Discover the Surprising Habits Sabotaging Your Fat Loss

Is your thermostat making you gain weight? That might sound crazy, but if the scale hasn’t budged no matter what you’ve tried, this might be one of the surprising reasons you’re having difficulty losing weight.

Supporting your metabolism, getting rid of inflammatory foods, and making sure you’re getting appropriate exercise are foundational elements to losing weight. But, if you’re doing all of those things and still not seeing results, there are some lesser-known habits that may be sabotaging your efforts.

Did you know that how much you fidget can have an impact on weight loss? Or that meal timing can be a game changer? And how does water impact fat loss?

Tune in to find out my top nine secrets to flipping the switch on stubborn weight loss—you might just discover the unknown habit that has been holding you back! 


00:01:25 – Tips for increasing your Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)
00:03:29 – Getting uncomfortable with your temperature to increase metabolism
00:04:25 – Using a cold plunge to boost metabolism
00:06:22 – Using a sauna to increase heart rate and boost endorphins
00:07:50 – Workout ruts and how to get the most out of exercise
00:10:20 – The importance of protein for fat loss and muscle building
00:12:35 – How sleep impacts hunger hormones and insulin resistance
00:13:59 – Meal timing, circadian rhythms, and the impact on insulin
00:15:49 – Snacking and blood sugar imbalances
00:16:10 – How hyper-palatable foods cause us to overeat
00:17:58 – How to build your plate for weight loss
00:18:50 – Dehydration and the effects on cortisol and fat storage
00:19:59 – How much water you should actually be drinking
00:20:15 – Environmental toxins and weight loss resistance

Mentioned in this episode:

Watch the FULL VIDEO on JJ’s Youtube Channel

Getting enough protein each day is easy and delicious with All-In-One Shakes

I take Magnesium Body Calm to boost my metabolism and promote better sleep

Study: The link between toxins and obesity

Study: High protein diets and weight loss

Study: NEAT and weight loss

Cold therapy can increase “brown fat” (the good kind). Go here and use code JJVIP500 for $500 off a Kooru Cold Plunge.

Sauna therapy boosts body temperature and helps increase metabolism. I use the Sunlighten Sauna

ElectroReplenish helps to add electrolytes back into your body after sweating.

Epsom salts are another great way to add minerals back into your body and detox.

Click Here To Read Transcript

ATHE_Transcript_Ep 544_9 Hidden Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight No Matter What You Try
JJ Virgin: [00:00:00] Hey, this is JJ Virgin. Thanks so much for joining me. This is Ask the Health Expert. In each episode, I put the Power of Health in your hands and share ways to get healthy, lose weight, heal your gut detox, and lots more. So you can look and feel better fast if you’d rather watch the video. Hey, I did put on my makeup and do my hair, so check it out on my YouTube channel.
Is your thermostat making you gain weight? Now, that might sound crazy, but if the scale isn’t budged, no matter what, you’ve tried this and eight other surprising reasons could be making you struggle to lose weight. So here’s number one. You’re not getting enough. NEAT. What is that? Well, NEAT stands for [00:01:00] non-exercise Activity thermogenesis, which refers to the energy expended during physical activities that are not classified as exercise.
So what the heck is neat? Then it’s things like moving around fidgeting, tapping your foot, pacing, standing. Turns out people with higher levels of NEAT tend to have higher metabolism. and this makes sense. Cause when you think about it, 10 to 15% of your daily expenditure, your caloric expenditure is neat, right?
So higher metabolism, lower body fat compared to those people who have low levels of neat. Now here’s the challenge you don’t really think about NEAT right? So NEAT can account for a lot of, of what’s going on during day, especially if you’re not doing a load of exercise. So we really want to think. How do we get this up?
Because exercise is usually five to 10% of the caloric expenditure and neat, 10 to 15%. So what do we need to do to get it to 15% or maybe even 20% of your daily caloric expenditure? Well, here’s what you can do. [00:02:00] Do what I’m doing right now. Stand up, right? So I actually am recording this right now in front of my standing, sitting desk, so I try to keep my desk high and stand as much as possible.
You’ve heard that sitting is the new smoking, right? There’s a reason for it. You know how they tell you at the store to park farther away, except every time I drive up to a store, there’s no parking close by, right? There’s loads of parking farther away. Really? Do it. Park farther away. Take the stairs. And fidget as much as possible.
Just start to look at how much more you can walk. By the way, here’s what’s cool. You’re fitness tracker, whether it’s an Oura ring, Fitbit, apple Watch will help you monitor this as well. So you just want to be moving as much as possible. All right, so I kind of alluded to this one when I talked about your thermostat, but another reason you may not be losing weight is you’re just too comfortable.
And when I mean that, I mean too comfortable in terms of your temperature because in our super comfy modern society, we’re all about keeping the temperature at the perfect [00:03:00] level. I know I am, right? My temperature at home is 70 degrees, and if it does get a little cold, I put on. More clothes. If it’s too hot, I take some off.
This has shifted a lot from where I grew up. Cause I grew up in Northern California and I still remember going to school in a t-shirt when it was like 60 degrees. And so now I live in Florida. If it’s 60 degrees in Florida, you pull out your puffy jacket. You really want your body to do the work to adjust to the cold or heat that makes your metabolism work.
So instead of using the thermostat, which by the way is gonna save you money too, right? Keep your thermostat not at 72, drop it down, right? So keep it lower. So you actually have to do your own warming up, make your metabolism, do the work here. There’s some other things that you can do and they are totally worth it.
I’ll tell you about the first one that I did. It’s cold. Exposure. I have a cold plunge at home, and I want you to think of a cold plunge as the opposite of a hot tub , you know, so hot tub’s like Yahoo, cold plunge, like, ah, [00:04:00] they’re gonna be 40 to 50 degrees. And when I’m home, I try to do this a couple times a week.
Here’s why. It’s like getting a metabolic shot in the arm first. Thing you want to think of when you’re doing cold exposure is you wanna get cold enough so that you’re gonna shiver for about 30 minutes afterwards. I will tell you, when I first started doing this, I went a little overboard and I was like, cold for hours.
That’s not the point. About 30 minutes afterwards, you’re shivering and the just the shivering alone can increase your energy expenditure. And guess what? You’re burning more calories. But that’s not the real big reason you’re doing it. I mean, that’s exciting, but the real reason you’re doing that is because of what it does to your fat.
So we have brown fat and white fat, brown fat’s. The very metabolically active fat. It’s got a lot of mitochondria. Boost your metabolism. It’s thermic, right, and turns out when you do cold exposure, you brown your white fat. Also, when you do cold exposure, you get this big endorphin response and a big drop in your appetite.[00:05:00]
The next thing that happens when you cold plunge is you reduce inflammation. So here’s a little caveat with that. This is fantastic. We wanna reduce inflammation, but we don’t wanna reduce it right after we do a big hard weight workout. Because what happens after a big hard weight workout is your body’s breaking down and then it goes through muscle protein synthesis.
If you go in there and stop it with cold exposure, you can interrupt the repair process. So what I do there is if I’m going to the gym, I try to go get cold, then get myself warm again so that I’m warm to go to the gym, and then I. 24 hours to do my cold plunge till the next morning. Now, if you’re traveling, you can’t do a cold plunge.
You could still do a cold shower. It’s not quite as good, but it still works. Okay, now on the opposite end of the spectrum, you’re getting super cold. Now I want you to get uncomfortably warm too, and you can do that through a sauna or a steam. These actually act like exercise mimetics. They mimic exercise cuz they bring your heart.
and they boost your endorphins. [00:06:00] Now, here’s a couple things that are cool about the heat. So toxins are stored in your fat cells and the saunas, especially infared saunas, can help release those toxins. So that’s super important because we know if we have big toxic load, our body actually tends to hold onto fat to keep the toxins stored away.
Another cool thing with saunas is they’re great for sore muscles. Now, really important when you’re doing these is you’re. Right. And when you’re sweating, we know already you should drink about half your weight and body, half your weight in ounces every single day. But when you’re doing exercise where you’re setting, when you’re doing sauna, you’re gonna wanna also replace electrolytes.
So that’s my reignite wellness electro replenish. That’s what I have when I’m doing this. I also take it to the gym with me now. I have a sunlight and sauna at. But if you don’t have access to a sauna here, a couple other things. Easy alternative hot bath and bonus points. Add an Epson salts because that’s gonna [00:07:00] help you detoxify and it’s gonna give your body magnesium.
And of course that magnesium and the hot bath can also help with weight loss and of course, or sleep rather. And if you help with sleep, you know what you help with. You help with weight loss. Right? Alright. Number three, you got into a workout rut. It’s so easy to fall into this. I mean, but first of all, could we get like a big, you know, yay for us that we are working out?
I mean, so first of all, let’s celebrate ourselves for working out, but let’s make sure that when we are working out, we’re getting the most out of it because. The whole point of exercise is to be progressive. If you’re going to the gym doing the same old thing, you’re not gonna continue to get results.
You have to continue to push and progress in order to improve. Here is the important thing for you to know. Exercise doesn’t get easier. You have to increase the intensity, whether that’s by adding speed, by adding more weight, by adding balance, by adding duration, by adding volume, [00:08:00] right? You’ve gotta increase something in order to continue to progress.
Now, here’s the thing with exercise, it’s kind of this whole catch-all phrase, right? When you’re thinking exercise, I want you to think of the big bucket of muscular strength and endurance, and then cardiorespiratory. Fitness and balance also has to be added in the mix here, because when you start to look at the lower risks of all cause mortality, you gotta think of strength, balance, and cardiovascular fitness.
So I break this into resistance training using weights or the TRX, I love the TRX and great to travel with your body weight bands, and this ideally includes compound movements that help with everyday life. Things like squats and bent over rows and pushups, right? Things that you would normally do in life.
So that. , you can easily get the groceries out of the car. Now, when you think of cardio training, I want you to think of things like cycling or walking, jogging, running the stairs, and then for core balance and flexibility, I look at things like [00:09:00] yoga or Pilates. And your program needs to have all of these things, but you wanna really prioritize your weakest link.
So if you go, you know, I love going to the gym, but I hate doing cardio, well make sure that you prioritize that cardio. Also, it’s bonus points, but really important to include some fun outdoor sports. First of all, to get outside, get into nature, but also that will include some agility. Pickleball, great example.
Big advice here. Work with a qualified trainer or a coach because this is, this is what you can do. You don’t have to work with them every time. Get them to create a program for you like every six to 12 weeks, and then give you metrics to monitor so that you know that you are improving. Remember what you measure and monitor.
You can improve. Okay, you’re not getting enough protein. Now, here’s what’s sad. The typical adult American woman is getting somewhere between 45 and 60 grams of protein a day. If you’re following the R D [00:10:00] A of 0.8 grams per kilogram body weight, then you may think, oh, I’m doing fine, but nope, not true, because the leading protein researchers, they’re all agreeing that that is like abysmal.
Totally low and really that you want to be looking at having somewhere more around 0.7 to one gram per pound of target body weight, which is basically double that r d a right. Now, if you aren’t getting enough protein, that means you’re getting your calories from fat and carbs. That’s like a recipe for weight gain, right?
Low protein diets also can lead to muscle mass loss. And here’s the deal. If you aren’t actively feeding and building muscle, then starting at age 40, guess what happens? You start to lose. 1% of your muscle mass a year and two to 4% of your strength. You do not want to help this process. You want to interrupt this process, and one of the ways you interrupt this process is protein.
Protein is the macronutrient superstar for [00:11:00] fat loss. Just eating it optimal amounts can help you put on more muscle. Now, obviously I want you to lift weights too, but just eating the protein can do that. It’s the most thermic macronutrient compared to fat and carbs. It requires 20 to 30% more energy to be digested and assimilated.
Plus, it’s way more satiating because it takes longer to be digested, so it’s keeping your hunger hormones calmed down and quiet. All right, so how much protein should you have? Excellent question. What you’re gonna do is you’re gonna take your target body. You’re gonna multiply it by 0.7 to one and then divide that by your total number of meals.
Let’s make this simple. So let’s say you weigh 150 pounds, you’re eating three meals a day. Your protein range is somewhere between 1 0 5 and one 50. So your meal range is 35 to 50 grams, the most important meals are what I call your bumper meals. That’s when you break your fast and the last meal before bed.
You gotta prioritize protein [00:12:00] at these meals. Super duper important. Oh, you’re not getting enough sleep now. We’ve all been there. You had a crappy night’s sleep and you wake up the next morning and guess what? You are hungry and you’re not hungry for that protein rich load smoothie. Nope. You wanna go to the local Starbucks to get that mocha latte and that whipped with the whipped cream.
let’s call it what it is. That muffin is cupcake, right? And then that just like starts the downward spiral because now you’re hungry all day long, and if you’ve ever had this happen, you’re not dreaming this up. This actually happens when you don’t get a good night’s sleep. One poor night of sleep, you have increased grehlin which makes you hungry.
You’ve decreased leptin, so your brain isn’t getting the message to stop eating. So it’s a double whammy, but there’s more. You also have increased insulin resistance. So one study looked at nine healthy people after a night of solid sleep, eight and a half hours, and again after a night of four hours of sleep.
And they found that in just one night of sleep deprivation created [00:13:00] insulin resistance in healthy people. Now, high insulin levels, they increase fat storage, they increase appetite. Insulin resistance can impair the body’s ability to use carbs and fat for fuel. Then contributes to weight gain. Now I know, I know sometimes these night hap, but you wanna do your very, very best to minimize them and make sure, I think this is the most important, that you’re really prioritizing sleep.
You’re eating the right food, but you’re eating it at the wrong time. Because now you know it’s not just what you eat and how much you eat that matters. It’s also when you eat, it’s critical to work with your body circadian rhythm to optimize your body’s hormonal response to food. So here’s how this works.
So in the morning you wake up, cortisol rises to wake you up. And as this happens, melatonin goes down. Now while your body’s waking up, so is your pancreas, which is how your body secretes insulin in response to your meal. So you wanna wait [00:14:00] at least an hour, but really more like 90 minutes to three hours.
I think the sweet spot’s probably around 90 minutes to two hours after waking up to break your fast, to give your pancreas the time it needs to get online again. Okay, now in the evening, Cortisol’s going down to help prepare you to sleep. Melatonin’s coming up and melatonin’s coming up to put your body to sleep.
And you know what else puts to sleep, you’re pancreas. So now it’s not as good as responding. So those late night snacks, and let’s be real here, they’re not broccoli and salmon, are they? Those late night carbon fat bombs. are gonna create even more problems than if you had them earlier in the day because you don’t have the insulin needed to bring the blood sugar down and you aren’t up and moving to use that food as fuel and to suck that sugar into your working muscles, and now you’re supposed to be sleeping and what are you doing?
You are digesting instead of resting and restoring. That’s why nighttime eating is a big [00:15:00] old risk factor for metabolic syndrome and obesity. It. Really destroys your sleep quality, which then adds that double whammy because now you’ve got the poor sleep problem that I just talked about. Right? And then of course, snacking.
Snacking at night, during the day is problematic as it keeps blood sugar insulin up above fasting levels, which then stops the fat burning. So the way we’re gonna do this correctly is to eat the majority and ideally all of your calories during daylight. So what you’re gonna do again, wake up, eat 90 minutes to three hours after waking, eat every three to six hours.
Important, stop eating three to four hours before bed. You may be unknowingly overeating because you’re eating hyper palatable, ultra processed, dirty foods. So in the end of overeating, taking control of the insatiable American appetite, Dr. David Kessler describes the irresistible combination of salt, sugar, and.
like, let’s think nacho cheese Doritos, which by the way, pull [00:16:00] back the kimono. When I was in college, I still like, I will never forget this, the orange fingers. I ate a two pound bag of nacho cheese Doritos at a college party. Holy smokes. Never ate them again after that, I will say, but you know, it’s like one of those things, you know, the, the commercials are, you can’t eat just one, right?
Or the soda and the pizza. These hyper palatable foods just override. all your sense, all your ability to control the amount you eat. You just wanna have, gotta have more and more and more and more. And the studies are showing, and I don’t think we need a study, we all have experienced this, that they may be capable of triggering an addictive process similar to hard drugs.
In fact, I still remember this study where they gave lab rats, Oreo cookies, and then they gave them an opiate and then they gave ’em the choice between the two of them. And you know what they choose, they. The Oreos. . So now as you’ve probably experienced, many of the ultra processed foods are created to be hyper, [00:17:00] hyper palatable, right?
Which if you feel like, oh my gosh, this is a trigger for me, guess what? You’re in front of a hyper palatable food, which is an awesome business strategy, but it’s really a rotten health strategy. So if you’ve got a little hold, like some of these foods have gotta hold on you, what are you gonna do? You have to break up with them, swap them for whole or minimally processed foods.
It’s gonna hurt you for a couple days and then you’ll totally forget about it. And here’s another thing that can help. You wanna build your plate protein first. So first you do the protein, the wild salmon, the pasture chicken. , right? The grass fed beef. Then you add in the non-starchy vegetables, and then the rest of your macros would come from a little bit of healthy fats, a little bit of slow, low carbs, like maybe some berries or some lentils, some squash, and track your macros.
Man, it makes such a huge difference. I’ve been really focusing on this. And it is just eye-opening to see, and it can really help you identify. Some of these things are sneaking into your plate. You will see in real time how much these ultra [00:18:00] processed foods are just wreaking havoc. So figure out your numbers.
Use an app to track ’em and adjust as you need, because again, what you measure, you can improve. You are not drinking enough water. Now you have heard that you are supposed to drink at least eight glasses of water a day or better marker, really half your body weight and water. But did you ever wonder like, why?
Why do I need to do that? Is this just like some weird urban legend? Well, it’s actually super important advice because even mild dehydration can raise your stress hormone cortisol and it can cause you to store more fat, especially belly fat. In fact, this is. When you are dehydrated, your body actually makes fructose from glucose.
So normally we take fructose and turn it into glucose and stored as glycogen. No, not here. Or we make, we turn fructose into fat. What happens here is. Glucose is made into fructose when you’re dehydrated, which then gets turned into fat. Dehydration can also [00:19:00] lower your metabolic rate. It impairs your body’s ability to generate heat.
It decreases physical performance and it makes you hungry. So the opposite’s true too, though drinking water can boost your metabolism from as much as 30% for up to 30 minutes after your drink It. It suppresses hunger. It helps you detoxify. Now, here’s the. How much water should you drink? Because you also don’t want to go overboard on the other side.
But if you’re drinking about half your weight in ounces of water, unless you are like hot, humid environment doing saunas and sweating, then you’re gonna wanna add some more. And when I’m doing that, I also add in my electrolytes again, my electro replenish. Okay. Number nine. I talked about this a little bit, but let’s talk about your environment.
If your environment is toxic. So environmental toxins can be a major problem creating weight loss resistance. Here’s how these toxins build up in your body. Think of your body. Your body’s not just a [00:20:00] chemistry lab, it’s also a history book, and you wanna be detoxifying every single day. But if you are getting more toxins in, then you’re getting out.
Guess what? The toxins are building. And you know where they go. They go in your fat cells and then they start messing around with things they interfere with the normal functioning of hunger and the metabolism regulating hormones like insulin and leptin. They also increase chronic inflammation and they damage your gut.
In fact, one of the biggest ways I see people get food intolerant is because of toxic burden. All those. Which also beyond that also impairs thyroid function, lowers your metabolism because your body doesn’t wanna release the fat cuz the fat’s got the toxins. All of this obviously just puts the brakes on fat loss right now.
This is a way bigger topic, obviously. I kind of just gave you a little bit there, but a way bigger topic than I can go into in this video. So you want to check out the next one where I share. More on how toxins impact your weight, plus, most importantly, nine simple actionable steps to help you detox and feel great again.[00:21:00]
For more info on this and other health topics I cover or to rate and review, find me on Instagram, Facebook, and my website. and don’t forget to subscribe to my show so you won’t miss a single episode. Go to Thanks again for being with me this week.
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