Have you been struggling to make that number on the scale move for weeks or months with no success? Are you unable to shed those last ten pounds? Few things are as frustrating as when you’re on a roll with burning fat only to have it suddenly stop. More often than not, all it takes is a simple tweak to your diet, exercise program, or lifestyle to get you back on track for losing weight.
Let’s take a look at the twelve most common reasons you are not losing weight and what you can do to fix them.
1. NOT TRACKING CALORIES
Hey, we get it: No one likes to keep track of the calories they are eating each day. With that said, calculating your calories is one of the best ways to troubleshoot weight loss. There could be something in your diet that is contributing more calories than you realize.
Download and use a meal tracking app such as MyFitnessPal, which has the largest food database and only takes a few seconds to enter a meal. By entering what you eat and how much you eat on a daily basis, you’ll have a better idea of potential troublemakers in your diet. Once you find the high-calorie culprit, reduce it or remove it from your diet.
You can also use MyFitnessPal to track your workouts and how many calories you burn each day.
2. DRINKING TOO MANY CALORIES
Continuing with the point above, one of the most common sources of excessive calories might be your favorite drink.
Alcohol and sugar-based coffees are two popular types of beverages that are consumed within minutes and contribute as many calories as an entire meal. Some of these coffee beverages contain up to a thousand calories!
Track the beverages you consume as you do with the foods you eat. Before ordering your favorite beer or coffee when you go out, check the calorie count, and opt for a lighter option. Light beers with under a hundred calories or coffee with no-calorie sweeteners are a good start.
3. GETTING FOOLED BY “HEALTHY” FOODS
Just because a package claims that a food is “healthy,” “all-natural,” or “organic” doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Food companies have jumped on the bandwagon of promoting themselves as a part of a healthy diet, but the reality is many of these products are packed with sugar and empty calories.
The best example of this is “green” juice. Sure, it may have been made with broccoli and kale, but when’s the last time your greens tasted that sweet? That green juice is packed with plenty of sugar to offset the bitterness of the veggies. As a result, you are drinking green sugar with a high calorie count.
Read labels and always look at the first few ingredients. If sugar tops the list, put it back.
4. YOU’RE FOCUSED ON THE WRONG CARBS
Thanks to a recent wave of studies highlighting their benefits, low-carb diets are making a comeback in a big way. Carbohydrates aren’t inherently bad for you. Rather, it’s the type of carbs that we choose to eat that can be bad for weight loss.
Most Americans eat too many simple carbohydrates, which digest quickly, spike blood sugar, usually get stored as fat if not used, and may contribute to fatigue. Examples of simple carbs include white rice, white bread, and candy.
Complex carbohydrates, on the other hand, can help with weight loss. Slower to digest, complex carbs release a steady stream of glucose, and naturally suppress your appetite. With the exception of a post-workout meal, complex carbs should make up the majority of your carbohydrate choices.
5. SKIPPING ON SLEEP
Although it may seem counterintuitive, sleep is essential for weight loss, especially appetite control. There are two hormones that control appetite: ghrelin and leptin.
Ghrelin is the hormone that is released to increase your appetite while leptin is released to let you know that your body has enough nutrients. Studies show that skipping on sleep can increase levels of ghrelin throughout the day and night, resulting in more snacking, binge eating, and emotional eating.
While it can be tough in our fast-paced culture, do your best to sleep no less than seven hours each night. If you’re a very active person, eight to nine hours is recommended. If you have trouble sleeping, try using a natural sleep supplement such as ZMA, which is made of zinc, magnesium, and vitamin B6.
6. YOU’RE NOT DRINKING WATER
Sure, it’s boring and lacks flavor, but water is a critical part of weight loss and overall wellness. Studies show that proper hydration can promote weight loss and suppress appetite. What’s more, some experts believe that dehydration may be parading as hunger. As a result of you feeling hungry, you eat and you don’t drink water, which just fuels the cycle of feeling hungry when you’re actually thirsty.
There’s no universal number of ideal glasses of water to drink each day, but a decent rule of thumb is between six and eight glasses. The more active you are, the more water you’ll need.
7. YOU’RE NOT USING THE RIGHT EXERCISES
If your diet is on point, then the problem could be with your workout program. Cardio is often associated with weight loss, and while this is true, it’s not the whole picture. Your workout routine should consist of both cardiovascular training and resistance training.
There are two ways we would recommend getting in both: a traditional program consisting of bodyweight or weighted exercises with days of cardio in-between or you can use high intensity interval training.
Better known as HIIT, this type of workout combines bodyweight-based resistance training with rapid movements and no breaks, giving you the best of both worlds. What’s more, HIIT workouts are time savers, taking you no more than 25 minutes to complete.
Read our article and learn more about high intensity interval training workouts for weight loss. You’ll also get two different HIIT workouts that can get you started today.
8. AVOIDING FITNESS EQUIPMENT
What used to consist of only shorts and lifting gloves has exploded into a multi-million-dollar industry. Fitness equipment is deigned with the user in mind and the sole purpose of improving performance and results safely. While it may seem like most of the fitness equipment out there is geared toward building muscle, there are plenty of options that can support your weight loss.
Thermogenic Belts: Thermogenic refers to the heat produced by the body. A thermogenic belt is made with a special material that promotes a safe increase in body temperature. When you wear it during your workout, you increase the heat around your torso. Not only does this increase caloric expenditure, but it can help to loosen up tight muscles and alleviate muscle soreness from previous workouts.
What’s more, some studies suggest that a waist trimmer belt can help to spot reduce fat around the midsection. Worn around the house, you can continue to promote excess calorie burning and support weight loss.
Gliding Discs: Ideal for at-home workouts, gliding discs can be made a part of any workout program, instantly making it more difficult by activating more muscle groups. Even if you are only using it as a part of a bodyweight workout, gliding discs are ideal for weight loss as they can increase caloric expenditure.
Jump Ropes: The classic cardio tool, jump ropes are still alive and well today as one of the best ways to get your blood pumping. Jump roping is a full-body exercise that is a great way to warm up as much as it is a part of your workout.
Battle Ropes: Another great fat-blasting and muscle-building tool is the battle rope. CrossFit made battle ropes famous and now you can find them in most gyms. Whether you use it during cardio day or as a part of your HIIT workout, battle ropes can help you achieve incredible results.
New to battle ropes? Check out our complete guide to battle ropes for beginners and learn how to use them like a pro.
9. YOU’VE GAINED MUSCLE
If resistance training is a part of your weight loss program (and it absolutely should be) then your sudden stop in weight loss could secretly be great news. Muscle tissue weighs more than fat. If you’ve been steadily losing fat mass while weightlifting, it could be that you’ve gained lean muscle mass.
The best thing to do is to keep track of your fat-to-muscle ratio. You can do so with fat clippers, but a more accurate way to measure how much fat you have is with a bioelectrical impedance device. Sounds expensive, but most gyms carry one.
It looks like a video game controller that you hold at arm’s length for a few moments. It will give you a reasonably accurate measurement of your bodyfat percentage so you can compare how much fat you’re losing with how much lean muscle you’re gaining.
10. YOU’RE BEING UNREALISTIC
Hey, we get it: You want to lose weight and achieve your goal. But sometimes we get so focused on our goal that we lose sight of what it means to be realistic. This is especially true if you experienced a big drop in weight in the beginning of your journey and now you’re only losing a pound or two.
Experts agree that a realistic and healthy weight loss is losing between a quarter pound to two pounds per week. This number will vary based on sex, how much weight you have to lose, how much you’ve already lost, physical activity, and medical history. Keep these numbers in mind next time you step on the scale.
11. YOU’RE LOSING INCHES
Speaking of the scale: You shouldn’t base your entire progress on what numbers pop up every time you step on the scale. If you have noticed that the scale hasn’t budged in a week or two, check your inches.
While you may lose pounds and inches when you are starting out, once you lose enough weight, you’ll typically lose one or the other. Using a measuring tape, keep track of the circumference of your upper thighs, hips, waist, chest, and arms on a weekly basis.
12. YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION
If you’ve gone through this entire list and nothing applies to you, then it may be worthwhile to schedule an appointment with your doctor. There are a number of medical conditions that can influence weight including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, and diabetes.
A blood test can reveal problem areas that are not as easy to deal with on your own. Some experts recommend getting a comprehensive blood panel two to three times per year instead of once a year. This is because a lot can happen in a year, and if you got a blood test on a Monday, the cells for a medical condition could start developing on a Tuesday.
Either way, be sure to get your yearly physical to check your cardiovascular risk factors and stay in good health.
DO YOU KNOW WHY YOU ARE NOT LOSING WEIGHT?
Which of the things on this list do you suspect to be the reason you are not losing weight? What steps will you take to change your diet, workout, or lifestyle? Did you make a chance and you’re back on track for your weight loss goals? Let us know on our Facebook! Or tag us on your before and after shots so we can share it on our Instagram.