Sometimes you feel that you are eating well and staying active, but the pounds are staying on. If that’s the case, I feel it is a good idea to check in with your body and see why that’s happening.

Did you know that anything from a hormonal imbalance, to vitamin deficiencies, to the prescription medicines you take can hold clues as to what’s making you gain weight?

I find that major causes for weight gain are

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– Thyroid disease and other hormonal problems [1]
– Stress [2]
Lack of sleep [3]
– Depression and many anti-depressant medications [4,5]
– Food sensitivities and a slow gut
– Insulin resistance [6]
– Lack of physical activity

Which is more important for weight loss – diet or exercise? “The real answer might be sleep,” says Dr. Alan Christianson. “Sleep determines how much you eat, which foods you crave, and what your body does with the calories”.

Exercise is one of many important ways to maintain healthy weight, but you probably also heard the saying ‘you can’t out exercise a bad diet’. Also the old idea that it was just about eating less calories doesn’t work as well.

More and more research shows that a low glycemic load (GL) diet, designed to keep blood sugars even, causes more weight loss on the same calories on a non-low glycemic load diet.

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How to lose 10 pounds_2

How to lose 10 pounds? What do you do to keep weight off for good?

The secret to successful weight loss isn’t starving yourself; nor is it limiting your food choices or following a rigid pattern of eating. Change is hard, especially when it requires us to confront emotions or situations that keep us stuck.

I find the following general rules for weight loss work for nearly everyone:

– Don’t skip meals, bearing in mind that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
– Use the 80/20 rule – eat till 80% full and leave 20% to breathe. Choose healthy foods 80 percent of the time and indulge in a few favorite treats 20 percent of the time.
– Most of the carbs should come from vegetables and they should make up about half of the portion of each meal
– Protein should make up roughly 25-30 percent of your calories. This means that one-fourth to one-third of your daily food volume should be from protein-rich foods.
 Eat fat to lose fat. Each meal should have 1 to 2 teaspoons of healthy oil (especially omega-3 fats) or 1 to 2 tablespoons of nuts or nut butters or ¼ of avocado.
– Eat a protein based breakfast (about 30 grams of protein within an hour of waking up) and leave low GL carbs / resistant starches in the afternoon and evening (like brown rice, black beans, boiled potatoes, quinoa).
– Early to bed and early to rise. Have no less than 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
– Focus on exercises that work many different muscles. Alternate strength-training with high intensity interval training and cardio.

Remember, each journey towards health is unique. Be gentle with yourself along the way, and never stop reaching for your best self.

Reference:

[1] http://www.endocrinology.org/press/pressreleases/2012-03-21_Hyperthyroidism.pdf

[2] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/expert-answers/stress/faq-20058497

[3] http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/lack-of-sleep-weight-gain

[4] http://www.livescience.com/6590-depression-leads-weight-gain-study-confirms.html

[5] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10926053

[6] http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v28/n8/full/0802645a.html

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