You exercise often and feel that you're doing everything right, but you're still not losing weight -- or at least losing it as fast as you imagined? Here are a few reasons why this may be the case:
1. Not paying close enough attention to your calorie-intake
You may burn 300 calories in a high-impact exercise at the gym, only to cancel it out it by eating a burger with fries later -- worth about 500 calories.
A good rule of thumb is to stick to all-natural and whole foods. They are generally lower in calories and higher in nutrients than other foods.
Pay attention, however, to food generally regarded as healthy and unhealthy -- as it primarily depends on the number of calories in each serving.
Nutritionists also recommend that you minimise excess bread or refined sugar or processed foods -- whose calorie-content is normally very high.
Further, also mind your portion size. Even if your food is healthy, too much of it can be unhealthy for you.
2. Eating too little
Inversely, cutting too many calories can stall weight loss.
"When you're not eating enough, you can send your body into starvation mode. Your metabolism slows down because it doesn't know where its next round of calories is coming from," nutritionist Amy Shapiro told Women's Health.
Further, eating too few calories can result in side-effects such as nausea, fatigue and gallstone formation.
3. Skimping on protein
Protein helps you feel fuller and subsequently reduces hunger and calorie-intake. In one study, protein at 30 percent of calories caused people to automatically drop their calorie intake by more than 400 calories.
Protein is also crucial in preventing your muscles from shrinking along with your waistline. Muscles are important because they burn energy and help keep your metabolism up -- which is necessary for weight loss.
4. You try every new diet, sometimes simultaneously
If you frequently change how you eat, you may never find what works for you, in terms of weight loss and lifestyle. Further, you may be over-eating or overly-restricting yourself to the disadvantage of your body and then not see any weight loss. The sustainability of a diet in the long-term is also an important consideration.
Fitness expert Isilda da Costa's advice: "Try resist the new diet train. Make lifestyle changes gradually and stick to them."
5. Not drinking enough water
Water is a calorie-free beverage. Studies have proven that it boosts your metabolism, thus boosting your caloric burn; it cleanses your body of waste and suppresses your appetite. In fact, this study found that if your drink two glasses of water before a meal, it can help you eat less.
Experts recommend at least eight glasses of water a day.
6. Not getting enough sleep
Good sleep is not only important for your physical and mental health, it is also important for your weight. Sleep deprivation, however, can throw off your behaviour patterns and your body's response to food.
For example, if you sleep enough, you reduce the probability of late-night snacking, you will likely shop for healthier food and exercise portion control because you are well-rested. People who are sleep-deprived on the other hand, have been proven to eat more food, especially junk food.
Further, numerous studies have shown that lack of sleep is one of the biggest causes of obesity.
7. Only doing cardio
While cardio is a necessary part of one's exercise routine -- boosting your metabolism and keeping your heart healthy, only doing cardio or too much of it can be a problem. This is because it can eat away at your lean muscle mass, which you need to increase your metabolism to burn more calories.
The best way to lose weight and build some lean muscle is through doing some form of strength training in addition to your cardio. That's because the more muscle tone your body has, the more fat you'll burn.
Body weight exercises like push-ups, squats, and lunges are a great place to start.
Mixing it up also helps keep your body guessing. Otherwise, you risk your body reaching a weight loss plateau.