So you’ve been working out consistently and eating the right foods—great job! There’s just one thing: Your healthy meals and sweat-dripping Spin sessions don’t seem to be manifesting any results, other than muscles so sore you can barely walk the next day. Cue the frustration (and discouragement, and strong urge to punch something). Before you give up and go back to your couch potato ways, know this—we have some answers for you. Namely, a few small, secret things that may be why you’re not seeing the results you want, and luckily, they’re easy to fix. We consulted Whitney Tingle and Danielle Duboise (co-founders of the clean, organic food delivery service Sakara Life) and Vanessa Packer, holistic nutritionist and co-founder of ModelFit, for their expertise on exactly why those last stubborn pounds won’t shed.
Keep scrolling to see their answers!
News flash: If your stress levels are through the roof, then your body will react accordingly. “Too much cortisol (the stress hormone) in the body damages the adrenals, which hurts your body’s ability to digest and metabolize efficiently,” Tingle says. “The cortisol released during feelings of stress also causes you to store more body fat and reduces your ability to burn calories.” And if you’re used to plowing through high-stress situations by downing your requisite cup (or three) of coffee, we’ve got some bad news: It’s only making the situation worse. “Coffee can have the same affect on your body, by increasing your cortisol levels,” Tingle warns. She recommends her clients drink Sakara Life’s Detox Tea, which she claims helps hydrate the body and calm the adrenals instead of sending them into overdrive.
De-stressing and cutting back on caffeine sound like they’ve been plucked from every millennial’s New Year's resolution list—and we know by now it’s easier said than done. Luckily, we’re here to help. You can try one of these seven things to instantly de-stress, do one of these stress-relieving stretches, or follow one of these supermodel-approved tips for managing stress. Oh, and here are seven natural coffee alternatives you’ll love. We believe in you.
As you’re running from the gym to the office to happy hour drinks, you might find yourself eating most of your meals on the go. Word to the wise: Don’t. “Eating on the go may be great for time management, but it’s not so great for the digestive system,” Packer says. Take a moment to sit and dine—not only does this help you digest the foods, but also, you avoid the risk of overeating if you really pay attention to what you consume.
You may chug water after every gym session to hydrate, but did you know your daily water intake can have an effect on your waistline, too? “Hydration is essential in order for your major body processes to function properly—and this includes digestion and metabolism,” Tingle says. “Without proper hydration, our metabolism slows down and more fat is stored around the tummy.” Furthermore, she goes on to explain that drinking water helps the body flush out toxins—toxins that hinder your body’s natural ability to balance blood sugar and metabolize cholesterol (both of which impact weight loss). Though recent research might prove otherwise, we’ll be keeping a filled water bottle at our desk at all times—and refilling frequently. (You can find out exactly how much water you should be drinking here, along with some ways to trick yourself into drinking more water.)
Nuts are touted as a great source of protein and healthy fats, which may make you reach for them when a snack craving hits. Not so fast, however—Packer says to indulge in them only in moderation, and soak them overnight before you nibble. Why? Raw nuts contain high levels of something called phytic acid, which can bind to the gastrointestinal tract and cause irritation. “When sprouted, nuts become easier to digest,” she explains. Soaking nuts in warm water neutralizes the enzyme inhibitors that are present in all seeds and even encourages the production of beneficial enzymes. You can read more about the many health benefits here.
Repeat after us: Fat is your friend. Well, the right kind, at least. “Not only is fat essential for everything from energy to maintenance to growth, it actually helps your body burn fat,” DuBoise tells us. “Studies have found that individuals who consumed more unsaturated fats had both lower BMIs and a lower percentage of body fat.” Healthy fats like omega-3s help rev up your metabolism, balance your blood sugar, and keep your fuller longer. DuBoise points out that they also take longer to digest. This might not sound like a good thing, but we’ll put it this way: The longer you feel full, the less you’ll be tempted to reach for that bag of chips when the 3 p.m. slump hits.
Speaking of fats, here’s some interesting information about butter for you.