You might be putting in all the effort - working out and eating right - and yet somehow your weight stays the same, or worse it looks like you’ve actually put on some weight!. What could be happening? Why isn’t all that hard work paying off? Well don’t worry. We’ve got you! There can be quite a few reasons people don’t lose weight even if they’re working out and eating right. Check out the list below, does any of it resonate with you?
Our body’s relationship to stress is an interesting one. On its own, stress does not actually make you gain weight. However low-grade, everyday stress will cause the body to store fat. Let us explain; stress produces cortisol - the fight or flight hormone that catabolises muscles, worsens insulin resistance, and promotes the storage of fat. In the past, this was necessary in life or death situations - for instance if we had to get away from dangerous animals. However, these incidences while intense, were also infrequent. But fast forward to our world today, where we suffer from daily low-grade stress like going through traffic jams, over exercising, worrying about work, kids, nagging bosses, etc. This means your body is constantly in a fight or flight state. And what does that mean? Your body is constantly producing cortisol which means your body starts storing fat because it thinks it needs it in the future. So if you’re working out too much, perhaps it’s time to swap some of your workouts with a relaxing yoga class (and by that we don’t mean a hard rocking ashtanga class, but more a calmer yin yoga class, coupled with meditation), take some nature walks and figure out ways to cut out the stress from your life. Not just for weight loss, but also for all the other benefits a stress-free life brings.
You’re adding muscle weight
People sometimes forget that hitting the gym has a tendency of making people gain muscles - unless of course all you’re doing is vigorous cardio. But if you’re mixing it up and balancing weight/resistance training, cardio, and good clean eating, chances are you are also gaining extra muscles and better bone density. The scale might say one thing, but it’s not telling you the whole story. It’s not taking into account that you’re putting on good muscle and stronger bone weight while losing fat, making your body look and feel more trim and lean. It’s best to focus on how you’re feeling on the whole and how you fit in clothes, than just what it says on the scales. For a better record of your progress, it’s probably better to get a body fat percentage test.
You’re not eating as healthy as you think
Maybe you buy all your food from health food stores, or from the organic aisle of the supermarket, but if it still consists of mostly diet sodas, low-fat anything, and a whole bunch of ‘organic’ chips, sweets and / or chocolates and gluten free bread, pasta etc, then you’re still just feeding an addiction and consuming empty calories. It might ease your guilt a little because you’re buying it from a ‘healthy store’ but let’s get real, these things aren’t real food. Our advice is to stick to real food. Vegetables, fruits, poultry, fish, meats - real, tangible foods.
You’re eating too little
The simple rule to weight loss is: Eat less calories + Move more = Weight loss. However it isn’t always that simple - our bodies are complicated. It is an intelligent, living, breathing, adapting entity that will shift and change to what it perceives as ‘being starved’ when you lower your caloric intake too much. So while you might think that eating less will mean you lose weight quicker, it can and will work against you. Your body will respond to your eating less food as you being starved and accommodate that by lowering its energy expenditure, so that you don’t starve as quickly. In order to combat this, try cycling your caloric intake by eating less one day and more another. Or if you feel your weight loss is already stalled, try refeeding to kickstart it.
You’re not getting enough sleep
Remember cortisol from the entry above on stress? Our good ol’ fat storing friend? Well guess what, chronic sleep deprivation can also cause the release of cortisol which as we know will them prompt your body to store fat instead of burning it! Another reason you want to get your seven to eight hours of shut eye is because the biggest spike in fat burning actually occurs in deep sleep! So if you’re not getting good sleep, you’re missing out on the prime fat burning opportunity here.
You still fear fat
We’ve been told for so long now that fat is the enemy and it’s hard go against the grain and start eating fat, especially since the mass media, doctors, ‘experts’, friends, and family all seem convinced that fat will kill you. But there’s enough research out now exonerating dietary fat as the cause of heart disease, and all the other diseases fat is supposedly responsible for and yet, there’s still a voice deep down that thinks, “That stuff will kill you”.
But here’s the thing, if you don’t get over that fear and continue to eat a low-carb, low-fat and overall low-energy diet, all you’ll get for your efforts is being stuck and stalled. Good fats, like avocado, coconut oil, nuts, full fat yoghurt, butter, etc will not only supply you with much needed energy on your low-carb diet, but also helps you lose weight! Don’t take our word for it, read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes who will set you straight on the truth about fat.
Looking to lose weight the healthy way?
Weight loss can be an uphill battle. Fret not, we are here to support you in your journey. Say goodbye to crash diets and yo-yo weight gain. We provide you with helpful tips and recommended foods and beverages to help you lose weight the healthy and sustainable way. Find out 6 other possible reasons hindering your weight loss, top 10 habits to help you lose weight and how to get yourself out of the weight loss plateau.