Why am I not losing weight?
We’ve all been there; you’re doing everything right, you’re eating well and following the diets, you’re exercising and trying to burn off those calories, but the weight simply won’t shift.
Or maybe the weight has started to shift but now you seem to have reached your limit and can’t get rid of those last few pesky lbs. It’s frustrating and demoralising when you are working so hard for such little result, but there may well be a very good reason why.
Unfortunately, losing weight is not always as simple as ‘eat less, move more’ and your best chance of succeeding at the weight-loss game is to understand exactly what obstacles may be preventing you from reaching your goal weight.
Reason #1 – You’re not active enough
Let’s start with the most obvious one, it’s time to be brutally honest with yourself here; are you really exercising enough to burn off those calories?
All exercise counts, but if you are perhaps slacking a little on your gym routine, or consuming more calories than you’re burning off, then you simply won’t lose the weight.
On the flipside of this, if you are exercising regularly, working your socks off and increasing your heart rate enough, perhaps you are stuck in a gym-routine-rut. If you have been doing the same old thing over and over, your body may have simply plateaued and has gotten used to it. It’s time to mix things up a bit and try to push your body in new ways.
Reason #2 – You need to double check your portion sizes and calorie intake
Another obvious one perhaps, but one that is still worth mentioning. You may be eating all of the right foods, but if you are eating enough of the right foods to feed a small army, then you are still over-eating and therefore, consuming too many calories.
The current NHS plan for weight loss recommends that men should be consuming around 1900kcal a day, and women, 1400kcal. These figures are of course for people whose weight poses certain health risks, however, you shouldn’t really be consuming more than the recommended 2500kcal (men) and 2000kcal (women) per day.
Reason #3 – You’re stressed
Your body’s natural response to stress is to increase the production of cortisol, which impacts insulin resistance and causes the storage of fat.
It doesn’t matter what kind of stress you are under, it could be work related, relationship related, finance related, stress is stress and your body treats it all in the same way.
Take a look at every aspect of your life and try to gather a little perspective, you may not even realise that you are under any sort of stress.
Exercise is a great way to combat stress and relieve tension, it helps fight depression and anxiety and boosts serotonin levels within the brain that also help to suppress the appetite.
Reason #4 – You’re gaining muscle
Unfortunately, one of life’s cruel little jokes for anyone wanting to work out and lose weight, is that muscle actually weighs more than fat. If you are exercising and converting excess fat cells into lean muscle, the scales may be a little misleading.
Building muscle however is a win-win situation; the more muscle you build, the more fat your body will burn to produce the glycogen these muscles need.
Perhaps it’s time to stop checking the scale and reach for the tape measure instead; you will probably find that you are losing far more inches than you are lbs.
Reason #5 – You are not getting enough sleep
Much the same as stress, lack of sleep increases the production of cortisol and helps your body hold on to excess fat.
Not only that, without the correct amount of sleep to restore your energy levels, your body will start to look for other ways to keep you going throughout the day; namely with high sugar/high carb food cravings.
Your body needs sleep to function, and while it is true that everybody’s needs are different when it comes to getting enough shut eye, it is still recommended that you get at least 6 hours a night of good, solid sleep.
Reason #6 – You’re addicted to ‘diet foods’
Ok, here is where I get a little ranty; it is a myth that diet foods help you lose weight! Surprising isn’t it? But true nether the less.
Diet foods and drinks, low fat alternatives, sugar free options and all those other seemingly appealing supermarket items are probably your biggest threat when it comes to weight loss.
Not only are you consuming empty calories that have absolutely no nutritional value (well, very little any way), but you are also filling your body with processed, pharmaceutically produced, artificial sugars that your body simply cannot break down. The way the body works is remarkable, it has also been functioning quite happily for over 200,000 years, long before this generations introduction of ‘diet foods’.
Eat natural sugars and natural fats, your body is built to break these down and use them for fuel. As long as you don’t consume them in excess, and as long as you keep exercising, you will have far more success with your own weight loss.
Reason #7 – You’re not drinking enough water
Being dehydrated makes your body retain water. This water retention is often mistaken for those last few lbs.
Drinking plenty of water throughout the day will actually help to get rid of that unwanted bloated-ness and in turn, help you look and feel slimmer.
Not only this, but drinking a glass of water before each meal, or when you feel hungry, will help you control your portion sizes and suppress your appetite.
Reason #8 – You’re skipping meals
Skipping meals, particularly breakfast, when your body most needs to refuel, may actually hinder your weight loss significantly. It will not necessarily result in you consuming less calories throughout the day, particularly if by the time you come to eat you are absolutely famished.
Immediately after eating, your body begins to burn fat in order to digest the meal, after this period the metabolism slows down in order to reserve fat and glucose for energy. Cutting out meals means that your metabolism stays in this state for far longer, hanging onto any excess fat just in order to keep you going.
There is a whole media frenzy at the moment surrounding what is known as ‘intermittent fasting’ and the well documented 5-2 diet is especially popular; it is important to note that this is not the same as skipping meals and these types of diets can be quite successful if they are followed correctly.
Reason #9 – You are wheat intolerant
Wheat intolerance is a very misunderstood condition and is often misdiagnosed as IBS or simply ignored. Symptoms of wheat intolerance include bloating, stomach cramps, diarrhea, water retention and resistant weight loss.
Even being mildly wheat intolerant (which some experts believe is around 1 in 6 people) can prevent weight loss, as well as be the cause of persistent headaches, depression and low motivation.
Reducing your wheat intake by cutting out bread and pasta is the best place to start. You may notice an improvement in the way you feel almost immediately and within a few weeks those last few lbs may start to melt away.
Reason #10 – There is an underlying medical cause
If you have tried absolutely everything else and you are still struggling to lose the weight, it may be worth having a chat with your GP or Health Practitioner.
Certain medical conditions such as Hyperthyroidism, PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and Cushing’s Syndrome can lead to excess weight gain.
While these types of conditions are not overly common, they are still worth looking into if you have exhausted all other avenues. Your Doctor will be able to offer a diagnoses and advise on treatment, which will inevitably help you lose weight at the same time.