Do you find that despite your best efforts to follow a strict eating plan and exercise program, the weight just isn’t coming off?

You’re not alone in experiencing a weight loss plateau. Watching what you eat and exercising consistency is essential to weight loss, but there are other factors that have a HUGE influence on whether you’ll be successful in dropping the pounds you desire.

Today on Health Tip Tuesday I’m sharing with you four factors that could be contributing to your weight loss plateau. I also offer a few tips that you can take action on right away to start seeing the numbers on the scale FINALLY move. I talk about theses in greater depth in my upcoming 10 Week Weight Loss Program, which is set to launch on September 28th.

For now, you can get started with these helpful tips.

1. Chronic stress

During periods of stress, the hormone cortisol is secreted from the adrenal glands. Although cortisol is important for maintenance of blood pressure and provision of energy, it also increases appetite and cravings. This hormonal imbalance can sabotage weight loss. The excess cortisol secreted during times of stress encourages the body to store visceral fat, which is the kind of fat that surrounds vital organs and raises cholesterol and insulin levels. Here are some simple ways to beat stress and regulate cortisol levels:

  • Meditate. Sit in a quiet place for 3min each day and focus on one thing…your BREATHE. Breathe in slowly for a count of four in through your nose making sure to fill your belly with each breathe, and out slowly for a count for four through your mouth. It’s that simple! You can also sit quickly focused on the flame of a burning candle with soft music playing in the background.
  • Exercise. Just 20 minutes a day can lower your stress hormone levels. It doesn’t have to be a hardcore, sweaty battle of the burpees, it can be a brisk walk around the block, a yoga class, or a few laps at your community pool.
  • Do something you LOVE. Make sure to carve out time during the week to do something you love. It could be dusting off your old guitar, reading a book, or knitting. Just do something that makes you happy.

2. Lack of sleep

Not getting adequate sleep can stall your fat loss efforts. You should aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. What you may not already know is that sleep balances your fat-regulating hormones and reduces daytime food cravings. There are plenty of studies which prove this point, but for now, let me give you the Coles notes version.

Sleep has a very direct relationship with two hunger hormones: leptin and ghrelin.

Leptin – the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin.

Ghrelin – the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin

So…when you don’t get enough sleep your ghrelin levels go up and your leptin levels go down turning you into a ravenous beast.

And now to add to this already existing hormonal imbalance, sleep deprivation causes additional stress on your body causing an increase in your levels of the stress hormone cortisol. And when your cortisol levels rise your body goes into major protective mode and stores fat. Not cool if your goal is fat loss.

The best way to fight these crazy fat storing hormones from taking over is to go to bed early as often as you can, and create the kind of environment that promotes good sleep.

Here are some of my best tips for getting a good night’s sleep.

  • Set a regular bedtime and wake time. Make sure to go to bed around the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Replace caffeine with a decaf herbal tea. Caffeine can cause sleep problems even 10 hours after consuming it, so make sure to limit your caffeine intake to the mornings.
  • Turn off all electronics. The blue light from your computer and TV suppresses melatonin production and stimulates your mind. Opt instead to read a book or take a long relaxing warm bath.
  • Say no to that glass of wine. You may be that alcohol helps you fall asleep faster, but it actually reduces the quality of sleep, causing you to wake-up in the middle of the night.

3. Overtraining

More is NOT better ladies!!! If you’re exercising for longer than 45mins, 3-5 times per week then you may be elevating your stress hormone (cortisol). Twenty to thirty minutes of interval based training is the optimal way to exercise for fat loss.

Replace your 60min steady state runs or elliptical sessions with my 20:10 treadmill sprints and watch your body turn into a fat burning machine!!!!!

Watch my 20:10 Treadmill Sprints HERE! <== Click to watch video

4. Not eating enough carbs

Yes, it’s time to Eat More Carbs Ladies!!! Your eyes aren’t deceiving you: I want you to eat more carbs.

Now don’t get me wrong there are times when eating fewer carbs can be very beneficial — it’s actually part of my seven-day food-cycling formula in the Perfect Diet Program but eating carbohydrates is actually really important, especially for women, and it can actually help you lose weight.

It’s so counterintuitive, right? We’ve all been led to believe that carbs are the devil by the leading diet magazines and celebrity weight loss coaches, which is why the paleo movement is so HUGE in the weight loss world right now.

Here’s the TRUTH ladies, carbs are not evil. Mind you, I’m not talking about sugar filled breads, pastas and cereals, what I’m talking about are healthy carbs like fruits, quinoa, rice pasta, sweet potatoes and starchy vegetables.

The reason they’re so important, especially for weight loss, is that they keep your thyroid functioning optimally. A lot of women have problems with hypothyroidism, which is low thyroid, and studies show that when you decrease your carb intake, your levels of active thyroid (also known as T3) drop and when that happens so does your metabolism, resulting in stalled weight loss.

Now with that said, I’m not advocating that you pig out on as many carbs as you can. However, what I am saying is that if you are going to eat your carbs, have a moderate amount in the top half of your day or enjoy after a great resistance training workout to avoid any access carbs being stored as fat.

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So which of these tips will you take action today to help you blast through your weight loss plateau? Leave me a comment below this post I’d love to hear from you xo