Losing weight is ultimately a caloric deficit. That’s it. It doesn’t matter how you go about your health/fitness/weight loss journey, you can’t lose weight without a calorie deficit in your day. Its just impossible.
But what if you are doing everything right, and yet nothing is happening. No results. Same weight. And I’m not talking about being 2 days into a new routine and expecting to drop 5 pounds. I’m talking about weeks of consistent effort and still being stuck at the same weight.
First, I’d like to applaud you for sticking with it. Starting a new nutrition/exercise regimen takes a lot of willpower and determination. And if you have made it multiple weeks, consistently, and remained strong despite the lack of results, that in itself deserves an award. But you’re not here for me to pat you on the back, you want answers, and I’m going to try my best to provide some options that could be affecting your journey.
1.No Caloric Deficit. As much as we think we are eating healthy, and exercising enough to create a deficit to lose weight, we may, in fact, not be. At this point, since you are now a few weeks (or more) into this journey, it might be time to start tracking the things you eat. I don’t necessarily mean count calories, but I do want you to write down every piece of food or drink that goes into your mouth. You might be surprised to find out that those few Hershey’s kisses you ate actually do in fact add up and can prevent the caloric deficit your body needs in order to lose weight. Even if it isn’t candy or junk food, it might be that some of the healthy foods you’re eating could be too much in abundance, which is enough to put you over the calorie edge. Don’t stress about this part of the process, just mark down the foods and drinks you eat and see if there is a pattern. If it still doesn’t appear apparent and obvious what the culprit might be that’s halting your progress, then try logging your food into a calorie counting app to really get an in-depth look at how much you’re consuming.
“Even if only for a few days, keep track of what you eat in a journal or mobile app and record the calorie count for each. Many people tend to uncover negative patterns of eating that they can change.”Jaylin Allen
2.Not Hydrating Properly. Not drinking enough water can greatly inhibit the results you feel you should be getting. Our bodies are made up of mostly water, and water affects how efficiently our bodies function. When we are dehydrated (a state in which our body is not fully getting the amount of water required to function at its best), everything in our body slows down. This includes our muscles, metabolism, brain function, repair, etc. I’ll try not to get too scientific, but essentially its vital that we consume enough water so our body can do what it was designed to do. And if weight loss is your goal, it’s important that you’re drinking enough water. A good rule of thumb is to aim for drinking half of your body weight in ounces. So, a 150-pound woman would need to drink at least 75 ounces of water per day, more if she is active and/or nursing. If you feel you have been lacking in this area, try to hit your water goal consistently for the next week and see if that improves your health and fitness results.
3.Not Getting Enough Sleep. A lack of sleep reduces the ability for your body to repair itself. Most of your body’s repairing happens at night, when we get into the REM Cycle of sleep. If you are not reaching this point throughout the night, either through broken sleep or by staying up too late and getting up too early, your body does not have the ability to properly repair itself. This leads to muscles being unable to rebuild and therefore are left fatigued. This, in turn, leaves you feeling fatigued as well as unable to push through your next workout. It’s important that you do your best to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. This allows your body adequate repair/rebuild time and gets you refreshed and ready for your next workout.
“Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. For example, sleep is involved in healing and repair of your heart and blood vessels. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.”National Institute of Health on Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency
4.Lackadaisical Workouts. Working out might be new to you, so it’s quite possible you are being timid as you test it out. But are you not pushing as hard during your workouts as you could be? Which means you are not actually burning as many calories as you think you might be? This can be a problem if you are tracking your workouts and nutrition. If you are logging that you burned more calories than you actually did, you can be eating more than you should be to compensate for the calorie burn of your workout. It’s important that you push yourself during your workouts. This increases your calorie burn, as well increases your metabolism, which burns more calories while your body is resting. So how do you know how hard to push during your workout? Depending on which type of exercise you are performing, you should almost always be getting your heart rate up to 60-75% of your max heart rate. This means that you are pushing yourself to the point of breathing hard and unable to consistently carry on a conversation, but not to the point that you are unable to speak at all. Always remember the conversation rule: if you can talk easily the workout is too easy. If your breathing is labored and you’re having to take a breath every few words you speak, you’re at a great level of exertion. If you are unable to say any words at all, the workout is too hard, especially for someone who is just starting out on their health and fitness journey.
5.Post-Workout Meal. If you are not eating after your workout because your main focus is weight loss, you could actually be deterring the weight loss from happening. The meal you eat post-workout, typically within 30-60 minutes after your workout has been completed, is arguably one of the most important meals of your day. That meal (or maybe more accurately, a snack) is what starts the repair process on your muscles. It also, and probably most importantly, replenishes the energy stores that your body just exerted during exercise. Without refueling your body after the workout, you are preventing that repair process from happening effectively, as well as denying your body the energy it needs and craves. This will result in a slower metabolism, as well as most likely being very hungry by the time your next meal rolls around.
6.Hormones. Hormones can play a major factor in your health and fitness journey. And while some of those hormones are fairly temporary (that time of the month), some of them can be long term and actually be what is keeping the scale from moving at all. It is quite possible that something is going on with your thyroid, or something else is off within your body. It never hurts to sit down with your doctor and have a blood panel and physical done, just to make sure that everything is running smoothly within your body.
My hope is that after you have read this list you will be able to realize an area in your health and fitness routine that might need some extra attention, or might need some extra work, and then you can be on your way to the results that you are wanting and that you deserve.