Did you make a new year resolution at the start of the year? If you did, how are you tracking throughout the year? Statistically, most people would have given up by this time. Some of you, however, are still sticking to it. However, despite having a good plan and proper willpower, some of us might not be experiencing the results we anticipated.
It is frustrating to put in the work with limited results, and this has happened to most of us at some point of other. Since we are all normal people, this would be an adequate trigger to force most of us into submission and just give up. Before you do that though, read the rest of this article, because there are four things which you might not know are hindering your progress. Address them and maybe, just maybe, you’ll get your breakthrough:
One: Your Apple Shape
I’m starting out with a tough one, and something which is probably beyond your control if you happen to have it. If you natural body shape is an apple i.e. you are more likely to store fat around your waistlines as opposed to your thighs and backside, you might be disadvantaged. Some scientific evidence has shown that stomach fat is associated with elevated insulin and cortisol levels. These are the hormones that regulate blood-sugar and stress respectively.
So is the solution to this problem as simple as just reducing stress levels? Well, yes and no. Yes in the sense that having less stress should be a goal for all of us anyway, and this blog deals with that issue a fair bit. No in the sense that not everyone is privileged enough to just cut stress out. The next best thing you can do, however, is to reduce your sugar intake particularly.
Two: Poor Digestion
You might have heard that the main determining factor of weight gain or less is input vs output, and this is true to a certain extent. One thing that must be said is that if your digestion is poor, the dynamics of this will be thrown haywire. According to scientific research, ‘good’ bacterial strains such as Akkermansia muciniphila might help you keep your weight in check.
What then are the consequences of having inadequate ‘good’ gut bacteria then? Weight gain, or at best reduced weight loss. How can you ensure that you have enough good bacteria? If in doubt, choose probiotic-rich foods which will top it up. These include oats, artichokes, bananas and asparagus. Pretty random list, isn’t it? Well, give it a shot.
Three: Issues With Your Brain
I’m not talking about mental health issues – those are covered in other articles in this blog. I’m talking about hormonal control by the brain. The harsh reality is that each person’s brain is wired slightly differently, and its effects can determine weight loss success. For example, one of the hormones that can determine weight loss success is leptin – which signals fullness to the brain so that you will stop feeling hungry.
However, if the brain signals result in too much leptin being produced, the brain can be resistant to the leptin signals after a while, which results in the message not going through. When that happens, of course, it’ll take longer for you to feel full. Naturally, you’d end up eating more than what you need without consciously being aware of it.
Fortunately, though, there are some things you can do about it. It is one of those feedback loops by which if you consciously watch what you eat, your reduced intake will re-wire the leptin response back to its default state and your brain receptors won’t be resistance anymore. In particular, go easy on your complex carbohydrates.
Food scientists also advise on avoiding grazing, which is eating small portions throughout the day. I am aware that this is a controversial issue, as I myself can be a grazer sometimes. Truth be told, there is no concrete evidence either way – only anecdotal evidence for all these trains of thoughts. I guess some good judgment on having a balanced diet should be exercised.
Four: A Weak Immune System
Rounding off this list is your immune system. Whether we like it or not, our immune system has a bearing on our weight loss efforts, as the body’s hormones and enzymes often affect one another. Some people think that dramatically cutting down calories will result in fast weight loss. This could, however, have the opposite effect. You see, radical changes in calorie intake can lower cytokine levels, which then results in food intolerances and sensitivities, further leading to weight loss difficulties.
The way to deal with this, logically, is to boost your immune system as much as you can. Ensure you have a balanced diet and boost it with fruits and vegetables that are full of antioxidants. Instead of specifically mentioning certain foods, one way to go about it is to go for a colourful diet, and of course I’m referring to colourful fruits and vegetables, not M&Ms or smarties!
With these being said, had it ever occurred to you that any of the points above could influence your weight loss efforts? If yes, then let this be one of your constant reminders. If not, then apply this knowledge so that it can become wisdom and deliver results. Another thing you can and should do, if you haven’t already is get your hands on the books on this site, available individually or together as part of the Granite Fitness Masterclass. All the best!
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Also published on Medium.
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