Why Am I Not Losing Weight??

I hear this question a lot, both from clients and non-clients.  

It's a valid question, and I'll try my best to answer it!

Sometimes, you can be doing everything in your power to lose weight/inches, but you're just not seeing it come off the way you want it to.  This can be due to several factors...

1) Your diet isn't as "on point" as you think it is.  I'm guilty of this myself.  We may think that we are sticking to our portions, calories, macros, etc., but when we really sit there and think about what we're putting in our mouths, it may shock us.  I love this blog post from SkinnyMeg.com (she's one of my faves on IG and in the blog world!), which breaks down how little things really can add up and hinder our progress.  (It's a little lengthy, but I promise, it's worth it!)

Alright. So. Let’s take our average gal. Let’s call her Jane Doe. Jane is middle-aged, has a few kids and a husband, and works in an office. She goes to the gym about 4x a week. She needs to eat exactly 1700 calories a day to lose one pound a week (3000-3500 calories to lose one lb), and she has about 20 lbs to lose. She sets up My Fitness Pal with her goals, pre-plans her day, and has the right macros.

So! It turns out that Jane is pretty busy, so even though she knows she has to weigh everything, she wakes up late pretty often and figures that she doesn’t have time to weigh her peanut butter for her toast in the morning- and a slightly rounded tablespoon can’t be THAT off, right? (wrong- You Tube Video Link).

PROBLEM #1- let’s say that that’s an extra 40 calories a day- 20 extra calories per tbsp. That’s an extra 280 calories a week.

When Jane makes her scrambled eggs every morning, she uses Pam spray to coat the pan pretty solidly, but the label says zero-calorie per 1/4 second spray, so she doesn’t track that. She uses about 3 seconds worth to spray the pan.

PROBLEM #2- 3 seconds of Pam is 21 calories. That’s an extra 147 calories a week.

Jane has a lot going on, so she drinks coffee every day with her breakfast. She uses Splenda and creamer. She likes it sweet, so she uses three packets of Splenda. It says zero calorie, right!?

PROBLEM #3- But... it has 4 calories per packet. That’s another extra 84 calories a week. She only uses a splash, though.... that’s about a tablespoon. One serving.

PROBLEM #4- That’s 35 calories/serving- 245 extra calories/week.

On day 3 of Jane’s first week of IIFYM, her coworker brings in brownies. Jane figures that ONE brownie can’t hurt, but she doesn’t know the exact nutrition of it, so she doesn’t bother tracking it.

PROBLEM #5- that’s an extra ~250 calories.

Most nights, Jane takes her kids to McDonalds after soccer practice. She wants to get in her veggies, so she is happy that she doesn’t choose to put McDonalds in her day that day. She does, however, have a couple of her son’s fries- no damage done, right? The average fry has 5 calories, so when she only has a small handful- 4-5- that’s just a taste, so she doesn’t bother tracking. That’s an extra, say, 20 calories a day, 3x a week-

PROBLEM #6- 60 extra calories a week.

It’s been a long week, so at the end of the week, Jane goes out to eat with her husband. They pick a restaurant that doesn’t have nutritional facts available online, but Jane figures she’ll save 500 or so calories for a meal and a drink. Should be plenty, right?

PROBLEM #7- let’s say Jane and her husband split an appetizer, Jane has an entree, and also gets a beer. The beer is probably ~150 calories, half the appetizer (potato skins, let’s say) is ~400-500 calories, and Jane’s entree (salmon with veggies! That can’t be that bad.... right?) is- uh oh- after preparation with oil, etc, and as served- 650 calories. So, Jane’s “500 calorie dinner” is 1250 calories- 750 over what she planned.

Over the weekend, Jane feels like she did pretty well with eating during the week, so she lets go a little bit both days and has a few extra handfuls of pretzels while watching a movie... that can’t be that bad, right? Just a few carbs?

PROBLEM #8- A serving of pretzels- ~20 pretzels- is ~100 calories. That’s about a big handful... Jane has two handfuls Friday AND Saturday extra before bed! That’s an extra 200 calories/day- x2= 400 extra calories

— http://www.skinnymeg.com/2014_06_01_archive.html

See what I mean?  I find that when I allow myself little "bites" of this and that throughout the week, I start to see a difference in the way I look and feel.  I'm not saying you can't have a treat here and there, but just be conscious of just how often you're "treating" yourself, because they can definitely be halting your weight loss. 

2) You're not eating ENOUGH.  I constantly have to remind my clients of this during their time with me.  Your body needs fuel, and food is fuel.  You have to EAT in order to properly fuel your body and keep your metabolism going!  When you don't eat enough calories, protein, fat, and carbs, your body will assume that it is in starvation mode, and start reserving fat for use later.  That is the opposite of what we're after, isn't it?!  To know how many calories you need, I recommend you go to this site and plug in your information. http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/healthy_living_tools_content.aspx?id=4  This will give you a rough estimate of how many calories you need to fuel your body and your workouts.  From there, you can play around on macronutrients.com or My Fitness Pal to find what percentages of macros works for your body.  

3) You're not challenging yourself enough during your workouts.  In order to continue to grow lean muscle, and hence burn more fat and calories, we have to push ourselves in the gym.  Once you reach a certain point, your muscles become accustomed to the weight you're using, which means you're not stressing them out and breaking down the muscle fibers anymore.  Some people might call this a "plateau".  In order to break through this, you have to change things up and keep those muscles guessing!  Change the weight. Change the number of reps and set. Change the day of the week you train a certain part of the body.  Change your intervals during cardio.  The point is: change is a good thing!  It's when you makes these changes in the workout that you'll start to see changes in your body again.  

4) You have unrealistic expectations and goals.  Now, I promise I don't mean to sound rude when saying this.  But some people expect to see dramatic results in a few weeks, and this is just unrealistic when you're losing weight and getting fit the right way.  Yes, you could take a pill or drink 3 shakes a day and lose a bunch of weight within a few weeks, but this just isn't maintainable.  As soon as they stop taking these weight loss products, they will rebound and gain at least a good portion of that weight back.  It's when you combine a healthy, balanced, unprocessed, diet, a good resistance/cardio training program, and hardwork that you start to see the weight come off---and STAY OFF!  So, my suggestion is to make small, attainable goals for yourself.  Maybe it's a dress you want to fit into in 3 months, or maybe a 5-pound weight decrease over the next month.  Whatever it is, make sure it's measurable and realistic.  Write this goal down so that you can see it everyday and remind yourself of what you're working towards.  Once you've hit this goal, make another!  There is no limit to how many goals you can set for yourself and achieve!  While you're setting goals, remember this: it's not a sprint; it's a marathon.  No one ever said it would be easy, but I promise, the results are totally worth the effort!  

So there you have it, folks.  These are my theories about why you're not losing weight or seeing changes in your body.  I hope you're able to constructively take what I'm saying, really evaluate your own workout routine and diet, and then make the necessary changes to keep your fitness journey going!  

Have a great Hump Day, y'all!