As a Registered Dietitian, one of the top questions my new patients come to me with is “Why isn’t my health improving?” They’ve tried everything on the market; the juice cleanse, the no-carbs, the keto diet, Optavia, Noom, but nothing seems to work. While I understand weight loss can be frustrating, I also strive to teach my patients the why behind their weight loss, and then the how. Instead of “I want to look good in a bikini”, let’s make it “I want to feel better both physically and mentally.” Why? Because healthy habits start from within. And, these internal changes usually spur sustainable health change better and longer than short-term seasonal aestetic goals.
When people are struggling with improving their health, a stubborn sweet tooth and affinity for dessert seems like the common culprit. But, as a nutrition professional who has worked with thousands of patients over the years, I’ve found that to rarely be the root of the problem. I’ve rounded up the top barriers to weight loss and health improvement that I see in my practice! These habits are often seen as healthy but quickly stall progress in my patient population. Can you relate?
Why can’t I lose weight? Why can’t I see results? What is the scale not moving? If that’s your recent Google Search, this list is for you!
1. Excessive HIIT Workouts:
HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) can be beneficial, but too much of a good thing can be harmful. Overtraining can lead to burnout, injury, and increased cortisol levels, which can hinder your health goals. Make sure to incorporate adequate rest days into your workout routine to allow your body to recover and repair.
2. Low Protein Meals:
Proteins are the building blocks of our bodies, essential for repairing tissues and maintaining muscle mass. If your meals are lacking in protein, you might struggle with recovery, feel fatigued, and find it difficult to stay full and satisfied. Ensure each meal contains a complete source of protein, like lean meat, fish, or a plant-based option like organic tempeh. Try to get at least 20 grams of protein for each meal. Learn more about the importance of protein here.
3. Five or more Alcohol Drinks per Week:
Excessive alcohol consumption can wreak havoc on your health. It not only adds empty calories but also affects sleep, mood, and hormone levels. Consider reducing your alcohol intake to less than four drinks per week to support your overall well-being. If you’re looking for something to wind down in the evening, try herbal or adaptogenic tea, electrolyte mocktails, or water with lemon!
4. Less than 6 Hours of Sleep:
Sleep is when your body heals and regenerates. Inadequate sleep can lead to weight gain, impaired cognitive function, and increased stress. Aim for at least 7.5-9 hours of quality sleep each night to recharge and optimize your health.
5. Eating Your Carbs First:
Eating carbohydrates first in a meal can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels, leading to energy crashes and increased hunger. Instead, evaluate your plate and make an effort to prioritize protein first. The simplest way to do this is to start your meals with protein and healthy fats, then add in complex carbohydrates to balance your blood sugar levels.
6. Eating Your Lunch in 5 Minutes:
Mindful eating is crucial for proper digestion and satiety. Wolfing down your meals in a rush can lead to overeating and indigestion. Take the time to savor and enjoy your meals, allowing your body to recognize when it’s full.
7. Using the Weekends to Party and Not Prep:
Weekends are often seen as a time to indulge, but excessive partying and unhealthy eating can set you back. Instead, use this time to prepare nutritious meals and snacks for the upcoming week, setting yourself up for success. Get a 12-week Meal Plan Guide here! With good planning you can hit the pool after some essential prep!
8. Expecting a Supplement to Fix It:
Supplements can be helpful, but they are not a magic solution. Relying solely on supplements without addressing your overall lifestyle can be counterproductive. Focus on a balanced diet and lifestyle, and use supplements as needed to complement your efforts. At Whitness Nutrition we take a food first, food as medicine approach, before we add supplementation.
9. Deprioritizing home-cooked meals:
Eating out frequently can lead to consuming hidden calories, unhealthy fats, and excessive sodium. Cooking at home gives you full control over the ingredients and portions, making it easier to maintain a healthy diet. If you do plan to eat out, make sure to check out one of the Whitness Nutrition dining guides.
10. Drinking Coffee Instead of Water:
Coffee might be your go-to for an energy boost, but don’t forget the importance of staying hydrated with water. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and cravings, so ensure you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. Optimize your coffee drink by adding in collagen, swapping out your artificially sweetened creamer with nut-milk, and most importantly, enjoying after a protein-rich meal.
11. Skipping Rest Days:
Rest days are crucial for muscle recovery and preventing burnout. Pushing yourself too hard without adequate rest can lead to injury and hinder your progress. Listen to your body and incorporate rest days into your workout routine. Most of our patients find good benefit from two, non-consecutive rest days, per week.
12. Hanging with the Diet Crowd:
Comparing yourself to others or following every new diet trend can be overwhelming and unsustainable. Remember that everyone’s journey is unique, and what works for someone else might not work for you. Focus on finding a personalized approach that aligns with your goals and lifestyle.
13. Expecting Instant Results:
Patience is key when it comes to improving your health. Sustainable changes take time, and expecting instant results can lead to disappointment and frustration. Stay consistent with your healthy habits, and the results will follow. This is why I work with patients for no less than 6 weeks and most patients, 3 months!
It’s time to hack your health.
Struggling with a few too many of these? Feel overwhelmed? I’m here to help! To work further on your health goals, book a discovery call with Whitness Nutrition for a personalized plan.