When you lose weight, your body fights back.
You may be able to lose quite a lot of weight at first, without much effort. However, losing weight may slow down or stop altogether after a while.
This article lists common factors why you’re not losing weight.
It also contains actionable tips on how to break through the plateau and get things moving again.
1. Maybe You Are Losing Without Realizing It
If you think you are experiencing a losing weight plateau, you shouldn’t fret just yet.
It is incredibly common for the scale not to budge for a few days (or weeks) at a time. This does not mean that you are not losing fat.
Body weight tends to fluctuate by a few pounds. It depends on the foods you are eating, and hormones can also have a major effect on how much water your body retains (especially in women).
Also, it is possible to gain muscle at the same time as you lose fat. This is particularly common if you recently started exercising.
This is a good thing, as what you really want to lose is body fat, not just weight.
It is a good idea to use something other than the scale to gauge your progress. For example, measure your waist circumference and body fat percentage once per month.
Also, how well your clothes fit and how you look in the mirror can be very telling.
Unless your weight has been stuck at the same point for more than 1–2 weeks, you probably don’t need to worry about anything.
A losing weight plateau may be explained by muscle gain, undigested food and fluctuations in body water. If the scale doesn’t budge, you might still be losing fat.
2. You’re Not Keeping Track of What You’re Eating
Awareness is incredibly important if you are trying to losing weight. Many people don’t have a clue how much they’re really eating.
Studies show that keeping track of your diet helps with weight loss. People who use food diaries or photograph their meals consistently lose more weight than people who don’t.
Keeping a food diary can be helpful when you are trying to lose weight.
3. You’re Not Eating Enough Protein
Protein is the single most important nutrient for losing weight.
Eating protein at 25–30% of calories can boost metabolism by 80–100 calories per day and make you automatically eat several hundred fewer calories per day. It can also drastically reduce cravings and desire for snacking.
This is partly mediated by protein’s effects on appetite-regulating hormones, such as ghrelin (it stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage) and others.
If you eat breakfast, be sure to load up on protein. Studies show that those who eat a high-protein breakfast are less hungry and have fewer cravings throughout the day
A high protein intake also helps prevent metabolic slowdown, a common side effect of losing weight. Additionally, it helps prevent weight regain.
Low protein intake may bring your weight loss efforts to a standstill. Make sure to eat plenty of protein-rich foods.
4. You’re Eating Too Many Calories
A large number of people who have trouble losing weight are simply eating too many calories.
You may think that this does not apply to you, but keep in mind that studies consistently show that people tend to underestimate their calorie intake by a significant amount. If you are not losing weight, you should try weighing your foods and tracking your calories for a while.
Tracking is also important if you’re trying to reach a certain nutrient goal, such as getting 30% of your calories from protein. This can be impossible to achieve if you’re not tracking things properly.
It is generally not necessary to count calories and weigh everything for the rest of your life. Instead, try out these techniques for a few days every few months to get a feel for how much you’re eating.
5. You’re Not Eating Whole Foods
Food quality is just as important as quantity.
Eating healthy foods can improve your wellbeing and help regulate your appetite. These foods tend to be much more filling than their processed counterparts.
Keep in mind that many processed foods labeled as “health foods” aren’t really healthy. Stick to whole, single-ingredient foods as much as possible.
Make sure to base your diet on whole foods. Eating too much-processed food could ruin your weight loss success.
6. You’re Not Lifting Weights
One of the most important things you can do when losing weight is to do some form of resistance training, such as lifting weights.
This can help you maintain muscle mass, which is often burned along with body fat if you are not exercising
Lifting weights can also help prevent metabolic slowdown and ensure that your body stays toned and muscular.
Strength training is an effective way to lose fat. It prevents the loss of muscle mass often associated with weight loss and helps maintain long-term fat loss.
7. You’re Not Doing Cardio
Cardiovascular exercise, also known as cardio or aerobic exercise, is any type of exercise that increases your heart rate. It includes activities such as jogging, cycling, and swimming.
One of the most effective ways to improve your health. It is also very effective at burning belly fat, the harmful “visceral” fat that builds up around your organs and causes disease.
Make sure to do cardio regularly. It helps you burn fat, especially around your midsection. Lack of exercise could be one reason for a weight loss plateau.
8. You’re Still Drinking Sugar
Sugary beverages are the most fattening items in the food supply. Your brain doesn’t compensate for the calories in them by making you eat less of other foods. This isn’t only true of sugary drinks like Coke and Pepsi — it also applies to “healthier” beverages like Vitaminwater, which are also loaded with sugar.
Even fruit juices are problematic, and should not be consumed in large amounts. A single glass can contain a similar amount of sugar as several pieces of the whole fruit.
Avoiding all sugary beverages is an excellent weight loss strategy. They often make up a significant portion of people’s calorie intake.
9. You’re Not Sleeping Well
Good sleep is one of the most important factors for your physical and mental health, as well as your weight.
Studies show that poor sleep is one of the single biggest risk factors for obesity. Adults and children with poor sleep have a 55% and 89% greater risk of becoming obese, respectively.
Lack of quality sleep is a strong risk factor for obesity. It could also hinder your weight loss progress.
10. You’re Not Cutting Back on Carbohydrates
If you have a lot of weight to lose and/or metabolic problems like type 2 diabetes or pre-diabetes, you may want to consider a low-carb diet.
In short-term studies, this type of diet has been shown to cause up to 2–3 times as much weight loss as the standard “low-fat” diet that is often recommended.
Low-carb diets can also lead to improvements in many metabolic markers, such as triglycerides, “good” HDL(high-density lipoproteins) cholesterol and blood sugar, to name a few.
If you are unable to lose weight, consider trying a low-carb diet. Many studies show that a low-carb diet can be an effective weight-loss strategy.
11. You’re Not Drinking Water
Drinking water can benefit from weight loss.
In one 12-week weight loss study, people who drank half a liter (17 ounces) of water 30 minutes before meals lost 44% more weight than those who did not.
Drinking water has also been shown to boost the number of calories burned by 24–30% over a period of 1.5 hours.
To reduce your calorie intake, drink a glass of water before meals. Drinking water may also increase the number of calories you burn.
12. You’ve Been Starving Yourself For Too Long
It may not be a good idea to “diet” for too long.
If you’ve been losing weight for many months and you’ve hit a plateau, then perhaps you just need to take a break.
Up your calorie intake by a few hundred calories per day, sleep more and lift some weights with the goal of getting stronger and gaining a bit of muscle.
Aim to maintain your body fat levels for 1–2 months before you start trying to lose weight again.
If you have reached a weight loss plateau, you may simply have been dieting for too long. Maybe it’s time to take a break.
Weight loss is not always easy and numerous factors can bring it to a standstill.
At the most basic level, weight loss failure occurs when calorie intake is equal to or higher than calorie expenditure.
Try strategies ranging from mindful eating to keeping a food diary, from eating more protein to doing strength exercises.
In the end, changing your weight and your lifestyle requires dedication, self-discipline, perseverance, and resilience.