You’re working out; you’re eating healthy. Heck, you even skipped that extra glass of wine last night. But the pounds just aren’t coming off. It can be frustrating.
But weight loss wouldn’t be a multimillion-dollar industry if it was only about following a simple diet plan for a short time. Your weight loss plateau could be caused by a number of different factors.
25 Reasons You Might Not Be Losing Weight
You Are Losing Weight; You Just Don’t Realize it
It is normal for your body weight to fluctuate a few pounds, depending on how much you are eating and drinking or what time of the day you are weighing yourself. Water retention and perceived weight gain are normal before the period as well due to hormonal fluctuation.
More importantly, it is possible that you are gaining muscle at the same time as you are losing fat, especially if you just started a new workout routine or upped your exercise level. Gaining muscle is a good thing; what you want to lose is body fat. Checking your body fat percentage and measuring your waist circumference once a month is a good idea to gauge your progress and ensure that you lose fat and gain muscle.
A short plateau during your weight loss journey is also normal. Your body and mind are adapting to a new diet and workout regimen.
If the scale doesn’t budge for a couple of weeks, you don’t need to worry. If you don’t see progress after 3 or 4 weeks, It’s worth investigating other possible reasons why you’re not losing weight.
- Don’t worry about short plateaus.
- Check your body fat percentage and look for fat loss instead of weight loss.
- Pay attention to weekly averages instead of daily fluctuations.
You Are Not Keeping Track of What You Are Eating
You have to be aware and mindful of what you are eating when you are trying to lose weight. If you don’t keep track of what you eat, you may not realize how much you are eating. It is easy to forget about a small snack, a second helping of pasta, or finishing up your kiddo’s leftover.
Keeping a food diary may be incredibly helpful. While counting calories and specific nutrients may be beneficial for weight loss, some people struggle with it. If you don’t want to obsess about calories or have a history of an eating disorder, taking a picture of your meals and snack is a great idea to keep yourself accountable and keep track of what you eat.
Solution: Keep a food diary. If it works better for you, you can keep a picture diary of your food intake.
You Are Eating Too Many Calories
Eating more calories than you need may lead to weight gain. However, research has shown that people tend to underestimate their calorie intake, which may lead to weight gain or the lack of weight loss. Tracking your calories may be an important tool, especially if you feel stuck in your weight loss journey.
Solution: Track your calories in a food journal or an online app.
You Are Not Eating Whole Foods
Besides the number of calories you are eating, what you are eating is also important. Refined sugars, refined fats, artificial ingredients, artificial sugars, sugar-free drinks, and processed foods may increase your appetite, compromise your digestion, and lead to weight gain. On the other hand, eating nutrient-dense, fiber-rich, whole foods full of vitamins and minerals may help to regulate your appetite and help you lose weight.
Solution: Eat plenty of nutrient-dense, fiber-rich foods, such as greens, veggies, fruits, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Eliminate refined sugars, refined fats, artificial ingredients, artificial sugars, sugar-free drinks, and processed foods.
You Are Not Eating Enough Protein
Protein is an incredibly important macronutrient. Thanks to an appetite-regulating hormone called ghrelin, it may keep you satisfied longer and reduce your cravings. Eating a high-protein breakfast may reduce your cravings during the day. Eating plenty of protein at each meal may reduce your cravings, help you eat fewer calories during the day, and help you gain more muscle while losing fat.
Solution: Eat protein at each meal.
You Are Eating Too Many Carbs
Carbs are important; however, if you are struggling to lose weight or have metabolic problems, such as prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, consider cutting back on carbs and trying a low-carb diet. Research has shown that a low-carb diet may help you lose weight and also improve metabolic markers.
- Lower your carb intake.
- Eliminate or reduce any refined sugar and refined carbs from processed foods.
- Focus on low glycemic index fruits, such as berries, and fiber-rich, nutrient-dense carbs, such as sweet potatoes and quinoa.
You Are Drinking Too Much Sugar
If you want to lose weight, the chances are that you’ve already cut out sodas. However, seemingly healthier drinks, such as vitamin waters and fruit juices, are also loaded with sugar. The problem is that while they are full of sugar and calories, your brain doesn’t realize that it is not food and doesn’t compensate by making you crave less food.
Solution: Cut out sodas, fruit juices, energy drinks, and vitamin waters. Opt for water and herbal teas instead. Green juices and superfood powder drinks, such as Organifi, are excellent options to add nutrient-dense, low-calorie, healthy goodness into your body and entertain your taste buds while still losing weight.
You Are Not Lifting Weights
Strength and resistance training, including lifting weights, bodyweight exercises, TRX, and CrossFit, may help you lose fat, gain muscle, and maintain muscle mass. They may help to prevent metabolic slowdown. They may help you feel better and slimmer in your clothes regardless of what the scale says.
Solution: Add some form of strength training to your week two or three times a week.
You Are Not Doing Cardio
Cardio, such as running, biking, swimming, hiking, and aerobics classes, is just as important as strength training. It may help you burn belly fat and overall fat and feel better in your body.
You Are Binge Eating
Binge eating may come as a side effect of dieting, restricting, or changing your diet. Binging involves eating a large amount of food rapidly. Though most of the time people binge on junk food, such as chips, candy, and ice cream, even binging on healthy foods, such as nuts, nut butter, dark chocolate, or black bean brownies may add a lot of extra calories which may lead to weight gain or a weight loss plateau.
Solution: Daytime restrictions often lead to nighttime binges. Make sure you are not depriving yourself throughout the day. Look for emotional reasons behind your binges, and address them. Seek help from a therapist if needed.
You Are Eating Too Often
While eating multiple small meals throughout the day may work well for some people, it doesn’t work for everyone. Research has shown that the frequency of your meals has little to no effect on your weight loss and fat burning. However, eating too often may set you up for eating too many calories.
Solution: Intermittent fasting may be the right solution for you. Intermittent fasting involves going without food for an extended period of time. Staying without food for 12 to 16 hours is common. For example, if you stop eating after a 6 pm dinner and don’t eat until 8 am, you have fasted for 14 hours. You may start your day with a big glass of lemon water and green juice and eat breakfast at 10 am to meet a 16-hour fasting window.
You Are Not Drinking Enough Water
Proper hydration is key for your overall health and weight loss. Your body may mistake thirst with hunger and may set you up for unnecessary snacking and overeating. Drinking plenty of water may boost your calorie burning and weight loss.
Solution: Make sure that you are drinking at least 8 – 10 glasses of water throughout the day. If you are exercising, sick, or it’s hot outside, add a few more. Green juices and herbal tea should be consumed on top of your water intake.
You Are Drinking Too Much Alcohol
Alcoholic drinks, especially beer, wine, and sugary cocktails, are high in calories and sugar. Drinking may also increase your appetite or cravings for a snack. While moderate drinking may be fine, heavy drinking has been linked to weight gain by research.
Solution: Limit your alcohol intake or cut out alcohol completely.
You Are Not Eating Mindfully
What you are eating matters, of course. However, how you are eating matters just as much, rushing and not chewing your food may ruin your weight loss goals and lead to indigestion. Mindful eating, however, may help with weight loss and reduce the risk of binge eating.
- Eat mindfully.
- Slow down.
- Observe your food.
- Chew well and carefully.
- Put down your fork between bites.
- Avoid TV and social media distractions.
- Sit down to eat, instead of standing in front of your cupboard or eating at your desk or in your car.
You Have Been Restricting for Too Long
Restricting your calories for too long may lead your body to believe that you are starving yourself and it needs to hold onto calories.
Solution: If you’ve been dieting for a long time, and after continuous weight loss, you’ve hit a plateau, you may need to take a break, increase your calories a bit, and sleep more. If your long-term restriction is due to an eating disorder, you need to focus on healing your mind and body instead of your weight and calories. If you have an eating disorder, seek professional help.
You Are Addicted to Junk Food
Food addiction is real. According to a study, nearly 20% of North American and European people have a food addiction. Junk food is your enemy; it is high in refined sugar and refined fats that may be just as addictive both emotionally and physically as drugs in drug addicts. Junk food is also high in calories and low in nutrients, and even what seems like a little bit maybe counterproductive for weight loss.
Solution: To tackle food addictions, start adding more nutrient-dense whole foods to your diet to correct nutritional imbalances and reduce cravings for junk foods. You may also benefit from visiting a therapist to address the emotional causes behind your addiction and tackle addictive behaviors.
You Take Weekends Off
It is common among those who want to lose weight to pay attention to their diet during the week but relax during the weekend. While adding one extra piece of dessert on a Sunday may not lead to a plateau, being completely careless and overeating your favorite junk food may lead to issues.
Solution: Pay attention to your nutrition during the weekend as well. Sticking to a healthy routine makes it easier for your body to adapt to a new, healthier way of eating.
You Are Not Getting Good Sleep
Getting enough good night’s sleep is absolutely crucial to your physical and mental health. Poor sleep may lead to high cortisol levels, which may lead to extra belly fat. A lack of sleep also may lead to overeating and increase your risk of obesity.
- Get enough sleep from 7 to 10 hours of sleep at night.
- Develop a nighttime routine and a regular sleep schedule.
- Avoid eating – especially sugary foods and caffeinated drinks – close to bedtime.
You Are Stressed Out
Chronic stress may increase cortisol in your body, leading to weight gain and belly fat. Stress may increase your cravings and increase your desire to skip your workouts and throw in the towel on healthy eating.
Solution: Reduce stress. Implement stress reduction strategies, such as meditation, breathing exercises, nature walks, journaling, coloring, and time with loved ones.
You Have Emotional Trauma
Your mind and body are connected. Your body remembers traumatic events, holds emotional trauma and responds to your emotions. For example, those abused or bullied may feel the subconscious need to hide behind a larger body and prevent people from getting close to them and rejecting them. Emotional eating is also a common coping mechanism for stress and emotional trauma.
Solution: Working with a mental health professional may be incredibly helpful in addressing and working through emotional trauma and other underlying emotional issues.
You Have an Unhealthy Gut
Your gut is incredibly important for digestion, absorption, and overall health. If you have unhealthy gut flora, it may lead to an increased risk of inflammation, indigestion, bloating, cravings, and weight gain.
Solution: Take high-quality probiotics, add probiotic-rich foods to your diet, and eat a fiber-rich, nutrient-dense diet.
You Have a Medical Condition
Some medical conditions may make it more difficult for you to lose weight or may even lead to weight gain. For example, hormonal imbalance, adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, sleep apnea, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) may result in weight gain. Certain medications may also increase your risk of weight gain.
Solution: If you notice unexplained weight gain, have a difficult time losing weight despite doing everything right, or have other symptoms, visit your doctor. Once you know your diagnosis, you may look for the right treatment options, including natural solutions. If you suspect that a medication is making you gain weight, visit your doctor to discuss potential alternative options.
You Have Unrealistic Expectations
Slow and progressive weight loss is the best approach to long-term health and weight loss. If you have a lot of weight to lose, it is normal to lose quicker at the beginning, then slow down with your progress for a while. Having unrealistic expectations of your body may also lead to frustration and disappointment.
- Set realistic expectations.
- Consider your body shape and type.
- Celebrate slow and gradual progress.
- Develop a long-term approach.
You Are Focused on Dieting Only
Research has shown that people who diet often end up gaining weight over time. Dieting may lead to yoyo dieting and weight fluctuations. Focusing on dieting only may be counterproductive and may lead to emotional frustration or obsessing. Focusing too much on your weight may lead to body image issues and low self-esteem.
- Focus on your health instead of your weight.
- Focus on nourishing your body with nutrient-dense foods instead of depriving it.
- Learn to love yourself and your body right now, instead of loving it only in a future goal form.
- Develop a long-term approach.
You Don’t Love Yourself.
Negative self-talk, hate, and criticism put extra emotional stress on your body, sabotaging your weight gain. If you don’t love yourself, you may also be more likely to cheat on your nutrition or workout regimen. You may also become too hard on yourself, and instead of celebrating each small step, you punish yourself for not progressing fast enough.
- Learn to love yourself inside and outside.
- Develop positive self-talk.
- Practice affirmations.
- Do some mirror work.
- Ask help from a therapist or coach to process negative emotions and develop self-love.
Have you recognized yourself in any of these points? How do you have the solutions to correct your approach and lose weight successfully.
What are your greatest difficulties that prevent you from losing weight? What are you doing to overcome them? Share your experiences with us. We would love to support your weight loss and health journey.
And remember, we are in this together.