One of the questions I get most frequently is..."Why am I not losing weight? I am doing everything right!" As someone who has gone through weight loss in the past I know how frustrating it can be to feel like you are doing everything right, but the scale is just not moving. When I was working at Life Time Fitness as the Nutrition Coach I was fortunate enough to go through their coaching program. I learned a lot about the process of losing weight and unfortunately it is not always just about calories in and calories out. There are many other factors that can go into the process of losing weight, however there are some things that you may be or not be doing that is affecting your weight loss progress. Remember that every person is different and will react to nutrition and exercise differently.
Here are the top 6 reasons that you may not be losing weight:
1) Sleep. In this fast pace day and age chances are you are not getting enough sleep. When you sleep your body goes though the process of resetting itself. Ideally you should be getting to bed around 10 and waking up around 6, which makes for 8 hours of quality sleep. From the hours of 10-2 your physical body resets and from 2-6 your mental body resets. You should at a bare minimum be getting 7 hours of sleep. When you constantly deprive yourself of sleep it is stressful for your body and you will release cortisol which is the hormone that causes weight gain in the mid-section, exactly where you don't want it! Try to wind down and turn off the TV, cell phone and iPad at least an hour before your head hits the pillow. Spend this time reading something enjoyable, doing some light yoga or taking a hot bath. Your body will thank you after you give it the rest it so needs.
2) Stress. You are booked to the max and stressed to the gills. Your life is demanding and you are not taking the time to relax and rest. Does this sound familiar? If you are not giving yourself adequate rest you will be stressing your adrenals which in turn produces more cortisol, that not so fun stress hormone. You need to find some time each day to relax your body and mind. Try to free up your schedule a little more and don't be afraid to ask for help from friends or family. You deserve a break, and time to tend to your health.
3) You're not eating enough or you're eating too much. The amount of calories that you need to consume for weight loss will vary from person to person, based on things such as weight, height, and age. If you need help determining how many calories you need to eat for weight loss try using a website such as My Fitness Pal. Here you will enter your information, weight loss goals and how often you will exercise and you will be given a calorie goal. You may have to play around with this number, say give or take 100 calories. It will take some adjustment, but if you pay attention you will learn what you need. This will make sure that you are getting enough calories. When you go below 1,200 for too long your body thinks that it is starving and will hold on to the food that you do eat and store it as fat, which is the opposite of what you want. Conversely, you may be eating more than you think. You should weigh and measure your portions until you can eyeball your portions. This will ensure that you are tracking your calories correctly.
4) You're eating too many processed "foods". All calories are not created equal. Imagine a healthy dinner with 4 ounces of grilled chicken breast, half a sweet potato and a cup of broccoli this meal is around 300 calories. However, these are all whole real foods that your body recognizes and they are nutrient dense foods. Now say you eat 300 calories worth of chips and ice cream. You think just because you are staying within your calorie range for the day that it is okay. This is not food that your body can use, and will most likely be stored as fat. Now, I am not saying that you can't have a few treats here and there, I am saying that you can't replace your nutrient dense meals with junk and expect to see the same results. Put real, whole nutrient dense foods in and you will be much happier with how you look and feel.
5) You are gaining muscle. This one only applies to you if you are lifting weights at least 3 or more times per week. When you start lifting weights you will start to put on muscle if you are eating correctly and getting enough rest. So even though you may weigh the same you are changing your body composition. Muscle weighs more than fat, but takes up less space. I suggest taking your measurements and body fat percentage monthly. I have had many clients not lose a pound, but lose several inches. Don't focus too much on what the scale says.
6) Your body craves homeostasis. What does this mean you ask? This means that while you are working your butt off and eating right your body just wants to stay at a comfortable place. This is why it can be so hard to lose weigh sometimes. If you feel this is the case for you, you may need to push yourself harder in your workouts and clean up your diet a little more. You have to challenge your body and push it to change sometimes. Think about how you like the comfort of the same routine, well your body does too. Stay consistent and your hard work will pay off!
All good things take time and hard work. Remember that your weight loss is a journey and you are learning how to live healthy for the rest of your life. Be kind to yourself and don't engage in negative self talk. Stay positive and you will get there! If you have any questions please feel free to e-mail me. I would love to hear from you.