Many people hit the gym specifically with the goal of toning up and losing some weight – but it’s a misunderstood objective. In actual fact lots of men and women find that when they begin to invest time in a solid gym routine their weight increases – but their waistline gets smaller. Where weight loss is needed however there can be some frustration when progress appears to slow down or plateau altogether. In today’s blog we’ll share three little-known reasons you may not be losing weight, and methods you can employ to fire up fat loss yet again.
Obsession with diet and exercise
Some healthy investment in your new fitness regime is normal and necessary – but when you take it too far you could actually be hampering your progress. This is because thinking about exercise excessively can cause you to eat more, as several studies have shown. One French study found that participants ate 50% more as they assumed that they ‘had a licence to eat more’ because they were hitting the gym. Beware focusing too much on diet, too – as a different study explains. When you think of a meal as a ‘healthy’ or ‘light’ choice the body releases higher amounts of the hormone ghrelin, which makes us feel less full and slows down metabolism.
Too little sleep, too much stress
Two things can influence hormones and behaviours that keep weight on – sleep and stress. When you lose sleep, your body heads into a carb-craving, fat-storing survival mode. One study found that women who slept less than four hours per night at 300 more calories and a huge 21g more fat the following day. Stress is also destructive – as high levels can cause the body to product cortisol, a ‘fight or flight’ hormone that encourages it to store fat – and in particular visceral fat.
Cardio without weights
Gym-goers with a goal of ‘weight loss’ tend to focus intently on cardio, neglecting weights altogether or simply not doing enough of them. If you find you’re not losing weight or weight loss has plateaued, try introducing more weight sessions into your regime or a larger number of reps with a heavier bar.