You watch what you eat and you go to the gym but you are not losing weight. Eating too little is one among the major reasons why you're not losing weight
Fat trap: Eating too little
Not eating enough can make it difficult to lose weight in the long term, says Laila Lewis, a nutritional therapist at The Nutrition Coach. "Your body has an instinct to protect itself so when it is not given enough food it will go into starvation mode causing the metabolism to slow down and the body to hoard fat
Slim solution: Eat little and often and include protein such as lean meat, fish, beans and pulses, nuts and seeds or eggs with every meal, advises Laila. "This not only fills you up but slows the release of sugar from carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruit and vegetables) so you won't get a surge and crash in your
Fat trap: Low fat foods
"Eating low-fat versions of foods can be counter-productive if you're trying to lose weight," says Laila Lewis. "When manufacturers remove fat from foods they often enhance taste by increasing the amount of sugar. This will disrupt your blood sugar balance and can lead to long-term weight gain. "We also tend to eat a bigger quantity of low-fat foods because we think they are healthier and because fat helps keep us satisfied so low-fat foods can lead to increased appetite."
Slim solution: Eat the real thing but in a smaller quantity. "Don't be afraid of fat. Good, unsaturated fats including oily fish, avocados and nuts reduce blood glucose levels and can aid weight loss," explains Laila (the nutrition coach.co.uk).
Fat trap: Stress
Stress hormones such as cortisol release sugar and fats into the blood and the fat often ends up deposited around your midriff, explains author of 'Fat around the Middle' Dr Marilyn Glenville. Cortisol also increases your appetite, especially for sugary and fatty foods.
Slim solution: Find a way to relax that works for you be it yoga or lazing in the bath. Reducing caffeinated drinks and eating a magnesium-rich diet (dark green leafy vegetables, Brazil nuts and seeds) can also lessen stress.
Fat trap: Artificial sweetener
"Studies show that artificial sweeteners can increase your cravings for some carbohydrate-rich food, stimulate your appetite and also encourage fat storage," explains Laila. "It's thought they confuse your body because you can taste sweetness but you're not getting the energy your body expects which affects your appetite control mechanisms."
Slim solution: "Re-educate your sweet tooth," says Laila. "Set yourself targets based on halving your added sugar intake each week until you have none.
"If you normally have two sugars in your tea have one the first week and half a teaspoon in the second week. After six weeks you shouldn't need any sugar."
Fat trap: Rewarding exercise with food
"Often people fall into the trap of rewarding themselves for exercise with food," explains Slimming World head of nutrition and research Dr Jacquie Lavin. "It's easy to overestimate how many calories you've burned during an activity and underestimate how much you're eating".
Slim solution: Put a stop to the credit/debit mentality and view exercise as a way to boost your weight loss rather than an excuse to eat whatever you please.
Fat trap: Dieting alone
"Studies show you're three times more likely to succeed as part of a group than when you try to lose weight alone," says Dr Lavin. You're more likely to stay motivated when you're supported and monitored plus it's an opportunity to pick up new tips or recipes.
Slim solution: Find someone to keep you accountable and motivated, be it a gym buddy, a slimming class or an
Fat trap: Portion size
It's easy to lose sight of what a normal portion size is. For instance, a 30g bowl of cereal is only one small cupful. Even if everything you eat is healthy and nutritious eating too much will cause you to gain weight, says Dr Levin.
Slim solution: "Choosing a smaller plate enforces portion control," explains Dr Glenville. Fill half your plate with vegetables and use the size of your fist.