You cut calories, workout more, and still it feels like your diet is not working. Well, it turns out that Father Time is stacking the deck against you when it comes to weight loss—and it's not just because it's harder to lose weight as you get older. It is measurably harder to be thin today than it was in the '80s, according to research published in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice. People in 2006 had higher BMIs—as much as 2.3 points higher—than those in 1988. The real kicker: both groups ate the same number of calories and exercised equally.
So what gives? Modern factors like more stress and environmental toxins such as pesticides, BPA and flame retardants, different sleep patterns, more prescription drug use and different gut bacteria may be promoters of weight gain that we didn't have decades ago.
There are some benefits to living in the modern age. It's easier to track your food intake—forget journaling, there's an app for that—which can help you lose weight. It's easier to get social support
through texting and social networks like Facebook and Instagram. Though there are some factors you can't control (short of time traveling), here are a three ways to fight these newer barriers to weight loss:
• De-stress your diet: Stress is an enemy of weight-loss, thanks in part to the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol increases your chances of gaining belly fat. But don't stress about it! Instead, try these 7 foods for stress relief.
• Sleep Better: Less sleeping means more hours spent awake—and possibly chowing down (especially on late night grub). When you're sleep deprived, you're also more likely to give in to food cravings the next day. Luckily, there are foods that can help you get some shut-eye.Try eating these foods that can promote sleep.
• Go with your gut—bacteria that is. Researchers aren't exactly sure why yet, but they have linked unhappy and unhealthy gut bacteria to slower metabolisms and weight gain. Previous research has shown that gut bacteria may impact obesity. For a healthier gut eat fermented foods, like yogurt and sauerkraut, and watch your sugar intake.