We’ve all been there before. You’re eating healthy, exercising regularly, cutting back on your alcohol intake and to no prevail, you still haven’t lost those last couple of pounds. What gives? After weeks and months of hard work, suddenly you’re rocking something closely resembling a 4-pac and hot dog bun rather than the washboard abs you’ve been pinning after. D’oh!
So what’s happening? Is it true that once you get fat, it’s stuck to you like that? Well yes, you may be eating healthy, exercising, and even forgoing on the spring break booze cruise, but something else may be causing your six-pack dreams to turn into a squishy waffle. It’s time to think outside of crunches and cardio and take a look at five other possible reasons why you just can’t seem to shed that extra fat.
1.) You’re failing Sleep 101: You – sleep = fat…that’s right; it’s as simple as that. When you’re not sleeping well your body experiences physiological stress. If that isn’t enough, your body also starts to become biomechanically more efficient at storing fat. You read that right; a lack of sleep actually leads to an increased efficiency in storing fat.
Think for a second, when you’re tired or exhausted, do you tend to handle stress well? Probably not. And when you’re stressed, what do you usually reach for to comfort you? Exactly. Can you see how a lack of sleep can lead to weight gain in a variety of ways?
Tip – Try to add an additional 15-20 minutes of sleep each night until you find your happy medium which will hopefully then lead to a happy middle.
2.) You’re best friend is lazy: Ah, friends with benefits. There’s no better kind, right? No, not that kind of benefits.
How often do you find yourself saying, “Wow, that was a horrible run” after hitting the asphalt jungle with a friend or two? Not often, right. Now think about it, how often do you say that same statement when running alone? A little more frequent I’m sure. Research shows that not only does working out with a friend with similar exercise goals help create friendly competition and motivation, but it also increases your ability to lose weight faster.
Tip – Find a friend that is working on a similar goal as you (i.e. weight loss, muscle gain, completing a race, going down in a dress size, wanting to rock the banana hammock, etc.) and plan on working out with each other at least twice a week. In addition to creating a stronger friendship, you’ll also create a leaner frame.
3.) You’re not having (good) sex: Do it and do it and do it well. Research shows that sex can burn up to 150 to 250 calories per half hour. Even better, exercise scientist are saying several short bursts of exercise throughout the day are just as beneficial if not better than just doing one bout of exercise for 45-60 minutes. Bonus? Unlike several types of exercise, most people don’t find sex to be as “boring.”
Interesting enough, research also shows that the more weight you lose, the better your sex life gets. If that doesn’t motivate you to get your butt in gear I don’t know what will.
Tip – participating in sexual activity should be your and only your choice. However, if you so choose, aiming for having sex 2-4 times a week, utilizing multiple positions will give you the best bang for your buck…in calorie burn but of course. Don’t forget to use protection!
4.) You’re having an affair with your smartphone: Does this sound like your day? The first thing you do when you wake up in the morning is check your e-mail on your phone. You shower or eat breakfast and then check Facebook. You drive to work, login to your work e-mail and then think, I wonder if I’ve received any new e-mails and if anyone re-tweeted my status about how checking e-mail is such a drag. You decide to then post on Facebook about your new Twitter account to hopefully get more followers to then re-tweet you. While on Facebook, you see a sunset picture with a philosophical quote and Pin-it under your “sunsets and quotes” category on your Pinterest account. Catch my drift?
I will be the first one to admit; I am on the border of having an affair with my smartphone as I am always thinking about it while doing other things. My name is Corey and I have a problem. I have 8 e-mail accounts, 2 blogs, 2 websites, and an ungodly amount of social media accounts that I manage. The problem is, unless you’re super talented, which I am not, you’re spending a majority of your day giving yourself a numb bum. Between e-mail, social media, work, commuting, and eating meals, the majority of my day is spent on my derrière. That leaves little time for physical activity or really, just activity. See how this can be an issue? Damn you smartphones.
Tip – There are two ways you can combat this. Option 1: Pick a time at night in which you will no longer use your smartphone (i.e. 9:00p). At first you may experience withdrawal symptoms (yelling reply all to a group of friends at the bar before you start talking or trying to physically “like” a conversation between you and your roommate in the kitchen) but over time those will subside. Option 2: At work, in your apartment, or in your dorm, actually get up off your booty and walk over to the person you were planning on e-mailing. Better yet, have walking meetings, get-togethers, or rendezvous.
How so you may ask? Well, the likelihood that your routine grocery shopping includes all of the essential foods necessary for a balanced diet geared toward keeping your metabolism revved up is slim to none without proper education on what constitutes a healthy diet. A repetitious diet with such limited variety and lacking in important food groups will not promote optimal health and may put you at risk of nutrient deficiencies, which may increase your risk of disease over time.
However, as long as you cover your major food groups, keep your portions in check, and have a nutritionally balanced diet then yes, a lack of meal diversity can not only be good for your diet but your waistline too.
Tip- Make sure to include healthy fats (nuts and seeds, avocado, olive and canola oil), whole grains (whole grain bread, brown rice, barley, cereal, oatmeal), and low-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese), and dark green leafy vegetables including spinach, romaine lettuce, or kale which are all good sources of vitamin K, E, and C, as well as beta-carotene rich, orange-colored vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash.