3 Things to Do If You’re Trying to Lose Weight But Can’t
Working out and eating well to lose weight, but the scale won’t budge? We hear you. Here, an expert shares what may be the problem and three things you should do now.
Why you’re not losing weight
You’ve picked the right gym. Check. You have the perfect training schedule. Check. The trainer/coach you’re working with “gets” you and connects with you. Check. You’ve downloaded the right nutritional plan and have been following it to a tee. Check. Then why are you not seeing results?
Enter frustration. It’s one of the most common reasons why I see people do away with their fitness training and conditioning. Let’s step back and analyze this.
When someone begins an exercise program, it’s normal to feel sore afterward. The soreness soon abates and your body acclimatizes. This period is your body’s way of adapting and getting stronger and leaner. Your improvements may be not physically noticeable yet, but you may be stronger and your pants and clothes might feel looser. And yet, the scale may be showing the same number, regardless of those changes.
Remember that the scale doesn’t know you from a hole in the wall; it can only reflect what it feels. You may have lost 12 pounds of fat and gained six pounds of lean and healthy muscle, but the scale will only show a weight loss of six pounds. This can upset people and throw them off, which is why weighing yourself isn’t the be-all-and-end-all way to track your progress. Plus, you can have off days thanks to bloating and water retention, which influence what you see on the scale.
That being said, there are times when you may hit ruts and can’t seem to progress. There are a few things you can do to help get you out of that sinkhole. (Also, see these other ways to get over a weight-loss plateau.)
1. Take a week off
Professional athletes will often take breaks from their training to recuperate so that they come back stronger. In fact, the best coaches and athletes will program a “deload” week, which prevents their workouts from getting stale. Your week off can be simply walking (here are tips for walking more), biking, hiking or anything that can promote an “active” recovery.
2. Keep track of your nutrition
Tracking your food and liquid intake can help you see if there is a blatant pattern. In my case, I often miss a morning snack, which makes me eat lunch earlier. (Read about what happens when you miss a meal.) This makes me crash and I turn to downing two or three cups of coffee to keep me going. This influences my sleeping habits as well. Can you see how this pattern can be part of a greater evil?
3. Look at non-training factors
These may include lack of sleep, inadequate hydration, hormonal issues and stressors at work and at home. (See all the ways you could be sabotaging your sleep, which could throw off your weight loss goals.)
Next, check out the common medications that could be preventing you from losing weight.