As a health coach, one of the laments I hear the most from my clients is “Why aren’t I losing weight?” Usually, with just a few simple questions, we can figure out why and tackle the problem. While weight loss is certainly not the only goal on anyone’s journey towards better health, it is on many people’s minds. Here are some reasons why you might not be losing weight.

1. You’re not drinking enough water
Most people know that our bodies are 50 to 75% water, but did you know that our water levels actually lower as we age? That’s part of the reason weight loss gets harder as we age. Water helps nutrition work! Research shows that overweight people who drank 2 cups of water 30 minutes before each meal over a 3-month period lost 5 pounds more than those who didn’t. One year later, the water drinkers had kept more of the weight off.

Dehydration also often makes us feel hungrier than we actually are. Even mild dehydration can alter our body’s metabolism, so aim to drink 8 glasses of water each day and limit your intake of sofa, caffeine and alcohol.

2. Your not sleeping enough, or sleeping well
How much you sleep, and the quality of your sleep will affect nearly every aspect of your daily life, so it’s important to get the shut eye you need every night. Get on a consistent sleep schedule to manage stress, weight and your overall health. Inadequate sleep can lead to decreased immunity, rapid aging, a higher risk of disease, overeating and poor food choices, as well as disruptions in hormones like cortisol, ghrelin and leptin.

It’s recommended you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. If you get only 6 hours per night, the risk of developing obesity rises 23%. At 5 hours, it rises 50% and at 4 hours it rises to 73%! Avoid phone and computer screens 2 hours before bed, develop a nighttime routine, and practice healthy sleep habits.

3. You’re not exercising consistently
Besides the obvious perk of burning calories, exercise is valuable because when you workout, your body releases endorphins and endorphins motivate you to eat well, perform well at work, and simply live your life well! Consider exercise something you do for wellness, strength, and happiness, not just weight loss.

Make a goal to be active for at least 30 minutes every day. Playing with your kids and pets counts too! Always take the stairs, walk to the store when you can, go on short jogs and strolls when you can. Make exercise a priority and you’ll be amazed to see not only weight loss happen, but your mood improve as well.

4. You’re too stressed
Stress increases the hormone cortisol, which makes your bodies crave carbs and store fats around your midsections. That means even if you aren’t eating more, you could still gain weight. Take time throughout your day to destress and meditate.

Use the 8-count breathing method. Exhale through your mouth, making a whoosh sound then close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose while you count to 4. Hold your breath for 7 seconds. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of 8. Repeat for 4 full breaths.

5. You’re not eating enough lean proteins
Our bodies require protein to renew and replenish our cells, stabilize our blood sugar, and get energy. While many foods contain protein, you’ll find the richest sources of protein include animal products like meat, dairy, eggs and fish as well as plant sources like beans, nuts, and seeds.

When choosing animal protein sources, be conscious of the way the animal was raised and what it ate because that’s what you’re eating too! Opt for grass fed meats over feedlot meats. Organic yogurt and pasture raised eggs are great choices for vegetarians.

6. You’re still skipping breakfast
By eating a hearty breakfast, you give your metabolism a jumpstart and you’re in better control of cravings. When we’re hungry, we make poor choices on snacks, we mindlessly eat or overeat. Eating breakfast is associated with healthy weight!

7. You’re not eating enough healthy fats
There’s often a misconception that fats should be eliminated from the diet completely, but healthy fats are necessary! The body uses dietary fat for energy and healthy hair, nails and skin as well as vitamin absorption. Healthy fats can help protect you from heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s and depression as well as reducing blood pressure and lowering cholesterol.
They protect against. Find healthy fats in foods like nuts, seeds, avocados and extra virgin olive oil.

8. You’re not cooking at home
Cooking meals at home allows you to control the portion size, quality, cuts intake of sodium, fats and calories. Avoid frying by learning how to roast and bake. Eat more raw foods to boost flavor. Experiment with herbs, spices and reduce salt.

9. You lose track of what you eat
Be a food detective and investigate what you choose to put into your body. Check labels and avoid ingredients such as sugar, trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, and long chemical names that are hard to pronounce. The healthiest foods are those found just as nature intended. Whole and unprocessed are best.

10. You’re not empowering yourself through your food
Putting nutrient rich food in your body empowers you. When you focus on how good you feel, you will only grow more motivated to keep going with your good habits. From healthy skin to weight loss and everything in between, you’ll love the way you feel.

Live Consciously and Nurture Yourself
The environment we surround ourselves with has an impact on both our mental and physical health. Keep your space clean and organized. Plants will keep your air clean and make sure your rooms are filled with natural light.

Your life, too, should be enjoyed! Treat yourself well. Practice self care through ways that make you feel good, like massages, meditation, visits with friends, and walks though our beautiful parks. Self care also means making good food and health choices. Your health and weight loss journey is a personal one, and one that you’re embarking on just for yourself. Take care of your body, and enjoy the rewards.