"Why am I not losing weight?"
You slave away at the gym nearly every day, huffing and puffing through your five-mile run, your spin class, or your favorite boot camp routine, and yet nothing is happening. You're not losing weight, you're not gaining muscle, and you look no different than when you started exercising. Heck, you might even be gaining weight! What do you do? You could give up, but that would certainly yield no results at all. The better way to go is to sit down and really look at what you are doing (or not doing) and make adjustments. Here are the top 10 reasons you're not seeing results and how you can fix it.
1. Exercise monotony: Do you do the same thing day in and day out? Do you stick to such a strict routine that you don't even waiver from your spot in class? The problem with doing the same thing for every workout is that your body gets so used to it that it no longer has to work hard, which means it won't go through any changes. Rather than sticking with the same classes or machines over and over, vary your cardiovascular exercises so your body will wake up from its exercise boredom coma. That's how you lose body fat!
2. No lifting, no gaining. If you're neglecting to lift weights, then you're missing out on the most important part of body transformation! While cardio is good for heart health and losing weight, lifting weights is good for turning your body into a lean, mean muscle machine. In fact, weight lifting is actually more effective than you think. If you're lifting heavy weights where reaching eight reps is almost impossible, your body will be burning calories for hours after your workout. You do not get that same benefit from doing cardiovascular exercise. Once you are done running, that is it. So start picking up some weights and lift!
>> Read more: Transform Your Body In 6 Weeks
3. Where is the challenge? Do you always set your treadmill on the same speed and incline? Do you always use the same weight for your chest presses? If you do, then you're not giving your body a challenge that it desperately needs in order to see results. Start adding sprint intervals to your jogs or using heavier weights for your presses. It's OK if you can't run for long or lift as many reps — that's actually good. Your body is being challenged, which means it has to work harder!
4. Food is the enemy. Let’s face it — you can work out like an Olympic athlete, but if you go home and gorge on pizza, pasta and cake, all that hard work was for nothing. Exercising is not a license to eat whatever you want. Be mindful of what you're eating throughout the day (including those little bits of your kids' leftover food). Every bite adds up! Also know that eating healthy doesn't mean sacrificing taste. There are plenty of delicious, full-flavor recipes that are mindful of calories, fat, carbs and more. For family-friendly and healthy recipes, click here.
5. Sipping away your success: Just like solid food, what you drink also has an impact on seeing results. Your favorite café mocha may be heavenly to drink, but it's probably packed with lots of sugar and carbs. Some juices, smoothies, flavored teas and coffees have many calories along with the added sugar and carbs. Enjoy them at your own risk or opt for something better like black coffee, herbal tea or lemon water. For other healthier alternatives, check out our great skinny drinks recipe index!
>> Why is diet soda so bad for you? Click here to learn about why you should never drink it.
6. Stressing too much: Your emotional health can also take a toll on your physical health. If you're constantly stressing over everything, your body releases too much cortisol, a hormone that regulates stress. When you're under a lot of stress, your body reacts negatively. A decrease in muscle tissue, blood sugar imbalances, and increased abdominal fat can all result from constant high levels of stress. Find a relaxing activity that you truly enjoy, and do it every day to keep stress under control.
7. Not enough sleep: As with stress, if you aren't sleeping enough, cortisol levels will be higher than they should. Make sure to go to bed at the same time every night whenever possible and wake up at the same time. You should get at least seven quality hours of sleep. Create an environment that is conducive to a good night’s sleep like turning off your electronic devices (including your TV and smartphone) and/or playing soothing music.
8. Your food is not what you think it is. There are a lot of healthy options when it comes to food, but there is also a lot of confusion. Some labels claim foods are natural or healthy, but they really are not. As a result, you're not eating as healthy as you think you are. Become an avid label reader and read the ingredients first. If the ingredient list is a paragraph long, you would be wise to skip it and find something better. Foods should be mostly natural, unprocessed, and have minimal ingredients.
9. Skipping the water: It is just as important to stay hydrated as it is to eat right. Drinking water throughout the day will not only help your digestive system and flush things out (so to speak), but it will also help keep hunger in check. More often than not, those hunger pangs are really a cry for some hydration. Try our Slim Down Detox Water next time you need to hydrate!
10. You never rest. Believe it or not, you need at least one day off from exercise each week. Your body needs time to recover, and the only chance it gets to do that is when it's not engaged in any physical activity. Gains are made during the recovery process — not when you're actually doing the work. So let your body do what it needs to give itself a break!
>> Read more: 20 Best Appetite Suppressants
The next time you get frustrated from not seeing the results you want, go over these 10 reasons and see if you are guilty of any of them. Sometimes it's just a matter of making one small change that can make all the difference. Don't let frustration be your undoing. Everyone has setbacks or hits a plateau, but that is no reason to throw in the towel! Review your routine, reassess your goals and reorganize your program, and success will be yours in no time.