“Why am I not losing weight?” is a question I hear very often. But why? Losing weight is no rocket-science! That’s why I want to give you some examples, keep on reading! x
This is why you’re not losing any weight:
1. You’re not eating in a calorie deficit
If you take in more calories than you burn you will gain weight and if you burn more calories than you taken in – you will lose weight. The bigger the calorie deficit – the bigger the weight loss. (I am talking about a healthy calorie deficit: approx. 200 – 500kcal).
2. You don’t know your Total Daily Energy Expenditure
If you’re planning to eat in a calorie deficit (burn more calories than you take in with food or drinks) you need to know how many calories your body burns in a day (Total Daily Energy Expenditure = TDEE). Because if you are serious about dropping a few pounds – you should make a little more effort than “eating healthy”. Familiarise yourself with nutrition and how much you can eat/drink without gaining weight. (There are different ways to find out about your TDEE, some more accurate and most of them less – but I won’t explain this here. Just do some research on your own or message me. )
3. You’re not paying attention to what you actually eat in a day
You might think your breakfast, lunch and dinner is perfectly healthy but you snack – a lot. It’s easy to forget about the bun on the way, the biscuits and soft drinks. It’s important you get familiar with the nutrition of the coke (140kcal) you have in the meeting and the latte in the afternoon (135kcal). Those snacks/drinks are often what’s stopping your weight loss.
4. Your portions are too big
Another problem I see on a daily basis is the portion sizes. I often see people eat the healthiest meals and hear ’em talk about all the healthy ingredients but they also eat a lot of it. That’s the problem – you can eat super healthy and still gain weight because you simply eat too much. My tip: eat from a smaller plate – the small plate doesn’t fit the extra portion of pasta but still looks filled with the smaller portion. Trick your brain into thinking you’re plate is full; because the right portion size for your calorie intake looks kinda sad on the big plates sometimes so you might want to reload.
5. You feel like you’ve earned the extra dessert after a hard workout session
The most important thing here is: When it comes to food – pretend like you didn’t exercise at all. After spending an hour in the gym or running you feel like you’ve really earned the extra dessert in front of the TV. But the snacks are probably higher in calories than what you’ve just burned in the gym; if you’re lucky you can still maintain your weight but it often pushes you into the surplus of calories which means you will gain weight after all. Which brings me to the next topic:
6. You think your workout burns more calories than it actually does
David B. Allison (an American obesity researcher) said something very interesting: “Adding physical activity has a very modest effect on weight loss “a lesser effect than you’d mathematically predict.” And this states that it’s very hard to create a significant calorie deficit through exercise.
I assume most of you have heard about the 70/30 rule but I will explain it just in case.
It declares weight loss is 70% diet and 30% exercise. One problem with this “rule” however, is that this has never been scientifically proven or anything. If you want to hear my opinion though (well, you’re reading a post on my blog so I guess – Yes, you do): I support this. Because I believe controlling your diet is much more important than smashing it in the gym every day if you want to lose weight.
A lot of you might have a wrong idea of how many calories you actually burn during an hour running or lifting weights. That’s why here’s a link to a table showing “Calories burned in 30-minute activities” for people of three different weights (125 pounds (=57kg),155 pounds (=70kg), 185 pounds (=84kg)). I understand that this will only give you a vague idea since it always depends on the muscle mass, gender, genetics, metabolism etc. but it will bring you back to reality.
To give you a few examples:
Running for 30minutes at a pace of 5.2 mph/ 8.4kmh will approx. burn 270kcal if you weight 125lbs/57kg. This equals a small fries with ketchup from McDonalds or one double cheeseburger. A medium vanilla latte from Starbucks contains 250 calories.
Weight Lifting (vigorous) for a whole hour if you weight 185lbs (84kg) will approximately burn 532kcal. This is only half a can of Pringles sour cream and onions and less than a Cadbury Daim chocolate bar (630kcal). And let’s be honest who really lifts weights vigorous for an hour?
7. You slow down after a workout
After a long run you’re so exhausted that you slow down for the rest of the day. Your legs are exhausted so you take the car instead of your bike or wait for the elevator at work instead of taking the steps. All those little things contribute to a smaller calorie deficit. Therefore you might think you’re in a bigger calorie deficit than you actually are. Again: Pretend like you didn’t exercise at all and continue with your day as usual.
8. You forgot to adjust your calorie intake after losing weight (a.k.a “yo-yo effect”)
When you’re in the process of losing fat with controlling food or cardio only, you’re not gaining lots of muscle but probably lose some. This means you’re getting smaller and therefore burn less energy during the day than you did weighting a stone more. Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure shrinks when you lose fat and therefore you have to adjust/lower your calorie intake when you lose weight. But I would always suggest to focus on building muscle via e.g. weight lifting etc. and not doing cardio only. This way you become stronger (which feels amazing) but you also don’t have to cut as much of your daily food/drinks intake because your muscles need fuel. Your body burns more calories maintaining muscle than it does maintaining fat. This means: the more muscle you build the more calories your body will naturally burn each day on its own. (Please don’t overestimate the amount of calories muscles burn though.)
Long story short:
It’s “just” self discipline, really*¹. Get familiar with the food you’re eating, eat enough protein, know how many calories your body burns in a normal day, don’t binge eat and know when to stop.*²
Be aware of what your body needs.
I hope this helps! annimoves
*¹If you’re an emotional eater and want to find out what’s causing it – check out this blog post and scroll down to “Dopamine – Angel and Devil at the same time”.
*²I am not a doctor, the opinions expressed are based on my own thoughts, knowledge, and experiences. Readers are cautioned not to rely on this information as medical advice and to consult a qualified medical, dietary, fitness or other appropriate professional for their specific needs.