While on the road to developing healthy habits on your weight loss journey, you might pick up a few unhealthy ones along the way, and these stubborn ones may just be the reason why you’ve hit a weight-loss plateau. Achieving your goal weight can be tough and hitting a plateau can make it that much tougher, leading to frustration and discouragement. Before you give up, here are the 3 reasons why you’ve hit a weight loss plateau and what to do to fix them.
Weight Loss Plateau Reason #1: Poor Sleep Habits & Sleep Quality
We get it, you’re an adult and you get to choose when you get to go to bed. But more often than not, you push past your body’s sleep signals. You eat sugary foods before you go to bed, you might have kids (or animals) that you have to take care of and before you know it your pre-bed routine is ruined and you end up going to bed before you brush your teeth (gross). If you can’t figure out why your health, energy, and weight loss efforts are suffering, then your sleep may be to blame.
Hacking Your Biological Clock and Altering Circadian Rhythms
Driven mainly by light, your biological clock runs in the background of your life providing your mind and your body with structural integrity and rhythm. Interchangeably, your body’s biological clock is more formally known as the body’s circadian rhythm - the 24-hour cycle that tells your body when to sleep, eat, rise, and even regulating many physiological processes (like losing weight and body fat). This ‘clock’ is greatly affected by environmental cues, such as sunlight and temperature, secreting two main regulating hormones (melatonin and cortisol) to send your mind signals relating to how alert, awake, sleepy or hungry you may be.
Disrupting your circadian rhythm can be as simple as sitting under fluorescent lights at work all day then going home and blasting your noggin with blue light sources, like TV, social media, phones and tablets, giving your body and your mind mixed signals, creating your biological clock to run amok and even halting your weight loss efforts.
RELATED ARTICLE: How to Get Better Quality Sleep: 6 Easy Steps
So how do you hack your biological clock and positively alter your circadian rhythms? It’s not as complicated as you may think, check it out:
Step 1: Regular Sunlight Exposure
Getting regular sunlight exposure throughout the day can help you avoid a weight-loss plateau and improve your biological clock. In a 2-year clinical trial, 383 obese women were found to have a positive correlation with increased Vitamin D concentrations, when they achieved higher weight loss. Participants, who remained at baseline, were found to have lower concentrations of Vitamin D and showed a significant Vitamin D deficiency [R].
If you work indoors, take a walk outside for 30 minutes a day. Not only will this improve your mood, but it will provide you with a healthy dose of Vitamin D and boost energy. Now, if it’s wintertime or you live in the northern hemisphere, getting adequate sunlight exposure on a daily basis can be hard. If you’re faced with this, we recommend supplementing with a single tablet of vitamin D from Swolverine.
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Step 2: Put The Blue Light Down
Blue light is a form of light that signals to your brain to wake up and be alert. It also suppresses melatonin production twice as long as other light wavelengths, effectively altering circadian rhythms, creating problems with cardiovascular, metabolic, and immune systems, disturbing mood and compromising cognitive function, even leading you to minimized weight loss and in turn, a weight loss plateau. [R]
Adequate levels of melatonin play an important role in improving metabolism, reducing body weight, and increasing insulin sensitivity. [R] If you’re surpassing these levels by getting poor sleep or by subjecting yourself to prolonged exposure to blue light, you could be missing out on synthesizing this crucial hormone and reaching your weight loss goals.
Step 3: Supplement with a ZMA
Supplementing a high-quality ZMA (Zinc, Magnesium, Vitamin B6) into your nightly sleep routine is a natural way that can help you get the better quality sleep you’ve been looking for. Recent studies suggest that Zinc may be directly involved with the regulation of sleep, particularly sleep quality and duration [R]. Studies also suggest that Magnesium can improve sleep efficiency, sleep time, and natural concentrations of melatonin [R].
Implement a high-quality ZMA supplement into your routine, so you can stop waking up during the night and get the restful sleep you need. We suggest using ZMT.
RELATED ARTICLE The Benefits Of ZMA Supplementation: More Than Just A Sleep Aid
Weight Loss Plateau Reason #2: Increased Stress & Cortisol Levels
You’re stressed. I mean, who’s not? Between work, meeting deadlines, taking your kids to soccer practice, planning family vacations, all while remembering to eat and having enough time to workout for yourself, can be challenging and make you want to pull your hair out. Added stress can affect sleep patterns, eating habits, and cause your hormones levels to go out of control, which contributes directly to added weight gain, body fat, and hitting weight loss plateaus.
While cortisol is a necessary part of life and stress serves a purpose, it’s important to keep your cortisol levels under control. Instead of trying to eliminate stress altogether, instead, focus your efforts on mitigating stress to work for you, not against you.
Step 1: Eat Whole Foods To Reduce Inflammation
Following an anti-inflammatory diet that consists of wholesome natural foods which include hormone-free lean proteins, healthy fats high in Omega 3, quality carbohydrates, cutting out processed meats, and eating more food high in antioxidants will all contribute to a well-rounded anti-inflammatory diet.
RELATED ARTICLE: How To Create The Best Nutrition Plan In 5 Easy Steps
With less inflammation, your body will maintain steady levels of cortisol, so that you do not create added body fat. Remember, that cortisol is controlled through activity patterns, and if you can control your activity to be steady and incorporate healthier practices, you can successfully lower your cortisol levels.
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Step 2: Exercise On A Consistent Basis
Regular aerobic and anaerobic exercise will not only help you control your stress and cortisol levels; it will help you lose weight (mind blown). Exercise helps reduce cortisol. It also stimulates the production of endorphins (chemicals in the brain, which act as natural painkillers and mood enhancers). Endorphins are responsible for feelings of relaxation and optimism following a workout.
Regular exercise can also provide you with a stress-free environment - a place to get away, or a solitary experience where you can get away from your normal everyday stressors in life. A place where you can get away from the kids, your husband/wife, put on your headphones, and relax your mind to ease your mental stress and fatigue.
Step 3: Jumpstart Your Metabolism
Often times, when your body has been through repeated stressors and filled with toxins from processed foods filled with hormones, pesticides, and artificial dyes, your body may just need a simple thermogenic to jump-start your metabolism.
Several studies have shown that ingredients natural weight loss ingredients such as Green Tea Leaf, Garcinia Cambogia, Cocoa Extract, and Yerba Mate, can help suppress appetite, promote the natural thermogenic process and aid in weight loss.
RELATED ARTICLE: 6 Surprising Reasons Why You Can’t Lose Weight
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Weight Loss Plateau Reason #3: You Don’t Listen To Your Body
Ever eat a meal and the next thing you know you’re so uncomfortably stuffed, it affects your mood? How about when you’re laying in bed staring at your phone screen, knowing that you should go to bed, but you just don’t ‘want’ too? How about when you watch TV while you’re eating dinner, and the next thing you know, you don’t even remember eating your entire plate of food? These three examples are all associated with a mental disconnect from your body - the two main operating systems that tell you when, how much, and of what you need to eat. It’s said that ‘intuition begins with awareness’ but only as a result of conscious decisions to interact with ourselves and our environment.
Essentially, this means paying more attention and listening to what your body is trying to tell you, not simply forcing it to do things. This attitude, attentiveness, and awareness will not only improve your overall health and relationship with your body, but it can fuel weight loss and weight management, as well. Here are a few simple ways to get started and on your way to developing a more intuitive relationship with your body:
Step 1: Healthy Eating Habits
Simple improvements in your eating habits can create some pretty resounding changes in your weight loss efforts, including avoiding hitting a weight loss plateau. That could mean using the dinner table more often and not eating food on the couch or in your room in front of a TV, sitting outside and eating, and eating until you’re only about 80% full. This could also mean waiting 10 minutes to go back for seconds, using a smaller size plate for your food, and drinking a glass of water before you eat.
Step 2: Listening To Physiological Symptoms
If you experience heartburn with your food before you pummel down TUMS like they’re TicTaks, try asking yourself what caused it in the first place, so you can avoid it next time. If you experience other physiological symptoms, like nausea, pain, bloating, or indigestion, this could be an opportunity for you to actually listen to your symptoms and address them with simple tweaks, to improve your health. If you’re finding yourself always eating on the go, this can actually increase stress and hormone secretion (remember cortisol from earlier?) causing unwanted, negative physiological symptoms and weight loss plateaus.
Additionally, if you have GI symptoms like gas, unhealthy stool, ulcers, etc., your body is trying to tell you something, and it shouldn’t be ignored. Avoiding a weight loss plateau means getting in better tune with your body, and while this takes time, if you’re willing to be a little more attentive you can create some major results in your weight loss journey.
Healthy Habits Take Time
If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, it can be a good thing and a bad thing. On the good side, it means that you’ve been working hard towards your goals and making improvements, and a plateau should signal to you to improve your healthy habits just a little bit more and to keep going. On the bad side, it means that you need to revise some of your habits and continue working hard on creating a new lifestyle. Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success in getting over a weight loss plateau will be the natural consequence of good habits. Keep in mind that good habits are as addictive as bad habits, but they’re a lot more rewarding. Improve your sleep, eat a whole-food-based diet, take a bit step away from technology, and get some sunlight.
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