There are many factors to consider when talking about fat loss and muscle gain. Nutrition and exercise are by far the biggest and most commonly discussed elements but nevertheless they are not the only ones. They are 2 pieces of a much, much bigger puzzle.
So if your diet and exercise are on point yet you still can't shed fat, keep on reading.
Working with clients over the last 3 years have taught me that there are 4 additional areas to examine when troubleshooting slow fat loss.
Let me introduce you to SASS (stress, alcohol, sleep, sugar).
You can think about SASS as a table with 4 legs, where each leg corresponds to below areas:
S - Stress
S - Sleep
S - Sugar
If you picture the table standing on those 4 legs, you can quickly see that if either one of the legs are shorter, or are completely missing, the table won't be stable and will break if put it under just enough pressure.
Think about what happens when two or even 3 legs are missing. It won't be much of a table anymore, huh?
Like in a table, each element carries equal weight and you can't compensate for any of the leg's shortcomings by making the other legs stronger or somehow better.
Only by balancing the legs you may have a sturdy and strong table.
So how is your table? How are you balancing those 4 components?
If you are struggling with fat loss yet your diet and exercise are on point, review these following areas.
What is your stress level?
Have you been recently divorced, married, widowed?
Are you pregnant, trying to get pregnant, recently gave birth?
Are you or your parents, kids, spouses, friends, pets sick?
Are you grieving a tragic loss?
Have you been recently laid off or retired?
Are you having financial troubles?
Are you moving homes, jobs?
Are you worried about your family's future?
Is your job/family/friends making you want to stuff head in the pillow and scream as loud as you can?
Is having a glass of wine or eating a cookie the best part of your day?
Are you overwhelmed by life in general not being able to find peace?
Do you lack purpose in life?
Are you constantly worried about your weight, health and/or appearance?
Do you wake up tired and depressed?
Stress doesn't always have to be emotional either. Overexercising and underrating are considered stress as well. So is sleep deprivation and lack of sufficient nutrients in your diet.
Review all of those areas.
Drinking alcohol can be a huge factor in weight loss. For some people even a moderate consumption (2-3 units per week) of alcohol can play a huge role.
Alcohol consumption doesn't only add empty calories to the diet, it affects our willpower as well. When we drink, we tend to make worse food choices than when we don't, especially when it comes to splurges. Alcohol consumption also increases appetite so we tend to overeat when we drink. Saturday night dinner out can easily turn into an additional 1000-2000 calories per week, between alcohol calories and the extra food. Two weekends like that and you are over a pound heavier.
Although sleep isn't sexy and needs a new PR campaign, it forms a necessary part of life and it's lack can tremendously affect your health, wellbeing and of course fat loss.
Research shows that sleep affects nearly every function of our body - from skin health, emotional regeneration, immune strength and inflammation (lower risk of disease and cancer), improved cognitive function (lower risk of Alzheimer's), to hormonal balance (which will impact the ability to lose weight). It also influences performance, recovery, bone strength and your ability to operate a vehicle.
Even one night of disturbed or insufficient sleep can affect your appetite (increased hunger) and energy levels (wanting to move less). You will be more hungry (therefore you will most likely eat more) and more tired (so you will want to move less). Perfect recipe for fat gain.
To put it very simply, the more sugar you eat (both naturally occurring and added), the harder it will be for you to be healthy, and lose body fat. Sugar consumption is directly related to production of hormone insulin.
Lot of sugar = high levels of insulin. And insulin is like miracle-gro for fat cells.
Did you like this article?
Share it with friends and family, and let me know if you have any questions or need help balancing out your SASS.
You can contact me here.