Posted on June 7, 2016 by Meghan Eggleston
Wondering why the pounds aren’t dropping? Here are my top ten reasons for not losing weight.
You Skip Meals
So many dieters skip meals to lose weight. All this does is set you up for failure. This happens in a few ways.
- When we eat our body receives a signal to use the fuel it’s receiving. When we, in essence, “fast” our body knows to slow its use of energy. The simple math of “calories in minus calories out” is irrelevant if our bodies are trying to hang on desperately to those “calories in.”
- When you skip meals your body isn’t getting the energy to proper functionally.
- Skipping meals makes us overeat when we do have a meal. It also makes us so hungry we tend to make poor choices and not know when to stop.
- It is also known to cause low blood sugar.
- Skipping meals can lead to unhealthy cravings that when indulged lead to weight gain.
You Consume a Lot of Artificial Sweeteners
We all know that drinking sugary soda leads to weight gain and diabetes. So it kind of makes sense to switch to diet sodas, or even better, (seemingly) to Crystal Light, or some other artificially sweetened beverage. In a study found in 2008 in published in Obesity, which followed 3,000 research participants over a period of eight years, significant differences were found between people who regularly consumed diet soda and those who didn’t. The soda drinkers had double the risk of being overweight or obese as the non-soda drinkers. Researchers aren’t certain as to why but think it may have to do with the way sugar substitutes affect the brain and energy regulation. Some studies have found an increase in hunger and food consumption in people after they started drinking diet sodas.
Eating sugar does have a satisfying effect, and artificial sweeteners may not give us that same satiating feeling. That disconnect may lead to a desire to eat more to feel satisfied. In that same study, researchers saw that the overall dietary fat intake increased as the diet soda intake went up, which may be how the brain made up for the lack of satiety from sugar substitutes by consuming more fat.
You Don’t Need To
If your body fat percentage or BMI are in the healthy range, you probably don’t need to lose weight for any health or medical reasons. Still, you very well may want to lose weight for the sake of vanity or athletic performance. Your body is usually pretty happy to be right where it is, but for many our ideal weight is something very different from where we have settled into. It’s definitely possible to get leaner , but it will often take even more dedication—and time—than it will for someone who has a lot of weight to lose. That might mean much stricter nutrition and more vigorous exercise.
You Aren’t Eating as Healthy as You Think
I think many of us overestimate how healthy our diet is. A Consumer Reports survey found that 9 out of 10 Americans think they are eating better than they really are. Interestingly, over half of them were considered overweight or obese. We all think we eat pretty well. Especially when we compare our diet to our friends, spouses, coworkers, etc. But let’s remember what we are measuring our diet up against. If you aren’t following the guidelines for a basic healthy diet (whole grains, lot of fruits and veggies, lean protein, legumes, nuts and avoiding added fats, sugars, preservatives, processed and genetically-modified food) than you may want to take an honest look at your diet.
If you don’t actually track your food to see how it all adds up in on paper, don’t make assumptions about how “good” you really do eat. Research confirms that people underestimate the quantity of food they eat, so read labels and measure. We EASILY take in added oils and sugars without noticing. I think we often are in denial about how a few calories hear and there add up. If you are truly serious about weight loss, you need to be truly serious about what goes into your body.
You Aren’t Consistent
You stick to a fitness program or healthy eating for a week and when the scale doesn’t reflect your discipline you get discouraged. You throw your hands up and figure, “what’s the point?” It’s hard to stay consistent when we don’t see results right away. So we tend to return to bad habits. Sometimes it takes a couple of weeks of a lifestyle change to see noticeable difference.
Or maybe you are pretty consistent but allow yourself the occasional slice of birthday cake or dinner out. But maybe it happens more occasionally than you realize or want to admit to yourself. Having that dinner out that’s 2-3 times the standard serving size and that occasional dessert that’s 3-4 times the standard serving size isn’t really moderation even if it’s the only time you’ve indulged all week. It is important to remember the moderation refers to the amount, as well as the frequency of treats. Be honest with yourself about portion sizes.
You Are Gaining Muscle
We have to remember that the number on the scale is only part of the equation. What we really mean when we say we want to lose weight is that we want to lose fat. When we are exercising we build muscle as we burn fat. No, muscle doesn’t weigh more than fat. How I love that myth! A pound of muscle just takes up less space. So if your clothes are fitting differently while the scale isn’t budging then you are losing fat and gaining muscle. Sure, you may have heard this a bazillion times before but for some reason we are still so hung up on the scale. That number is only one of many tools to gauge our progress.
You Are Relying on Exercise Alone
People think I maintain my weight from teaching exercise classes. Boy, do I wish! It takes hours to burn hundreds of calories but only minutes to eat it. If you are focusing only on exercise for weight loss than you are probably not finding much success. Sure, you are getting fitter and enjoying many other health benefits of exercise but no amount of working out makes up for a poor diet. You must combine exercise with good nutrition for optimal weight loss.
You Have a Medical Issue
Sometimes there are other things going on that are keeping you from losing weight. If you have been actively working towards weight loss goals through good nutrition and regular exercise for several weeks and have seen no change then it was very possible that something else is going on. Insulin resistance, hormone imbalance and abnormal thyroids are just a few examples of issues that need medical attention. Definitely talk to your doctor if you suspect something like this may be keeping you from losing unwanted weight.
You Aren’t Sleeping Well
Sleep is so underrated in our society. It’s like a badge of honor to “get by” on little sleep. Often we skimp on sleep to be more productive. But a better night’s sleep may actually increase your productivity in a shorter amount of time throughout your day because you have more energy and can think more clearly than when you are tired. Sleep loss increases our cortisol levels, decreases our growth hormone levels, sabotages our metabolism and can actually increase our hunger. There are many ways to help improve sleep such as warm baths; soothing music; avoiding nicotine, caffeine and alcohol in the afternoon and exercising earlier in the day. Make sleep a priority!
You Really Aren’t Trying To
Yep, I’m calling you out. You read the first 9 reasons hoping there was some mystical explanation that your weight doesn’t just melt off your thighs little by little each day. But really you aren’t making any lasting changes in your diet or fitness. Still, you hop on the scale many mornings and hold out hope that some way, some how the number will be a little lower than yesterday. Well, the Midnight Magical Fat Fairy doesn’t visit me while I’m sleeping so I’m pretty sure she’s not visiting you.
This list is by no means comprehensive. But these are the most common reasons we don’t see results as quickly as we would like. If you are looking for some help or motivation to achieve your weight loss goals contact me!
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