain, but a slew of other health risks and conditions such as insulin resistance, fatty liver, and high blood sugar. The long and short of it, hormone imbalances can really wreak havoc on your weight loss as well as your physical and mental health. Are your hormones out of balance? Take our quiz to find out!!.
- Too much alcohol. You may opt for lower-calorie libations like a vodka soda or a skinny daiquiri, but bear in mind that booze of all sorts can stop your body from burning fat, cause unhealthy food cravings (late-night pizza delivery anyone?), and is even linked to more fat in the midsection. To give it to you straight, alcohol in any amount is toxic to the body. In fact, drinking excessively can trigger atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat that can increase your risk of stroke by five times. But forgetting for a moment the many serious health risks associated with alcohol consumption—just the fact that it is detrimental to your weight loss goals and can affect your quality of sleep (another weight loss inhibitor) is reason enough to consider taking a break. Focusing on those non-scale victories and staying consistent with positive changes, while easier said than done, will take you from your current state to your desired destination—just have patience and keep going.
Get to Your Goal Weight Before Summer
Achieving your desired weight is more than just looking your best, but having the energy to play with your children or grandchildren, and living a long and healthy life. If you’ve tried everything and aren’t experiencing the results you’ve worked so hard to achieve, maybe it’s time for a little extra, science-backed support to accelerate your weight loss.
When you need someone who understands what you are going through – you need a place that feels like home. Our concierge practice is just that—a safe, supportive place you can call home and receive real-time expert support—in person or virtually—for all of your health goals and challenges.
If improved moods, more restful, restorative sleep, higher energy levels, and regaining your libido feel out of reach no matter what you’ve done, our Hormone Replacement and weight loss therapies may be perfect for you. Contact us today for a consultation where our team of providers will formulate an individualized treatment plan to help you feel and look your best—from the inside out. Feeling like yourself again and living your best life starts here and now.