The weight loss journey is long and tiresome. A lot of people give up when they start to feel they are not losing weight fast enough as per their expectations. I have come across this question a lot of times: Why am I not losing weight while exercising.
There are a lot of factors that come into play in the weight loss program. The two major issues that get singled out in a lot of articles are:
I have been down this road of struggling with weight loss. I know the frustration and the feeling of why should I bother.
I used to have one exceptional appetite and I would eat large portions of everything. This just defeats the purpose even when you exercise a lot.
Researchers say your weight control is 70% diet and 30% exercise. When you find yourself struggling to lose weight the major problem is the diet. You need to fix that and it will be easier
One other thing is it’s very easy to pick up weight but what people fail to figure out is, the weight has been picked up over a long time. It will also take a long time, even longer to shed off the same weight.
Let’s start by investigating
The correct way to check if you are losing weight.
Ensure that you are tracking your weight loss journey correctly with the right tools. Measure yourself on the same day after every two weeks. Noticeable changes will be visible after two weeks. One week may not be enough.
- Bathroom Scale – digital is more accurate
- Measuring Tape
- Camera for pictures
- Measure yourself first thing in the morning just after using the loo. The measurements are more accurate when taken in the morning before you eat any food or drink water.
- Measure your weight on the scale without any clothes on if possible.
- Measure your waistline over the navel using the measuring tape
- Measure your hip circumference
- Measure your thigh circumference
- Measure your bicep circumference with your hand stretched out
- Record all your measurements in a small book or diary for tracking.
- Additionally, you can take pictures with the camera from when you start the weight loss program. Compare the later pictures with the earlier ones.
- The fitting of your clothes should as well tell you if something is happening. If you find yourself making your belt tighter on the waistline it means something is shedding off.
You can pat yourself on the back if you are losing 1kg (2.2 Lbs) or more every two weeks. If you are losing less, that means you have to work harder.
Let’s now look at the reasons why you do not seem to be losing weight.
Why you are not losing weight fast enough
1. Go on Calorie Deficit
Calories measure the amount of energy in the food we eat. Different foodstuffs that we eat have different amounts of calories. Our bodies need calories to produce energy for the day and perform other functions.
- A man needs about 2 500 calories per day for daily needs
- A woman needs about 2 000 calories per day for daily needs
When you consume more calories than your daily needs, your body stores the extra calories in the form of fat deposits for later use. So what you need to do is consume fewer calories than your daily needs. This is the deficit being talked about.
This way your body will fail to get enough calories from the food you eat per day and will start burning the fat deposits which had been stored earlier for later use. This will help you to lose weight as the fat is now utilized.
You must eat small portions of food. It’s not a bad idea to measure the grams of the food you are eating to ensure you eat less than the daily calorie need.
A gram of Carbohydrates or Protein has 4 calories. A gram of fat has 9 calories. Calculate the grams of the food you eat per day and convert to calories to ensure you are eating a deficit.
You can access a calorie calculator by clicking here..>>
2. You need A Low Carb Diet
After the Calorie Deficit mentioned above, it is important to significantly reduce your portions of carbohydrates.
According to the Mayo Clinic carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. Limiting the carbohydrates you eat will cause your body to look for another source of energy, the stored fat deposits.
When your body utilizes the stored fat, that is how you will lose weight. So carbs are the main culprit here. You must reduce your carb portions significantly. Practice low carbs 95% of the time. If you must indulge let it be 5% only to achieve your weight loss goals.
According to Diabetes UK when following a low carb diet you eat no more than 130grams of carbohydrates per day. This is a diet recommended for people battling diabetes but it still works the same for someone trying to lose weight.
You will have enough energy for the day but shed off the fat gradually. Healthline has a low carb meal plan for weight loss including a low carb shopping list.
3. Combine Cardio Training and Strength Training
Cardiovascular exercise also known as aerobic exercise is a workout where you repeatedly move your body’s big muscles at a fast pace such that your body requires instant energy for the muscles.
This causes your heart to pump faster for the blood system to quickly move oxygen from the lungs. The oxygen is used to burn carbohydrates and fat to produce energy for the muscles at work.
Strength Training is when bodily muscles are made to contract and expand under the strain of a weight. The weight can be a freestanding weight or resistance to pushing and pulling.
Your body also needs energy during strength training as the muscles are under strain. This training promotes fat burning as well. Your body continues to burn calories well after the workout with the after-burn effect
>> Workout combining Cardio and Strength Training
Engaging in both workouts is perfect for burning fat for a fast weight loss. Combine the workouts one after the other. It does not matter which workout you do first but a bit of both will help you a long way in achieving your weight loss goals.
4. Reduce Stress
Stressful situations cause the release of the stress hormone cortisol which in turn causes you to want to eat more and reduces metabolism.
Cortisol will cause you to have sugar cravings and as you eat more, the body will store the extra glucose as fat. Stress will cause you to gain weight.
The bottom line is when trying to lose weight, avoid stressful situations. Keep calm and take some time to think about the situation. You could engage in other activities that will take your mind off that stressful situation and come back to it later when you are more calm and collected.
5. Get enough Sleep
When you are not getting enough sleep it affects your body’s hormone balance which will, in turn, reduce the rate of metabolism. Metabolism is the process by which the body converts the calories in the food we eat to energy.
According to HelpGuide.Org, an adult person needs 7-9 hours of good quality sleep per day. If you sleep for less than 7 hours two hormones will affect your weight loss program.
Lack of sleep induces more production of the Ghrelin hormone which causes you to feel hungry and want to eat more. At the same time lack of sleep reduces the production of the hormone Leptin which helps increase metabolism in the body.
Less than 7 hours of sleep will cause an imbalance of these hormones and will cause you to gain weight.
6. Avoid eating a meal just before going to sleep
When you sleep the body slows down most of its processes including digestion and metabolism. When you are sleeping you hardly need energy. By now we know a slow metabolism leads to weight gain as the body stores excess calories as fat deposits.
Avoid eating carbohydrate-rich meals or snacks just before bedtime. Avoid coffee, chocolate, and alcohol which will keep you awake and cause you not to get enough sleep.
Allow yourself to get the restful sleep that you need by avoiding eating just before bedtime. Eat large meals at least 3 hours before you go to sleep.
7. Avoid Sitting for prolonged periods
Sitting down at your desk or when driving for a long time without getting up will reduce metabolism. Excessive sitting affects the regulation of blood sugar and blood pressure which reduces your ability to lose weight.
According to NHS.UK bus drivers and astronauts were at risk of a heart attack due to excessive sitting for prolonged periods. When you are seated your body needs very little energy as there is no movement. Your body starts storing blood sugar as fat deposits.
The way around this is to get up from time to time and walk around for a few minutes after every one hour to help blood circulation and metabolism.
8. You could be losing Fat and gaining Muscle
When you engage in a combined cardio and strength training exercise, you get to burn the fat deposits and at the same time, you accumulate lean muscle mass.
Now, muscle tissue is denser than fat and weighs more than fat. When you get on the scales you may notice like you are gaining weight when the opposite should be happening. The explanation, you are gaining heavier muscle mass and losing fat.
However, one thing should be noticeable in this case. Your pictures and your clothes must show you are getting leaner because muscle takes up less space. Your clothes must be hanging although you weigh in heavier.
Another way to confirm this is to calculate your body fat %.
For men: Take your neck measurement at the narrowest and your waist measurement at the navel. Now plug these figures including your weight, height, and age into the calculator mentioned below
For women: Take your neck measurement at the narrowest, waist measurement at the navel, and hip measurement at the widest. Plug these figures including your age, weight, and height into the calculator mentioned below
You can access the body fat calculator here..>>
According to The American Council on Exercise ideal body fat percentages should be:
So over the two weeks periods that you take your measurements, if you find your body fat % decreasing and you seem to have gained weight then it means you are gaining muscle mass.
9. Take it Slow and be Patient
This is a point mentioned earlier in the article. Gaining weight does not happen overnight. It takes time and the pounds add on bit by bit over a long time. The same thing happens when you now want to lose weight.
Losing weight needs a lot of effort and tons of patience. It is going to take a long time to reach your goals. Continue to put in the effort especially in the kitchen.
Ideally, you should lose about 1 kg (2.2 Lbs) every two weeks. If you lose less, just continue to put in the effort and do not give up.
When you find yourself lacking the motivation to exercise:
>> Tips on how to be motivated for Exercise
10. Genetics and Medical Conditions
Your genetic makeup sometimes determines how fast you lose weight. When you put the effort into all the above-mentioned factors you should lose weight but the rate at which you lose the weight at times boils down to your genetics.
Some people eat whatever they want including all the “bad foods” but they never gain weight. Some people eat very little but gain a lot of weight.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, the strength of the genetic influence on weight loss varies quite a bit from person to person. The good thing is that a certain percentage will depend on your genes but the other percentage is under your control.
It is up to you to work on that percentage under your control.
At times, you fail to lose weight because of a medical condition or because you are taking some medication that causes you to gain weight. In this case, the solution is to speak to your doctor and explore ways to get around this
Losing weight is not as easy as gaining weight. A lot of times people find themselves asking: Why am I not losing weight while exercising.
Well as revealed in this article exercise contributes to only 30% of weight loss. 70% is made up of a lot of other factors and the main issue being your diet. If you want to lose weight, follow the dietary suggestions mentioned above.
Other factors like sleep, reducing stress, and avoiding situations that slow down your metabolism are also important. They all fall in the 70% that’s not covered by exercise.
Do not give up on your weight loss goals. Soldier on and track your measurements every two weeks. It will take time but you will get there with resolute and determination.
>> Kettlebell workouts that combine cardio and strength training.
Please leave a comment in the comments section. If you have any questions or need to engage, do not hesitate to write in the comments section. I will get back to you.
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