10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight and What to Do About It

10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight and What to Do About It

Let’s begin by acknowledging that every single person’s body and weight loss journey is unique. No single method or performance standard works for everyone; this is completely okay.

The one guiding foundational principle that does apply to everyone, is that the more positive habits you ADD to your life, the more negative habits you displace. This is true in any part of your life that you wish to improve.

It’s not about one secret trick–in fact most things aren’t–it’s about synergy. In this context, we mean synergy as the additional positive impact of stacking positive activities on top of each other. The combined, compound effect of all of your positive activities is greater than the sum of your efforts.

It’s All about Synergy

Just as an example, here’s what happens when you start adding positive weight-loss inputs:

You begin exercising, something in your body wakes up, you’re more hungry, but you’re also more conscious about what you eat, the more you think about this connection, it grows, which snowballs into sustained motivation to eat healthy and exercise a bit more.

As exercise becomes a part of your daily routine, your overall level of endorphins (happy brain chemicals) increases, not only does this reduce systemic inflammation keeping you mobile and healthy, but you literally displace and rinse out the negative emotional triggers that lead you to eat compulsively, replacing them instead with happy positive feelings of progress and determination.

As you add additional positive activities, the effect of your whole weight loss system outweighs the sum of the individual inputs. The synergistic effect here is what fuels your weight loss, but even more importantly, builds a healthier you from the inside out.

What About Plateau?

So let’s say you’ve been adding these positive habits and you’re dieting and exercising but you seem to have hit a plateau. What do you do? This is a great time to take a step back, do some reading (well done, if you’re here, you’re already on your way) and take a deep look at your day to day activities. Here, we’ll look at 10 reasons you’re not losing weight and positive habits you can use to displace these snags.

1. Maybe You Are Losing Fat but Measuring Your Progress Wrong

Often times what we mistake for a plateau can have to do with how we measure our progress. The scale is a one dimensional measure of your weight-loss progress. Of course when we talk about weight loss, what we mean is fat loss. This means that as your muscles become healthier and take on a firmer, fuller tone, they may increase your overall body weight, even though you’ve burned fat in the process of this transformation.

Solution: Use Body Mass Index to Calculate Your Progress.

2. You’re Not Tracking What You Eat

If you want to make healthy changes to your diet, accountability is a great place to start. It’s amazing how many snacks we eat that “don’t count.” The fact is, it’s easy to slip but the calories add up and before you know it the foods we barely consider having existed actually play a role in our body fat. The solution is simple, unfortunately that doesn’t make it easy. Journaling or a food tracking app will solve your accountability problems, but only if you really use them. That’s where you come in and this will require some mental discipline. Think of it this way, if you want to save money, you start tracking your expenses, if you want to lose weight, the same rule applies: awareness equals accountability equals better eating decisions.

Solution: Use a Journal or Journaling App to Track Your Meals (All of Them)

3. You Need More Protein

Protein is the single most important nutrient to sustaining your healthy energy levels and boosting the metabolism. About 25 to 30 percent of your daily calories should come from protein, which can help you burn 80 to 100 extra calories per day by causing the stomach to produce ghrelin in your body which diminishes sensations of appetite. The extra protein serves to reduce your cravings for sugary, starchy foods that won’t help you reach your goals. You’ll be amazed what two protein shakes per day in between meals does for reducing your snacking urges.

Solution: Find a Protein Shake That You Can Use Daily to Supplement Your Protein Intake and Curb Snacking Cravings.

4. You’re Eating Too Many Calories

Let’s say you’re not keeping track of your meals, and you haven’t really been accountable for those in between snacks. At the end of the day, your body’s intake doesn’t lie. Your weight loss progress will always come down to caloric deficit or surplus. The reality is that many people are just eating more calories than they realize, some of which goes back to the issue of accountability. Studies show that people often underestimate their calorie intake by a great deal.

Solution: Use Your Journal and Track Every Calorie

5. You’re Drinking Sugar

Some are shocked to realize that sugary beverages are among the most fattening items in our modern food supply. When you consume sugar, despite its high caloric value, your brain does not compensate for the excess calories and so you remain hungry for other foods. This is a real problem for those trying to create a deficit in the calories they take in versus burn. The problem goes well past soda to include most juices, even fresh squeezed and all natural.

Solution: Stop Drinking Soda and Bottled Juice, Right Now. Choose Fresh Squeezed or None at All

6. You’re Drinking Too Much Alcohol

Yup, we said it. Don’t forget, the other way you drink your sugar is consuming alcohol which breaks down to sugar in your body. If you’re not moving forward in your fat-loss goals, you must ask yourself, how many calories are you taking in from alcoholic beverages? For many, this issue relates to the lack of accountability that we naturally apply at times that are convenient for the inner hungry voice, which is closely related to that inner thirsty voice. The booze calories all count, every last one of them. Generally speaking, if weight loss is your goal, you should drink as little alcohol as possible but if you must, clear spirits are your best bet, particularly vodka.

Solution: Drink Less and If You Must Drink, Choose Clear Spirits with Squeezed Fruit and Seltzer (No Sugary Mixers).

7. You’re Eating Starchy Carbohydrates

Refined sugars, starchy carbohydrates, they’re all the same to your body and they all amount to complete junk. White breads, crackers, potato chips, bleached flour noodles, they’re all compulsive foods that serve no nutritional purpose if your goal is a thinner, healthier version of you. At the same time, we all have our own snacking urges so the key is to trick your brain into feeling satisfied, but with healthy alternatives. Try adding a bit of seasoning to carrots, peppers, cucumbers or other sliceable veggies and then pair with a tasty hummus or greek yogurt based dip. You’ll need to keep an eye on the calories, but this healthy alternative will satisfy your snacking cravings without filling your system with junk food.

Solution: Do Not Buy Starchy Junk Food. Try Vegetable Slices with Hummus or Peanut Butter for Satisfying Your Urge to Crunch.

8. You’re Exhausted

In the same way that the synergistic effect of all your positive habits will determine your success, proper rest is like a magic cord that weaves together your whole system of weight loss efforts. If you aren’t sleeping enough, you won’t have energy to exercise and your appetite will try to compensate for the lack of energy, which will not help you burn fat or lose weight. When you’re tired, your mood suffers, which also leads you back to impulsive eating and a ‘whatever’ attitude. A rested you is the best of you for all endeavors. As with many obstacles on your weight loss journey, awareness is the greatest step toward success. When you make yourself aware and accountable for the amount of sleep you make room for in your life, you begin to take your sleep more seriously and eventually it becomes sacred. Another way to shift your thinking about sleep is to journal your dreams in addition to tracking the amount of time you sleep. This too will shift your thinking about sleep into something to be appreciated, revered, even cherished. Sleep is required to support all of your body’s processes including metabolic efficiency and building muscle. When you make room for sleep, you make room for success on your weight loss journey.

Solution: Keep a Sleep Journal for Tracking Hours and Dreams.

9. You’re Not Watching Your Food Portions

Even if you gloss over the other 9 sections, don’t miss this one, it’s important. One of the mistakes we are all guilty of making is mindless eating, or distracted eating. When we multitask through our meals and occupy our minds with tasks other than eating, we miss out on a number of our bodies’ natural triggers that signal to the brain and gut that we are full. As a result, we overeat. There are two ways to approach this problem:

From the Outside:

Control your portions by using pre-portioned food storage containers so that you are not tempted to overeat before your body has realized it’s full.

From the Inside:

Practice mindful eating by taking time to eat with intention and purpose. This means pausing work while you eat, and focusing on the act of refueling and a state of gratitude for the food that you’re enjoying. The smells and attention let your body know what’s going on, and this improves the communication of signals to let your brain know when you’re full.

Solution: Practice Mindful Eating and Use Sectioned Containers for Meal Storage

10. You’re Still Dieting

Diets fail. Studies show that people who rely on diets tend to gain weight over time (1). The way to achieve your goals is through replacing your old habits with healthy, active lifestyle changes that are sustainable. Sustaining your body with whole, nutrient-dense foods will keep you mentally sharp and physically active for the long haul. Crash diets and restrictive short-term solutions will never lead to long term success. Remember, the synergy of a nice big stack of good habits is the key to your success.

Solution: Practice Whole Food Dieting and Regular Exercise as Pillars of Your Lifestyle

Final Thoughts:

Successful weight loss journeys are based on a personal paradigm shift toward loving yourself enough to give your body what it needs, not just what your mind craves. It’s completely natural to enjoy pleasure, we’re all guilty of that but if we want to look and feel healthy, we all have to learn to say ‘no’ to ourselves, but that ‘no’ is really a yes to feeling better and making progress. Don’t focus on weight loss results, but rather on a continuous road toward better and better health, whereupon you’ll look back one day and realize that in the process of building a whole, healthy self, you melted away the excess fat and feel better in your own skin.

Categories: Health Topics

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