7 Surprising Reasons Why You Are Not Losing Weight

why am I not losing weight
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Hey there lazy couch potato!

You must be reading this to know why you are not losing weight after exercising and restricting your diet.

In this post I will explain why you are not losing weight as simple as a-b-c to the point even sloths can understand.

Why I did not lose weight after putting in so much effort in exercising? What can I do to lose weight? How should I do it?

These are the questions you maybe wondering, especially if you are currently following a weight loss program or diet plan – are you?

why am I not losing weight

These are 7 surprising reasons why you are not losing weight:

1. Over-eating

Surprise surprise…. to lose weight just by exercising is hard work because to burn calories is harder than reducing calories intake.

Besides, losing weight is 85% diet and 15% exercise. So you should be focusing on that 85%, i.e., to restrict/control your diet.

Some common cause of over-eating:

  • Sleep deprivation.
  • Stressed out.
  • Tired.
  • Sad.
  • Bored.
  • Upset.

When you over-eat, you increase your calories intake exorbitantly (a lot!). This leads to an increase of weight rather than weight loss.

It is not about how much you eat, it is about how much calories you eat.

For example, a burger has about 400-600 calories, a half chicken has about 600-700 calories. But can you eat half chicken in every meal? – I don’t think so.

You can stare at delicious high-calories food, but you should not consume it. Staring at foods gain zero calories, eat it and you gain hundreds of calories.

Not consuming those excess calories is way better than BURNING it later (exercise or diet plan).

For your information, burning calories is tough work, so don’t consume those excess calories in the first place.

2. Low metabolism rate

Sometimes, even following a diet plan to restrict and control your diet and limit calories intake is not effective in losing weight.

This happens when you have low metabolism rate.

Metabolism rate a.k.a basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of calories your body burns to keep you alive and function normally without any problems.

Your BMR accounts for up to 75% of your daily calories expenditure.

Yes yes… Just by breathing, being a lazy couch potato enjoying Netflix and playing games burn tons of calories.

But here is the catch, your metabolism rate is suited to your daily living habits. This means that your calories expenditure = calories intake.

  • When calories expenditure equals to calories intake, your weight is maintained.
  • When calories expenditure is more than calories intake, you lose weight.
  • When calories expenditure is less than calories intake, you gain weight.

When you have low metabolic rate, reducing your calories intake won’t cause you to lose weight.

So what can I do about it?

You need to start exercising – sounds so simple. No it isn’t easy, even after exercising for days or weeks, you may not see any results.

By exercising sufficiently such as doing cardio, high-intensity interval workout (HIIT) and strength training can improve your metabolism rate.

However, it will still take time before you see any changes in your metabolism rate. This is because metabolism rate is not increased or improved over a short period.

It is the increased of fat-free mass that leads to a gradual gain of metabolism rate.

What is fat-free mass?

Fat-free mass refers to all the components in your body excluding fat, i.e., bones, muscles, body’s water content, organs, etc.

For weight loss, fat-free mass mainly refers to lean-muscle mass. Hence, you can be the same weight, but your body looks totally different.

Take a look at the picture below to understand what I mean:

same weight fat free mass vs lean muscle mass

This is because fat has much higher volume in comparison to muscle. With equivalent weight (2 kg), fat takes up much more volume than muscle.

Therefore, don’t worry so much when you see that you are not losing weight.

The pen is a reference to show how big a 2 kg fat looks like:

muscle vs fat

Additional information for you:

  • Weight loss refers to the loss of water, muscle and fat.
  • Fat loss refers to the loss of fat-mass.

When you lose weight, you lose water, muscle and fat. But when you lose/burn fat, you lose fat only.

What is weight loss?

Weight loss doesn’t mean you need to lose 10 kg or more. Even a reduction of few kg is a huge achievement and it will motivate you to lose even more weight!

Weight loss might sounds scary to sedentary people but don’t worry, you can even exercise at home or go for a walk to lose weight fast.

To understand the concept of weight loss can be too complex for you.
Therefore, I will describe weight loss in terms of bank accounts for easier understanding:

  1. Current account – This account refers to the calories or excess energy in your body that can be easily burned.
    -> These excess calories/energy is stored in your body as glycogen. If you don’t use this excess energy, it will be converted to fat.
  2. Savings account – This account refers to your current weight.
  3. Fixed deposit account – This account is hard to burn and it can be referred to the weight (your fat mass) that you must go beyond your comfort zone to lose it.

This means that you will actually see an instant weight loss results even just a few days exercising because you are losing the current account weight.

Current account mainly consist of water weight and a little muscle mass. Yesss, you lose mainly water and “some” muscle in the initial stage of your weight loss journey.

Savings account is basically your current weight. Your current weight can fluctuate by as much as 2 kg.

why am I not losing weight

Now we continue with fixed deposit account; this account is your fat mass and is extremely hard to burn it – so why you let the excess calories become fat in the first place?

To have a reliable measurement: measure your weight once a week, on the same day, at the same time, in the morning – when you wake up after going to the loo.

So how do I burn fat?

Frankly saying, burning fat takes great effort and the perseverance to keep going when it is tough and challenging.

To burn fat, you need to do plenty of high-intensity interval workout (HIIT), but you still need to progressively overload your workout over the weeks…

HIIT is a type of exercise whereby you do a short but intense anaerobic exercise, followed by a short period of rest until you are too fatigue to continue.

Progressive overload means you gradually increase the intensity/volume of your workout to allow your body to constantly adapt to the greater demands of the workout.

If you did not progressively overload your workout, your weight loss improvements will plateau.

If you overload your workout too much in a short time frame without sufficient rest, you risk overtraining.

Overtraining occurs when you train beyond your body’s abilities to recover.

Some symptoms of overtraining:

  • A loss of appetite.
  • Feeling awfully lethargic and unwilling to move.
  • Easily annoyed or agitated.
  • Feeling immensely demotivated.

Yes, your muscles will burn, your lungs will be grasping for air and you will be struggling really hard to finish the workout.

Some examples of HIIT workout:

  1. Eating your favourite snacks <- high intensity mouth exercise… Nahhh, I am just kidding.
  2. Body weight circuit training.
  3. Body weight HIIT workout.
  4. Fast cycling and/or swimming.
  5. Fast running and/or sprinting.
  6. Plyometrics training.
  7. Rope skipping.
  8. Variations of running, i.e., tempo runs, interval runs, fartlek runs, and uphill runs.

As long you are not doing cardio to burn fat, you will see results over time.

Cardio is not an effective way to burn fat, it is a low-to-moderate intensity workout.

Cardio doesn’t tax and challenge your body as much as HIIT workout. Besides, our body adapts quickly to cardio.

That’s why it is easier to keep running longer distance than to improve your running speed.

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3. Hormonal problems

Calories intake and calories expenditure is crucial to lose weight, but for some people, hormones is even more important to lose weight.

Hormonal imbalances or problems is especially common in women. Many weight loss plan don’t address hormonal imbalances.

Hormonal problems such as excess cortisol, problems with your insulin, over-secretion of estrogen, thyroid problems, lack of testosterone and so on.

These hormonal problems can cause a problem called weight loss resistance.

What is weight loss resistance?

Weight loss resistance is not the same as hitting a plateau during your weight loss journey.

You will surely hit a plateau at some point in your weight loss journey.

But you will eventually overcome this problem and continue losing weight again.

However, weight loss resistance is when you follow a weight loss plan or diet plan for weeks and maybe months without seeing any results.

Whatever food you eat, your insulin levels in your blood is increased to do its job, including storing the excess sugar from your blood into your cells for energy or into your muscles and liver as glycogen.

“When we eat, insulin increases, signaling our body to store some of this food energy as fat for later use.”

Jason Fung, MD, in The Complete Guide to Fasting

Foods that are high in refined carbohydrates have the greatest impact on your insulin levels.

Some examples of food high in refined carbohydrates are white rice, white bread, white flour, sweet desserts and pizza.

“Refined carbohydrates is rapidly broken down into sugar and have the most profound effect on your insulin, stimulating the highest amount of fat storage.
Protein has far less of an effect, resulting in minimal fat storage. Fat itself? Absolutely no effect.”

Jonny Bowden, PhD, and Steven Masley, MD, in Smart Fat

Therefore, when you eat foods that are high in refined carbohydrates, your body constantly release huge amounts of insulin, leading to insulin resistance and an increased of fat storage.

“We now know the main cause of weight gain. It is insulin, our fat-storage hormone.”

Mark Hyman, MD, in Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?

Consequently, you don’t see any weight loss results after weeks and months of working out and restricting your diet.

Furthermore, according to this post, with insulin resistance, your cells and tissues don’t respond well to insulin, thus your body tries to produce even more insulin.

With so much glucose chilling around in your bloodstream because insulin can’t get those sugar into your cells and tissues, you risk developing a condition called high blood sugar a.k.a. diabetes.

Read more about how estrogen and cortisol affect weight gain here and here.

4. Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation causes your hormones and internal functions to wreak havoc.

As your hormones are in a state of confusion, it increase the feeling of hunger and also increase your appetite. This creates an intense craving for high-sugar and high-fat foods.

Now you know why you are always craving to eat potato chips, cakes, pizza, chocolate, and so on…

The more sleep deprived you are, the more high-calories food you will eat. Ultimately, this will lead to weight gain and will defeat the purpose of you trying to lose weight.

5. Over-stressed

When you are stressed out, your body produce a hormone called cortisol. This hormone causes an increased appetite to eat and you start to crave sugar.

Your body instinctively causes you to reach out to sugar because sugar gives you a huge dose of energy and is easily accessible.

The problem with consuming too much sugar when you are stressed is that your body tends to store sugar as fat…

This effectively creates a vicious cycle: stress, cortisol is released in your body, crave sugar, eat sugar, gain weight, repeat.

6. Diet plan only works in the short-term

Yes you can control your diet and everything, but can you do it for the long term? Or are you doing it just for the sake of losing weight?

If you are doing it just for the sake of losing weight or just to have your great summer body, then it won’t work in the long term.

why am I not losing weight

Losing weight is not about “I just want to lose weight”, “I want to be slim”, “I don’t like my body”, etc…

Losing weight is about taking care of your own health! Being overweight or obese have serious consequences.

Some health problems you risk developing:

  • Diabetes.
  • High blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol level.
  • Atherosclerosis.
  • Stroke.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • and the list goes on…

Lose weight for your own health, not for the sake of looking nice or because of peer pressure.

Make sure your weight loss journey is because you want to do it and not because you are forced to do it.

Don’t allow anyone else to dictate how you should look like or to strive for the so-called “ideal body weight look”. It is your body, your choice.

Besides, a good balanced nutrition diet can help you lose weight and sustain long term.

7. You did not progressively overload your workout routine

Weight loss may not be easy due to various factors such as self-discipline, self-motivation, lifestyle, environment, diet, exercise and you yourself.

why I am not losing weight

Sometimes you might ponder and ask yourself ‘why am I not losing weight‘ as you don’t see any progress after months of exercising.

To be frank, blindly following an exercise program is not enough to lose weight; you need to do more than that.

If your workout or exercise routine intensity and/or volume doesn’t progressively increases over the weeks, you will plateau and see no gains.

An easy way to gauge this is that if you have been exercising for months and seeing no positive results, then you are doing it wrong.

However, if you are losing weight over the months then you are doing it right.

Why do I need to lose weight?

  • To reduce the risk of diseases and health problems such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • To reduce any potential joint problems associated to obesity.
  • A sense of well-being and accomplishment when you see your hard work leading to weight loss.
why I am not losing weight

Losing weight should be your OWN CHOICE and not because of other people’s opinion and peer pressure towards you.

It is your own body, be happy with it and if you want change, then it is solely up to you!

If you are into weight loss, you should always give your best and never give up.

Don’t you feel sad when you see all your hard work is back to square one just because you call it quit?

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