Do you ever feel like staying in shape is an uphill struggle?
For many of us, it can often feel like our best isn’t enough. We’re eating all the right foods, we’re working out, we’re avoiding the everyday temptations that can cause us to swerve off track but something undefinable is still holding us back.
Watching your diet and regular exercise are the foundation of staying fit and healthy, sure, but there are many other factors that can influence our weight loss either positively… or negatively.
Here are some factors that can hold you back, no matter how hard you’re trying, and (more importantly) what you can do to curb them.
Not eating enough
Many of us fall into the trap of starving ourselves in the mistaken belief that it’ll help us shed excess weight, but the reality is that this behaviour (especially skipping breakfast) will slow your metabolism to a crawl and ensure that your body increases its fat storage. Eat little and often to make sure your metabolism is functioning efficiently.
What you eat and when are only part of the puzzle. What happens with the energy from our food when it’s metabolised is dictated by our hormones. Unfortunately, activating or deactivating the hormones that make our bodies store fat or burn stored fat reserves isn’t as simple as flexing a muscle.
Hormonal imbalances like hypothyroidism, insulin resistance or polycystic ovaries can exacerbate our body’s natural instinct to store fat, too.
Fortunately, by changing what we eat and when, we can hardwire the circuitry in our brains to get our hormones to store and burn fat more efficiently. There are a few diets that use this principle and many people have experienced great results with the HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) diet. Check out the official site for more information.
Lack of sleep
Most of us lead very hectic lifestyles, but nonetheless sleep is extremely important. Most of the hormonal processes that pertain to muscle building, fat burning and maintaining an efficient metabolism take place while we sleep, so make sure that you’re getting at least 7 hours a day.
The pressures of work and family take a toll on us all, but it’s unfortunate how many people don’t know how much stress can impede you hitting your health and fitness goals. When we’re stressed, our adrenal glands release the stress hormone cortisol, which encourages your body to store fat. Moreover your body’s production of muscle building testosterone is reduced, impeding muscle production and thereby slowing your metabolism.
Our psychology doesn’t help us much either, as when we’re stressed we tend to reach for sweet, salty and fatty foods, to stimulate our brain’s pleasure centres.
You can prevent this by exercising as soon after a stressful event as possible (even if it’s just a few pushups). The muscle activity will trick your brain into thinking it’s escaping the source of your anxiety and modulate your hormones accordingly.
Reducing caffeine and sodium can also go further than you think in mitigating the physical symptoms of stress.