There is nothing more frustrating and frankly rather demotivating than working hard in the gym and eating super clean but still not losing weight. If you have been pounding away day in and day out but are still not seeing any progress, then there may be certain factors influencing your weight loss efforts. There are many external factors that affect our ability to lose body fat. These include things like poor lifestyle, inadequate sleep, stress and even certain medications.


To overcome your weight loss plateau, these five factors need to be addressed.


POOR LIFESTYLE

Living a poor lifestyle is one of the main factors influencing your weight loss. This one may seem obvious but if you are make bad choices outside of training and the food you eat, you may end up slowing, or even halting, your fat loss efforts. Excessive smoking and binging on alcohol are two of the worst lifestyle choices when it comes to healthy weight loss. Despite the common thought that smoking actually helps you to lose weight, it was proven that heavy smoking could actually be associated with a greater risk of obesity and an increase in waist circumference. When it comes to alcohol, one or two drinks here and there won’t make a dent in your weight loss, however, when one or two turn into 6, 8 or even 10, the excess amount of calories and sugars will cause you to gain weight, even if you drink just once per week.Plus, both smoking and drinking can affect hormones balance which may lead to weight gain. Studies have shown that simple lifestyle changes can help change things around.


INADEQUATE SLEEP

Sleep is probably the second most important factor influencing your weight loss efforts. With Game Of Thrones back on TV, you may find it difficult to get into bed early to get a good 8 hours of sleep, but did you know that not getting enough sleep can actually affect your eating habits? Research has shown that people who don’t get enough sleep often experience an increase in hunger and unhealthy food cravings. If that is not enough, lack of sleep can also lead to an increase in cortisol release which can cause you to store fat.


STRESS

Like sleep, chronic stress can also lead to weight gain through increased release of cortisol. To make matters worse, a common coping mechanism for stress is food. This may lead to overeating and further increased levels of cortisol. This process will slow your metabolism and increase the amount of fat you store.



MEDICATIONS

This is an underrated factor that can influence your weight loss. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, antihistamines, beta blockers, oral corticosteroids, mood stabilizers, antibiotics, diabetes medication. If you take any of these meds, chances are that you may battle to lose weight. Some of these products side effects can include fluid retention, appetite stimulation, damaged metabolism and even impaired glucose control. Obviously you are taking your meds for a reason, so I don’t suggest stopping them by any means. What I would suggest is chatting to your doctor about recommending a different product, or finding a natural alternative.


CRASH DIETS

I am sure you have all tried a crash diet and may be on one at the moment. While these often promote immediate weight, unfortunately the results don’t last. Most people who follow a strict or crash diet gain the weight back on within a few weeks of completing it. It is extremely difficult and unhealthy to stay on this type of diet for extended periods as they don’t provide all the nutrients your body requires to function properly in the long term. This can then affect your metabolism, cardiovascular health and physical performance. Your diet should actually a lifestyle change which enables you to consume all of the nutrients (from various food groups) your body requires. The easier a diet is to stick to, the better your results will be.


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