10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight
1. You’re not exercising enough – You have to work hard if you want to change the shape of your body. That means a balance of medium-high intensity cardio exercise along with challenging strength training workouts.
- Cardio: For weight loss, you’ll need to get about 5 cardio workouts each week at a medium-high intensity for at least 30 minutes. Interval training is a good choice because studies show you continue to burn calories even after you’ve stopped exercising.
- Strength Training: In addition to your cardio workouts, you’ll need to lift weights for all your muscle groups at least 2 non-consecutive days a week. And, by lifting weights, that means using enough weight that you can ONLY complete the desired number of reps. Most people don’t lift enough weight to really challenge their muscles.
2. You’re not getting enough sleep – Lack of sleep can contribute to weight gain, though experts aren’t exactly sure why. In her article, Sleep More to Lose Weight, Mary Shomon discusses a recent study that found that women who slept 5 hours a night were more likely to gain weight than women who slept 7 hours a night.
3. You’re too stressed out – Stress and weight gain (or lack of weight loss) go hand in hand. Though you may not be aware of it, being under constant stress can increase production of the hormone cortisol which can cause an increase in appetite as well as extra fat storage around the abdominal region. Dealing with stress can be as simple as taking a few minutes a day to relax, scheduling a massage as often as you can or cutting down on work hours and increasing play time.
4. You’re eating too much – This may seem obvious, but unless you’re tracking your calories each day, you may be eating more than you think. Portion control is one culprit, especially with restaurants providing enough food in one meal to feed several people. If you’re really serious about losing weight, you need to get serious about your eating. Start by keeping a detailed food journal for one week, without changing any of your eating habits. Be as specific as possible, measuring when you can, looking up your calorie and nutrient content and adding up your calories for each day. You’ll be surprised how those calories can sneak in when you’re not keeping track.
5. You’re inconsistent with exercise and healthy eating – If you find your workouts are hit-or-miss and that you give in to temptation a bit too easily, your weight loss may hit the skids. For exercise to work, you have to do it on a regular basis. Once your body adapts to your program, you then need to change it to keep your body challenged. If you skip too many workouts, it’s almost like starting all over every time. Sticking with exercise starts with finding a program you enjoy and that fits in with your lifestyle, goals and needs. That means being realistic about what you’ll really accomplish each week rather than going by what you think you should be doing.
6. You blow it on the weekends – Having some treats now and then is fine, but if you find you do very well during the week only to eat yourself silly on the weekends, you may be hurting your weight loss goals.
- Avoid a free-for-all weekend. Instead, choose one or two treats to enjoy and continue eating healthy the rest of the time.
- Avoid rewarding yourself with food. If you’ve been eating healthy all week, it’s natural to want to reward yourself with a yummy treat. Instead of food, reward yourself with a calorie-free treat–a trip to the movies, a massage or a new pair of shoes.
- Keep moving. If you like to rest on the weekends, why not make your rests more active? Spend time taking a long walk with your family or tossing a football in the backyard.
7. You haven’t given yourself enough time to see results – While experts generally recommend losing 1-2 pounds a week, most of us probably don’t get that close. Remember: to lose one pound, you have to create a 500-calorie deficit every day for a week. Give your body time to respond to what you’re doing. It may be weeks or months before you see significant changes so don’t freak out if you’re not seeing results after only a few weeks. Being patient and taking it one day at a time will allow you to enjoy the journey instead of focusing on the destination.
8. You have a medical condition – Some medical conditions and medications can contribute to weight gain. While not everyone will find this to be true, it’s important to explore every avenue if you’re genuinely following an exercise program and a clean diet and still not losing weight. You should get a diagnosis from a professional in order to determine whether your weight problems are medically-related.
9. You’ve hit a plateau – Almost everyone reaches a weight loss plateau at some point. As your body adapts to your workouts, it becomes more efficient at it and, therefore, doesn’t expend as many calories doing it. You may find that after your initial weight loss, your progress will slow down and eventually stop. Some common reasons for plateaus include:
- Doing the same workouts over and over. Your body needs to be challenged to progress, so make sure you’re changing some part of your program every 4-6 weeks.
- Not eating enough calories. If your body doesn’t have enough fuel to sustain your level of activity, you can actually stop losing weight.
- Overtraining. If you exercise too much, the body sometimes responds by decreasing the amount of calories you burn during the rest of your day.
Learn more about whether you’ve hit a plateau by keeping an exercise calendar and tracking your workouts, how often you change them and whether you’re working too hard or need to boost your intensity.
10. You don’t need to lose weight – Despite what you hear on the news or read in popular magazines, not all of us need to lose weight. In fact, many of us have unrealistic ideas of what a healthy weight and body shape is. We all have different shapes and, though we can make changes to our bodies, we can only improve on the bodies we have–not turn them into someone else’s body.
Source: By Paige Waehner, About.com Guide March 18, 2010