I’m Exercising – So Why Am I Not Losing Weight?
Why is your weight loss stalling even though you feel like you are doing everything right at the gym?
We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 reasons you might not be losing weight, even if you are physically active:
1. You are not in a calorie deficit.
There is only one way to lose body fat and that is to use more calories than you consume, or be in what is known as a calorie deficit. No matter what kinds of food you eat or what type of exercise you do, at the end of the day it all comes down to calories in versus calories out (“CICO”).
Of course in order to know how many calories you are consuming you will need to introduce an element of tracking or recording what you eat and drink in a day and how long you spend exercising and at what intensity. But be warned, most people tend to overestimate how many calories they burned and underestimate how many they ate.
2. You are burning fewer calories than you think.
We’ve all done it; met a friend to go for a morning walk or even a spin class, then followed it with a huge meal and drinks “because we earned it”. The average spin class lasts for about 45 minutes and you are likely to burn anywhere from 350 to 600 calories during the class.
If you then go to a cafe and order smashed avocado on sourdough, with some crumbled feta on top and maybe a poached egg or two, you are looking at a plate of almost 900 calories – even more if you then add fruit juice or a cappuccino. (We aren’t saying that this kind of meal is bad for you; simply that you should be mindful of how many calories you are consuming so that you can make an informed decision).
3. Are you exercising with enough intensity?
For some people, a 5km run is just what they might do before breakfast a few times per week. For others, walking up a flight of stairs can render them breathless for a few minutes afterwards.
The important thing is that you are exercising with the correct intensity for you as an individual (ie not what your friends might be doing), and you tend to learn more about what that means as you get more and more used to exercise.
If you have never exercised before, then you might be tempted to stop as soon as you get out of breath or as soon as your muscles have to work hard, so it would make sense to hire a professional coach so that you can get an idea of what low, medium and high intensity workouts actually feel like.
Another benefit of hiring a coach is that you can push yourself in a safe environment, among experts who will be able to gauge just how hard you are really working!
4. You may be less consistent than you think.
So you exercised but you aren’t seeing results. But when you really sit down and think about it, that workout was a week ago… We understand, life gets in the way of good intentions but, more than any diet or training programme, what will get you to your goals is a combination of consistency and discipline.
Going to the gym once a week is definitely better than nothing, but it isn’t enough if you are looking to shed some body fat.
When we asked some of our trainers and successful clients if they had any secrets to share, they all agreed that the most important thing was sticking to their routine long term, whether it was 3 gym sessions per week, 10,000 steps per day or getting to bed by 10pm every night.
5. You are eating more than you think.
This brings us back to point 1, in which we explained that you need to be in a calorie deficit to lose weight. Every day, we meet clients who are absolutely adamant that they eat “very healthily”, yet they are not at their desired weight or level of leanness.
Although they may be eating plenty of what have come to be known as superfoods (things like avocado, olive oil, salmon or nuts), these foods are very high in calories and so it is easy to eat more than your body can use for fuel (so it will store the rest as fat).
Of course there are also people who eat without thinking, for example making a cheese sandwich for the kids but eating a lump of cheese themselves while doing it, mindlessly eating chocolate in front of the television or even digging into the office cookie jar in the afternoon.