People often find it hard to lose weight whether it’s in the initial stage or at a later stage. A point comes during which the weight just won’t come off which can be really frustrating. It’s not easy to change your lifestyle in order to achieve your fitness goals, and when you see no results it’s highly demotivating. Here are the top reasons why you’re not losing weight which should help you get back on track:
You’re not getting enough sleep
Sleep is highly important, not just for weight loss but for living a healthy life. However, in today’s hectic world, it’s often really hard to get the recommended hours of sleep for many people. Be it work, study or any other reason, people often don’t sleep as much as they should which is why they don’t lose weight.
However, sleep is crucial for weight loss. In fact, sleep deprivation may result in the opposite of weight loss which is not something one would expect. As we already know, lack of sleep makes us feel lethargic and non-productive. However, our sugar cravings also shoot up and it’s easier to give in to food cravings and eat less mindfully when sleep-deprived.
Apart from feeling energized, it’s during sleep that we recover from our workouts and burn the most calories. If you don’t let your body recover by getting the right amount of sleep, you won’t be ready for your next workout so you won’t be able to perform at the same intensity over time. Ultimately, you’ll be setting yourself up for failure.
Therefore, try to eliminate a few things in order to get a decent amount of sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, try to avoid using your phone 30-60 mins before you have to sleep or turn the “blue light filter” on if your phone has it, or get an app. Blue light emitted from phones makes your brain think its still daylight making it harder to fall asleep. The recommended amount is 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Sleep more and you’ll start seeing a change on the scale.
You’re not counting calories
You’re exercising regularly and eating all the right foods, but your weight is still not dropping, why? It’s because, at the end of the day, it’s still calories in vs calories out which is why portion sizes matter a lot. A lot of people underestimate the number of calories they take in. If you check the serving sizes of some foods and the number of calories, you will be surprised.
For example, you eat a handful of nuts many times a day or drink a cup of coffee or two, these all count. It doesn’t matter if you’re eating lean meats, fruits, and nuts if you’re not controlling your portion sizes. For example, one slice of bran bread contains roughly 80 calories. However, people don’t usually eat one slice, they eat much more, so it all adds up. You need to be really careful otherwise your body will store the excess calories into fat and your hard work will go to waste.
Therefore, counting calories is crucial when it comes to losing weight. When people count and log their calories every day, they get a better understanding of how much they’re eating. When someone visually sees in numbers that they’ve reached their caloric requirements for the day, they will likely stop. Download a calorie counter app like MyFitnessPal to log your foods daily and check your daily caloric requirements online.
Although online websites won’t give a totally accurate picture of your daily requirements, it will still be a good estimate around which you can make adjustments according to the results you see. Log your calories daily, and you’re likely to see results fast.
You’ve hit a plateau
You were losing weight at first but now you’ve suddenly hit a brick wall. It’s been a few weeks and you haven’t lost a single pound, even though you haven’t deviated from your diet or workout at all. Why? it’s because you’ve hit what’s called a “weight loss plateau” which is a sign that your body’s become accustomed to your routine.
A weight loss plateau is common because people often get used to doing the same workouts over and over again. Our bodies are really intelligent and they adapt pretty quickly to changes. Therefore, it’s always important to switch up your workouts every few weeks to keep your body guessing. Doing the same workout is also boring and one might start to lose motivation.
Therefore, perhaps after 4 weeks always add a bit of change to your workouts. The changes don’t have to be severe either. When you hit a weight loss plateau, your body is no longer getting the challenge it used to get. You need to challenge yourself again in each workout.
This can be simply done by increasing the intensity of your workouts. Take fewer breaks between sets, run for more time, increase the weights/reps and sets. If you’re not a fan of cardio, try getting into some sport. Even changing up the order by which you do exercises like changing the day you train chest can have a bit of impact. Start incorporating small changes to your routine and the numbers will start going down again.
You’re eating too less
This is something that a lot of people do wrong when losing weight. People often starve themselves, they lose a few pounds and then stop. After some time they even gain back all the weight they lost as well, which is never fun. By eating too less or ‘starving’ yourself, you are actually doing more harm than good.
When you want to lose weight, you want to eat at a caloric deficit. However, that deficit should not be so large that you start doing damage to your metabolism. Your body converts food into energy and your metabolism is responsible for this conversion process. As mentioned earlier, the body adapts quickly. If you consistently eat really low amounts of food, your metabolism will eventually slow down which means you’ll be burning much fewer calories at rest.
A slower metabolism also means that your daily caloric requirement will decrease. This happens because the body goes into survival mode. Moreover, another effect of not eating optimally is that your hunger hormone ghrelin starts to increase rapidly, resulting you to overeat. All of the above results in a weight loss plateau or even weight gain.
In order to avoid this, eat mindfully. Contrary to what you might often hear, carbs and fats are not bad for you. Take everything in moderation and eat in a small deficit of your daily caloric needs. Use apps or online websites to calculate your daily metabolic needs and plan accordingly. Regular exercise will also help ensure your metabolism does not slow down, which is why exercise is so important when losing weight.
You’re not working out hard enough
You’re going to the gym regularly two hours a day, but the weight won’t come off, what’s going on? Just showing up at the gym and casually working out will not produce any results. The intensity of your workout matters a lot. Even if you find success initially without working too hard, you will eventually end up plateauing.
What does it mean to “work hard” in your workouts? If your workout is not challenging you or if you’re not breaking a sweat, then you’re doing it wrong. You need to be totally drained after your workout or gym session. Another good sign of intensity is the day after your workout. If you don’t feel sore the next day, then you need to change a few things. However, don’t completely associate soreness with intensity because often the body becomes used to the exercises you do so you start feeling less sore, but it’s a good indicator.
Therefore, increase the intensity of your workouts. If you’ve been lifting lighter weights, then start lifting heavy or just increase the number of reps and sets. Reduce the rest between sets. Try to do compound exercises like the squat, deadlift and bench press. The compound exercises work almost your entire body which means you burn a lot of calories when you do them. Therefore, always start your workouts with compound movements as they are the most physically demanding exercises you will do.
As far as cardio is concerned, drop the steady-state cardio. It’s a waste of your time if you’re walking or lightly jogging for 40 minutes on a treadmill. Instead, look up HIIT workouts or make one of your own. The concept is simply to work at high intensity for a small interval, then rest for a small interval and repeat. In running, the example of HIIT would be to run for a minute, then walk for a minute and repeat for 15-20 minutes. If you become so out of breath that you can’t even speak, then you’re doing it right.
HIIT burns the most fat out of all other cardio options and it takes less time too. You can work hard or you can work long but you can’t do both, this is certainly the case when it comes to working out. The former is will make sure you consistently lose weight as long as you continue to crank up the intensity every now and then.