It’s summer, which means your seasonal slim-down should be in full effect to get your body healthy and fit for all your vacations ahead. However, no matter how small you make your portions or how much you sweat during your daily workouts, you can’t seem to cut that last bit of fat. In your desperation to melt away that last layer and reveal your glorious six-pack, you might be making several mistakes that not only prevent you from reaching your goal but weaken your body overall.
The fitness plateau happens to all of us eventually, and it is incredibly frustrating. Fortunately, there is quite a bit of research on weight loss to help you identify a few unexpected ways you might be keeping on the pounds. Here are the top six causes of slower slimming in the summertime.
6 Reasons You Aren’t Slimming Down Like You Should Be
You Aren’t Sleeping Well
While you sleep, your body is performing all sorts of routine maintenance to keep you healthy. However, in your manic desire to slim down, you might be skimping on sleep to fit in a few more workouts. Cutting back on sleep cheats your body of its repair time, which means you won’t be functioning at peak performance. Your metabolism slows down, and you have more cravings for food, both of which are fitness-busters.
You Are Too Stressed
Stress is the root cause of many of the worst diseases ― including weight gain. Usually, cortisol, the stress hormone, provides a spike of energy when you need it most, like when you are being chased by a lion. However, when you are perpetually stressed by your modern lifestyle, your body doesn’t respond to cortisol in a healthy way. Specifically, the overabundance of the hormone makes cells less responsive to other signals from the body, especially the hormones insulin and leptin which help you burn fat. To slim down, you might need to relax for a day or two by the pool ― without worrying how you look in your swimsuit.
You Are Skipping Meals
For years, lifestyle magazines pushed the idea that you don’t actually need more than about 1,200 calories per day ― a lie that led many men and women to cut out entire meals in pursuit of “the perfect body.” Now, nutritionists know that calorie requirements depend entirely on your size, activity level, and fitness goals, but more importantly, they know that skipping meals not only prevents you from burning fat ― it encourages your body to put on more of it.
You want your metabolism to run long and hard, but going hours without eating slows your metabolism. Without a regular supply of food, your body goes into survival mode in an attempt to stockpile energy for a potential famine. Therefore, eating more frequently ― albeit smaller, less calorie-dense meals ― is actually a better method of slimming down.
You Aren’t Exercising Properly
Cardio, cardio, and more cardio is what most lifestyle magazines repeat when they give advice about weight-loss exercise. However, if you only know how to work the treadmills in your gym, you are going to have a tough time slimming down. Though increasing your heart rate does boost your metabolism and burn fat, incorporating strength training into your workout is a necessary step in looking lean. Rather than bulking you up, weight lifting builds muscle that consumes extra fat, slimming you down. Plus, strength training improves your joints, which helps you avoid injury during your cardio circuit.
You Aren’t Detoxing
It is possible that your body’s softness doesn’t come from fat but from bloat. Environmental toxins, which you can take in by eating, drinking, and breathing, often lodge in your tissues and cause inflammation, which in enough quantities makes your body balloon to insane proportions.
The first step to deflating to a more natural size is eliminating any and all sources of toxins. Swapping whole foods for processed junk is a must, as is switching to tobacco-free e-cigarettes if you smoke. Additionally, you should remove potential indoor air pollutants, like dust, chemical cleaners, and artificial fragrances. After a few days in a clean environment, you should notice your body start to filter out harmful toxins and slim down accordingly.
You Are Genetically Incapable
It’s not you ― it’s your genes. It may hurt to hear it, but some people will never be able to achieve “the perfect body,” even with intensely rigorous exercise and diet plans. However, it may help to realize that being thin isn’t the same as being healthy; in fact, genetically skinny people may be at higher risk for problems like heart disease and diabetes. Looking slim and slender is never worth endangering your health; as long as you are strong and confident, you will have the perfect body.