Has your weight loss hit a plateau?

Has your weight loss hit a plateau?

When the body feels stressed, it releases a hormone called cortisol. When this hormone is out of balance, it can cause fatigue, sugar cravings, depression and weight gain.

When the body feels stressed, it releases a hormone called cortisol. When this hormone is out of balance, it can cause fatigue, sugar cravings, depression and weight gain.

by Via Gibson — 

You set a goal for the new year to lose weight. You’ve been to the gym everyday. You have consumed healthy foods and have changed bad eating habits. You lost weight within the first few months, but now you have hit a plateau and no further weight seems to be coming off.

Does this sound familiar? Most of us have tried to lose weight at some point in our lives. We have tried different diets and exercise plans, and many of us have had some success. So why, after losing weight with our diet plan, do we seem to just stop and plateau?

There can be many reasons why your body stops losing weight. We will address a few obstacles that may be standing between you and your ultimate body.

1. Calories, calories, calories — No matter which diet you may have chosen to implement the initial weight loss, it all comes down to calories. If you don’t burn off what your body doesn’t use, you will not lose weight. One pound of body fat equals 3,500 calories; therefore, to lose just one pound of fat per week, you have to burn 500 calories per day. This can be a lot of work — or, you can eat 250 fewer calories per day (two slices of bread) and burn 250 calories walking or doing some sort of exercise (30 minutes walking).

2. Exercise — Are you doing enough or too much? To see weight loss results, you need to do approximately 150-200 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week. This equates to 30 to 40 minutes, five days a week. Along with this, you should have a strength-training program that consists of working all body parts one to three times per week. Muscle is active tissue and adding one pound of muscle to your body can help you burn an extra 75 to 100 calories per day.

3. Is your liver working properly? — In our busy lives we never seem to have time to sit down and enjoy a real meal. So we eat a protein bar or a frozen food entree to save time. The problem with relying exclusively on “fake” food is that the body has a hard time breaking it down, especially all the chemicals these foods contain. This puts extra stress on the liver and can actually make your body store fat, instead of burn it. Try to eat food that is as natural and organic as possible. If you find yourself needing a snack, grab an apple or some nuts; these are nature’s foods. If you feel bloated or have abdominal fat you can’t seem to lose, try a liver cleanse. This allows the body to clean and restore itself. Liver function often is overlooked in weight loss programs, but it can be the missing link to many of your weight loss battles.

4. Are you a woman 40 years old or older? — Many women complain that, no matter what they do, they can’t lose weight. If you haven’t had your hormone levels checked in a while, head to your doctor’s office to do so. If your endocrine system is out of balance, your body may not be able to burn calories properly and may be storing most of your food as body fat. Men also can have this problem because their testosterone levels drop as they age. Additionally, you may want to have your thyroid levels checked, as this can be a huge indicator of metabolic function.

5. Are you physically or emotionally stressed out? — When the body feels stressed, it releases a hormone called cortisol. When this hormone is out of balance, it can cause fatigue, sugar cravings, depression and weight gain. The importance of de-stressing your life cannot be stated strongly enough. Take a yoga class, meditate, go on a relaxing vacation. Reducing the stress in your life will do a lot for your body and, in the long run, will keep you healthy both emotionally and physically.

 

Via Gibson is a clinical nutritionist and certified personal trainer. She conducts nutrition seminars and cooking classes throughout the Valley and does hormone balancing, hair analysis and food allergy testing. She and her husband own The Body Connection, Inc., a full-service fitness business in Scottsdale. 480-250-2218 or vbodyconnection@yahoo.com.

 

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 2, April/May 2005.

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