If you’re eating healthy and working out but not losing weight, there may be a reason. When you try to lose weight, your body fights back, so tweaking your strategy could help.
You may be able to lose quite a lot of weight at first without much effort, however, weight loss may slow down or stop altogether after a while.
The following are some common reasons as to why you may not be losing weight.
1. Maybe you are losing without realizing it
A weight loss plateau may be explained by muscle gain, undigested food, and fluctuations in body water. If the scale doesn’t budge, you might still be losing fat.
2. You’re not keeping track of what you’re eating
Keeping a food diary can be helpful when you are trying to lose weight.
3. You’re not eating enough protein
Low protein intake may bring your weight loss efforts to a standstill. Make sure to eat plenty of protein-rich foods.
4. You’re overeating
If you are consuming more calories than your body needs, you will not lose weight. It's important to maintain a calorie deficit by consuming fewer calories than you burn. People frequently overestimate their calorie intake.
5. You’re not eating whole foods
Make sure to base your diet on whole foods. Eating too much processed food could negatively affect your weight loss success. Eating whole foods can improve help regulate your appetite. These foods tend to be much more filling than their highly processed counterparts.
6. You’re not doing enough physical activity
Exercise is important for weight loss, as it helps you burn more calories and increases your metabolic rate. If you're not exercising regularly, you may find it difficult to lose weight.
Strength training is an effective way to lose fat. It prevents the loss of muscle mass often associated with weight loss and helps maintain long-term fat loss.
7. You’re binge eating
If you frequently binge on food, it may be the reason why your weight loss journey seems to be at a standstill. Whether you binge on highly processed foods or healthy foods these calories still count and will affect weight loss progress.
9. You’re still drinking sugar
Avoiding all sugary beverages is an excellent weight loss strategy. They often make up a significant portion of a person’s calorie intake unknowingly.
10. You’re not sleeping well
Poor sleep quality or lack of sleep can affect your weight loss efforts by disrupting hormones that regulate appetite and metabolism.
11. You’re eating too much carbohydrates
These diets are often based on the principle of reducing carbohydrate intake and increasing protein and fat intake. When you reduce carbohydrate intake, your body starts to burn stored fat for energy instead of glucose from carbohydrates. This process is called ketosis and can lead to rapid weight loss.
Research suggests that low-carb diets can be effective for weight loss, particularly in the short term. Studies have found that people who follow a low-carb diet tend to lose more weight than those who follow a low-fat diet. Low-carb diets may also help reduce appetite and lead to a decrease in overall calorie intake.
Additionally, the success of a low-carb diet for weight loss depends on individual factors such as age, gender, activity level, and overall health.
12. You’re eating too often
Eating too often, without calculation, may result in excessive calorie intake, which curbs your weight loss efforts.
13. You’re not drinking water
To reduce your calorie intake, drink a glass of water before meals. Drinking water may also increase the number of calories you burn. Research has shown the number of calories burned increased by 24–30% over a period of 1.5 hours.
14. You’re drinking too much alcohol
Alcoholic beverages are generally high in calories. If you choose to drink alcohol, spirits mixed with zero-calorie beverages are probably the best options when you are trying to lose weight.
15. You’re not eating mindfully
Always eat mindfully when trying to lose weight. Mindless eating is one of the main reasons people experience challenges to losing weight. It involves slowing down, eating without distraction, savouring and enjoying each bite while listening to the natural signals that tell your brain when your body has had enough. When you begin to feel full, drink some water and stop eating.
16. You have a medical condition and are on certain medications
Certain medical conditions and medications can cause weight gain or make it difficult to lose weight. Consult with your doctor if you're taking any medication that may be affecting your weight. Medical conditions such as hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, and PCOS may be hindering your weight loss efforts.
17. You have a junk food addiction
If you have strong food cravings or food addiction, weight loss can be challenging. Consider seeking professional help.
18. You’ve been dieting for too long
If you have reached a weight loss plateau, you may have been dieting too long. Maybe it’s time to take a break. Try increasing your calorie intake by a few hundred calories per day, sleeping more, and lifting weights with the goal of getting stronger and gaining more muscle.
Aim to maintain your body fat levels for 1–2 months before you start trying to lose weight again.
19. Your expectations are unrealistic
People’s expectations are sometimes unrealistic when it comes to weight loss. Keep in mind that losing weight takes time and not everyone will look like a fitness model. Focus on developing an individualized weight loss plan and goal based on your needs.
20. You’re too focused on dieting
Dieting is not a long-term solution. If your goal is to lose weight and keep it off long term, focus on adopting health-promoting lifestyle habits.
At some point, your weight will reach a set point where your body feels comfortable. Trying to go beyond that may not be worth the effort or realistic and may even have potentially negative effects on your health.
21. You’re always stressed
Chronic stress can cause an increase in cortisol levels, which can lead to weight gain and make it difficult to lose weight.
22. You may have hormonal imbalances
Hormones can affect your weight, and conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or an underactive thyroid can make it difficult to lose weight.
Weight loss can be more difficult during menopause due to hormonal changes that can slow down your metabolism, which can lead to weight gain and loss of muscle mass.
Weight loss is not always easy and numerous factors can bring it to a standstill.
At the most basic level, not reaching your weight loss goal can occur when calorie intake is equal to or higher than calorie use.
Try strategies such as mindful eating, keeping a food diary, eating more protein, and doing strength exercises.
In the end, changing your weight and your lifestyle requires patience, dedication, perseverance, and resilience.
NOTE: It's important to speak with a healthcare professional before starting a new diet or making any major changes to your lifestyle to ensure that it's safe and appropriate for your specific needs.