There is little in this world more frustrating than not seeing results at the gym. If you’ve been working out like crazy and eating right and still the scale won’t budge, you may be tempted to give up. But before you do, remember this: there is a solution. Many women find themselves struggling to lose weight despite their best efforts and sometimes all it takes is a few simple changes!
Making small adaptations to your daily routine might just be enough to get you the results you’re looking for!
1. Drink More Water
Drinking lots of water is essential when it comes to weight loss. When you are dehydrated, your kidneys cannot function at their peak which means the body turns to the liver for help. When your liver is engaged in this way, it is unable to metabolize calories the way it normally does, meaning your body is more likely to store fat instead of burning it off.
If you’ve added more fiber to your diet but not increased your water consumption, you may find yourself feeling a little constipated. “It’s important to add fiber gradually and increase water intake at the same time. Otherwise, instead of helping with digestion, fiber may actually lead to constipation,” notes Anna-Lisa Finger, RD, a personal trainer for the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Center in Baltimore. Backed up digestion could lead to not only feeling but looking bloated.
So how much water do you actually need to be drinking? “About one-half your body weight in ounces every day, especially if you’re exercising,” says Pamela Wartian Smith, MD, the author of Why You Can’t Lose Weight. “If you consume an aggressive amount of fiber, another eight to 16 ounces a day is a good idea.”
2. Eat More Protein
There are several recent studies that have found eating a high protein diet can help you with your weight loss efforts. Protein not only helps you feel satisfied, it helps you maintain your muscle as you lose fat. Maintaining muscle is important since it is metabolically more active than fat which means the more you have, the more calories you will burn. When it comes to thermogenesis, protein can be your friend. “Your body expends more energy to metabolize protein than carbs or fat,” says Cari Coulter, RD, the program director for Wellspring Weight Loss Camp in Kenosha, Wisconsin. “So higher-protein diets make you burn slightly more calories.” The exact amount of protein you need to be eating depends on your body weight. According to Smith, most women should be getting between 40 and 80 grams of protein a day. If you include protein at each meal and snack, you’ll hit these numbers before you know it.
3. Don’t Sit All Day
It is hard to keep yourself moving if your job requires you to sit at a desk, in front of a computer, all day long. Factor in the fact that many of us sit during our commutes and arrive home to sit some more in front of the television, and that hour you’re putting in at the gym doesn’t seem like such a big deal. One study out of the University of Missouri-Columbia, said that sitting for even just a few hours can cause your body to stop producing a fat-inhibiting enzyme called lipase. Experts recommend setting yourself a timer so you remember to get up and move around every hour. Just work movement into your day. Take a walk around the office, if you can actually get out, walk a block or two. When you are watching television at home, get up during the commercials and do some jumping jacks or running on the spot. Work in some body weight exercises like planks and squats. The extra little bit will help!
4. Have Another Look At The Numbers
If you are using a basal metabolic rate calculator, a fitness tracker or your gym equipment to determine the amount of calories you are able to consume and the amount calories you are burning, your numbers may not be quite accurate. For example, a “BMR calculator already factors in the calories you burn with your workouts, so you shouldn’t add them in again,” says Coulter. A very common mistake. Similarly, your trackers and workout equipment are not always accurate in their counts. Many times they serve more as an estimate. If your current calorie counts aren’t yielding you results, it may be time to revisit the numbers.
5. You Work Out Regularly
This is going to sound strange but sometimes working out regularly can lead to weight gain. People often eat more when they hit the gym faithfully because they think they have earned themselves a little treat or they have overestimated the number of calories they have burned. “This is especially true in the early stages of a fitness program, when your body is getting used to the decrease in calories consumed and the increase in calories burned,” Finger says. In other words, in the early stages especially, your workout will make you feel hungry.
6. You Need To Unwind
“The stress hormone cortisol triggers the fight-or-flight response, which is an appetite stimulant,” Dr. Smith says. “In addition, it steps up the production of a certain brain chemical, neuropeptide Y, which increases cravings for carbohydrates.” Too much cortisol slows down your metabolism and can lead to fat storage around your middle. Make room for a little quiet time in your life. Breathe. Not everything needs to be accomplished this very instant.