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Hit a Weight Loss Plateau? Reverse Your Bad Habits and See Results
There are a lot of ways to be healthy, but with so much conflicting health information out there, it can be hard to know what is the best way to lose weight. If you find yourself stuck in a weight loss plateau, reversing these habits may help.
Are you doing everything you should be doing to stay healthy, yet getting nowhere? If you are eating healthy foods and exercising regularly, it is extremely frustrating to see a lack of progress on the scale or in clothing size. If you are doing everything right, you should see results that lead to weight loss, right?
Although in theory, a healthy diet and exercise will melt the pounds away, there is actually more to healthy weight loss than simply eating more veggies. In fact, there are actually a few “healthy” habits that will slow your metabolism, which can prevent the weight loss that you desire. If you feel you are doing everything right and still getting nowhere, take a look at these “healthy” habits that may be destroying your progress.
In a quest to be healthy, it is easy to believe that if you do more of something it will yield better results. Drinking more water, exercising longer, eating less calories; these are all strageties that seem like they would contribute to faster weight loss, but in reality, they could be hampering your progress. As Americans, we tend to believe that more is always better, but when it comes to health practices, this may not be the case. In fact, adding more could be causing the very problems you want to avoid. So, what healthy habits could be halting your weight loss progress? The commonly-held beliefs listed below may actually be preventing the health and weight loss that you desire.
Your metabolism is the device in your body that determines when to hold on to fat and when to let it go. If your body feels stressed, it will be more likely to hold on to fat because the body still operates on a somewhat caveman-like system, where stress means conflict, which makes it harder to find food. For example, if you are under attack by wolves, you are not going to spend any time picking berries for the night’s supper. Even though today’s stress sources are much different, your body reacts to them the same. When you are stressed, the metabolism slows down and clings to fat. This is why it is important to ensure your metabolism is as healthy as possible.
If your metabolism is stressed, you will have a much harder time losing weight than if your metabolism is nourished. What will stress the metabolism? Practically anything can contribute to stress in the body. It is not limited to stress you can feel- such as the stress from extra work or losing your job. Stress can come from a variety of areas, including lack of sleep, emotional upheaval, toxins, allergies, nutrient deficiencies, pregnancy, and anything else that throws the body off balance. The best way to prevent this stress from occurring is by identifying triggers that stress the metabolism and eliminate them.
The following habits that many healthy people engage in may also be contributing to your body’s stress. Try reversing the effects of these habits and see if your metabolism starts to respond and deliver the results you want.
Is fiber good for the body? Of course it is! But too much fiber can also slow the metabolism. How? Fiber contains phytic acid and oxalates, which can prevent your absorption of minerals like zinc, magnesium, or calcium. This is detrimental to the body considering that these three minerals are some of the most important for all bodily functions.
Fiber is also a bulk-forming food, which means that it builds up in the intestines. This can be good if you have eaten a lot of unhealthy foods and have a regular digestive system. However, if you have a sluggish digestive system, fiber can encourage waste to accumulate in the intestines where it lingers for some time. This can feed unhealthy bacteria in the gut, leading to a whole host of potential problems, including nervous system issues and constipation.
If you have trouble with digestive issues, constipation, or bloating, you may want to try cutting back on your fiber intake for a while and see if you notice any changes on the scale or on your waistline. Fiber is an important part of any healthy diet, but just like most things, too much can have detrimental side effects.
Diets are extremely popular because they offer rules for healthy eating that are “guaranteed” to offer results. However, most diets do not consider the unique needs of the individual and often eliminate entire food groups. This can be detrimental in the long-run, because not only is it important to eat a balanced diet, but it is also important to tailor your eating plan to what you need.
For example, someone who spends most of their time indoors will benefit from a diet rich in vitamin D. Someone who is mineral-deficient will benefit from upping their mineral intake. Not everyone is deficient in the same nutrients, and not everyone responds to a diet in the same way. A low-carb diet may be just the right solution for someone who has trouble digesting carbs. But another person may need a higher carb diet to prevent the body from going into starvation mode.
Additionally, the restricted feeling that a diet offers encourages cycles of extreme starvation and binge eating. This is never healthy for anyone and should be avoided as much as possible. A review of over 30 studies on dieting reviewed by the University of California found dieting to be ineffective, dangerous, and likely to lead to more weight gain in the end.
What eating plan should you follow? Once you break addictions for unhealthy foods like processed carbs, junk food, and sugar; you can follow your body’s cues for what to eat. One day, you may find yourself eating mainly vegetables and fruit, but the next day, you may crave protein. As long as your body is not addicted to any substance, following your own cravings should provide you with the right balance of nutrients as long as the foods you eat come from healthy, natural sources.
The modern American diet is full of muscle meats from chicken and beef products. While muscle meats are a good source of protein, limiting your protein intake to muscle meats may actually be detrimental to your health. Other parts of an animal, like eggs, bones, organs, and even the skin; all contain other nutrients that provide benefit to the body.
Gelatin, for example, contains collagen (which is essential for skin health), glycine (which protects the liver), and essential minerals that build healthy bones. Liver contains high quantities of iron, vitamin A, and a variety of other nutrients. Additionally, these alternative sources of protein contain ingredients that counteract the negative side effects of muscle meats- such as the high acid content and inflammatory properties of muscle meats.
However, if you do choose to eat protein sources, choose animals raised organically in sustainable environments. Conventionally-raised animals do not have as many nutrients and may contain chemicals or toxins that can damage your body.
Did you know that cardio exercises may not provide the biggest benefit to the metabolism? Running and other cardio exercises trigger the stress response in the body. It all goes back to biology and the cavemen. Historically, the only reason to run is to escape from danger. The more cardio exercise you do, the higher stress response you will have in the body.
What does the stress response do in the body? Slows down your metabolism and hangs on to fat. So unless you are running enough to use all the energy stores in your body (like a marathon runner would), you may actually be hampering your metabolism by engaging in too much cardio. Exercise, is of course, extremely beneficial to the body and should never be ignored.
Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, helps your heart become stronger, keeps you happy, and builds stronger bones and muscles. You should still continue to exercise, but you may find better weight-loss results if you do less cardio and more muscle-building exercises. What exercises can you do? Swimming, yoga, weight lifting, body-weight exercises, and anything else you can think of that will build muscles.
Is it possible to drink too much water? Absolutely. In fact, the recommended 8 glasses of water each day may be too much for most people. How is this possible? It is because of the ‘more is more’ philosophy. Drinking water and remaining hydrated is extremely important. If you are thirsty, you should drink something to rehydrate. But since drinking when you are thirsty is good, drinking when you are not thirsty must be even better right? Of course, this is not true. In fact, overhydration can be just as damaging as underhydration, and can cause your body to become out of balance, leading to stress on the metabolism.
So how much water should you be drinking? You should drink water when you are thirsty. When you engage in high-intensity activities, you should drink more. Out on a hot day? Drink more. Inside an air-conditioned building? You probably need a lot less water. If you eat a lot of foods with a high liquid content, you will need to drink even less. All fluid intake count for the hydration needs of the body. Never try to force yourself to drink more water if you do not feel like drinking (unless, perhaps, you have been out in the sun all day with only a few drinks).
Is it possible to eat too little salt? Just like it is possible to drink too much water, it is possible to eat too little salt. Your body is made up of a balance of fluids containing ingredients like water, sodium, potassium, and electrolytes. What happens when you do not get enough salt? Your body may suffer from issues like:
A study from the University of Glasgow conducted in 2013 examined 13,000 participants with high blood pressure. Surprisingly, the study found that the group with the lowest intake of salt had a 20 percent greater risk of mortality, which indicates that eating too little salt can literally kill you.
Just like the other items on this list, reduced salt diets come from scientific evidence that has been misconstrued. A diet high in processed salt combined with other processed ingredients will lead to problems like weight gain, high blood pressure, and heart problems. Table salt is highly processed. It is stripped of many of the minerals found in natural salt that also provide benefit.
However, salt in its natural state not only provides vital sodium chloride that is essential for the right electrolyte balance in the body, but it is also full of other minerals like magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and other trace minerals that the body needs. How much salt do you need? Listen to your body. It will let you know. If your food suddenly tastes flavorless and salt seems like the best spice ever, then you probably need more salt. If you don’t feel a need to add more salt to foods, then you probably have the right balance in your body at the time.
Watch out for processed foods containing other flavor-enhancers as these can cause you to eat too much salt without realizing it. As with most foods, consuming salt as close to its natural state as possible is the healthiest choice.
The right balance of nutrients will feed your metabolism and lead to faster and more effective weight loss. If you want to boost the effectiveness of your metabolism, you should make sure you eat enough of the following ingredients:
Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 produces energy and helps boost the metabolism. Find B6 in starchy vegetables, seafood, organ meats, poultry, and fruit.
Garcinia Cambogia: This herb contains properties that increase energy and metabolic rate. It could also prevent fat storage and help control appetite, according to Web MD.
N-Acetyl & L-Tyrosine: If you have thyroid issues, these two amino acids could be helpful for maintaining proper metabolic function. The two amino acids are necessary for balancing thyroid hormones and contributing to faster weight loss. You can find these amino acids in dairy, meat, and eggs.
If you really want to benefit your metabolism and see faster weight loss, a reversal of commonly-held beliefs is necessary. Habits that have been touted as healthy and beneficial for weight loss could be the very thing that is causing your remaining fat to stubbornly cling to your body. When you reverse these dangerous habits, you may find that any remaining weight quickly falls away, leading to your leanest, healthiest body yet.
By taking the advice in this article to heart and ensuring you provide your body with the essential nutrients it needs to lose weight and boost your metabolism, you will be able to have the healthy body that you need to prevent a host of dangerous health problems.
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