You’ve done everything right. You’ve tracked calories religiously, started working out, and even cut back on drinking. You’ve finally been able to stick to your weight loss routine and are excited to step on the scale… only to find out you’ve gained 5 lbs.
This is a common occurrence for many people, and if you’ve ever been on a diet to lose weight, you know the struggle is REAL. Now you’re asking yourself, “Why am I not losing weight?” and wondering if you’re destined to be this way forever. The good news is that figuring out why you’re not losing weight can play a key role in helping you to hit your goal and keep the weight off for good.
If you are asking yourself “why am I not losing weight” and thinking of giving up on your diet, keep reading to learn why and what you can do about it!
The (Real) Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight
Unfortunately, there is A TON of misinformation and clever marketing out there designed to get you to believe that you can lose 7 lbs in 7 days or that you need to “detox” in order to see results. The real (scientific) reasons people can’t lose weight are much simpler. To help, we’ve put together a list of the top 3 reasons people struggle to lose weight, even when on the strictest diet. Read on to see if any of these situations apply to you and learn the steps to take to improve your progress – #3 on the list may surprise you!
Reason 1: You’re Looking For Weight Loss Shortcuts
At any given time, 1 out of every 3 people is on a diet to lose weight. We’re going to share a crazy statistic with you: as of 2018, the obesity rate in the United States has climbed to 42.4%… up from 33.7% in 2008. That’s right, in just 10 short years, there’s been a nearly 9% increase in obesity!
Even more shocking is the fact that obesity data doesn’t include those who are merely overweight. If that number was taken into account, more than 70% of the population would be considered overweight or obese.
Unfortunately, people interested in losing weight are trying to find the fastest and easiest way to do it.
If you look at top trends in Google and other search engines across the web, you’ll find that the top search terms related to weight loss are as follows:
Weight loss schemes that promise fast results – whether they be crash diets, pills, supplements, or teas – hardly ever work. The most searched weight loss methods are far more effective at reducing money in peoples’ wallets than their weight, as reflected by the whopping 9% increase in the obesity rate over the last decade.
Despite the allure and popularity of a low-effort and rapid fix for weight loss, the numbers show the bogus nature of these things. If you are asking yourself “why am I not losing weight” and are trying one of these quick fixes, there should be a lightbulb going off in your head right now. They simply don’t work.
What To Do Instead Of A Fad Diet
Just as important as knowing what to do is knowing why you’re doing it. That’s the beauty of following a flexible dieting approach and tracking your macros. This approach to dieting is evidence-based, meaning that it’s backed up by science, and that’s why it works.
Every person has a specific need for protein, fat, and carbs based on their current body and future goals. If you eat the right amount of each macro, you can expect reliable results. Along with being effective, when you track macros you’ll gain a greater understanding of how your body uses fuel and how what you eat impacts your weight.
For more information about dieting the right way, click here.
Now, depending on where you’re starting and how long you’ve been dieting, instead of tracking your macros to lose weight, you may need to reverse diet to repair your metabolism, relationship with food, and break the cycle of yo-yo dieting.
Learn how to pick the best diet in this short video!
Reason 2: You’re Not Really In A Calorie Deficit
Nobody lives above the laws of physics and thermodynamics. In other words, if you want to reduce the amount of mass on your body, you have to consume less energy than you expend. Phrased another way, “calories in must be less than calories out.”
This sounds easy, but this is where so many people go wrong.
We knew a woman who was trying to lose weight by eating healthier, and every day at lunch she would make a “health-shake” with “superfoods” that included a couple of large avocados, organic honey, acai berries, and a number of vegan protein powders. The shake alone was around 1,500 calories and when combined with everything else she ate each day, her total intake was easily 3,000+ calories/day. Needless to say, she was NOT losing weight.
When many people diet, they modify their food choices without tracking or logging anything. As a result, people don’t know what their average weekly calorie intake was before starting the diet, and they don’t really know what the weekly average calorie intake is after making the modifications. It’s a method that relies entirely on guesswork and luck – not the best strategy for investing, planning a camping trip, or… trying to lose weight.
But what about those who are tracking their calories and still aren’t losing weight? There are a few reasons:
Too many calories
When it comes to eating the right number of calories to lose weight, your body will tell you everything you need to know. If you are asking “why am I not losing weight”, you’re probably eating too much and may need to eat a lot less than you think if you’re sedentary, smaller in stature, or older.
Not tracking calories accurately
If you sometimes forget to account for a food, drink, or condiment you ate, or you aren’t accurately measuring your serving sizes, the extra calories you’re eating will really add up. Extra calories that sneak into restaurant meals, cheat days, and untracked licks and nibbles can also throw off your numbers. If you wonder whether this could be you, try eating only pre-packaged meals and shakes that add up to your target calories for a week and see if you start losing weight.
Not burning as many calories as they think
If you work a desk job or find yourself only sporadically going to the gym, you may not be burning as many calories as you think you are. Even if you regularly go to the gym or work an active job, it’s common to compensate for the fatigue experienced while dieting by sitting more and walking less outside of the gym or work. This can cause you to burn fewer calories, stalling your diet.
Optimum Calories For Weight Loss
Luckily, it’s very easy to control the variables that matter for weight loss, and you do this by accurately keeping track of what and how much you’re eating. Once you know how many calories to cut from your pre-diet baseline, all you need to do is start tracking what you eat to keep your average intake in line with what’s appropriate for your goal.
Pro Tip: Having struggled with weight loss ourselves, we created an app that breaks all this down for you and recommends the average protein, fat, and carbohydrate intake you need to see real results… and it even adjusts your numbers over time based on your progress to keep you from getting stuck on a plateau! Our system also includes a suite of other features to help you track your macros and stay on track.
If you’re going old school and using spreadsheets or a different method of tracking, you’ll need to establish an appropriate reduction of calories on your own.
There’s no need to go extreme and starve yourself to lose weight. Doing this often backfires, leading to weight rebound and putting you in a worse position than when you started. By the same token, if you only eat one fewer calorie than you burn each day, you’ll be on “weight loss” for the rest of your life.
Reducing total calories by between 10% and 20% of your pre-diet intake is appropriate for most people. For example, if you know you maintain your weight at 2,000 calories per day, dropping calories to somewhere between 1,600 and 1,800 would probably be a good place to start your diet.
Reason 3: You’re Missing Part Of The Equation
When you combine Time, Consistency, and Effort… you get results.
If you miss any one of these critical three pieces, you’re not going to be seeing much in terms of weight loss. Each piece of this equation is fairly simple, but when added together they create tremendous power.
Imagine that you just started your diet, and you’re 10 days in and have tracked every bite and completed every workout on your schedule, but… you’re not seeing much progress. This is because the TIME part of the equation is missing. Meaningful results in fitness are measured in months and years, not in days. When you honestly show up and try your best every single day for a month or more, that’s when you can expect to start seeing real changes. Anything less than that and you’re working with an unrealistic time frame.
If you’ve been dieting for a while, you’ve got the TIME element down. But if you’re only tracking some days or weeks, or go stretches of time without doing any tracking at all, what you’re lacking is consistency. Doing a burst of hard work sporadically is like a hamster running on a wheel: you’ll put in a lot of effort, but you’re not going to go very far. You need to be CONSISTENT with what you do in order to see real progress.
Finally, let’s say that you’ve been logging your food and going to the gym every day, but you’re not really hitting your macro targets and the gym sessions are lackadaisical and easy. You know what this is – it’s half-@$$ing things… a lack of effort over a long time frame is just as useless as a lack of effort over a short time frame. You must have EFFORT in all that you do in order to see results.
Struggling With Time, Consistency, Or Effort When It Comes To Losing Weight?
Dieting is stressful, especially when it requires you to cut out entire food groups or limits you to very few calories. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Why am I not losing any weight?” there’s a good chance you are missing at least one part of the equation. If you’re struggling to hit your goals, the single best thing you can do is learn how nutrition impacts your body and how to create a sustainable weight loss program you can stick to.
Ready to start hitting your weight loss goals? We’re here to help. Our smart macro tracking system analyzes your progress and changes your nutrition recommendations weekly to keep you on track. The more you use the system, the better it learns your body and predicts your needs. Click here to learn more and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube for more weight loss information!