I think many of us have been in this situation and have looked for answers everywhere but have just ended up becoming more confused. You want to lose weight and you have tried exercising, dieting, tracking macros and so on. In this blog, post I want to help you understand why you progress may have stalled and what you can do to start it up again. Below are some reasons you are not losing weight.
- You are counting macros and calories inaccurately.
I see this a lot so do not worry and kudos to you for tracking them in the first place. This is one that happens especially if the calorie deficit you are aiming for is a slim one, for example say you are trying to use a moderate approach and cut 200 calories out of your diet. Licking peanut butter off the knife, stealing chips and so on quickly add up and can put you over! The solution for this is to notice these habits and reduce them. Adding in low intensity exercise can help too.
- You are exercising too hard!
First, let me just introduce you to a concept called Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis or more commonly known as ‘NEAT’ (all your little movements throughout the day e.g. tapping your foot, pacing, talking with your hands). Exercise is great for losing weight however some of us take it overboard and as a result of this begin to move less throughout the day. An example of this is doing high intensity interval training and then being wiped for the rest of the day and not moving. Let’s look at another analogy: say you burn 400 kcals in 15 mins of HIIT but then you reduce your daily NEAT from 1500 kcals to 1000 by sitting on the couch the rest of the day. You are over by 100 Kcals! This means you will be gaining weight! The solution for this is easy cardio (walking). You could walk for an hour and burn 500 kcals easily. This is better because it will not interfere with your other training and you will not be sore/ tired so has less impact on NEAT.
Of course, it must be acknowledged that this does require more time out of your day, however if you are in a position to be able to dedicate this time to a walk, the benefits will reveal themselves. If you do not count calories, a good way of raising your NEAT is by having a step tracker (like the one below) The more steps you do, the more energy you burn. I personally use fit-bit watches to track my steps. If I need to cut more weight I make sure I get more steps in. Before buying you may have a step tracker built into your phone.
- You’re tracking your weight ineffectively.
Weight loss takes time and a moderate approach is better than a drastic diet, so the changes may not be noticeable for some time. A quick point too for ladies weighing themselves week in and week out (sometimes even daily) it is not a good idea to track so rigidly as your menstrual cycle and water retention will be quite different from week to week. The best way to track your weight loss will be at the same point of the cycle month on month. The other issue with tracking weight loss is the inaccuracy of data produced by weight loss tools. I can cover different tools and how they are inaccurate in another post, let me know if you want me too.
- You are starving yourself and you need to eat more!
Dropping into a calorie deficit too quickly can lower your level of leptin which is a hormone responsible for making us feel hungry. Similarly, when leptin is low, we tend to expend less energy (through the reduction of NEAT, reducing body heat and your ability to think). Therefore, the consequence of this is that you have a massive calorie deficit, but your body is reducing the calories it uses. You would be suffering for no reason, and in some cases, people put on weight because the body is reducing calorie output more than what you have taken away.
In summary, use moderation. Eat less, but do not cut food out altogether and move more, but not too intensely so you begin to move less overall.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. I’d be glad to hear your thoughts.