Losing weight can be the most important thing you do to improve your health. When you’re ready to take that step, traditional advice says it’s a simple matter of calories in vs. calories out.
But, not so fast.
Your body is complex, and that complexity applies to your weight loss journey as well. If you’ve been hard at work dieting and exercising and still not losing weight, there may be something else going on.
How much you eat and the amount of exercise you do aren’t the only factors relevant to your weight. If you’re not losing weight the way you want, it’s just a matter of identifying what is holding you back.
So, You’re Not Losing Weight?
It’s frustrating to feel like you are doing everything right, but the number on the scale isn’t moving. We get it. Most of us have been there at one time or another.
First, take a deep breath. Remember, weight loss isn’t linear, and it’s normal for your weight to fluctuate a bit.
But, if you’ve been working hard and still not seeing results, let’s dig a little deeper. A plateau is one thing, but sometimes the reason you are not losing weight is more complex.
Here are the 5 most common reasons people get stuck and how you can breakthrough.
It May Be Your Gut
Your digestive system doesn’t just break down and absorb food; it also houses your microbiome. This diverse community of microbes has a significant impact on whether you reach and maintain your goal weight.
Our understanding of the microbiome and its role in weight loss is still expanding. But here is some of what recent research has discovered:
- Overweight and obese individuals are more likely to have a damaged microbiome.
- The microbiome plays a crucial role in secreting enzymes that aid digestion.
- When it comes to weight loss, the more diverse the bacteria in your gut, the better.
- Overweight individuals tend to have fewer helpful bacteria such as Bacteroidetes and more harmful bacteria such as Clostridium.
- A healthy microbiota produces short-chain fatty acids, which may prevent fat storage.
Unfortunately, modern life is not kind to our microbiome. Processed foods, low-fiber diets, exposure to antibiotics, and other lifestyle factors can get your gut out of whack and make it hard to lose weight.
How to get your gut back on track:
A healthy, high-fiber diet keeps your microbiome happy. Aim for at least 25-30 grams of fiber each day.
In addition to following a healthy diet, consider adding a boost of prebiotic fiber each day. Prebiotics provide essential nutrients to the beneficial bacteria in your microbiome and are crucial to gut health.
Dietary sources of prebiotics include chicory root, asparagus, garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichoke, and jicama.
Lack Of Sleep Could Be The Culprit
The hours you spend sleeping don’t just help you feel rested. They are a critical time for your body to rest, repair, and rebalance.
If you sleep too little, or your sleep isn’t good quality, then it’s no surprise you’re not losing weight. Lack of sleep is considered a risk factor for obesity.
When you don’t get as many hours of sleep as you need, your hormones can get out of whack. This can lead to an imbalance of the hormones that regulate cravings and appetite, causing you to overeat.
Insufficient sleep may also increase the concentration of the hormone ghrelin, which promotes fat storage and weight gain.
How to get your sleep back on track:
If you want to lose weight, you have to make sleep a priority. In the same way, you prioritize diet and exercise, getting a full night’s rest is equally critical.
Try these sleep tips:
- Keep a regular sleep schedule that allows for 7-9 hours of sleep each night.
- Create a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Limit screen exposure in the hour leading up to bedtime.
- Don’t eat a meal or exercise within a few hours of going to bed.
- Get up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
Stress Can Work Against You
If you’re dealing with a lot of daily stress, you are not alone. A majority of adults report feeling stressed out each week, and that number is on the rise.
But unchecked stress is not just bad for your mental health; it could be the reason you are not losing weight. When you feel stressed, your body releases more of the hormone cortisol.
High levels of cortisol can cause issues such as:
- Weight gain
- Poor blood sugar regulation
- Altered metabolism
While stress may be unavoidable, it doesn’t have to be unmanageable. How you handle stress will determine if it becomes a factor that prevents you from losing weight.
How to get your stress levels under control:
It’s common to think that your stress level will come down once stressors go away. But don’t fall into that trap. There is always something that will cause you stress. It’s a normal part of life.
Instead, have a plan to manage your stress.
- Engage in relaxing activities like walking in nature, getting a massage, or spending time with a loved one.
- Take up daily meditation.
- Practice deep breathing.
- Try yoga or other meditative movements.
You’re Not Moving Enough
Exercise is essential for weight loss. But, it’s not the only type of movement you need.
For most people, exercise is only 30-60 minutes of the 16 hours you’re awake. How much you move during the other 15 hours could mean the difference between hitting your weight loss goals or not losing weight.
Most adults sit for around 6.5 to 8 hours each day. While getting an hour of exercise is excellent, in the end, it won’t counteract the effect of being inactive for the majority of your time.
If you want to be successful at losing weight and keeping it off, you have to get more movement in during your non-exercise hours.
How to get your movement levels up:
To move more, you don’t necessarily need to add in more structured exercise. What you need is to sprinkle more movement throughout your day.
- Choosing the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Take a walk when you are on the phone instead of sitting.
- Set a timer or use an app to remind you to get up and move every 30 to 60 minutes.
- Do light stretching while you watch TV.
- Pick up a hobby that gets you moving like gardening, golf (skip the golf cart!), softball, or bird watching.
You’re Trying To Lose Weight All On Your Own
Never underestimate the power of a coach or team of people to support you on your weight loss journey.
Working with someone who specializes in helping people lose weight can keep you motivated, inspired, and accountable. A weight-loss coach can also keep you on track and identify challenges before you get stuck in a weight-loss rut.
There’s no reason to go it alone. If you’re not losing weight, a weight-loss coach might be just what you need to get back on track.
Achieve Your Weight Loss Goals
If you’re not losing weight, it’s time to make some changes to your habits and reach out for the right kind of support.
Don’t stay stuck where you are. We know the weight loss journey can feel frustrating at times, but once you understand the reasons you’re not losing weight, you can push through those obstacles and start achieving your goals.
Taking care of your health is worth the effort, and with a little troubleshooting, you can lose those pounds and feel better than ever.