“Losing weight can seem very tough. Sometimes you feel like you’re doing everything right and still don’t get desired results,” says fitness trainer Ramona Braganza. According to her, you may actually be hindering your progress by following misguided or outdated advice. “At times people unnecessarily pressurize themselves with unrealistic goals without proper consultations and guidance,” she adds.
Fitness and nutrition expert Tripti Gupta calls this ‘plateauing’. “It usually happens when you alternate between punishing diets and binge trips for a long time. This kind of a ‘yo-yo’ treatment makes the body unresponsive. It doesn’t react to any new stimulants given, whether in form of exercise or diet,’ she says.
We consulted the experts and figured out all the reasons why you might not be losing weight despite your best efforts.
Your workout is not working out for you
Putting in long hours at the gym doesn’t guarantee that you’ll lose weight. “It depends on one’s metabolism,” says Ramona. She recommends getting a consultation from a certified trainer to determine the right fitness routine for your body type. Celebrity fitness trainer Namrata Purohit recommends ‘high altitude training’ to achieve a high metabolic rate. “At sea level, your oxygen levels are 20%, but when you’re training on a higher altitude, your oxygen levels can go down to 17% or 15%,” she explains, “In cities, there are chambers in which you can work out in low oxygen levels. It helps increase your metabolic rate and you burn calories a lot faster. It’s great for weight loss, improving the elasticity of skin and improving heart condition.”
Your diet needs a turn around
From hormones to your diet, there are many factors that affect your weight loss process. In Parineeti Chopra’s case, it was the latter. “I was eating healthy but I was still putting on weight, so someone recommended this doctor. I spent a couple of days there getting blood tests done to figure out which food I’m allergic to,” she said, on visiting the Austrian health center, Viva Mayr, for her weight loss. Parineeti found out that cutting milk and eggs from her diet made a lot of difference.
Like Parineeti Chopra, your diet might be the reason why the weighing scale is showing you no difference when you step on it religiously every week. Tripti agrees and stresses the importance of not following popular diets blindly. According to her, you have to figure out the best nutrition plan based on your lifestyle, genetics and body type and stick to it. “If you’ve been on a high protein, non-vegetarian diet, then you should start eating vegetarian food only, at least temporarily,” she says, “The idea is to give the body some change. You’ll be getting the same amount of protein, but from a different source. The body has to be given a chance to cleanse and breathe. It has to experience a change so that you can see a change.”
You’ve cut out oils and fats completely
Ghee-laden parathas might be the anti-thesis of everything you’ve learned about weight loss diets, but as it turns out, oils and fats are actually necessary for regulated weight loss. “The problem with people who go on crazy diets frequently is a lack of lubrication, because of a prolonged period of avoiding stuff like oil, ghee and fibrous substances. This causes problems like constipation and other stomach disorders,” says Tripti. According to her, this lack of lubrication makes the intestines hold onto broken down food and thus contribute in fat retention.
Ghee is actually healthier than other fat alternatives. Dave Asprey, author of Bulletproof Diet, explains that ghee (or clarified butter) does not get easily damaged by heat or oxygen. “Ayurvedic medicine has known for a long time that if you remove all the compounds from butter, it’s just pure butter fat and it’s easy to assimilate,” he says.
You’re not drinking enough green tea
Studies have proven green tea’s effectiveness in improving your metabolism. The tea’s polyphenols, which are rich in antioxidants, can help your body more effectively break down fat. But one cup a day won’t do the trick. According to experts, it will take 3-8 cups a day to see the desired results. But you have to be cautious of what type of green tea you’re consuming and how you’re brewing it. Not all types of green tea help in improving metabolism. “Oolong tea is known for increasing the metabolic rate. You can also opt for white and macha tea,’ says Tripti. “The brew has to be perfect,” she says, “The right way is to heat the water to 80 degrees, then as it simmers, turn the flame off. Put in a pinch of tea leaves, cover the pot and leave it for 3 minutes. That’s the best way to drink your tea, you will get all the benefits of it that way.”
You suffer from a hormone imbalance
If you’re suffering from a hormonal disorder, like PCOD or thyroid, then you’re more likely to gain weight despite counting calories and exercising regularly, as it slows down your metabolism. Once you’ve figured out the issue, you can tackle the problem, with hormone-inducing supplements and foods. According to Tripti, a deficiency in fat soluble vitamins (A,D,E and K) can also lead to an imbalance in hormones, of which fat retention is a by-product. In all cases, it’s recommended that you consult a certified physician to adopt corrective measures.
You’re not sleeping well
“Sleep is the most important step in staying healthy,” says Tripti. If you’re not getting a proper night’s sleep then you’re undoing all the good and hard work you do for your body throughout the day. “Sleep is a way for your body to reset,” she says, “Your body needs it to reap the benefits of all the exercise and healthy eating that you’ve been practicing.”
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a co-relation between sleeping patterns and the capacity to burn calories. The subjects who were sleeping normally burned 20% more calories than sleep-deprived people and had a 5% higher ‘resting energy expenditure’ (the calories you burn when you’re not doing anything) than the latter too.