So you've decided to lose weight, but you find it's more difficult than just dieting? Here are five common causes of stalling weight loss:
1. Are you tracking your food?
-Simply put, those who track their food lose weight, those who don't, don't. Most times when a client I have trained is not tracking their food, it is because they believe they know what they're eating and/or believe they are eating well. So if you fall into this category, track your food and prepare to be surprised.
2. Are you drinking enough water?
-A rough estimate of the proper amount of water can be found by taking your body weight and dividing it by 2. This is the number of ounces you should consume per day.
3. Are you consuming enough protein?
-You need absolutely no less than .8-1.0 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. However, your protein requirements may be higher. Depending on your physical activity you may require as much as 1.8-2.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
4. Are you getting enough iron and other vitamin and minerals?
-The body can not properly metabolize (burn) fat without them. Here's an analogy... if fats, and carbohydrates are the wood of a fire, vitamins and minerals are the oxygen. If you remove oxygen from a fire, the fire goes out. In an example, we know iron feeds the hemoglobin of the blood. Hemoglobin is what carries oxygen in the blood. Oxygen is required to burn fat.
However our body's metabolic needs go beyond that of just iron, many other minerals and vitamins also play a similar role. So moral of the story is vitamins and minerals are crucial to your weight loss. If you're taking a multi-vitamin, take it with a food that has at least a small amount of fat so your body can properly absorb them.
5. Are you getting enough resistance and cardio?
-You should be getting no less than 2 sessions of resistance/weight training, and no less than 150 minutes of cardio/week.
Resistance/weight training is important because this type of exercise prevents the loss of muscle during weight loss. It is important to maintain your muscle because your muscle in large part determines the speed of your metabolism.
Cardio training is important to weight loss for calorie burning purposes, and to strengthen the heart, and oxygen delivery system. While 150 minutes is the minimum it is generally held by organizations such as the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) that more is better.
The last point here is that exercise increases the body's ability to utilize blood glucose and regulate insulin. When insulin stays high our body stays in a fat storing/shuttling mode. Exercise helps reduce periods of prolonged elevated insulin, and arguably increases the time the body is burning instead of storing fat.