Are you one of those people that is on a “strict” diet and still not losing weight? Have you tried many different diets and still not losing weight? Is this beginning to sound like an infomercial for another useless weight loss product that promises you results without any effort on your part? Fret not, it isn’t. Instead, I’ve listed below five reasons why I think you may not be losing weight.
1. Weight loss isn’t linear
As much as we wish our weight loss would be constant and linear, it isn’t. If you’ve calculated the right calories you need to be at for weight loss and sticking to it, you should lose weight. The reality though is that some weeks your scales will indicate this, some weeks they won’t and some weeks they may even show a slight increase. Don’t panic, this is normal. There are many reasons for this, for example water retention or perhaps you’ve put some on muscle (lucky you!) and since muscle weighs more than fat you’re scales will be off. So, how do you know you’re on the right track? The best thing would be to not just rely on your weighing scales. Check out your visual appearance, you might have lost inches. The way your clothes fit is also a good indicator. Even better, measure and track your waist (and arms, thighs, and butt too if you want) as well as your weight for a better indication. If you don’t show any progress for 2-3 weeks then it’s time to recalculate your calories and/or increase your training intensity and/or increase your cardio.
2. You’re eating too much
So, you’re following a new diet and you’re eating healthy and avoiding all “bad, unhealthy” foods and you’re not losing weight? Or maybe even putting on weight? Perhaps you’re just eating too many calories. The basic principle on which weight loss works is “calories in, calories out” i.e. if you’re eating fewer calories than you’re expending, you’re going to lose weight. How do you know you’re eating fewer calories than you need? Calculate the calories you should be eating and track everything you eat for a couple of weeks. This should give you a good indication if you’re eating more calories than you should be.
3. You’re not exercising or not exercising right
If you’ve been in a caloric deficit for a while, it will affect your metabolism negatively. This is just your body trying to regulate itself to the reduced calories it is receiving and it is natural. This is where cheat days, refeeds etc can come in handy if used properly. Another great option is exercise, which makes sure your metabolism works a little better. While exercise isn’t essential for weight loss, including strength training ensures you put on some lean muscle and don’t end up skinny fat i.e. a smaller version of yourself where you haven’t lost fat, just whatever muscle you had. Therefore definitely include strength training into your workouts and don’t just spend hours on the treadmill and EFX machines.
4. Stress and lack of sleep
If you’re eating in the right calorie deficit and training correctly but still not losing weight then it could be that you’re either too stressed, not sleeping enough or both. Stress and lack of sleep are huge hurdles to not just losing fat but also to building muscle. Find ways to eliminate or reduce stress in your life and definitely try and get enough sleep. You might find it makes a huge difference.
5. Hormones and deficiencies
Ok, you’ve checked, double checked and triple checked all the above and you are still not losing weight. Perhaps it’s time to get your blood work done to see if you are suffering from any hormonal imbalances or you have some micro-nutrient deficiencies. If you’re training hard and eating a protein rich diet, you should in any case be getting your blood work done every 6 months or so. (Extra note by Sunitha) Ladies, be prepared to see some changes on the scale during your period. This is due to the hormonal changes in your body that leads to water retention, bloating etc. This is the time of the month when most women throw in the towel due to the disappointment of watching the scale move up, mood swings, emotional eating and cravings for excessively sweet or salty foods. You need to stay strong and push through this phase.
If you’ve been stumped by your weight loss, or lack thereof, I do hope the information here gives you some useful insight. As usual if you have any questions, you’re welcome to get in touch.