You Just Started
Your body undergoes many new changes when you start a fitness program. If you went from eating processed food and couch potato to healthy eating and extremely active, it’s entirely possible you won’t lose a single pound the first couple weeks. Increased muscle glycogen capacity in response to more exercise is a big reason people don’t see weight loss at first.
You’re Being Impatient
It’s been a month and you’ve lost 5 pounds. Great! Or is it? To many, this is a failure. They aren’t getting back what they put in. Give it some time. Get it out of your mind that weight loss is a week to week event. Be happy about what you’ve accomplished. Progress is progress. Keep it up and it accumulates over time.
You’re Eating Too Many/Too Few Calories
Calorie intake is a tricky subject because eating too few calories is just as bad, if not worse than eating too may. It’s very difficult to overeat when you eat whole foods, so that’s why I focus on having people eat more food. It’s entirely possible you are not eating enough calories to lose weight. You need calories, and just as important – nutrients, if you expect your body to let go of its fat.
You’re Focused On Weight
Weight, weight, weight…we all seem to be obsessed about it. So much obsession, yet it’s so meaningless. Body transformation are about fat loss. If you’re losing fat, you’re doing great. Put the scale away and buy some body fat calipers to track your progress.
You’re Not Including Strength Training
When most people think of losing weight, they think of cardio and long drawn out sessions on the treadmill, or running to lose weight. In reality though, strength training, not cardio is the real fat burner, and should be the focal point of every weight loss exercise routine.
You’re Not Very Active
Do you sit behind a computer all day? A little activity can go a long way. Sometimes a single workout followed by a day of inactivity just isn’t enough. Buy yourself a pedometer and track the steps you take in a day. If it’s less than 5000, you probably need to get moving a little more. A walk after dinner couldn’t hurt.
Lack of Sleep
How much sleep do you get a night? If it’s not 7-9 hours, you’re making your weight loss goals much harder to reach. Sleep affects everything from appetite to glucose metabolism. Make sure you’re making it a priority.
Too Much Stress
How is your mental health? Your “mental fitness” is an often overlooked part of a fitness program, yet there is such a strong connection between mind and body. Stress affects hormone levels, motivation, and weight loss.
You’re Being Inconsistent
A workout here or there isn’t going to get you anywhere. Consistency is a major key to success. The same goes for your diet too. You can’t expect to eat processed food whenever you get the urge and still make progress. Make a plan and stick to it.
You’ve Reached a Weight Loss Plateau
Weight loss plateaus are very common. Weight loss doesn’t occur in a straight line. You might lose 3 pounds one week and 1 the next. It’s unpredictable. However, if you’ve been stuck at the same weight for weeks, you might want to consider implementing a few “tricks”.
You Don’t Need to Lose Any More Weight
Have you ever considered the fact that you are not losing weight because you don’t need to lose any more? If you’re already small in stature, the problem might be a lack of lean body mass, and not an excess of weight. Yes, you might have some fat to lose still, but fat loss does not always equal weight loss.
Your Workouts Lack Intensity
Are you just going through the motions when you exercise? Give your body a reason to change. You need to be pushing yourself to your limits when you work out. Don’t expect your body to drop the fat if you don’t physically show it it needs to. Boosting your intensity can increase your fat loss.
You’re Not Really Eating Healthy
I can’t tell you the number of times people have told me they were eating healthy, only to find out that their diets were filled with processed foods once they showed them to me. Make sure you’re eating whole foods. The problem many people don’t realize is with their grain consumption. Not all grains are created equally. Cereals and breads can do more harm than good. Stick to whole grains. That means there should only be 1 ingredient (oats, wheat, etc).
You’re Eating Too Many Carbs
Before you freak out, I am not anti-carb. Carbs are necessary to efficiently fuel high-intensity exercise and central nervous system function. In reality though, glucose is what’s necessary, but that’s a debate for another day. The keyword is “efficiently”. Anyways, carbs should be eaten in proportion to activity levels. The more active you are, the more you’ll need. If all you do is a work out and then sit behind a desk, you don’t need several hundred carbohydrate grams a day.
You’re Lacking Willpower/Motivation
Motivation, or lack thereof is a big problem for many people, and weight stagnation certainly doesn’t help things. What do you do? You find that source of inspiration that got you started in the first place, or you pick one of these 101 ways to get motivated to lose weight. I also send out motivational tweets on Twitter, so if you could use a little extra motivation, perhaps you should click the button below and follow me there.
You Have a Medical Condition
Yes, there are medical reasons for why your weight loss isn’t going anywhere; however, these affect a very small percentage of people. Understand that a low thyroid is many times (but not always!) an effect of a poor body composition and lifestyle choices, and not the cause. That being said, some people have legitimate medical issues, and if you think you’re one of them, definitely talk to your doctor. Medications can also make it more difficult to lose weight.
You Haven’t Learned the Art of Grocery Shopping
You’ve probably already heard the golden rule of shopping – shop the perimeter of the grocery store. That’s where 95% of the healthy food is. A few other things to keep in mind are:
- Don’t shop on an empty stomach.
- Establish a shopping routine.
- Make a list and plan your purchases beforehand.
- Pay with cash. This forces you to stay within budget, and keeps the processed “extras” out of your basket.
For many people snacking goes hand-in-hand with sitting at your desk, or watching TV. These calories add up fast. In addition, many of the 100 calorie snacks from the stores are just empty calories that do nothing to help you lose weight. Make snacking work for you. You don’t want it to just not hurt you, you want it to help you. If you’re intent on snacking, at least consider eating one of these healthy snack ideas instead.
Your Metabolism Has Adapted
Prolonged calorie restriction can wreak havoc on your metabolism. Your body adapts to calorie restriction by slowing its production of many hormones such as thyroid. You can combat this though through cheat meals, exercise, or any one of these other 8 ways to boost your metabolism and fat loss.
You Still Haven’t Changed Your Lifestyle
As I’ve preached over and over again, successful long-term weight loss doesn’t come from dieting, it comes from changing your lifestyle. If you’re the person who jumps on and off diets, you need to take a different approach to weight loss – one that focuses on lifestyle changes. Weight loss is a side effect of healthy living.