Top 10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

Learn the top 10 reasons you’re not losing weight.

Ben Greenfield
4-minute read
Episode #54

Each day, I receive several questions from Get-Fit Guy fans. Nearly half are a variation of the same basic, frustrated conundrum:

“Why am I not losing weight?”

So in this article, you’re going to learn the top 10 reasons your body becomes resistant to weight loss and what you can do about it.

10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

1. Stuck In A Rut. In How To Get Better Results From Weightlifting, I introduce a principle called SAID, which stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands—in other words, our bodies eventually adapt to the demands we place upon them. If you’re doing the same routine week after week or month after month, your body has likely become very efficient at that routine, and is no longer burning many calories or getting a fitness response. I personally change up my routine every week, and recommend you introduce new exercises and workouts at least once a month.

2. Too Many Calories. In Metabolism Myths, the Nutrition Diva emphasizes that it is simply not true that you need to frequently snack or consistently fuel your body in order to keep your metabolism elevated. So while it is true that long term, significant calorie deprivation will inhibit your weight and cause health problems, this shouldn’t be used as an excuse to stuff your face and elevate your blood sugar levels every 2 hours simply to “boost your metabolism.” This strategy usually causes more weight gain and excessive calorie consumption as compared to eating 2 or 3 square meals a day, plus a pre or post-workout snack.

3. Not Enough Calories. The body needs a specific number of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in order to sustain metabolism, produce hormones, maintain the immune system, and allow you to have productive and enjoyable workouts. If you’re engaging in severe calorie restriction, not only are you sending your body a message to shut down, you’re also limiting your ability to productively exercise and potentially damaging your health.

4. Not Lifting Weights. While it may seem counterintuitive, lifting weights actually helps you lose weight. Not only is strength training the best way to replace fat with lean muscle and boost your metabolism, it also results in a hormonal release that enhances fat loss. Plus, it increases your ability to eat fewer calories without doing damage to the body, since your body can rely on storage proteins from muscle rather than other vital organs. Need to figure out how to get started with weight training? At Get-Fit Guy’s Strength Training section, there is a vast resource of articles with everything you need to know.

5. Avoiding HIIT. High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, involves intense bouts of cardiovascular exercise, followed by easy rest periods. Compared to long, slow cardio sessions, HIIT burns far more calories and significantly elevates fat burning. However, the initial discomfort from breathing hard and feeling a full body burn can be daunting. But think about it this way: HIIT allows you to hop on a treadmill and be done in 15-20 minutes. To get the same results with less intense training can require you to slave away on that treadmill for an hour or more!

6. Low-Fat Diet. In the quest to lose fat, it seems logical that you should eat less fat. But if you eat the right kinds of fat, particularly from healthy sources such as avocadoes, olives, extra virgin olive oil, coconut milk, coconut oil, cold water fish, seeds, nuts or yogurt, your body can very efficiently use that fat as a fuel. Consume these types of fats instead of sweets, starches, and vegetable oils, which cause high blood sugar and a great potential for weight gain. A recent study from Johns Hopkins University suggests that a low-carb, high-fat diet may be best for healthy weight loss. Just make sure those high fats don’t come from junk food.

7. Pill Popping. Often, when weight loss gets tough, it’s tempting to turn to one of the many pills, capsules, and powders that promise to reduce appetite cravings, increase fat burning, or make you burn carbohydrates quicker. The problem is that A) these pills give you a very small percentage of an increase in fat burning (see Do Weight Loss Supplements Work); and B) people who rely on pills for weight loss become far less likely to engage in exercise and healthy eating, which get more significant results.

8. Snacking. In point #2, I emphasized that a high caloric intake, with the goal of “sustaining the metabolism,” often results in overeating. The same can be said for snacking. All those flaxseed crackers, raw almonds, morning muesli, raw fruit, and cheese sticks can lead to consuming an extra several hundred calories each day. Remember – covert calories add up quickly.

9. Hormonal Imbalances. In What Causes Cellulite, we learned that hormonal imbalances can be a prime cause of cellulite formation, particularly in women who are estrogen dominant. If you’ve tried everything to lose weight, but have not tested the levels of your estrogen, testosterone, or thyroid hormones, it is possible that a hormonal imbalance is the root cause of your resistance to weight loss. Just be sure to get your blood tested by a doctor before blindly grabbing supplements and medications to address a suspected issue.

10. Food Intolerances or Allergies. Bloating, weight gain, chronic fatigue, nutrient depletion and an inability to exercise can all be related to eating foods that your body is allergic to or simply doesn’t have the enzymes to digest. Common triggers are wheat, soy, dairy, eggs and fructose. A gluten-free diet may be one good place to start, but you should also consider getting tested for food allergies, using an elimination diet, introducing digestive enzymes, and keeping a food log. Always talk to your doctor prior to drastically changing your diet or if you suspect an allergy.

Are you resistant to weight loss? Have you found specific strategies that get you off the weight loss plateau?  Tell us in Comments!

Since we’ve only scratched the surface on some of these issues, the Get-Fit Guy Facebook page is a great place to ask your follow-up questions.

About the Author

Ben Greenfield

Ben Greenfield received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Idaho in sports science and exercise physiology; personal training and strength and conditioning certifications from the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA); a sports nutrition certification from the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), an advanced bicycle fitting certification from Serotta. He has over 11 years’ experience in coaching professional, collegiate, and recreational athletes from all sports, and as helped hundreds of clients achieve weight loss and fitness success.

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