Why Can't I Lose Weight?
Everyone is different, but there may be specific reasons you aren’t losing weight – and they are in your control to do something about it!
You're not strength training. Often, people who can't lose weight don't do any strength training. The more lean muscle mass you have, the faster your resting metabolism, because muscle is the body's most metabolically active tissue.
You're not exercising in a way that forces the body to adapt. The adaptive response requires energy; it raises your body's energy needs. The body will then dig into stored fat for this energy.
If you've been strength training and the weight hasn't been coming off, it's because you're not doing much more than merely going through the motions.
There's the story of a heavy-set woman who was doing lat pull-downs with 70 pounds. A trainer waltzed over, knelt beside her, said "Hi" with a smile, then moved the machine's pin to the 100 pound mark.
The woman's mouth fell open, but the trainer said, "You're going to do 100 pounds for your next set, and eight times."
"I can't do 100 pounds!"
"Oh yes you can. Trust me. You're going to complete eight reps."
The woman said her goal was to lose weight, but nothing was happening despite regular workouts. She began pulling down the bar, and it wasn't easy. She had to fight her way to the eighth rep, but she completed eight full repetitions.
The trainer said, "Now that's the way every set should feel. Apply this effort level to all of your sets for every exercise. You won't lose weight if you keep doing something your body is efficient at. You must do something that forces you to struggle. Struggling begets weight loss."
A month later the woman reported having dropped an entire dress size.
Moral of this true story: Exercises that require struggling will burn fat and cause weight loss, especially when coupled with sensible eating.
You eat mindlessly. Every little sample and nugget counts. One tablespoon of gravy is 100 calories. A "little bit here and there" adds up. Avoid eating due to cues not related to sustenance, such as watching TV.
You drink diet sodas. Artificial sweeteners often trigger hunger.
Too many processed foods. These trigger hunger, and too much white sugar and high fructose corn syrup will get stored as fat.
You’ve gone no-carb or fat free. Cutting out a whole food group such as carbs will result in quick weight loss, but not only are you depriving your body of needed nutrients to function; you are more likely to gain the weight back after re-inserting these foods back into your eating pattern. Fat free foods are often higher in sodium and sugars to make up for the lack of fat. Go for reduced fat or alternative products.
You skip breakfast. Breakfast, even if it's only a cup of yogurt, tends to tame later-day appetite. Skipping it can make you feel entitled to overeat later on.
You don't do cardio. It's amazing how many people, who don't do cardio, wonder why they can't lose weight. Taking care of two preschoolers or pulling weeds does not replace structured cardiovascular exercise.
You hold onto the treadmill. This has got to be one of the most weight-loss-sabotaging habits out there. The body has absolutely no reason to burn more fat in response to make-believe walking.
Instead, pump the arms and get winded to force your body to adapt. Remember, the body won't adapt to something that it's very efficient at doing (e.g., walking while holding onto something for support).
You don't do HIIT: high-intensity interval training. This form of cardio blasts fat fast.
You have inconsistent exercise habits. Weight loss won't go hard and deep if your workouts are not consistent. Even if you're doing everything right in the gym, consistency is still very important.
You have poor sleeping habits. Research shows that less than six hours of sleep and over nine are strongly linked to excess body fat.