Why are you not losing weight?

You appear to be doing everything right but the scales are stuck. I know from experience just how frustrating it can be so let’s have a look at some of the most common reasons people struggle to lose weight.

You’re eating too much

Research has shown that most of us underestimate the number of calories we consume. Do you know what a standard portion size is? Are you counting all of the incidentals such as the three lattes you had, the extra piece of bread or the large dollop or salad dressing? Food that is often perceived as healthy can contain hidden calories. Fruit juice, for example, is great for a health boost but is packed with sugar. Make sure you know exactly what you’re eating by checking the labels on your food or buy a calorie counter.

You’re not eating enough

When you’re trying to lose weight many people make dramatic changes to their diet, often cutting right down on calories. While it’s true that we need to consume fewer calories than we burn in order to lose weight, lowering your calorie intake too far can have the opposite effect. Your body enters starvation mode and starts to store fat. You also lose muscle mass which slows down your metabolic rate.

Not enough exercise

The Government’s Physical Activity guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardio such as fast walking or cycling, as well as strength training on two days of the week. To lose weight you need may need to be doing more.

Add higher intensity cardio such as interval training sessions to your workout schedule. It’s also important to include strength training to build lean muscle. The greater your muscle mass, the faster your metabolism. Focus on compound exercises which work more than one muscle group such as deadlifts. Isolation exercises such as biceps curls and triceps dips are fine for adding definition but if you want to burn fat you need to work the bigger muscles.

How are you measuring?

Although getting on the scales can give you an indication of what’s happening with your weight, it’s certainly not the best measure. Muscle is a more dense tissue than fat. If you’re losing fat but gaining muscle, the scales may not even change. A better way to measure might be to use a tape measure, buy a bodyfat monitor or judge according to the way your clothes fit.

Inconsistency

When most people decide to lose weight they deprive themselves of all the things they love to eat. This makes them miserable, they start thinking about food all the time and then splurge, gorging themselves on all the forbidden goodies.

Don’t think about being on a diet but make sustainable changes to the way you eat such as swapping your morning biscuit for a piece of fruit or having salad instead of chips. It’s the same with exercise. Having a huge workout once a week is better than nothing but scheduling five smaller workouts during the week will lead to much better results.

Unrealistic expectations

The length of time it takes to lose weight varies from person to person. Some people see immediate results. Others take longer. Don’t get disheartened if you’re not losing weight as quickly as you’d hoped. It could be a long process but that doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen.

Men usually lose weight more quickly because they have more lean muscle mass due to higher levels of testosterone. Generally, the older you are, the harder it is to lose weight. It’s the same if you have less weight to lose in the first place.

Health issues

There are many medical conditions which could be preventing you from losing weight such as an underactive thyroid or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Even stress can hinder weight loss. While under stress the body produces the hormone cortisol, which promotes the storage of fat. If you’re doing everything right and still can’t lose weight you should consider getting checked out by a doctor.

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