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5 Reasons Your New Diet and Exercise Routine Aren’t Giving You the Results You Were Hoping For

You've tweaked your diet and finessed your workout routine to feel better and maybe tone your bod—so why isn't it working?

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The Truth About Why You Didn’t Lose Weight

It’s one of the most frustrating moments for anyone who’s trying to lose weight: after a week of hard work, you step on the scale only to find the number hasn’t budged at all. Here are five possible reasons.

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1. Your Weight Naturally Fluctuates

It’s normal for your weight to go up and down by a couple of pounds throughout the day. This happens to everyone. When you’re judging the success of your new diet changes and fitness routine, it’s best to look at the trend of results over time. There will be weeks where you maintain or even gain weight.

To avoid fluctuations from external factors, make sure you always weigh yourself at the same time of day and wear the same clothes each time. Ideally, weigh yourself in the morning, before eating or getting dressed.

(Related: 7 Outdated Ideas About How to Maintain a Healthy Weight)

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2. You’re Retaining Water

If your period is due, or if you’ve eaten a salty evening meal, you may put on a pound or two. This is due to water retention, your body is storing more water than usual, and this liquid is making you seem heavier.

If water retention is making you feel uncomfortable, the best way to avoid it is to avoid salty foods and have the recommended amount of non-alcoholic fluids every day. Experts recommend about two litres.

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3. You’ve Hit a Plateau

Sometimes when you’re trying to drop a few pounds, your weight might not budge for several weeks in a row. This is known as a “weight-loss plateau” and it doesn’t mean your fitness of weight-loss strategies aren’t working.

So what to do? Keep going—plateaus are normal. If you want to take action, you can consider refreshing your routine: update your meal schedule (for example: adding a healthy afternoon snack so you’re not starving when you get home from work), or start a new exercise class or routine.

(Related: 6 Ways Pilates May Help You Lose Weight)

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4. You Forgot Those Little Extras

It’s easy to get complacent when you’ve been dieting for a while. Maybe you’ve been adding more butter on your toast, nibbling while you’re cooking or having dessert every night. Those little extra calories might be adding up and preventing you from losing weight.

If you’re looking to lower your calorie intake, keep a food diary to become more aware of your food intake. Research has shown that dieters who record what they eat are much more likely to succeed.

(Related: 5 Meal Prep Tips for People Who Want to Lose Weight)

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5. You Weighed Yourself on Mondays

Did you step on the scales first thing Monday morning? If you normally weigh in on a Friday or Saturday, weighing yourself after the weekend can be a nasty shock. Many of us eat more on the weekend than during the week, researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that dieters lost weight on weekdays but not on Saturday and Sunday.

Next: 10 Healthy Ways to Help You Reach Your Goal Weight