Getting to - and keeping - the right weight is seen in our society as one of the most important things we can do. Especially for women, let's be honest. Men's magazines may occasionally talk about "losing that gut", but it's more in a "hey, maybe you should do this" kind of way. With women, it tends to come with a side order of fat-shaming.
The truth here is that maintaining a healthy weight is important, but not just for the cosmetic reasons we're so often reminded of. The more excess you're carrying, the more health issues you'll have. From poor sleep to lack of energy, the immediate issues are evident. However there are greater concerns, including a laundry list of illnesses in which weight is a risk factor.
It makes sense, then, that we avoid eating the wrong things, make sure we get plenty of exercise and stick to good habits. But did you know that there are other, hidden factors that could be getting in your way as you try to lose weight? Here are just a few of those, and some ideas to mitigate them.
Your Low-Calorie Diet? It May Be Too Low-Calorie
Calorie control is an essential part of weight management. No surprise there. But what some people don't realize is that too few calories doesn't mean you drop the weight all the faster. Ask any weight management consultant. Take too few calories on board and your body will produce more stress hormone, resulting in more fat being stored. Precisely the opposite of what you want.
Keep your calorie total above 1200 - and raise that to above 1500 if you're exercising a lot, 1700 if you're nursing. Otherwise, you'll see a whole new meaning to "less is more".
Check Your Medication - Side Effects Can Be A Shocker
We are all aware of the importance of looking after our health, and if you suffer from a chronic complaint, the chances are you're on medication for it. The problem may arise, though, when you find that the side effects of your medication include weight gain. This is the case for some anti-depressants and allergy medications among others.
No-one with any common sense will tell you to discontinue a medication without consulting a doctor first. If you're gaining weight and your medication could be to blame, speak to your GP about a different drug without the same side effects.
Sleepless Nights Over Your Weight? That May Be The Issue...
It's already been mentioned that excessive weight gain can result in poor sleep. The bad news is that it's a vicious circle - the worse your sleep, the more likely it is that you'll gain weight.
A poor night's sleep causes your levels of cortisol to rise - that's a stress hormone and, as we've seen, causes fat to be stored. In addition, you won't have the same willpower to control your appetite and will be hungry more often.
It couldn't really get much worse than that for your diet, could it? So try to ensure you bed down at the same time each night, and get the house as dark as possible an hour in advance. Your waistline will thank you!