This past week several friends have come to me asking, “WHY?!?! I’m eating less, working out more and still not losing any weight.” While this “eat less, move more” philosophy definitely can help with overall health or beginning weight loss, it may not be that simple for everyone. Each body is different! There can be a number of things to keep in mind when you feel like no changes are happening.
What to do? Remember:
- Stick it out! Don’t lose heart! Changes take TIME. Make a decision to be committed and be relentless toward your goals. It WILL happen, just keep at it. Your body fluctuates several pounds on a daily basis just because of water intake, sodium bloat, constipation, and inflammation, that it’s impossible to get a good measurement if you’re weighing yourself too frequently.
- Realize the other victories that are happening in your body. The scale may not always reflect it, but the time you spend exercising or being more disciplined with your nutrition is appreciated by your organs and muscles. You may be gaining muscle, more energy, better sleep, or more confidence. No steps taken toward improving your health are wasted.
- You may not be accurately counting your calories (if you’re paying attention to them at all). Be honest, are you really eating as clean as possible? Are you still treating yourself to extra treats in your coffee? Are you eating after 8pm and not giving your body a chance to digest?? Maybe you’re over doing it even on healthy foods? You don’t need an entire avocado just because it’s a healthy fat for you or several protein shakes a day with tons of peanut butter in it. Some things our brain says we can have plenty of because it’s “healthy” is actually very caloric, and better served in smaller portions.
- You may need to switch up your workout to high intensity, sprints, interval training, or circuit training with weights. Your body gets used to the same old 30 minute cardio session, adapts and becomes more efficient at using the fuel. You need muscle confusion to challenge yourself enough that your body will react to it and change. Lifting weights increases your metabolism and gives you more effective, long term weight loss. Cardio alone isn’t enough. Try switching it up with a fitness class, a home DVD workout, one of my challenge groups, or find a personal trainer!
- Check in on your stress levels. Take a look at your lifestyle habits and see if you’re getting enough sleep or paying enough attention to your emotional/spiritual needs. Chronic stress releases a hormone called Cortisol that increases fat storage and the rate at which you store fat. It can also increase your appetite and raise your blood sugar. Excess exercise then may be contributing to the stress in your body, not helping. You may need to take it easy for a time if you’re over exercising, until your body is able to get enough rest and recover. Drink plenty of water to make sure you’re not dehydrating your body either!
- Your body may already be below it’s set point. We are naturally designed to hold on to our fat, as our ancestors didn’t know the next meal they’d get. Take time to learn if you realistically are at a healthy weight and it is unsafe to lose any more. I know society can push push push on this topic, so just be sure you actually NEED to lose weight. If not, find a new goal: maybe exercise consistency, a measurable endurance or strength goal, or something fun and active to focus on. You may be able to measure your progress by goals, or how your clothes fit, rather than the number going up and down on the scale.