There are few things more frustrating than trying to lose weight and not being able to do it. If you're watching what you eat and trying to move more, but the scale isn't budging, there are several explanations. One of these six might be the reason you aren’t losing weight.
Losing weight can be as easy as simple math. In theory, if you burn more calories than you take in, you can lose weight. If you don't count your calories correctly, you may be eating more than you think you are. There are programs with extensive food databases that can help you accurately track your calorie intake. You also need to measure your food accurately. Food scales and label reading can help with that. Once you get a more accurate calorie count, you might start to see the pounds fall off.
When my naturally tall and thin husband is stressed, he doesn't eat well and loses weight. Unfortunately, stress causes me to gain weight. Stress can also make it hard to lose weight. When you are feeling stressed, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that can make you feel hungry. Stress can also make you feel like eating comfort foods, which are often high in sugar and fat. Lowering stress and dealing with it in healthy ways, like exercising, can help you with your weight loss goals.
If you aren't getting enough sleep, your metabolism may not function properly. It's also hard to find motivation to exercise when you feel tired. If you've had several nights of bad sleep, head to bed early even if it means skipping a workout. I know my body functions best on over seven hours of sleep a night. Make a goal to get to bed earlier and leave the day’s worries behind so you can rest well.
Not eating enough
Some people overdo their calorie restriction. This can put your body into survival mode, causing your metabolism to think you may be starving. Then your body will conserve energy and fight to keep fat on. A good calorie deficit per day is 500 calories if you are not severely overweight. Much more than that and you are sending your body the wrong messages. Instead of restricting intake of food, make wise food choices. Vegetables have very few calories, particularly green ones. For example, five cups of lettuce only has 25 calories. Eat healthy and you can eat more.
Exercise is a big part of a healthy lifestyle. Find ways to burn calories, even when you are busy. Choose an exercise or activity you enjoy and stick with it. FamilyShare.com has several motivating articles in the Health and Fitness section. If you’ve been exercising three days a week, try for four or five. If you’ve been walking for 30 minutes, bump it up to 45. Dance with your kids, walk on the treadmill while you watch a show on your tablet, take the stairs or walk to talk to a co-worker instead of sending an email. A pedometer or fitness tracker can motivate you to move more. Exercise tracking and weight management apps also help.
If you’ve tried all the above things and you’re still not able to lose weight, consider a few things. You might be at a healthy weight already. If so, work on toning your body and building muscle, which will make you look slimmer. If you are clearly overweight, you might have an underlying health issue that has caused your body’s hormones to work improperly. Consult a doctor and get help.
If you’ve been struggling with weight loss, take an honest assessment of your lifestyle. Make the needed changes and move forward. Being happy with your weight will make you happier with your life, leaving you more time and energy for the things and people you love.
Amy M. Peterson, a former high school English teacher, currently lives in Oregon with her husband and four children. She spends her days writing, reading, exercising and trying to get her family to eat more vegetables.