Am I eating too much? Should I be cutting calories or eating more protein when I'm trying to lose weight? Do I need to eat more carbs when I'm trying to build muscle? Am I eating enough to support my gains? If you ever had any of the questions above, this post might be just for you!
Your body's number one job is survival and it's not interested in you being 5% body fat or having abs. So when you try to lose weight it's going to fight you back. Remember that time when you first started working out or got on that new diet you were seeing results at first, but then the progress started slowing down or stopped altogether?
Here are 5 common reasons that might be slowing your progress down:
1. You are not eating enough protein
When you are trying to lose weight most likely you get yourself in some sort of a calorie deficit, which means your metabolism potentially may slow down. Eating enough protein is the one single thing you can do to make sure you don't get in the way of achieving your goal.
Eating enough protein can boost metabolism by 80–100 calories per day and make you eat several hundred fewer calories per day. It can also drastically reduce cravings and desire for snacking. If your goal is fat loss a good place to start is with 0.8 - 1.2g of protein per pound of your body weight.
2. You are not eating whole foods
Quality of your food is as important as quantity. Don't get too wrapped up in just hitting your macros, make sure the source of your fuel is mostly unprocessed whole foods. Eating whole foods (single ingredient food) not only gives your body necessary micronutrients, but they tend to be much more filling than processed foods.
3. You are not cutting down your carbs
If you are someone that has a lot weight to lose or having metabolic issues you might need to consider a low-carb diet. Eat starchy carbohydrates (quinoa, sweet potato, brown rice) around your most physical activity and on the days when you don't workout stick to dark green vegetables.
4. You are under too much stress
The stress hormone cortisol triggers the fight-or-flight response, which is an appetite stimulant. In addition, it increases the production of neuropeptide, which increases cravings for carbohydrates.
Too much cortisol slows down the metabolism. Excessive stress may cause fat to be stored in the abdominal area, which is one of the most common areas to store body fat at.
5. You are not moving enough
Are you the one who takes that intense 45minute group class a few times a week? Or hitting the gym religiously for 1 hour 3 times a week? When you are there you always give it your all, but still no progress?
According to one University of Missouri-Columbia study, sitting for just a few hours causes your body to stop making a fat-inhibiting enzyme called lipase. Getting up and walking for just two minutes during each of those hours burns an additional 59 calories a day, according to recent research from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
So, if you fall in the category of people that have a sedentary job you might need to consider getting creative and finding ways to move during your working hours or adding daily physical activities to your weekly schedule.