See how and why your body has stopped losing weight regardless of all your efforts.
1. You're skimping on sleep as well as calories- According to research conducted a few years ago by physicians at the University of Chicago General Clinical Resource Center, dieters who get less than 6 hours of sleep a night lose significantly less fat than those who get the gold standard 8, plus, they feel hungrier. "If your goal is to lose fat, skipping sleep is like poking sticks in your bicycle wheels," said study director, Plamen Penev, MD, PhD, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. "Cutting back on sleep, a behavior that's ubiquitous in modern society, appears to compromise efforts to lose fat through dieting. In our study, it reduced fat loss by 55 percent."
2. You are doing the same thing over and over- Not losing at the same rate you once were? You may need to step up your own rate. Studies have shown that high-intensity interval training or, exercising at a high intensity for 30 seconds to several minutes followed by 1 to 5 minutes of recovery time (either no exercise or very low-intensity exercise) then repeating the cycle several times produces more weight loss than plain, old, moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. Say you normally jog at a moderate pace for 30 minutes. Instead, warm up at an easy pace for 5 minutes. Then run at very high intensity for 1 minute and recover by running very easily for 4 minutes. Repeat five times. How do you know your intensity is high? Take your heart rate. High intensity exercise is defined as exertion at 70 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. Now, before you do the usual mental math (220 minus your age) to determine your max, try a newer, purportedly more accurate formula, devised after studying more than 3,000 men and women ages 19 to 89: 211 minus 64 percent of your age. The newer formula yields a higher number, but that's a good thing. The greater your exertion, the greater the results.
3. You're underestimating how much diet damage you're doing when you eat out- Honestly, it'd be hard not to. University of Toronto researchers recently tracked the calorie content of food ordered at 19 sit-down restaurant chains and the results were, well, extraordinary in the truest sense of the word. On average, breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals from the restaurants contained an astonishing 1128 calories (that's more than the 881 calories previous research has found that the average fast-food meal delivers and fully 56 percent of the 2,000 calories the US Food and Drug Administration recommends a healthy adult should eat per day). And those calorie totals didn't even include dessert, which the researchers calculated would add an additional 549 calories, on average. All restaurants,not just fast food joints, are minefields for dieters. To avoid blowing your diet and stalling your weight loss, stick with the meals identified by the restaurants as "healthy." In the study, those meals contained, on average, 474 calories, 13 g of fat (20 percent of your Daily Value, 3 g of saturated fat (17 percent of your Daily Value), and 752 mg of sodium (50 percent of the daily adequate intake level). Or, if no "healthy" options exist, split your entrée, and skimp on sauces, dressings, and extras, like bread. To that end, Stephen Gullo, author of The Thin Commandments Diet, recommends grabbing a spot at the end of the table, because bread and chips and other sharing plates tend to end up at the center.