Why Am I Not Losing Weight? How can I Lose Weight Faster?

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     We get questions referring to weight loss quite often and one of the most frequent of those is “why am I not losing weight?” Whether you have just started a workout and you are not seeing the scale budge or you have been working out for a while and the scale has just stopped moving or started back the other direction there are a number common reasons that this may be happening.

     First your body is constantly changing weight and it often has little to do with your actual fat content. Often a sudden change for the worse or staying at one weight for a long time can be caused by changes in your body’s fluid level. In less than a 24-hour period your body can easily increase or decrease by 1 to 10 pounds simply by gaining water weight. If you are an avid exerciser then your weight gain or lack of weight loss is probably due to eating an overly salty meal in the last day or so. Also, fluid gain can be caused by fluctuating hormone levels, as hormones can easily cause a very rapid and sustained water weight gain for days at a time.

     Another factor that affects fluid levels in the body is changes in blood volume. Your body changes the amount of available blood volume over the course of days and weeks to keep optimum levels in relation to how much exercise you are doing. The more frequently you are exercising the more blood volume your body will maintain. This increase in blood volume will easily increase your overall weight though this increase is usually only seen by new exercisers as veterans will typically already have the available blood that they need.

     Another reason that you may not be seeing results or at least not seeing the change on the scale could be related to how often you are weighing yourself. In other words you are actually losing weight but you started checking too soon after starting your routine or to often from weigh-in to weigh-in to see much if any change. So be patient with your progress, give yourself time to change before jumping back on the scale. You should only be weighing yourself once a week but ideally it should only be once every two weeks or more. You should also try to keep the weigh-ins as similar as possible in respect to time of day, day of the week, proximity to waking up, eating, working out, etc.

     Also, try to focus on other things to gauge your progress besides the number on the scale. The scale shows you overall changes in weight but says nothing about where that weight is coming from. It is better to focus on changes in your physical ability such as number of push ups or crunches you can do or how fast/far you can run compared to the month or weeks before. Another physical measurement you can check is body composition, and shape. The best way to check body composition is by doing a body fat percentage test. The most accurate of these is a hydrostatic weigh test (dunk tank style) but other versions that are much cheaper can be found more easily, like simple hand held (bioelectric impedance) units, though they are less accurate. Either way a body fat percentage test is a good way to keep track of how your body is changing in regards to the amounts of fat and muscle tissue you have. After all one pound of muscle takes up about 2/3 the space that fat content does, so replacing all of your fat with muscle pound for pound would still make you a third smaller not to mention shaped completely differently.

     Another way to keep track of changes in your body not related to weight is circumference measurements. This can easily be done using a tape measure and using a few key spots on your body being sure to always measure the same place each time.

We have included five of the most common measurement sites and how to find them so you can keep it exactly the same each time.

1. Chest: Place the tape measure around your ribcage making a straight line from nipple to nipple.
2. Waist: Measure around your stomach in line with your belly button.
3. Hips: Measure around your butt and hips lining up with the top part of your leg bone and hip socket.
4. Bicep: Measure around the mid part of your upper arm to be most accurate. First measure from the outside of your shoulder to the middle of your bent elbow, then cut the measurement in half to find the middle of your arm as your measurement point.
5. Thigh: Measure around the mid part of your upper leg and use the same technique as for the upper arm by measuring from the top of your leg bone/hip socket to the middle of your knee and cutting that measurement in half to find the mid point of your leg.

     The next two sections are probably the most common reasons that exercisers stop seeing or never see fat loss, as the body is designed to trick you in both regards.

     The first is that most people overestimate the number of calories they burn while exercising. Especially those who have never participated in organized sports as they typically don’t know how hard they can push themselves. Even those who are veteran exercisers just getting back into a routine tend to feel as though they are working harder than they really are. So, just be sure to push yourself and never be satisfied with just as well as you did the last time. Make sure that you aren’t only putting in half of the effort that you are capable of.

     Also keep in mind that the type of workout that you do can also have a very big impact on the total number of calories you can burn per day. For example steady state cardio is a typical go-to workout for those trying to lose fat weight however workouts like strength training or HIIT can easily burn more calories over the course of a day because of their “after burn” effect which increases your metabolism for one to two days after your workout is done, burning calories at an elevated rate without having to do any extra work.

     The most common reason that answers the question “Why am I not losing weight?” is the number of calories you are taking in per day.

     This is most common particularly due to the fact that your body will be working against you to lose fat every step of the way. As you start to create a calorie deficit each day and burn off fat content your body will increase your hunger levels as well as increasing your food cravings with the specific purpose of replacing the calories you have lost. So be sure to check your snacking and meal size to be sure you are not subconsciously sneaking in any extra calories into your daily diet.

     A good way around this problem is to take a week or two to do food logging to get an exact number of calories coming in. Food logging shouldn’t have to be done for more than a week or two at a time to reset your eating habits and portion sizes to get you back on track. Just keep in mind that your body will always be trying to get you to go for the high fat, high calorie foods so having things like snack foods and processed foods in your house will be almost impossible for you to stay away from.

     Another issue when it comes to calorie intake, though much less common, is suppressing your metabolism by eating too few calories. When you drop your calorie intake too low you can actually trigger your body to go into a starvation mode, which drastically suppresses your metabolism. This is an automatic response from your body to try and slow the rate at which you are losing weight basically because your body thinks that it will run out of fat stores and not be able to get enough food. So be sure not to over do it when cutting your calorie content down.

     If you are unsure of how many calories you should be taking in, it is a good idea to talk to a dietitian or nutritionist to get a diet built specifically for you.

     The main thing you should do if you are not losing weight is don’t panic. Don’t let a momentary pause in weight change derail you from your end goal. Just keep at it and you will eventually start moving in the right direction.

Comments

gamergirl Blender Account

If I don't eat at all... am I losing weight? I know people say "THATS SO BAD FOR YOU." But humans are like lions, we can go a couple days without food and be just fine.

trevor&ashley Blender Account

it's really bad for you. when you don't eat, your body tells your brain that you're starving so as a result, the next time you do eat, your body stores the food you ate as fat. so in he end, you're gaining weight by not eating.

gamergirl Blender Account

I also consume about 3-4 cups of green tea a day to speed up my metabolism and burn calories. If I drink green tea, do workouts, and dont eat, will I lose weight and get leaner quicker?? Also Im not in good shape right now and cardio is hard for me... I cant go more than 3 minutes without getting too worn out and wanting to give up. Can I skip cardio or will that be no good?

totobui Facebook Account

Hi there! Try taking a brisk walk half an hour in the morning before you eat breakfast. You burn calories (though incrementally) without beating yourself up hard with cardio exercises. I was very unfit at first and found cardio workout hard to complete. So I started off doing just that. Also short cardio videos (5-10mins in length) might be a good start. Hope this helps.

felli Blender Account

if you dont eat at all
1- you will lose muscle (not fat.. your body will actually store fat as it goes into survival mode) and be too weak to do anything anyway.. so forget exercise.
2- you will possible get hairy... everywhere... its true.. google it.. its you're bodys way to keep you warm.. like a lion. think cave man.
3- nutrition deficit will lead to bad skin, illness, colds, general weakness ... seriously... the medical possibilities are frightening

oh my god... i can honestly think of a million reasons why you should never starve yourself but i know if you really wanted to know the side effects then you'd just google it so i'm just gonna tell you one thing..
there is something that u like doing... clubbing, making something with your hands, or just staying on the computer. just up your calorie expenditure doing these things

dance, do zumba or learn some dance or steps.. not for fittness.. just for you.. everyday a lil new step..
if you like doing something which is crafty just do it standing up... hell.. be on the computer standing up..
just stand up and fidget all the time... small moves like this lead to big results..

this with a nutrition plan.. i.e. eat 300 calories 5 times a day or something like that... you will lose weight..

rachel.toon.37 Facebook Account

If you're not eating anything you won't have fuel to help you w/ workouts so just focus on making healthy food choices(fruits, veggies, lean protein, and whole grains) instead of starving yourself.

rachel.toon.37 Facebook Account

felli, I didn't know that about the hairy thing, tha'ts really interesting.

hamboning Blender Account

@GamerGirl
I agree I hate people unnecessarily freaking out about fasting, and I especially hate the "starvation mode" myth (which is has NO real scientific evidence to back it up -- I've read quite a few reports on fasting experiments.)
That said, I definitely wouldn't eat nothing, especially if I was exercising (you won't have any energy! You need to keep your blood sugar up A LITTLE if you want to have stamina.). While your metabolism does actually pick up on the second day of fasting, after that it slowly diminishes.

I would recommend ADF (Alternate Day Fasting, meaning you eat every other day). Test studies have been very positive because they found people only ate around 125% of what they normally ate on their eating days, not 200%, so the calories consumed decreased enough for the test subjects to lose about two pounds a week! It's safe and you should be able to maintain your energy on your fast days. Just remember to drink lots of water, and if you really need to eat something (because of nausea or lack of energy) eat eggs or tuna.

I've been using ADF and FB's 8-week program for two weeks and I've lost 8 pounds! :D
(Well, a modified version of ADF -- Skip 5 meals, eat 4.) Best of luck to you!

Alyson Google Account

If you're losing 8 pounds in 2 weeks you've lost lean muscle mass and SOME fat. You're not supposed to lose more then 1-2 pounds a week MAX and most doctors recommend 1-2 pounds every TWO weeks max so as not to get a rebound or yo-yo effect.

Fasting CAN work. Doing just juicing for say 10 days to jump start weight loss is effective, but harmful after more then a month (or really after more then two weeks) I'm sure you've done you're homework, but the proof is in the pudding as it were. You're losing too fast and if you're getting nauseous then that's even more of a reason to show that what you're doing isn't healthy. Our ancestors would eat whenever they found food, period, even if it was a lot because they never knew when they'd get a next meal. Granted, they worked about 8 hours a day or more in pure physical activity (hunting, gathering, walking, traveling) which we simply don't do, so we can't just gorge ourselves when we suddenly (find: Read buy) food.

blanis Blender Account

You guys, skipping meals DOESN'T work in the long run! If you're hungry, your body needs sustenance!! Eat until you are satisifed, NOT FULL, and eat a well balanced diet (get enough veggies, fruits, protein, carbs, and YES, fats!! Your body needs all that for over all good health and nutrition.) I starved myself for 15 years. Did it work? NO! I was miserable and tired and got sick often. Now I eat a well-balanced diet, allow myself a cookie if I want a cookie, and I've lost over 40 pounds! Take care of your body. It does a lot of great things for you :)
Be well!

mtuck63 Blender Account

I agree with Blanis. First you have to eat properly second you have to put in the cardio. If you can only go three minutes great! Go three minutes five times a day and keep building from there. No one said you have to do 30 minutes of cardio in one session just build up to it.
Fasting is a dead end and will get you no where fast. Remember patience wins when trying to lose weight. It has to be a lifestyle change not just a fad.

sune.olivier.10 Facebook Account

Actually, starvation mode IS a proven fact and is the reason why people often lose weight all over accept around the waist (that is the heart-attack-triggering fat). A professional dietician told me that it is all-important to eat at least every three hours to keep your blood sugar at a constant level. Although I never really had that problem, my father did, and simply by eating more frequently (and healthfully,of course), he lost most of his belly fat! No starving, fasting, calorie counting or suffering! And remember: treats (in moderation) is a must!

felli Blender Account

i love this!!! so true!

saphire1132 Blender Account

Which workouts from youtube should I do to lose 10 pounds. I
Weigh 121 right now.

pinkcmartial Blender Account

does belly dancing actually help lose weight? @_@

Tippaket Google Account

About 7 years ago, I would eat about 500 calories a day. Slice of bread in the morning, an apple in the afternoon, and 1/3 cup of rice at night. Then I would run around the neighborhood or kick a soccer ball around in my backyard for an hour. Then I would do 200 crunches. I did this every day and I definitely had a calorie deficit. I lost 30lbs and about 8 pant sizes. But I was miserable and tired. I was so weak, eventually even walking up 1 flight of stairs or carrying a jug of milk from my garage to my door made me feel like I was going to faint. This started happening after a week or two and continued on for a year and a half.

Nowadays, I eat all the dang time. Big bowls of salads with hunks of protein in it. Steak or fish dinners. Tons of fruits and veggies on the side and in between meals. And I perform HIIT 3 days of the week and do weight lifting on the alternate 3 days. I gained all my weight back but all in muscle. My abs and body look much more toned and defined. I'm on my way to having abs like Kelli :D

Most impressively, I am never tired anymore. I feel like I can lift and carry a semi truck on my shoulders sometimes haha! But seriously I feel like I can do anything now, in my academic, work, and family life.

All of this superficial/physical AND mental improvement wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for FitnessBlender and their educational tips. It also took an open mind in order to change my habits and mindset. FitnessBlender helped me with that as well. So I personally encourage you guys to listen to Kelli and Daniel! They can help you change your life for the better :D
(and of course talk to your doctor and nutritionist as well, as everyone is different!)

jmaui Blender Account

I'm on week 6 of the 8 week program and have since gained 2 lbs (with noticeable definition but still some abdominal fat that needs to be gone). I can't help but to care what the scale says as it's super quick and easy to do....it's hard to not be affected by what is on the scale. Measuring width is a good idea that I should incorporate into my weekly routine.

Do I measure arms / thighs while flexing or just relaxed?

lindsaydayle Facebook Account

Good read! Thanks

sarah.n.lawson.54 Facebook Account

Thanks, this was helpful! I have been struggling with this problem lately. I am just finishing week 5 of the 8-week program (round 2), and usually once a week I take my dogs for a walk, too. I'm very carefully monitoring my calorie burn/intake (using the FitBit tracker) and I manage somewhere between a 500-1000 calorie deficit every day. I'm also careful to achieve the 60-20-20 ratio. I saw an initial BFP drop of 3% and weight loss of 4 lbs., but in the past three weeks it hasn't budged. It's been really frustrating. I know part of the problem is that I usually relax my tracking on weekends and treat myself. I know one or two cheat meals a week is fine but sometimes I go overboard. Still, I didn't think that this was going to completely undo everything I had done during the week. I guess I'm still trying to work it all out. I think I'm mostly frustrated because I tried this program a year ago (and was less disciplined about my diet) and saw results much faster. Is there anything you can recommend based on this, or should I just keep on keeping on?

tamaqua4 Blender Account

I love their videos, but I seriously hate that the commercial before most of the videos is about cookies.

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