5 reasons why you’re not losing weight

26 August 2017 by
First published: 29 April 2015

We’ve all been there, seemingly doing all the right things but not seeing the scales tip – so to help you out, here are 5 reasons why you’re not losing weight.

Not seeing progress or hitting a plateau when you’re trying to sculpt that hot summer bod can be frustrating, but usually there’s a simple explanation and solution. Don’t give up, small changes can help you push through the wall, reignite your fat burn and help you reach your goals.

You’re skipping the weights

To rev up your metabolism, you need to incorporate weight training into your routine. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn. Excessive cardio can lead to loss of muscle, which will hinder your fat-burning potential. Carley Rowland, personal trainer at Speedflex, says, ‘Cardio exercise uses many muscle groups and gets your heart rate up high, burning a fair amount of calories, but it doesn’t build much strength. Using weights ensures greater resistance and challenges the muscles more directly to build strength. While your heart rate doesn’t get very high, muscle density and size both increase in the long term. Because muscles are very metabolically active (they need high amounts of energy just to exist), this increases your metabolic rate not just during exercise but all day. So, ultimately, weights need to be part of a balanced exercise programme to increase your energy expenditure and to help you lose weight.’

You’re not upping the intensity

You body can adapt to challenges pretty quickly, so it’s important to mix up your routine to keep it guessing and make sure it keeps responding. Project Fit co-founder and personal trainer Joel Hilton says, ‘To progress with fitness it is hugely important to keep the challenge consistent. The body becomes conditioned to workouts quickly, therefore you will find that your fitness level and progression will slow down if you are completing the same workout day after day. If weight loss is your goal, shocking the body is the answer. Constant challenge with different movement patterns, and mixing weights with cardio conditioning, is a great way to see results fast.’

You’re eating too much

Some people severely over- or underestimate the amount of food, calories and sugar they consume per day. If you suffer from ‘portion distortion’, try eating from a smaller plate or following a structured nutrition plan – it’s a great way of working out how much food you actually need to fill you up. Also, try cutting down on calorific condiments and avoid drinking calories in the form of fizzy drinks and sugar-laden juice drinks.

You’re ignoring your gut

How we eat, how efficiently we break down food and how much fat our body stores can be affected by our gut microflora. Studies have found that despite genetics, the effect diet has on the bacteria in our gut can impact the development of obesity and metabolic issues. They also found that gut microflora can be very different between lean and obese individuals, so try probiotics to get your gut in check. Natalie Lamb, nutritional therapist at Bio-Kult, says, ‘Our gut flora has been shown to become imbalanced by a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates, whereas beneficial bacteria such as bifidobacteria and lactobacilli have been shown to be encouraged by prebiotics found in many vegetables, and probiotics such as fermented foods or probiotic supplements. A 12-week trial in 2010 showed a lactobacillus supplement to reduce adipose fat stored around the middle. I would recommend consuming a multi-strain probiotic such as Bio-Kult daily alongside a balanced wholefood diet, stress reduction and exercise.’

You’re making excuses

Being inconsistent when it comes to your commitment to diet and exercise could be one of the reasons you’re not seeing any progress. If you are working out regularly, but only sticking to your diet half the time, treating yourself regularly for your hard work or making unconscious additions to your plan, these will add up to the consumption of additional calories and fat. This can lead to stalls in your weight loss because you can’t out-train a bad diet. If you slack off from elements of your exercise or nutrition, you could potentially undo all your hard work.

Need some more tips? Check out our guide to fitness