28 June, 2024

Why You Are Not Losing Weight

Are you feeling frustrated because you are putting a lot of time, effort, and dedication into your weight loss program, but the scale is not reflecting all this hard work? You are exercising and eating healthy, but not losing weight.

It can be discouraging to experience no weight loss after 3 weeks of exercise, counting calories, and trips to the gym! The simple truth is that if you are not focused on the right types of effort, you will be like a hamster on a wheel, running and running but getting nowhere.

Obesity is a complex disease, and there are many factors that can be present behind the scenes that can circumvent our weight loss efforts or cause us to gain weight.

Today we are going to talk about 5 reasons why you may find yourself eating healthy, exercising, and dieting but experiencing no weight loss.

1. You May Be In Maintenance Mode

The only way anyone can lose weight is by creating a calorie deficit. What exactly does that mean?

Creating a calorie deficit means eating fewer calories than your body needs to maintain your current weight. This is the basic principle of weight loss and involves creating a balance between the calories you consume through food and the calories you burn through physical activity and keeping your body functioning properly. If your intake of calories is equal to your calorie expenditure, then you are in maintenance mode, and your weight remains the same.

When you create a calorie deficit, your body is forced to tap into its stored energy (fat) to make up for the energy shortfall, leading to weight loss. To create a calorie deficit, you must reduce your calorie intake, increase your physical activity, or do a combination of both. The key to success is to find the right balance to promote weight loss that you can sustain long-term.

Often, people feel they are eating healthy, but they are still eating portions that are too large. So even if you have traded in your junk food for healthier foods, you may still be missing the mark in creating the calorie deficit required to lose weight.

Another common issue is that during the week you are meeting your goal for reduced calorie intake, but then on the weekends you are far exceeding it. This can either cause weight gain or shift you into maintenance mode, where there is no change in your weight.

2. You Are Inaccurately Tracking Food And Calorie Burn

The best thing you can do to help you create a calorie deficit is to track your food consumption and your calories burned through physical activity.

A great number of individuals who are trying to lose weight do not accurately track the calories they are taking in. They believe they are on the right track and creating a calorie deficit, but they forget to track items such as sauces, oils, or butter. They also leave out things they should track. Most of us do things like taste food when it is cooking, take a bite of our kids’ food, eat the last cracker so it is not wasted, etc. These may seem like small things but they can add up to a substantial number of calories and are not being included in the tracking process. We need to be deliberate, pay attention to what we are consuming (practice mindful eating), and make sure we accurately track our calories.

Another issue we frequently find is that fitness trackers are not always accurate. They can often provide an estimate of calorie burn based on various metrics such as heart rate, movement patterns, and personal information that the user loads, but the accuracy of these calorie burn estimates can vary greatly.

Even fitness trackers that use advanced algorithms and technology to calculate calorie expenditure may still have limitations. Factors such as the type and quality of the device, individual variations in physiology and metabolism, the presence of underlying conditions, and the specific activity being performed can affect the accuracy of the calorie burn measurements. If we give too much credit to our fitness tracker, we may be missing our calorie deficit goals without knowing it.

Additionally, many of us tend to feel like we can afford to splurge on calories after exercising. Let’s be honest: how many times have you finished a workout and thought to yourself, ‘Well, now I can have dessert without feeling guilty’ After all, our fitness tracker just told us we had just burned 350 calories! To lose fat, we must consistently create a calorie deficit, and while indulging once in a while is not going to do detrimental damage, it will definitely hinder our weight loss progress.

3. Body Recomposition

It is important to understand that the scale is only one metric that can be used to track the progress you have made. You must also take into consideration other signs of progress. One major change that may have taken place is that you have replaced fat with muscle. (Body recomposition is taking place.) Muscle mass weighs more than fat.

So you may be upset if you have experienced no weight loss after 5 weeks of exercise, but you also need to consider other factors such as an increase in your energy level, improvements in the condition of your skin, an increase in stamina levels when exercising, etc. You might notice these changes in the way your clothes fit or the way you look (inches lost), even though the scale may not reflect a reduction in weight and may even reflect a slight gain.

The good news is that even when your body is at rest, it uses calories to function. The rate of calorie burn while at rest is higher for individuals who have more muscle mass than those with more fat. So simultaneously working on creating a calorie deficit and working on strength training to build muscle will go a long way in helping you reach your weight loss goals.

4. Excess Stress And Lack Of Sleep Are Holding Back Your Progress

Lack of sleep and stress are double trouble for your health, and both of these elements can hinder even the best weight loss efforts. Research has shown that when you do not get an adequate amount of sleep (between 7 and 9 hours a night), it can create hormone imbalances that actually increase your level of hunger and can cause cravings. Ghrelin levels rise, which is the hormone that increases appetite, and leptin levels decrease, which reduces our level of satiety.

A study that was published by JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) reported that at least one-third of the U.S. population does not get enough sleep each night, and this lack of sleep is associated with a host of chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity.

Obesity causes and effects

In addition to sleep, inadequate stress management can also play a significant role in hindering weight loss. When our bodies experience stress, they release a hormone called cortisol into our system, which is part of our “fight or flight” instinct. While helpful in certain situations, too much cortisol caused by chronic stress can actually put our bodies into “fat storage” mode.

A medical specialty that is based on scientific research called ‘lifestyle medicine’ focuses on using lifestyle changes to treat chronic diseases. This branch of medicine is focused on assisting people and their families in establishing and maintaining healthy behaviors that improve their quality of life. The six pillars of lifestyle medicine include physical activity, stress management, restorative sleep, nutrition, social connections, and the avoidance of risky substances. You will notice that both adequate sleep and stress management made this science-based list, as well as other elements that are critical to weight loss.

5. Your Body Might Need A Break

Believe it or not, sometimes your body just needs a short break from counting calories. Our bodies were designed for survival, and therefore, our metabolism is designed to be adaptable in order to keep us alive.

Back in the days before we could run to the grocery store for food, people could experience bouts of feast or famine. They might have had to survive for days on little to no food and hunt, fish, or forage for their next meal. During these times, the metabolism would slow down to conserve energy stores (fat) to use later when it was needed. Then, during times when food was plentiful, their metabolism would speed up.

Unfortunately, our metabolism was never informed that we could just run into Kroger or have groceries delivered and that we no longer required its services to conserve fat. Because of this, when we withhold calories for an extended period of time, our metabolisms begin to work against us. Obviously, it’s just doing its job, but it makes it difficult to create enough of a calorie deficit to lose weight.

So if you have gone several weeks and diet and exercise are not working for weight loss, you may have hit a plateau and your metabolism has slowed down to compensate for the reduced calorie intake. Sometimes taking a break from dieting can help jumpstart our metabolism again. This does not mean a junk food fest for three days, but just eating a bit more than normal from your healthy food choices. When you resume your weight loss program, your efforts to create a deficit will be more effective.

Where Can I Find Help With Weight Loss In New Jersey?

If you are trying to lose weight and are finding it extremely difficult, or have been concentrating on eating healthy but are gaining weight, Reveal Weight Loss can help. We are New Jersey’s leading endobariatric center and offer our patients non-surgical weight loss tools and an unprecedented level of support that enhance their weight loss efforts and help them safely and effectively reach their goals.

Our extremely knowledgeable and dedicated team is here to help you every step of the way on your weight-loss journey. We will create a customized plan and monitor your progress, proactively making adjustments as needed. Contact us today and set up a consultation to learn more about how we can help you become healthier through sustainable weight loss.

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