Dieting? Exercising? Still Cannot Lose Weight?
Most people that have been on a diet know that it is not always the simple “calories in versus calories out” formula that has been the easy answer for a number of years. Dieters who do everything by the book and still cannot lose weight get frustrated with the diet and lose motivation.
There are many factors in weight gain and loss that this simple formula does not take into account. To be fair, in a young, healthy person, “calories in versus calories out” may be all that is needed, but not all of us are so lucky. If weight loss were simply an act of willpower there would be very few overweight people in the world. The willpower it takes to stay on one of those outrageous fad diets for more than a week is astounding. As well as trying the exercise and fitness machines that are sold on those late night infomercials. Not to mention the willpower that it takes to continuously lose and gain and lose and gain, over and over, year after year, hanging onto the hope that this diet is going to be the one that finally works.
Unfortunately it’s not always that simple, while “calories in versus calories out” is a good place to begin your weight loss program, if it becomes clear that it is not working and you still cannot lose weight, there may be other factors that are standing between you and your goal weight.
Lack of Sleep. If you find yourself waking several times at night, or have trouble falling asleep, lack of sleep may be part of the problem that is hindering your weight loss. Sleeping and eating are two essential components in maintaining the body’s energy levels. Simply put, when the body doesn’t get one, it craves the other. Even if you don’t give into those cravings, your body feels it is being stressed and deprived and it is likely to lower your metabolism to account for the deficit that it is experiencing. Your body is a very sophisticated survival machine, and sometimes it works against our desires because it feels the need to maintain the status quo. Also if you resort to over the counter sleep aids, that contain Diphenhydramine, you may experience water retention and constipation that can also be the reason you cannot lose weight.
Stress. This is something very few of us can avoid and, unfortunately, stress is a common reason for lack of sleep. Stress is the key that turns the ignition of the survival machine and it produces cortisol and other hormones that cause the body to horde energy in the form of fat. Under times of stress people crave sugar and other simple carbohydrates that give the body a dose of serotonin which creates the feeling of pleasure and well being, however short-lived that feeling may be. Exercise has been a proven antidote to stress, producing endorphins which elevate the mood, and halt the production of cortisol and other stress hormones. In addition, exercise–especially sports– forces the mind into the present moment driving away the fears that so often spring up when the body is at rest. Finally, exercise increases respiration, and the increased oxygen in the body has a calming effect on the mind which eases the effects of stress on the body.