You're working your tail off, but can't seem to shake the weight? Maybe one of these five reasons is why.

1. Not Enough Protein in the Morning
A low or no protein breakfast almost always means a high carb breakfast (translation: high sugar). Regardless of how many calories you think you should or should  not be eating in a day, any morning that kicks off with all or mostly carbohydrate is going to send your body on a blood sugar roller coaster ride ultimately stopping with a little bit of fat storage. Instead of reaching for a bowl of fat free cereal with fat free milk, opt for a breakfast that will provide a little more protein, like eggs, oats with nut butters, or even a low or full fat plain yogurt with cinnamon.  What you eat in the morning affects you all day, so be wise about your choices.

2. Not Enough H2O
Water gives everything in our body a boost, including metabolism and our ability to burn fat. Even mild dehydration - the kind we might not even notice - can slow things down in our body. You've heard it all before, but 64 ounces a day is still a good water consumption guideline for the average person. If you're working out a lot, you'll  need more.


3. Not Enough Strength Training
I love aerobic activity. It's really important, and we should all get at minimum 30 minutes a day. BUT, when it comes to firing out our ability to burn fat continuously, we need to focus on strength training. Unfortunately, 30 minutes on the elliptical machine doesn't count. You need to actually work on building some muscle via a workout that will emphasize on resistance. The good news is that there are a lot of cool workouts that can combine strength and cardio. Yoga, bootcamp-style workouts, muscle building group fitness classes, like Body Pump and many more offer this type of format. If group classes aren't your thing, check out one of my body-weight strength workouts.
4. Not Enough Clean Food
If it can sit on a shelf for more than a week and not get moldy, it's not clean. Sure, there are a few exceptions like tea, rice and other pantry staples, but if your meals are derived from boxes in the freezer or kitchen cupboard, you need to get clean with your eating.  Make the basis of all your meals vegetables first, then a lean protein, healthy fat, followed last by a starch. A big bowl of pasta or rice with a few sprigs of broccoli and one ounce of chicken breast isn't a veggie-dense meal. Flip it around by making the broccoli the star of the meal, paired with a nice chicken breast, adding a little rice at the end and your body's metabolism will get turned on right away.

5. Not Enough Sleep 
I've written about this point recently, but it still holds true for this list. People who sleep less generally have a greater amount of stored fat.
recent study conducted at the University of Chicago looked at two groups of people, both on a low-calorie diet. One group slept 5.5 hours a night, and another group slept 8.5 hours a night. Interestingly enough, both groups lost the same amount of weight (7 pounds), but the sleep-deprived group lost mostly muscle in comparison to the rested group that lost mostly fat.

This study was only conducted over a two week period! Now, the participants were indeed overweight to begin with, so the fact that they lost weight on a low-calorie diet is not a shocker. It’s the huge disparity between muscle and fat loss that’s the real eye-opener.
Cortisol helps us sustain life by reacting to “fight or flight” situations when needed – an attack, a car accident, etc. By any evolutionary standard, sleep deprivation probably would not have made our predecessor’s need-to-survive list, but our modern-day bodies perceive it as stress nonetheless. Back in the day, one of the ways our lives were sustained was by adding fat closer to the internal organs – through the midsection – thanks, in part, to cortisol.

What do you think? If you've overcome a weight loss obstacle, or if you think you've run into an obstacle that's not on this list, share it here. If you're not hanging out with me on Facebook yet, stop by now and say hi! I'd love to see you there.