You’re eating good, you’re exercising, but you step on the scale and think “Why am I not losing weight?”
Trust me I know, I’ve been there.
There are a number of reasons why you may not be losing weight, despite working out and eating healthy.
Below are some of the most common reasons to consider.
Why Am I Not Losing Weight? – 18 Reasons:
1. You’re eating healthy, but in a surplus.
The number one reason not losing weight despite eating healthy is because they’re not tracking what they eat.
The problem with “eating healthy” but not tracking your food is that people commonly under-estimate how much they are eating or how many calories they’re eating.
There is a lot of conflicting information in the weight loss world, but one thing is for sure…
To lose weight, you have to eat less calories than you burn.
There are 3500 calories in one pound of fat.
That means to burn off one pound of fat, you have to burn 3500 more calories than you eat.
So now you’re thinking, “uh okay, but how do I know how many calories I’m burning and how many to eat?!”
I do a deep dive on that topic here (I also discuss what I’ve found to be the most effective diet).
If you want the shortcut, just grab a copy of my calorie calculator below that will tell you how many calories you’re burning and how many you should eat to reach your goal below:
Once you have your calorie numbers, all that’s left to do is to track what you’re eating.
At this point I usually here a sign and then a complaint about how that’s too much work.
I promise it’s not as time-consuming as it sounds.
Free apps like MyFitnessPal you can download to your phone have bar code scanners so you just scan your food and put in your serving amount and you’re done!
2. You’re over estimating how hard you’re exercising.
This goes hand in hand with my last point.
If you’re underestimating how much you’re eating and overestimating how much you’re burning, that accounts for probably 90% of people who aren’t seeing weight loss results.
To get a better idea of how many calories you’re actually burning, you can first try a calories burned calculator.
My personal favorite right now is called a Whoop. (Funny name, fantastic product)
Besides telling you exactly how many calories you burned each day..
It also has a ridiculous amount of other stats like your sleep efficacy, recovery rate, strain rate (how hard you actually worked out), etc.
This link will get you a free month of Whoop. I’m not sponsored (as much as I’d love to be lol), but that is my ‘refer a friend code’ so thank you if you do decide to use it!
The important thing is that the tracker you choose monitors your heart rate.
This means it will take into account how hard you are working to accurately determine how many calories you burned.
3. You’re eating too few calories.
Have you ever heard about putting your body into starvation mode if you don’t eat enough?
It’s a real thing.
If you’re body is not getting enough fuel, aka calories, to function, it will think it is starving and make changes to burn the least amount of calories and hold on to as much fat as possible.
How do you know if you’re eating enough? If you haven’t already gotten it, again, this is where a calorie calculator comes in handy.
So if you’re not eating enough, that’s something you might want to look into if you are wondering why you aren’t losing weight.
4. You’re losing FAT, but not weight..
Just because the scale isn’t moving, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not making progress.
Hear me out..
You might be losing fat and gaining muscle!
Muscle is much denser and weighs more than fat. Here’s proof..
Would you believe I’m almost the exact same weight in these 2 pictures?
Don’t use the scale as your only means of measuring your progress.
My personal favorite way to measure my fitness progress is to take pictures
Try to take one at the beginning of every week, in relatively the same clothes and in the same space/lighting.
You can also get a flexible tape measure to track inches lost or even take note of your clothes fitting differently!
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5. You’re eating too many processed foods still.
If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau and you’ve been ‘eating healthy’, but still sneaking in some processed foods, it’s time to cut those out!
Er.. well, at least cut back.
I mean, I’m not planning on giving up my donuts any time soon..
So I don’t expect you to give up whatever your favorite thing is either.
BUT it’s all about balance.
Which is the beauty of flexible dieting – it ALLOWS for things like a donut here and there!
Okay okay, so what are we trying to avoid here?
The more processing a food went through to get into the form that it’s sold in the stores, the less you should be eating it..
Think cookies, chips, boxed meals, etc.
Try to stick to whole, natural foods like meats, fruits, and veggies.
A good, easy rule of thumb I like to follow is try to stick to the outer perimeter of the grocery store.
Typically, that’s where all the whole foods are while most of the processed stuff is in the middle down the aisles.
6. You’re eating too many “diet” foods.
This one isn’t even really your fault…
There are some very tricky marketing type people in the food industry.
They’ve led us to believe that if a food says ‘fat-free’ or ‘sugar-free’, then it’s healthy.
This unfortunately is not true.
Most of the time, the natural fat and sugars that have been removed to be able to put that on the label, has been replaced with even worse for you ingredients.
If you’re struggling to lose weight or get over a weight loss plateau, try ditching anything that says fat-free or sugar-free.
If you can’t get rid of them altogether, replace them with their original counterparts, just in smaller portions.
7. You’re stressed.
When you’re stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol.
When you’re cortisol levels are too high, it has been correlated with fat accumulation around the midsection.
So take it easy on yourself.
Which I know is easier said than done, but take this as your sign to TREAT YOSELF!
Take a nice long bath, light some candles, get a pedicure, whatever helps you unwind after a long day.
If you’re like me, nothing relieves stress like lifting heavy shit at the gym!!
8. You’re not sleeping enough.
Sleep deprivation also triggers cortisol release, so similar to the reason above..
If you’re doing everything else right and you’re still over here like why am I not losing weight still?!
…If you’re not getting enough sleep, this could be the culprit!
9. Your body has adjusted.
If you’re doing the same workout routine and eating the same foods over and over again, your body has probably become acclimated to it.
Try switching things up if this is the case and you’re wondering why you’re not losing weight.
If you took my suggestion and follow flexible dieting..
It might be time to recalculate your macros!
10. You’re not drinking enough water.
Drinking water can help you overcome a weight loss plateau in a number of different ways.
For starters, people (much more often than you would think) confuse thirst for hunger.
If you think you’re hungry, drink a big glass of water and wait 10 minutes to see if you’re still hungry before eating.
Drinking water before a meal will help you become full faster and therefore eat less.
There was a 12 week study that showed people who drank 17 oz of water 30 minutes for a meal lost 44% more weight.
Getting enough water is vital to allowing your body to flush and detox itself properly.
For and hour and a half after drinking water, it has been shown to boost the rate your body burns calories by 24-30%. Studies found here.
11. You’re not lifting weights.
Weight lifting or any form of resistance training is a great way to lose weight.
Women in particular are more inclined to skip weight lifting in favor of cardio when trying to lose weight, but both are important.
In the picture on the left below, I had already lost a bunch of weight. On the right is the difference adding in weight lifting made.
If you’re afraid of getting bulky, the picture below is me after lifting as heavy as I possibly could for well over a year consistently.
The amount of muscle mass you have plays an important role in how fast your metabolism is.
The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn naturally.
So struggling to lose weight, try picking some up! – Sorry for the terrible joke..pun? whatever lol
12. You’re not getting enough protein.
If you want to gain lean muscle like I mentioned in the last point, protein is going to be your BFF.
There’s a reason all the gym bros are always grunting about protein… bro.
According to an article on MyFitnessPal.com:
Protein has the highest thermic effect of food, meaning eating protein burns more calories during digestion. Protein also contains an amino acid, leucine, that numerous research studies have identified as a potent catalyst for burning body fat.
Protein naturally found in food like meat and eggs is most important, but you can also get more from a protein supplement.
There are also a few additional supplements that can help boost fat loss in there well as a bonus. ?
13. Switch up the cardio.
Many people find cardio to be miserable, including myself.
Increasing my cardio, but not taking away from my weight lifting time, is almost always a guaranteed way for me to personally get over the slump when I’ve hit a weight loss plateau.
Cardio does NOT have to be just running on a treadmill.
Switch it up to be something you enjoy!
Think swimming, jump rope, etc. Or my personal favorite, boxing!
Another thing to consider if you’re already doing cardio..
But, it’s a lot of the same thing every day (jogging for 20 minutes for example)..
Consider adding in some fasted cardio or HIIT cardio.
14. You’re taking in too much sugar.
One reason you’re not losing weight may simply be your sugar intake.
Unless you are tracking your food, there is a good chance you’re taking in way more sugar than you would ever guess – and therefore carbs since sugar is a carb.
Look on the back of almost any label and you are likely to find sugar, or some form of it, listed in the ingredients list – even in the most unexpected foods.
Some common places high amounts of sugar is found that you might not guess are:
- Protein bars
- Orange juice, apple juice
- Spaghetti sauce
- Flavored Coffee
- ‘Sports’ drinks
- Canned soup
- On the go breakfast bars
- Canned beans
That doesn’t mean you have to cut all of these completely, but look for alternatives and keep everything in moderation.
Or even better..
Track your food so there is no question if you’re getting the right levels of nutrients for your body.
15. You’re Making Excuses for Yourself.
We’re all guilty of this at one point or another.
Our mind has a funny way of trying to avoid pain, aka hard work, aka what’s going to get us results.
We make subtle excuses for why we’re not succeeding and to take the blame off our conscience.
If you work at learning to recognize and overcome your excuses, you will be amazed at how disciplined you become and how much faster you start to see results.
16. You’re Winging It
Have you ever walked into the gym thinking you had a plan..
But your plan was just “I’ll work on my legs today.. eh, maybe some abs too”
I never get as much out of those days as I do when I walk in with a specific workout plan.
When I come in with an exact workout, my workout is 93% more effective.
That’s a made up percentage, but I’m pretty sure that’s close.
You should have an exact plan that lays out which exercises and how many sets/reps you’re going to do.
I am of course bias towards my own weight loss program…
BUT even if you don’t choose mine, I do recommend picking a plan to follow.
You don’t need to do it forever, but at least following a plan for a month or two will teach you the correct habits that you can then carry forward.
That being said, I would love to be able to help you reach your goals!
17. You’re a Weekend Warrior.
Here’s a common message I get a lot..
I ate sooo good all during the week, why am I not losing weight?
Welllll… what did your weekend look like?
The weekends are where most people go off the rails
Here’s a good picture to demonstrate the problem with this..
18. You have a medical condition.
Certain medical conditions will halt your weight loss no matter how hard you try. For example, thyroid issues and sleep apnea.
It’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor if you’re trying to lose weight or starting a new diet or exercise regimen!
Final Thought – Bonus Tip
I know all of these tips can seem like a lot and knowing what to do and what not to do can be over whelming. I would love to help!
I hope these helped, as always, if you have any questions or thoughts, please leave a comment or reach out to me on Instagram! ❤
If you’d like to pin or save this article for reference, here’s a picture to do so! ?