Why you aren’t losing weight after 30
It is a sad day when we have a realization that our weight doesn’t drop off as easily as it once did. For most women, this happens in her 30s. The first things we turn to are generally diet and exercise, but lifestyle plays a huge role as well. (After all, you are a whole person: body, mind, spirit, diet, and environment.) Fortunately, six of the common reasons for stubborn weight are easy to fix.
Too Much Stress
Struggling to keep your stress levels under control? There’s a good chance that it’s affecting your weight – especially for women. Your body releases the stress hormone, cortisol, during stressful periods and this can send your blood sugar levels haywire. According to studies, high cortisol production leaves you craving sweet foods and means you’ll probably eat more calories.
Cortisol also changes how your body uses glucose, makes it harder to burn fat and makes it easier to store fat. Women are more likely to store fat on their stomach but this can also be true for men. Abdominal fat has been linked to health issues so it’s definitely something you want to keep to a minimum! (Read more: Why your waist measurement matters 100x more than your weight..)
Falling Into Emotional Eating Habits
Not taking care of your wellbeing can mean that you eat in line with your emotions rather than when you’re genuinely hungry. Feeling sad, stressed, lonely, bored or disappointed can lead you to eat to fill an emotional void and crave particular foods (usually the unhealthy kind!)
You might feel a little bit better in the immediate aftermath but in the longer term, this type of emotional eating can have a big effect on your weight. Most of the time, you won’t get a signal to say you’re full. It becomes all too easy to find that you’ve eaten a lot more than you planned in a very short space of time. Unfortunately, you probably won’t feel any better afterward. In fact, you may well feel a whole lot worse since it’s common for emotional eating to make you feel guilty and ashamed of your food choices.
Not Sleeping Well
Poor sleep quality makes you more likely to eat more calories and gain weight. This is because it disrupts hormones that control your appetite. Lack of sleep increases production of ghrelin and decreases leptin levels, which means it’s harder to manage your appetite.
After a short night’s sleep, research participants ate an extra 300 calories and tended to choose higher-fat, higher-calorie foods. Sleeping well is one of the underrated ways to keep your weight in check. (Do you struggle with sleep? Sign up for my free 5-day Jumpstart into Refreshing Sleep and Rest email series.)
Not Building Muscle Mass
If you spend a lot of time sitting down and aren’t very active, you probably don’t have much muscle mass. This might not seem like a big deal but it’s a common weight gain trigger.
Lean muscle boosts your metabolism and makes it that little bit easier to burn calories. If you don’t have much lean muscle, your metabolism doesn’t get this benefit and it’s harder to burn calories.
One of the best ways to build more muscle mass is through strength training. Don’t worry—you won’t end up looking like a bodybuilder! The idea of strength training is to build a toned body with minimal body fat rather than the bulky look we often associate with weights.
Not Eating Enough
Being on a diet more often than not means you’re definitely going to lose weight, right? Not always! Restricting your calorie intake too much slows down your metabolism and encourages the body to go into “starvation mode” so that it can run on fewer calories. This also means you burn fewer calories too as your body uses most of your intake to survive. Result? Stubborn weight.
These kind of diets are very hard to stick to in the long term. Chances are, you’ll go back to a less restrictive way of eating but your body can still be more likely to store fat. This is why many people find that they gain weight after coming off a low-calorie diet.
Eating “Low Fat” Foods
Just because a food claims to be “low fat” doesn’t always mean that it will lower your fat or even be healthy! A lot of supposedly “low fat” options are often high in sugar and salt to make them tastier and can also contain a lot of calories. Unfortunately, your body often stores all that sugar as fat and you end up gaining stubborn weight.
Tips for Avoiding These Triggers to Stubborn Weight
So, what can you do to avoid these common triggers and get your body in the best shape?
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet that isn’t too restrictive on calories and stay away from “low fat” foods that can promote weight gain
- Be physically active and help your body to gain a bit more muscle mass
- Get plenty of sleep to keep your appetite hormones in balance
- Subscribe to this free 5-day Jumpstart into Refreshing Sleep and Rest email series
- Make stress reduction a big part of your self-care routine and finding healthier ways to manage your emotions that don’t involve emotional eating
- Adopting a more mindful approach to eating so that you don’t eat on autopilot
- Join The Whole Health Community today where we support each other on the journey to transformed whole health.