Why Can't I Lose Weight?
A person’s weight loss journey can often be a difficult one. Trying to change one’s lifestyle is not easy. You might become frustrated when you aren’t seeing your desired results. Don’t be discouraged! There are many factors that contribute to and affect weight loss. Here are 13 reasons why you might not be seeing the scale move in the direction you want.
1. You are not measuring correctly
Standing on the scale is the most common way people measure their weight, but it doesn’t tell a complete story. If you are taking the proper measures to eat well and exercise it can be confusing when you see you are no longer losing weight or have hit a plateau. Your weight can fluctuate by a couple of pounds depending on the foods you have eaten, your hormones or how much water you have consumed and are retaining in that moment. It’s also true that muscle weighs more than fat. So, if you have started a new fitness routine this might be the reason. It’s a good idea to also look at other metrics such as measuring your waist or your body mass index. This will help you obtain a more complete picture of how your body is changing. Also take notice to see how your clothes fit.
2. Not eating enough.
It’s a common misconception that losing weight means you need to eat less. This isn’t completely true. When you start eating less your body goes into shock mode, meaning that your body thinks it’s in trouble. The body then protects itself by slowing down the ability to burn calories. Instead of thinking in terms of cutting foods out try healthier replacements. Eating the right foods in the right amounts are also important because your body needs different types of nutrients. Completely cutting carbs or fat is not a good idea. You body needs a good balance of fats, protein and whole grains. Just make sure you are consuming the right kinds and appropriate proportions.
3. You are eating too much or too often
While you don’t want to starve yourself you also need to make sure you aren’t overeating. Breaking up meals into small meals through out the day might not be the best strategy. Instead it’s better to have three, square meals a day and track what you are eating and how much. Make sure to also track everything you eat, including any snacks and drinks between meals, to stay on top of your eating habits.
4. Mindless eating
Speaking of staying on track of your eating habits, it’s important to be mindful when it comes to eating. Eating should be treated like an event and not just something you do. You would be surprised how some snacks sneak their way into your daily consumption. Sometimes it’s the snacks you buy at the convenience store when you feel a little hungry or the tin of cookies that’s in the breakroom. Plan your meals and your snacks throughout the day. Take time to be present while eating a meal so you are more aware of what you are eating.
5. Eating too much processed food
Eating processed food is often the biggest culprit hindering your weight loss. Processed foods are any food that have been cooked, canned, frozen or packaged. Most importantly they are food that have changed their nutritional composition with preservatives. Try incorporating more whole foods to your diet such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes. These types of food are also more filling and will keep you feeling full longer.
6. Eating the same meals
Variety is the spice of life and if you want to lose weight you need to spice up your meal plan. Just because a meal plan has been helping you lose weight doesn’t mean it will continue to do so. Eventually, your weight loss will start to plateau because your body has become used to your meals. Eating the same thing over and over also becomes boring and might lead you to crave unhealthy options. Besides, who wants to eat chicken and broccoli every single day?
7. Exercising but not focusing on your diet
Exercising and eating healthy go hand and hand. You can’t expect to lose weight without each other. Hitting the gym 3 to 5 times a week and incorporating both cardio and lifting weights are great but if you aren’t eating well you aren’t going to see results. You may think that running on the treadmill for an hour it will cancel out the fast food you had for dinner. Unfortunately, your body doesn’t work that way. If you want to lose weight you need to make sure you are eating as well and maintaining a fitness routine.
8. You sit all day
Leading a sedentary lifestyle will not help you lose weight. This can be hard for people who have desk jobs or jobs in which you don’t get the chance to move around. The best thing you can do in this case is take a 5 to 10 minute break every hour to stretch and move around. Going for shorts walks during breaks or during your lunch hour can also help get you moving. You can also park farther away or take the stairs whenever possible. If it’s too hard to tear yourself away from your desk, make sure you get some exercise in the evenings.
9. You drink sugary beverages
Another sneaky culprit sabotaging your weight loss goals can be some of the drinks you are consuming. Drinks like iced mochas, soft drinks, juices, smoothies and even drinks marketed as healthy beverages are packed with sugar. What you drink is just as important as what you eat. And while you are at it, make sure you are limiting your alcohol consumption as well. Most alcoholic beverages are loaded with calories. Your best bet is to stick with water.
10. Medications or a medical condition
The medications you take or a medical condition can also affect your ability to lose or gain weight. If you have a condition like hypothyroidism it’s important to speak with your doctor to see what can be done to help you stay healthy. It’s also a good idea to ask questions regarding any medication you maybe taking to see if there are other options.
11. You are stressed out
Stress affects your mood and in turn it might cause you to make poor decisions. We have all heard the term “stress eating” which is when we eat to feel better. For many eating is an enjoyable experience but the pounds can add up quick if we misuse the sense of pleasure. Feeling stressed also causes people to seek out the easiest solution to solve a problem quickly. This doesn’t help when you have had a rough day and don’t feel like cooking. You might want to pick up fast food on your way home instead of taking the time to prepare a nutritious meal. Planning your meals and prepping your ingredients ahead of time can help you power through weeknight dinners and stay on track with your goals. Overall thought, everything is okay in moderation. It’s fine to get some ice cream if you have had a bad day, just make sure you don’t eat a pint in one sitting.
12. You are not getting enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is as important to weight loss as exercise and diet. Sleep deprivation can slow down your metabolism making it hard to lose weight. And just like stress it might cause you to make poor health decisions. Make sure to get eight hours of sleep every night so you are rested and able to take on the day.
13. You have unrealistic expectations
Unfortunately, losing weight takes time so you need to be realistic about your goals and the timeframe. Losing weight in a short amount of time is never a good sign. Fast weight loss is also usually associated with gaining the weight back. When it comes to making fitness goals, make sure it’s S.M.A.R.T: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. It’s also important to remember every person’s body is different so be patient with yourself.
Call Ochsner Fitness Center at (504) 733-1600