5 Reasons you're not losing weight

Julie Cook 8 October 2021

Trying to shed the pounds but to no avail? These factors could explain why

A report by the Health Survey for England in 2019 found that 28 per cent of adults in England are obese and 36 per cent are overweight. Yet, you only have to switch the TV on or scour social media to see adverts for meal plans, diets, bespoke delivered diets and more.

So, clearly, we want to lose weight. So, why do we find it so hard? Here are some of the things we might be getting wrong…

  1. You’re not exercising enough

Women excercising

Many of us think if we go to the gym three times a week or walk every so often we will lose weight. But that isn’t always the case. If you’re generally sedentary or in a sit-down job most of the day, you probably still aren’t getting enough exercise.

Fitness expert and personal trainer Laura Williams says the key to losing weight is to fit in exercise into every part of the day you can.

“A five-minute fitness session won’t work in quite the same way as a longer session but it will boost fitness levels and strengthen muscles,” she says. “The best type of workouts to do in the five minutes you have time, are things that get your heart rate going such as jumping, skipping along with exercises that use as many muscles as possible, such as the plank, push-ups and lunges.”

Laura adds that squeezing in non-structured exercise is a good idea too and adds up. “Do a couple of sets of squats while you brush your teeth and race up and down a few flights of stairs. It really does help your metabolism, your strength and your fitness.”

  1. You’re eating too much of good things

Fructose, or fruit sugar in glass jar. With fruit

Beware of too much fructose (fruit sugar)

We might be told that fruit is good for us, and legumes and grains. But even they can keep the fat on if we eat too many of them. Fruits are good for us but many are full of fructose, such as figs, mango and grapes and, if eaten in large quantities, can contribute to weight gain.

A study at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology in America found that when matched calorie for calorie with sugar glucose, fructose caused significant weight gain and body fat deposition.

According to studies, more than 100 grams of fructose per day can cause negative effects such as gaining weight. Instead try choosing lower fructose fruits such as bananas, strawberries, blueberries and avocados.

  1. Your portion sizes are too big

Large and small portion plates of spaghetti bolognese

Portion sizes have grown over history. Sixty years ago food was more expensive and more scarce and portions were smaller. Now portions have grown and studies show that they contribute to over-eating and unwanted weight gain.

"Portions have grown as much as 98 per cent since the 1990s"

According to studies reported by the British Heart Foundation, portions have grown as much as 98 per cent since the 1990s. The BHF also reported that when presented with larger portions, people eat more. Controlling your portion sizes by weighing foods, using smaller dishes and table wear can help you to keep the weight off.

  1. You’re not sleeping enough

Tired woman in bed

According to Sleepstation a lack of sleep is a risk factor for weight gain and obesity. On a practical level, not sleeping enough can make us feel lethargic the following morning and crave sugary or carb-laden snacks to “wake up”.

But at a deeper level, too little sleep triggers a rise in cortisol, the stress hormone. This signals to your body to conserve energy to cope with your waking hours. Because of this, you will hang on to fat. Researchers found that when dieters had less sleep over a two-week period, the amount of weight they were able to lose dropped by 55 per cent. So, try to get more hours sleep to allow your body to let go of excess body weight.

  1. You’re skipping breakfast or eating too late at night

Breakfast

We’ve long been told breakfast is “the most important meal of the day” yet according to a certain porridge oats company’s research in 2017, more than half of Britons skip it because of too little time in the morning.

Breakfast can actually aid your weight loss because it replenishes your supply of glucose after fasting all night and can make you feel full until lunchtime, avoiding the need to snack.

Conversely, eating late at night can scupper weight loss chances because studies show that late night eaters tend to make worse food choices—such as overeating, eating snacks and easy-to-prepare food like junk food.

Another study, according to Weight Watchers, found that when people ate their three main meals between 8am and 2pm then fasted until the next morning, they burned more fat and were less hungry compared to eating the same meals between 8am and 8pm.

This is because, after eating, the body burns glycogen—a sugar stored in the liver. But after 12 hours, the body switches from burning glycogen to burning fat. Therefore, the later at night you eat, the shorter your fasting period, meaning your body simply won’t go long enough without fuel to start using up fat reserves.

Read more: Intermittent Fasting: What you need to know

Read more: 7 Healing medicinal mushrooms

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