So you’re exercising 5 days per week, watching what you eat and not seeing success with your weight loss efforts. Trust me, I have these conversations with patients all the time. There are 3 main reasons why you’re NOT losing weight.
Eating Too Much
It’s very easy to eat too much. Sitting in front of the TV snacking on chips or pretzels or popcorn. Eating out too much. Rewarding yourself with a treat after a good workout at the gym. Tracking your intake with an app like MyFitnessPal can help keep you mindful of “extras” that can sabotage your efforts.
Don’t forget your beverages. Soda is a waste of calories and promotes the development of fatty liver disease. Alcohol is also a very high calorie indulgence and hard on the liver too. The best beverage for those trying to lose weight is plain filtered water.
Eating Too Little
Over-restricting can sabotage your weight loss efforts because the body goes into conservation mode. If you’ve been tracking and very attentive to your intake and you’re not seeing success, try loosening up and adding an extra piece of fruit or two daily (about 100 calories each).
Eating The Wrong Foods
Too much protein, too much convenience foods, too much processed carbohydrates, too much saturated fat. All these can change the metabolic and hormonal state in the body towards storing fat instead of burning it. Remember that the best macro balance is 50% COMPLEX carbohydrates (like whole grains, beans, legumes and fruit), 30% healthy fats (avocados, nuts, seeds and oils that are liquid at room temperature) and 20% protein (plant protein is best for your heart). Tracking for a short while can help you adjust your macros to the proper balance.
Indulging in artificially sweetened foods and beverages also can work against your weight loss efforts. Artificial sweeteners increase insulin and have not been shown effective in promoting weight loss.
If I had a nickel for every time someone said “I don’t have time to exercise.” Or “I don’t like to exercise.” Or “I can’t exercise because my XXX hurts,” – with XXX being the body part of choice (knees, back, feet, etc).
In order to lose weight you have to move around. It is extremely difficult to have long-term weight loss success without some sort of fitness regimen. Now it doesn’t have to be going to the gym or paying a lot of money for a trainer, although that is a good investment. I’ve written before about different exercise options. Joint pain requires different choices, but our health depends on regular movement!
It’s also important to rest and give our bodies time to recover between training. It’s not good to stress or work the same groups of muscles two days in a row, they need time to recover and build new muscle tissue. Even runners and cyclists have rest days.
You’ve got to sleep. It’s just one of those things, our bodies and brains need to have enough sleep and if we go without it does a number of bad things to us. One of those things is weight gain. Chronic sleep deprivation is a known cause of weight gain. It also increases stress hormones like cortisol and decreases our resistance to snacking and poor food choices.
Most adults need 7-8 hours of sleep daily. You can get away with sleeping less for a little while but over time it will backfire.
If you’re trying to lose weight and not having success, first take a look at your sleeping habits. Then think about your eating habits and your exercise or lack thereof. The reason you’re not losing weight is probably there.
QUESTION: Did I miss anything? Did I miss an important reason why someone would have trouble losing weight?