Most people lose weight quickly when they first change their diet, start an exercise program, or make other changes to their lifestyle. After the initial weight loss or when you get closer to you goal, weight loss typically slows down, often to a crawl or a complete stop. There are many reasos why this happens.
Our bodies were designed to feast when food is available and conserve energy when food is scarce. So when we get closer to our goal weight or fitness level, it should not be a surprise that our body fights to retain the remaining body fat. That being said, here are some other reasons you might not be losing weight:
Failing to Track What You Eat
It has been proven time and time again that those who track what they eat on a regular basis lose more weight and maintain the loss. When you journal your daily food intake, it keeps you accountable, whether you have a health coach or not. It also boosts your confidence when you make healthy choices and helps you figure out what to change when you are at a plateau or even gaining weight. Too much of some healthy foods can still sabotage all of your best intentions.
Not Eating Enough Whole Foods
While juicing, smoothies, soups, and fasting have their place in a lot of people’s lifestyle, many people are perplexed when the scale stops moving in the right direction. When we drink most of our calories, our bodies are digesting “too” efficiently. This means that our bodies have far less work to do in order to process the macronutrients and calories. This causes us to raise our blood sugar, hold more calories and fat from the meal, and slow down our weight loss. Does this mean you can’t have juices, smoothies, and soups? Absolutely not.
The point is that it is extremely important to chew most of your food when you are losing weight. I eat soup multiple times a week, but I also eat a lot of salads, vegetable dishes (both raw and cooked) and whole fruits. So these wonderful drinks and foods have their place, but not as a constant meal replacement.
You Are Only Doing Traditional Cardio Workouts
There are a lot of myths out there in regard to weight loss, and in turn in regard to exercise. While cardio is necessary and beneficial, you will have better results when you add these other exercises into the mix, you get all the benefits
- Add strength training/weight lifting to your weekly program. The reason for this is that increased muscle mass allows you to burn more calories, even when you are resting. Toned muscles also look good!
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – You may think HIIT is just the latest trend, but the theory has been around for a long time. What is it? You push yourself to work as hard as you can for a short period of time, such as a minute. Then you slow it down for two-to-three minutes and push hard again. The benefits of HIIT are a strengthened cardiovascular system, faster fat loss, improved endurance, and increased muscle tone. The best part of HIIT is that you can apply it to all types of exercise, including cardio, weight lifting, and jogging/running.
- Slow Exercise – This includes most forms of yoga, Tai Chi, and other breath-focused exercises. Adding at least a few days a week to your routine has been shown to aid in weight loss, reduce anxiety, and improve stress management.
- Lack of Variety – Just like the foods we eat can cause our bodies to rebel if we eat the same combinations regularly, stagnating the types of exercise we do can have a similar effect. So get out there and change it up, try something new and have fun with it.
You Are Not Sleeping Well or Enough
All by itself, a good night’s rest can help you lose weight more quickly and keep you from getting sick often. Our bodies focus on digestion and healing when we sleep. I know that I can have a difference of several pounds on the scale based on whether I have been sleeping well or not.
Numerous studies now show that lack of sleep is one of the top contributors to obesity. Lack of sleep effects our cortisol levels (among many other hormones), which are a big factor in fat gain or loss.
Eating healthy doesn’t mean you are free to eat as much as you want. While that may be relatively true for greens or cruciferous vegetables. Most people don’t binge on those super nutrient-dense foods. Eating an abundance of potatoes or sprouted grain bread or avocados is going to add up.
One day of binging can sabotage a whole week of balance, healthy meals and prevent weight loss (or even cause weight gain). Don’t let yourself yo-yo just because you are eating healthy foods. Be a mindful eater. If you suffer from a history of binge eating, you most likely suffer from an anxiety disorder.
Find an experienced life or health coach to help you discover a solution to this challenging cycle of sabotage. For severe anxiety or eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia, contact your trusted medical doctor or a doctor who specialized in eating disorders.
There are as many reasons for not losing weight as there are diets that promise to help you “once and for all.” Learn to be your own advocate by reading, researching, and seeking coaching for guidance or accountability. Few people are overweight simply because of their food choices.
Food choices are all or in part based on behavior that has been learned and repeated over time. You can change your behavior, the foods you eat, and finally find a healthy way to lose the excess weight. Watch for part two of this three-part post.