If you’re one of the 186 million American adults who are weight conscious and would like to lose weight, then you have at some point struggled with the difficulty in doing so. Of these millions of adults, only 54% make an effort to consciously improve their body composition by employing methods like exercising, cutting back sugar, choosing “healthier” food options or restricting their portion sizes. And even with these efforts, many find that they plateau or fail in their weight loss efforts. Here are four reasons why you’re not losing weight.
1. You don’t lift weights.
Strength training is one of the biggest determinants in losing weight and actually keeping it off. This is because the biggest contributing factor to your metabolic rate is your BMR which is largely dictated by the amount of muscle mass you have. Simply put—the more muscle you have, the more calories you expend at rest. Additionally, when you engage in strength training several anabolic hormones such as growth hormone and testosterone are produced which promote muscle growth and lipolysis (fat burning).
2. You’re not sleeping.
Not getting enough sleep at night can dramatically alter your weight loss efforts. A lack of sleep at night promotes increased cortisol levels throughout the day which is a catabolic hormone associated with stress. Additionally, a lack of sleep can alter glucose transport and insulin sensitivity, which can lead to increased cravings for carbohydrate-dense foods throughout the day.
3. You’re not tracking calories.
Calories ingested vs. total daily energy expenditure is the most determining factor to losing weight because you must be maintaining a caloric deficit to reduce your overall body fat percentage and weight. If you don’t know your average caloric intake, you need to start using a food journal, log or app such as MyFitnessPal to track your caloric intake and make reductions or adjustments to your food intake as needed.
4. You’re fad dieting.
Atkins, Paleo, South Beach, Zone, the Grapefruit or Cookie Diet, or any other fad diet will ultimately fail. Fad diets work well initially because they place people into an extreme caloric deficit that provides initial results but is not sustainable long-term. Furthermore, the metabolic adaptations that occur in correspondence to fad diets typically causes a super compensation effect that results in greater weight gain surpassing a person’s original body weight prior to the diet. The bottom line is you must choose a healthy eating plan that strategically and intelligently reduces caloric intake gradually and also accounts for macronutrient and micronutrient needs.