IF you're doing the hard yards at the gym and shunning sausage rolls for salads as part of a weight loss regime that is getting you nowhere, you are not alone.
According to news.com.au, there are five common reasons why the weight doesn't budge, and most of us have fallen into these traps at some stage.
1. Doing the wrong type of exercise
You may have heard that for weight loss you need lots of cardio exercise, but experts are now saying that isn't the case.
Long bouts of cardio training, like jogging, can trigger hormone changes that make you store fat, especially around the tummy.
Plus, long stretches of pounding the pavements or pedals can also cause muscle loss, meaning slower weight loss.
Build muscle through resistance-based workouts, preferably in short, sharp bursts. Training in high intensity intervals promotes the "after-burn effect", which means you're still burning calories up to 48 hours after a workout.
2. Not moving enough
If you spend a lot of time driving or sitting in front of a computer screen, a lack of movement could be having an impact on your waistline.
Even if you are doing regular exercise, it may not be making up for prolonged periods of sitting, which can slow the metabolism and raise insulin levels.
Take every opportunity to move every day. Take the stairs instead of the lift, park further away, or walk while you're on the phone.
If you're in an office, try to stretch every 30 minutes, and go for a walk on your lunch break - even if it is only for 10 minutes.
3. Not eating enough
Yes, you read that right. Skipping meals is a no-no if you want to lose weight. Undergoing a severe diet or missing meals altogether will not only make you want to inhale the whole contents of the fridge after getting home, it also slows your metabolism, and sends a signal to the body to hold on to fat.
Eat three meals a day, and snack in between if you feel hungry.
Look out for high-protein foods such as lean meat, eggs, fish, fibre-rich foods, like vegetables and wholegrains, and good fats, which include nuts and avocados. These will not only fill you up, but help you burn fat.
4. Eating unhealthy snacks
We've all been there - in the depths of a 3pm slump, you raid the fridge or head to the dairy for a little something to keep you going.
However, some snacks that are disguised as healthy are often packed with sugar, especially low fat yoghurt and low fat muesli.
Look for satisfying snacks that are high in protein and low in sugar, including boiled eggs, nuts, canned fish or plain Greek yoghurt.
5. Going to extremes
Jumping into a crash diet, eliminating food groups or embarking on a punishing gym routine can slowing your metabolism and hamper your weight loss efforts. Plus, they are ultimately unsustainable.
Sadly, studies show that two thirds of dieters will end up weighing more than when they started.
Aim for a healthy lifestyle, with a few occasional treats. Try the 80/20 rule, which means eating a healthy diet 80 per cent of the time, and enjoying a few treats in the remaining 20 per cent.
A weekly treat meal can kick start your metabolism, and help get you out of a weight loss plateau. Plus, a reward does wonders for your mental health, too!
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