Body fat is completely normal and even necessary for health to an extent but when it gets out of hand or you just can’t seem to get the excess to melt away… well, it’s time to do something about it. But many people go about it the wrong way and/or they may just not understand why they’re not experiencing sufficient weight loss.
And as a result, frustration sets in and this often ultimately leads to the feeling of defeat and discouragement.
But don’t worry, anyone can make the necessary adjustments in order to burn the excess body fat hanging around the stomach and other troublesome areas. And we’ve got some great suggestions to ensure your efforts are not in vain.
Here are 9 possible reasons for your fat loss stagnation…
1- Not Trying Hard Enough
Getting in shape and making physical changes is not easy because if it was then everyone would look like a Greek statue (ok, not really as this is probably unrealistic expectation, but you know what we mean).
But you have to be willing to admit to yourself that you haven’t given the necessary effort to see the results you truly desire. And it’s ok, it happens and we all go through it.
However, you will have to step it up where discipline is concerned. It takes no effort at all to say “I’m trying as hard as I can”… but is this really the case?
Developing a routine and sticking to it while giving a good effort will make or break your success. So, get a journal if you have too, enlist the help of someone, find inspiration, and/or include an accountability partner to ensure you stay on track.
2- Too Many Calories
Duh…of course, we all know that overeating will prevent you from losing weight. Now, when we say “eating too much,” we really mean eating in a caloric surplus. And in order to lose fat, we have to be in a caloric deficit. It takes roughly 3,500 calories and probably even more (it varies) to gain a pound. (1)
So, you’d have to calculate the number of calories you’d need to consistently lose weight at a rate of 1-2 pounds per week which is recommended as a safe amount.
But thankfully, we have a pretty awesome daily calorie calculator where you can punch in a few pieces of information to get your daily recommended calorie intake number.
3. You Need To Turn Up The Intensity
If you’re not burning enough calories through your activities (and eating an excess of calories) then you will likely find it hard to shed the pounds. So, to remedy this, all you have to do is turn up the intensity.
Research shows that high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE) also known as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), is more effective at reducing subcutaneous and abdominal fat than other forms of exercise. HIIE also increases aerobic and anaerobic fitness significantly. (2)
But we also found through yet another study that high-intensity intermittent exercise is even more effective than moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT) because it’s more efficient at promoting fat loss in such a short time span than MICT…
So, if you’re planning to get the best bang for your buck for fat loss through training, then go with a high-intensity workout.
4. Too Much Stress
A little stress is good for us but not when it’s negatively interfering with our body’s ability to function properly. Too much stress increases hormones which break down our bodies and cause all kinds of illnesses.
Cortisol is one hormone which we simply cannot have too much of, so we need to figure out how to manage and even reduce excessive stress. And believe us, we know it’s easier said than done but unfortunately there are no other alternatives.
It’s either we cut out the things in our lives which cause excessive stress and implement healthier lifestyle habits or suffer greatly with a progressive decline in our health and well-being.
Here are a few things we recommend doing to improve your stress levels:
- Take walks in nature every day
- Make sure you’re not nutrient-deficient
- Do more light cardio
- Talk to someone
- Eat better
- Eliminate external stressors (certain people/things)
- Drink more water
- Take natural stress-supporting herbs and supplements
- Get a new job
- Pick up hobbies
- Develop a routine you can look forward too
- Set goals and go after your passion/s
- Make drastic lifestyle changes
If you implement these changes as needed and stick to them you will absolutely reduce your overall stress levels. Medication is sometimes necessary for certain instances but try to make these lifestyle changes first.
Depression and anxiety are also serious mental roadblocks which need to be managed and both actually go hand in hand with stress. So, identify whatever is causing you to be at dis-ease and be sure to take the necessary measures to correct these issues.
5. Not Enough Shut-Eye
Sleep is non-negotiable and a big contributor to many forms of chronic physical and mental illness and that’s why you must get enough of it without compromise. Without sufficient shut-eye, the body cannot function as needed and cortisol levels also elevate which makes things much worse.
To improve your sleep routine, try to ensure you’re doing the following consistently…
- Try to maintain a consistent routine where you sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
- Avoid strenuous exercise hours before bedtime.
- Avoid exposure to bright screens an hour before bed.
- Avoid heavy meals a few hours before bedtime.
- Practice meditation and implement other mindfulness techniques.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Keep your room cool and dark.
- Avoid stimulants hours before bed.
If you still cannot manage to maintain a healthy sleep schedule then we highly recommend you consult with a doctor for options to help you sleep better.
6. Are You Drinking Enough Water?
You can survive longer without food than you can without water to put into perspective just how essential it is not only for life itself but also for many of our bodily processes. Water makes up roughly 60 percent of an adult’s body weight and we need sufficient amounts to maintain healthy function. (4)
7. Not Enough Protein Consumption
Protein builds muscle (as if you didn’t already know that) but it’s also very important for maintaining a healthy body weight and shedding fat pounds.
This essential macronutrient promotes satiety, reduces appetite, boosts metabolism, and is also important for hormone regulation. And protein is even more important than fat and carbs for diet-induced thermogenesis to its effects on satiety. (7, 8, 9)
It also helps with cravings which are a big issue for individuals trying to maintain a fat loss routine.
One study concluded that a higher protein (HP) intake was more effective than normal protein (NP) intake for reducing late-night cravings and increasing satiety when 27 obese/overweight men on energy-restricted diets were assigned to either diet regime. (10)
The study also concluded that greater eating frequency was not responsible for appetite control and satiety.
But we hope you’re convinced of how important sufficient protein intake is, and feel free to use our protein calculator to determine an ideal daily target number for your weight loss goals.
8. Poor Food/Nutritional Choices
You can lose weight eating essentially anything you want too (calories in/calories out). But you can rest assured, the quality of your weight loss won’t be the same and it would be really hard to maintain this type of diet.
You need quality nutrients to feed your muscles and give your body what it needs to maintain healthy and proper function which includes quality weight/fat loss. You see, if you’re always eating nutrient-dead junk/processed foods, your body cannot thrive and this lifestyle is pretty much conducive to sickness.
But when we eat healthy, lively food, the difference is night and day. So, not only will our bodies function more efficiently, but we’ll have much more energy and every aspect of our physical and mental health will be of higher quality.
And adopting this healthier way of eating is much more beneficial for maintaining lean muscle tissue since your macronutrient intake will be dialed in.
Some high-quality, nutrient-dense foods/nutrition options include:
- Leafy greens/vegetables
- Whole grains
- Grass-fed meats (unless vegan or vegetarian)
- Quality, low-fat dairy like yogurt w/probiotics
- Sweet potatoes
- Low-glycemic fruits
- Quality protein powder
Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t live a little every now and then but quality over quantity is always going to be your best bet.
9. Health Reasons/ Crash Dieting
There are several health-related reasons why one may not be able to shed the pounds effectively.
Hormones play a big role in weight management and the more obese one becomes, the more they offset the natural process which regulates normal hormone function. And therefore, the body is primed for weight gain since this is the new norm (it’s all about habits). (11)
And people who crash diet are also more likely to not be able to lose weight as effectively and they may even keep gaining, since blood leptin (satiety hormone) levels drop, thus slowing the metabolism and increasing appetite. So, avoid crash dieting at all costs. (11)
But behavioral changes can go a long way in correcting any bad habits where efficient fat loss can be possible again.
And some health issues like diabetes, an underactive thyroid, and certain medications can prevent you from losing weight. And these are personal issues which should be addressed with your doctor to try and find a solution to the difficulty of losing weight. (12)
Some of these may apply to your situation but not all, of course. You may need to make a few minor training and/or nutritional adjustments if you’re a healthy individual. But in some situations, you may need to seek medical help.
Now, losing body fat isn’t easy when you do it the right way so be prepared to put in some work. But the results will be longer-lasting and you’ll be healthier overall.