Running into a weight loss wall is a frustrating yet all too common problem encountered by dieters everywhere. In most cases, the cause of the stalled progress is obvious: you've been skipping the gym or giving in to far too many unhealthy food cravings throughout the day. Those issues are easy to diagnose and fix, as long as you're willing to submit to an honest assessment of your actions.
But in some cases, it's far more difficult to determine why the scale won't budge. You've been faithfully tracking calories, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of rest every night, yet you're not seeing the expected results. So what gives? Let's examine some possible explanations for your current plateau:
Diet & Nutrition
We all know that a well-balanced diet is critical for the body's proper functioning. However, balance is often the first principle sacrificed when weight loss is the goal. Any eating plan that calls for eliminating entire categories of macronutrients (e.g. no carbs or no fats) or skipping meals on a regular basis can and will interfere with essential metabolic processes, thereby causing your body to operate inefficiently and do things like preserve fat stores rather than burn them for energy.
To remedy this shortcoming, make sure that you consume a healthy proportion of carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and dietary fiber from natural sources.
Numerous research studies have concluded that today's mostly sedentary lifestyles are extremely hazardous to our health. In fact, Dr. James Levine, an obesity expert at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, believes that the advantages derived from an hour or so spent at the gym are not sufficient to offset the ill effects of sitting at a desk for eight or nine hours a day, followed by more couch time at home. Dr. Levine's conclusion holds true for people of all fitness levels, which means sitting too much could very well be at the root of your problem.
If the numbers on your scale aren't a true reflection of your exercise efforts, then consider how you're spending the rest of the day. Chances are you could benefit from incorporating a lot more activity (even if it's just standing or walking) into your routine.
Several medical conditions are known to cause bloating, water retention, and weight gain. These include but are not limited to: an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism); intolerance to dairy, gluten, soy, corn, and other foods; and hormone imbalances. Weight gain is also a fairly common side effect of prescription medications such as antidepressants, certain types of birth control pills, steroids, and other pharmaceutical drugs.
If you suspect that your weight loss plateau is due to an underlying medical problem, your safest course of action is to consult a doctor for a thorough health screening.