Before jumping into the topic why you might not be losing weight, I want to reiterate that every body is different, and everyone's needs are different. A lot of figuring out what works for you is trial and error - so please remember to practice kindness and patience with yourself in your health journey.
So, now we can pose the question - why aren't I losing weight? I often hear from clients that they feel like they've been trying everything - they diet, they workout, they track their food, but still, it's like something is missing. It's not a secret pill or formula, but just lack of knowledge or that what you're doing doesn't work for you, specifically. It can be frustrating, but if you know some common reasons why you may not be losing weight, you can reflect on your routine and try to adjust accordingly.
1. You’re Stressed, Tired, and Fatigued
When you are feeling stressed out and getting very poor or little sleep, your metabolism gets out of whack. You may tend to skip breakfast, eating later in the day, and end up eating late at night, and reaching for the more salty and savory foods. Also, when your body is always feeling tired and fatigued, it’s harder to do the things you need to in order to stay healthy: have the energy for workouts, to prep your food, and it’s harder for the body to stay regulated.
My recommendation: Try to set yourself a bedtime and a wakeup time each day, getting 7-9 hours of sleep if you can. Creating a routine at night is helpful to trigger your body into knowing it's time to go to sleep. Ditch the late-night phone scrolling and opt for a book instead.
2. You’re Over-Eating on Poor Food Choices & Not Eating Enough Nutrient Dense Foods
I'm sure you might be reading this saying "but I don't eat junk food!" It's not always foods like chips or candy that make weight loss difficult. Try to track what you eat for a week - pay attention to things like your coffee creamer (how much sugar is in there?), your salad dressings (how much sodium?), and what kinds of proteins make you feel bloated or not. Furthermore, you might only be having 1 glass of wine at night, but that turns into 7 glasses a week which is an extra 875 calories - make sure you’re getting the bulk of your calories from nutrient dense foods that your body can turn into fuel.
My recommendation: Keep a food journal and just jot down what you ate for the day - this is not a punishment or to make you feel like you can't eat what you want. It's just to help you gain awareness into how much nutritious food you have in the day versus things that serve no purpose other than keeping you feeling full.
3. You’re Under-Eating for the Activity You're Doing
This is the most common thing I see - you’re under-eating on your carbohydrates because someone once told you that carbs are bad- they lied. Chances are if you've been on a "diet", you're under eating completely. Lots of clients first come to me and say they’re only eating 1100 calories and working out at least an hour a day - your body needs you to eat in order to fuel and run properly! Otherwise it is going to hold onto all your fat so it can fuel itself.
My recommendation: Check out my post on how to calculate your macros - not because I'm suggesting you count macros, but I want you to calculate your Total Daily Expenditure and see how many calories you need to be consuming day to day just to function. This will give you a better idea of you are under eating or not.
4. Your Workouts Are Not Effective [Anymore]
It’s possible you’re actually working out too much in the style that you’re used to - you could be over-doing it on the cardio, and not lifting weights enough, or vice versa. Your body type has to do a lot with what changes you’ll see based on what workout regime you’re doing, and also you might be doing the wrong type of workout for the aesthetic you’re going for. It’s also important to change up your workouts before your body gets used to what you’re doing and you stop seeing progress.
My recommendation: If you've been doing the same type of workouts for over 12 weeks, it's time to change it up. If you're used to HIIT or more high intensity workouts, try more steady state routines. If you're used to working out with low weight-high rep circuits, see what happens when you try high weight-low reps. You can also check out my Body Type PDF and see where you land and what workouts might accomodate you best.
5. You Aren't Keeping Yourself Accountable
What does being accountable have to do with weight loss? Everything. It’s so important to record what you’re doing and staying committed to the practice - that way you can track your progress and see if what you’re doing is working or not. A plan takes 8-12 weeks for you to see real results - if you aren’t staying dedicated and committed to your plan for that long, you won’t see progress. Stay accountable and get it done - reassess - then keep going.
My recommendation: Use a calendar, whether on your phone or on paper, and schedule your workouts like appointments. If you have to cancel, you have to reschedule. Plan in advance what workouts you're going to do each day, that way there's no question or confusion once you hit the gym or the yoga mat. Find a friend who you can trust to help keep you accountable and do the same for them. You can also hire a coach for added accountability.