Tuesday, April 16, 2024

WHY AM I NOT LOSING WEIGHT WHILE I’M ON A DIET?

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Following a weight loss diet but not seeing results? It may be due to something in your diet, but also some additional factors.

Many times, while following a diet plan we find it difficult to lose weight and we see the scale “sticking”. There are many reasons that might explain why this happens. First, it must be emphasized that in order to achieve weight losswe must have a negative energy balance , that is, the calories we take in through nutrition must be lower than the ones we “burn”.

For what reasons, however, while we follow a healthy diet , we do not achieve the negative energy balance and finally we may not have the desired weight loss ?

1. Overconsumption of healthy foods

Many times we include in our diet foods that are very nutritious , such as nuts , avocado, tahini, pasta, etc., and we think that because they are healthy we can eat a larger portion. However, these foods are high in calories and we can very easily exceed the recommended energy intake.

 

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For example, one avocado has about 320 calories. If we add an avocado to every salad , then it is very likely that we will eventually exceed the calories we need to lose weight. This does not mean that we should not consume the above foods. It is simply good not to exaggerate the quantity and to know the recommended portion.

2. Consumption of liquid calories

Alcohol , juices, drinks with sugar, etc. provide enough calories, but without providing satiety . Therefore, we can very easily escape calorically without realizing it. For example, a cappuccino latte with sugar can reach 250 calories. Two slices of bread with cheese provide the same calories. We realize, therefore, that if we consumed one more piece of toast in our diet we would immediately understand that we have deviated from our schedule, while if we drink a cappuccino latte it is very likely that we will not realize that we have consumed more calories, because it does not offer us any satiety. So, we should avoid drinking drinks that contain sugar and saturated fat.

Also, it is good to reduce the amount of alcoholic beverages, as they contain a lot of empty calories , i.e. they have no particular nutritional value and do not provide satiety.

3. Too low caloric intake

Many times we think that if we do a very strict diet and remove many food groups, we will see faster results and immediately lose the weight we want. However, in practice we notice that after a very short time the scale “gets stuck”. We should know that many vitamins and trace elements are involved in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. This practically means that when we follow a restrictive diet and do not consume the necessary nutrients, the metabolic rate decreases . For this reason, we should follow a balanced and nutritious diet without excessively reducing the calories we consume.

4. Diet with low protein intake

Low protein intake leads to an increased loss of muscle mass . This has the effect of reducing the metabolism . At the same time, proteins provide greater satiety than carbohydrates, meaning they keep us full for longer. Our diet should include chicken, fish, yogurt, cottage cheese and eggs.

5. Low physical activity and sedentary life

Muscles are the actively metabolic tissue of the body, i.e. it “burns” the most calories. When we lead a sedentary life and do not exercise, then our metabolism gradually decreases . This results in an increase in body fat. In order to increase muscle mass and achieve a better metabolic rate, 3-4 training sessions per week are needed . If you don’t have time for exercise , try to increase your physical activity during the day with simple movements, e.g. park your car a little further away, walk to the supermarket or nearby jobs, use the stairs instead of the elevator.

 

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What could be to blame besides diet

Many times while we finally achieve the negative energy balance with exercise and diet, we may still not have the desired result. Stress, hormonal disorders and poor sleep can affect weight loss.

– Hormonal disorders

Hypothyroidism, menstrual disorders and insulin resistance can lead to weight gain. In case you are following a diet plan and there is no fat loss, it is a good idea to contact an endocrinologist to make sure that there is no hormonal disorder.

– Anxiety

In periods of intense anxiety and stress, cortisol levels increase, which is a hormone that helps deposit fat, mainly in the abdominal area . This is a survival mechanism that occurs in order to protect our body from some potential threat.

– Insufficient sleep

It has been shown that people who sleep less than 7 hours a day have an increased risk of obesity. During sleep, appetite-regulating hormones such as leptin and ghrelin are produced. Therefore, when we do not sleep well we have a greater appetite for food and consume more calories. Also, when there is not enough sleep, a greater amount of cortisol is produced which, as previously mentioned, helps to increase fat in the body.

So let’s remember that weight loss depends on many factors. It is good to contact a specialist in order to inform us about the diet we should follow and about the medical tests that can be done in order to understand why the desired weight loss does not occur.

Niki  Papaspyrou  MSc is a dietitian-nutritionist.

 

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