We all know that calories can’t be the whole story. In the past decade, the nutrition conversation has shifted away from the “calories in, calories out” narrative to a much more scientifically-based and holistic one.
Our bodies are incredibly intricate, and how much we weigh is a complicated story. But improving your overall physical health in addition to eating a balanced diet and staying active seems to be the straightest shot to a lean and healthy figure.
If diet and exercise haven’t lost the stubborn weight, check out these 5 non-calorie reasons why the scale is at a stand-still.
I hope this doesn’t stress you out, but stress can lead to rapid weight gain in the face and abdomen. Weight in these areas can be a sign of hormonal imbalance, including chronic high levels of cortisol—our stress hormone.
Lowering your stress isn’t just good for your waistline. Having too much cortisol can lead to a number of health conditions and symptoms, like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, impaired brain function, and infections.
Stressors in life don’t ever go away completely, but we can learn how to manage stress in a much healthier way. Try out these 5 natural tips to keep your cortisol levels low:
If you’re catching less than 7 hours of sleep each night, your weight loss efforts are getting sabotaged from all sides.
People who are sleep deprived have less of the feeling-full hormone (called leptin) and more of the hunger hormone (called ghrelin). They eat on average, an extra 200-300 calories each day (which calculates to about 10-15 pounds of gained body fat each year). They get tired 30% faster during a workout than a well-slept person. And, when weight loss does occur, 70% of that loss comes from their muscle rather than fat stores.
These five sleep strategies can help you catch more Z’s and drop more pounds:
You’ve probably heard that muscle burns more calories than fat. A lack of muscle mass could be keeping your metabolism much lower than its potential. Strengthening your muscles, on the other hand, can help us boost our overall health and lose body fat easier, especially as we age.
Plus, strength training improves other areas of your life, like mood, sleep, and cognitive function. People who regularly strength train are less at risk for certain diseases, including osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer. It decreases anxiety and stress—another area that could be making those excess pounds stick around.
Build those muscles and burn more calories with these five tips:
50 to 70 percent of us spend six or more hours sitting per day. Research has linked prolonged sitting with obesity, high blood pressure and blood sugar, excess body fat, and high cholesterol. Scientists have seen such a strong correlation, they’ve nicknamed these metabolic issues the “sitting disease.”
Besides causing weight gain, chairs are trying to take us down. A study by the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys found that a sedentary lifestyle shortens life expectancy. Sitting for most of the day results in the same risk of heart attack as smoking. If we would cut our sitting time in half, our life expectancy would increase by about two years!
Combatting the sitting disease doesn’t mean you have to log more hours at the gym. Here are five easy tactics so you can take a stand against lengthy sitting:
When our bodies are chronically inflamed, even the most diligent dieters can struggle with weight gain. Studies have found that inflammation is a common underlying factor in many diseases, like heart disease, cancer, hypertension, and diabetes. But there’s also a strong association between inflammation and weight gain.
Inflammation and weight gain can lead to insulin resistance, higher glucose levels, and fat accumulation. Leptin—the hormone that tells us we’re full and should stop eating—malfunctions as well, increasing our appetite and slowing our metabolism.
Stop the snowball effect of weight gain and inflammation with these five tips for reducing inflammation:
If you’ve been busting your bottom trying to lose pounds with little success, one or more of these five factors might be at play. Pick your trouble area and try out my solve-it tips this week to boost your weight loss efforts.
For more health hacks, join the insider’s crew and get my free weekly newsletter. If you’re ready to start dropping pounds (and boosting your overall health) like it’s your job, join my 7-week LEAN program today.