Why am I Stuck at a Weight and Can’t Lose Any More Pounds?

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question-icon-newI have been stuck at the same weight for about 3 weeks now and I just can’t seem to get past it. I have added a 4th day a week to my workout of which I do 30 minutes of HIIT cardio (high intensity interval training) along with 40 minutes of weight training. Even though I have added more exercise to my overall workout routine, I still can’t get past this weight loss plateau. Please help!

answer-icon-newGetting stuck at a particular weight loss plateau can be a bit confusing and frustrating. Sometimes it seems that the weight is falling off and other times it seems that your body is fighting you tooth and nail to hold on to those few extra pounds. Fortunately, the body doesn’t have a mind of its own so this fight is really an illusion. It’s simply a matter of finding the culprit. You can look at it as a sort of investigative process to discover where that culprit is hiding. The following is a list of common areas that may be the cause of your body being stuck at a particular weight.

Diet
This is without a doubt the most common reason we tend to get stuck at a particular weight. Much of this is because we don’t tend to eat the same things at the same times every day so it becomes difficult to monitor exactly what we are consuming. We may feel as though we are “eating healthy” but we may be consuming far more calories than we actually realize. So the first step in your investigative process is to keep a food journal. Write down absolutely everything you consume for a full week, or preferably for a full month. You can use ShapeFit’s free diet journals to track your food intake.

nutrition-food-labelTracking your food intake is a very enlightening process because we often forget about what we eat very soon after we eat it but the effects last far longer. You may find that for a limited time you need to set controls for your consumption by eating the same meals at the same times for at least a week. This will give you sort of a baseline to work off of for your eating plan. If we are eating a bunch of different things at different times of the day, it becomes very difficult to monitor the overall intake in a detailed and precise way.

Eat at Home
This is sort of an extension to the above section but I think it deserves its own emphasis because it’s so beneficial to prepare your own food. First of all it gets you into the habit of shopping for your own groceries. This is a very educational process in and of itself. Every trip to the grocery store (and preferably a Farmers Market) is an opportunity for us to learn more about the food we are eating. We learn to read labels, find what produce is in season, see the difference between organic and non-organic produce, and how to choose fruits and vegetables that are of the highest nutrition. This process keeps us actively involved in our nutrition. It also gives you control of what goes into the preparation of the foods you put into your body. Often times, restaurants add a lot of extra salt, additives, sauces and oils as well as overcooking many of the vegetables.

Sleep
Sleep is an area we often overlook because in today’s world we are expected to always be on the go. But a lack of consistent, good sleep wreaks havoc your body. When the body isn’t well rested it releases stress hormones, such as cortisol, that leave you bloated and craving comfort foods. This makes sense because what do we want to do after eating a bunch of comfort food? Sleep! It’s as if the body is tricking you into doing what it needs you to do. So try to keep your sleep consistent for the best results.

Hydration
Often times when we snack, we are actually thirsty as opposed to being hungry. So making it a habit to stay hydrated is very beneficial for suppressing cravings. Also, when the body is dehydrated it has a tendency to hold water as a sort of emergency reservoir. This water retention can add a lot of extra weight and give the appearance of body fat. A fully hydrated body however, is very efficient at flushing excess water.

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