Most of my articles focus on promoting a healthy lifestyle that is much more than weight loss. This article is different. It’s going to focus on weight loss and why you may not be seeing the results you’re looking for. I think this is important to write about because although I believe weight is just a small part of a healthy lifestyle, I would be ignorant not to recognize that most people are looking to lose a few pounds. I support body positivity. But I also support people’s right in choosing their own goals for their body, without stigma or judgement. I want to do both of those things with equal care.
So if you feel stuck, take a look through this list of common weight loss mistakes and see if you identify with any of them. If you do and you need help re-directing, give me a shout!
10 Reasons You’re Not Hitting Your Weight Loss Goals
1. You’re not weight training
A lot of people avoid lifting weights because they are afraid of “bulking up” which seems counterintuitive to weight loss. Weight lifting actually promotes fat loss better than any other form of exercise. Not only is it a super efficient way of burning calories during your work outs but it continues to burn more even after you’re finished with your training. It also creates muscle gain and when you have more muscle you’re metabolism naturally increases. Additionally, weight lifting results in a hormonal release that aids in weight loss.
2. You’re eating too few calories
That’s right. Too few calories can actually cause weight gain, or at the very least, hinder weight loss. The body demands a certain amount of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, and fats) to function properly. Food is used to sustain metabolism, produce hormones, maintain the immune system, and energy levels. When the body is in severe and constant calorie restriction, you’re essentially telling your body to shut down as many processes as it can to efficiently use the small amount of energy you’re giving it. This means your metabolism plummets, your hormones suffer, you’ll become ill more often and you won’t have the energy to exercise. All of these consequences will result in weight gain.
3. You’re eating too many calories
I’m sure this didn’t surprise anyone, but it must be said. The food industry is a lot to blame for this one. Many foods are designed to be craved by the consumer. Lobbyists also promote false ideologies such as “snacking every couple of hours keeps the metabolism high.” This gives people the idea that excessive eating is helpful. While it is true that chronic severe caloric deprivation hinders weight loss, the solution is not over eating. A food journal, tracking macros, or recruiting the help of a health coach are great tools to remedy these mistakes.
4. You’re eating a low fat diet
It’s natural to assume that eating fat makes us fat. Which is how the low fat diet craze took our country by storm in the 80’s. But that’s just not the case. Incorporating healthy fats in our diets helps to regulate hormones, promotes optimal brain functioning, keeps our blood sugar stable, and keeps us feeling full longer. (See my article on managing weight through blood sugar regulation)
5. You’re overreliant on supplementation
I have many clients who ask me about the pills and powders they found to reduce cravings, curb appetites, or burn fat. It’s easy to resort to this method when frustrated with unsuccessful weight loss efforts. But most of those miracle pills have such miniscule effects compared to the benefits of proper diet and exercise. The successful claims of these pills are supplied by the weight loss pill industry who tend to cherry pick results and information. In addition, people who rely on these pills are less likely to work out or eat a more nutrient dense diet.
6. You’re not getting enough sleep
Sleep is SO important and often overlooked when trying to create a healthier lifestyle. Adequate sleep is necessary for proper hormone functioning such as cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone, which if it is chronically elevated it can bind with hormone receptors that retain water. That water retention is going to add weight to your body. A study at Kings College London also found that the amount of sleep has a significant effect on the amount of calories a person eats the next day. The average sleep deprived person ate an average of 385 extra calories a day. They also found that the type of food consumed was different too. Protein intake was much lower the day after a poor night of sleep. Lack of sleep doesn’t make exercise all that attractive either. So combine elevated cortisol levels, overeating, and lack of exercise.. that’s a perfect recipe for unwanted weight gain. (Also worth noting that stress can hinder weight loss for many of these same reasons.
7. You’re avoiding HIIT
Most people don’t have a lot of time to work out. High Intensity Interval Training involves intense bouts of cardiovascular exercise with easy rest periods in between. It burns far more calories than typical cardio and significantly elevates fat burning. The amount of calories burned in a quick 20 minute HIIT session could take someone up to an hour or more of regular running on a treadmill. Utilizing HIIT counters excuses like “I don’t have enough time” or “I don’t want to be in the gym for hours.” so you can get it done and crush your goals.
8. You’re mindlessly snacking
Similarly to what I had mentioned above about overeating, snacking can quickly stack up calories without realizing it. Even the healthy snacks like nuts, cheese sticks, flax crackers, etc. can add on several hundred calories a day if you’re not being mindful about how much you’re munching on. Mindfulness plays a big role in satiety too. If you eat without distractions you will feel much more satisfied with a meal which will deter the second or third helpings.
9. You’re not changing up your exercise routine
The body is an amazing thing. SAID, or Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands, is the principle that states our bodies adapt to the demands we place upon them. This allows the body to become super efficient at what we do on a regular basis. Normally this is a good thing! But not for weight loss. When our bodies become efficient at something, it burns less calories to do it. Changing up our exercise routines more often and continually increasing resistance allows the body to keep torching calories.
10. You have food allergies or intolerances
Food sensitivities can be the cause of a whole host of issues from chronic fatigue, weight gain, bloating, nutrient depletion and hormonal imbalances. Always speak with your doctor if you suspect a food allergy. The most common allergens are gluten, fructose, dairy, and eggs. An elimination diet and food journal could be very helpful in this situation.
Bonus: #11 DRINK YOUR WATER! This helps to promote weight loss, balances hormones, and can stop you from overeating!
I saw this quote recently..
“You are not fat. You HAVE fat.
You also have fingernails. But you are not a fingernail.“
It made me smile.
Wanting to lose weight can be a worthy goal for many people, but don’t let your weight define you. You, my friend, are beautiful.
Love and Light,