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You’re eating clean, you’re training hard, you’ve got a positive mindset and you’re excited for weigh day. You step on the scales and… nothing’s changed, perhaps the number has even gone up? Cue mass panic, ignoring phone calls of support, cracking open the Ben and Jerry’s and condemning yourself to a life similar to the start of Bridget Jones’ Diary.Before you grab the spoon and start the downward spiral, consider this; there might be six other reasons why the scale says what it does. Before you put it down to failed efforts, have a read of the below and see if any relate. We can almost guarantee you’ll feel better after.

1. You’re replacing sleep with workouts
People often find it difficult to fit workouts into their busy schedules, and sometimes the only way to make it work is by exercising first thing in the morning. However, reducing those vital sleeping hours could hinder your weight loss. Not only does lack of sleep leave you tired and unfocused, but it also affects the balance of our hormones. Being sleep deprived can lead to an increase in cortisol (stress hormone) and, if this becomes elevated, it can lead to storage of fat around the midsection.

How to fix it:
Getting 8 hours is essential for losing fat. If you are up bright and early to workout, make sure you are getting an earlier night to make up for it. Whenever possible, try to follow a structured bedtime routine to help you wind down and prepare for sleep. An hour before you go to bed, try to switch off from bright, stimulating objects (such as phones and TVs), avoid caffeine and keep your room cool to help create a relaxing environment.

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2. You haven’t set yourself attainable goals
Saying you want to “lose weight” is a very broad goal, and you’re not showing any real direction in how to achieve it. This means your motivation is more likely to deplete at the first hardship, and you will struggle to achieve your desired goals. The most common lack of motivation comes from not seeing immediate results, which are often set by unachievable targets.

How to fix it:
You need to work out why you truly want to slim down. Think about why you want to make these changes in your life, and how are you going to achieve them. Stay clear of “I just want to lose weight,” and think about the benefits weight loss would bring you, such as being more body confident or have a greater amount of energy. Start small, setting attainable goals that can be ticked off each week. This could be increasing your weights, reps, distance or timings within a work out. Alternatively, it could be to eat healthy all week, and treat yourself on a weekend. These goals can be increased on a weekly basis, helping to encourage your weight loss journey and turn it into a lifestyle choice.

3. You’re not drinking enough water
Water is an essential nutrient that is often forgotten. Estimates state that the average Brit consumes less than one glass per day, compared to the recommended eight. Dehydration can contribute to tiredness, headaches and lack of concentration, as well as impacting on our diets. When we are thirsty, we often experience similar symptoms to those of being hungry, and quite often people can mistake the two.

How to fix it:
Water should be the first choice of hydration as it contains zero calories, and you need to make sure that you are drinking 2-3 litres a day. It’s also important to bear in mind that the more you sweat, the more water is lost. If you are training, ensure you drink throughout your workout, and increase your water intake accordingly post-exercise.

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4. You're not working hard enough
Clocking up the miles and minutes on the treadmill could be the reason why you are not achieving the slim, toned body you desire. Whilst there is no doubt that cardio will help shed the pounds, solely putting trainers to tarmac can result in both fat and muscle deterioration. A larger percentage of calories may be burnt from fat during lower intensity exercises, however the most important factor overall is total calories burned. Regardless of whether calories are burnt from fats or carbohydrates, during high intensity workouts, the amount burned is much higher.

How to fix it:
Switch to resistance and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). This will not only help you build toned muscle, but EPOC (excess post exercise oxygen consumption) causes the body to burn fat for up to 48 hours after you’ve finished exercising. HIIT prevents your body from getting enough oxygen to your muscles, resulting in an oxygen deficit. After you’ve finished exercising, oxygen needs to be repaid, and your metabolism is revived for hours.

5. You’re constantly counting calories
While counting calories can help you keep track of your food intake, it’s very easy to become fixated on the calorie-in VS calorie-out formula. People often make the mistake of doing more intense exercise to justify a few extra calories during the day. Sadly, those sweaty sessions normally only account for the equivalent of a small glass of wine – not the whole bottle.

How to fix it:
It’s important to not focus solely on calories. Instead, think about what you eat and strive for a balance of quality natural foods that includes high fibre, lean protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates. Eat breakfast every day to start off your metabolism, space your meals out throughout the day to regulate blood sugars and most importantly, listen to your body, it’ll tell you when you’re full and when you need more.

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6. You’re not wearing the right workout clothes
Having improperly fitted fitness clothes impact your workouts physically and mentally. Mentally, ill-fitting clothing can stop you seeing progress and physically, it can interfere with your workout and cause sports related injuries. Oversized clothing can look, and feel, heavy, adding unnecessary weight to a workout, whereas restrictive clothing can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Both can cause you discomfort during a workout and can often result in cutting it short.

How to Fix It:
Invest in some new sports wear that is both supportive and fashionable. If you look great, chances are you will feel it too. When you wear the right workout gear, not only are you more inclined to actually be active, but it will also make you feel more confident in your abilities which could lead to improved focus and motivation.