With summer is just around the corner (if you look closely you can see it hidden behind that dark grey cloud which has been permanently in the sky since October), it’s time to do that thing you’ve been avoiding since Thanksgiving: survey yourself in the mirror.
It’s an annual journey that practically every human on this planet goes on as we poke and prod at our bodies whilst trying to establish if we’re remotely ready for the warmer weather.
Of course, it’s all totally unnecessary for we don’t need to look like a member of the Kardashian clan or Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in order to frolick on the beach in our bikini/trunks. We can be ourselves – chocolate curves and biscuit bulges included – and still feel like god/goddesses on the sand.
However, it doesn’t matter how many times you hear that, you still try (and usually fail, because let’s be honest, who can reject ice cream in the summer?) to reach your ideal summer body goals. But hey, that’s okay. It may simply be because you’re ignoring these health facts which are preventing you from shifting some of the unwanted weight…
1. Your diet consists of too much sugar
You may have cut down on the calories, but it’s actually sugar that you really need to keep an eye out for – especially when it comes to belly fat. Instead of indulging on things high in sugar, try and find a substitute that won’t saturate your body with the sweet stuff.
2. Your body needs protein
“Protein is great for fat loss,” explains Dr. Luke James, an expert on shifting stubborn fat. “It helps build and preserve lean muscle tissue and can increase the amount of calories you burn. It’s also a great source of energy that helps you feel fuller for longer, so you’re less tempted to snack.” Goodbye chips, hello almonds.
3. Sleep is your friend
“We all have two hormones that affect our appetite: ghrelin and leptin,” explains Dr. James. “When we don’t get enough sleep, our ghrelin levels (the hormone that makes us feel hungry) rise, and our leptin levels (the hormone that makes us feel full) drop. This means that when we’re awake, we tend to eat more but feel less satisfied.” It’s time to start hitting that snooze button!
4. Don’t be impatient
It’s easy to become impatient and frustrated when you’re trying to lose weight and haven’t seen the results yet,” says Dr. Luke James, an expert on shifting stubborn fat. “Stick with it for at least eight weeks and you should notice a change.” Eight weeks! That’s quite a sacrifice!
5. You’re not being effective at the gym
“Belly fat is simply where your body stores energy, so you need to take a whole-body approach to tackle it,” explains Dr. James, discrediting the myth that your paunch is simply a symbol of your overindulgence. Squats, a quick sprint and weightlifting are all great when it comes to combatting the flab.
6. You’re dieting too much
“It might seem like a quick and easy option, but eating too few calories can actually do more harm than good. If your calorie intake dips too low, your body could go into starvation mode. This will slow down your metabolism, making it harder for your body to lose weight,” says Dr. James, explaining why a crash diet is never a good idea!
7. You are too stressed
You’d be lying if you said that you’ve never found comfort in the bottom of a bag of chips and dip, or in a bar of chocolate. But whilst it may give us a momentary feeling of satisfaction, eating this way is not good for us. “Feeling stressed can wreak havoc on our bodies,” says Dr. James. “It can cause our body to produce the steroid hormone cortisol, which can make you crave sugary foods that provide instant energy and pleasure.”
8. You’re working out TOO much!
“Your body needs a healthy balance of exercise and rest. Doing too much prevents the body from shifting excess fat. Exercising without rest can impact our levels of the steroid hormone cortisol and cause an increase of stubborn fat stored in the belly,” says Dr. James. Finally, one point we can listen to!
9. Have you tracked your progress?
When you write things down, you set your goals. So avoiding scribbling down your progress can have a derogatory effect on your plan. “Write down a meal and exercise plan. This will help you stick to your goals and remain focused,” explains Dr. James.
10. Your motivation has evaporated
Losing motivation is the killer of all workouts. Negativity swoops in out of nowhere and makes everything feel impossible. But if you want to achieve anything, you’re going to have to block out that little voice in your head which cries out for you to give up. “If you’re feeling particularly unmotivated, ask a friend to join you for your workout and then afterward cook something healthy for dinner together,” offers Dr. James.
Do you feel inspired? Is this your time to shine? Good luck with your weight loss plans, but don’t be despondent if you don’t get there – there’s always next year!