Why You May Not Be Losing Weight Despite Exercising and Dieting
What is the primary reason you’re exercising and dieting but not losing weight or fat? One of the most common reasons why people give up on their fat loss journey is simply because they aren’t seeing any progress despite putting in the work and doing everything right.
You know what I don’t blame them. Believe me if I didn’t know any better and wasn’t seeing the results I was after then I would sure quit.
However, rather than giving up altogether, it’s important that you instead take a step back to pinpoint exactly what it is you’re doing that’s preventing you from losing fat. Let me start off by saying that no you’re not genetically cursed, it’s not your metabolism that’s damaged and no you’re not too old to see results.
Instead there’s a few hidden mistakes that I see people unknowingly make all the time. I even used to make these mistakes that prevent you from losing fat despite your hard work.
In today’s article, I’ll show you exactly those mistakes that prevent you from losing fat despite all the exercises and diet and how to correct them so you can actually start burning fat and seeing the results that you’re after.
Mistake 1. Underestimating Calorie Intake
The first and most common mistake you don’t realize you’re making is under estimating your calorie intake. You’re unknowingly overeating. This prevents any fat loss from occurring.
This is a mistake that 99.9% of people are making when they claim that they don’t eat a lot of calories but still struggle to lose weight.
Illustrating this is a paper from the British Journal of Nutrition which looked at a group of women struggling to lose weight. Despite claiming to be small eaters as they reported their daily calorie intake to be on average of just 1340 calories.
However after the researchers determined their true daily calorie intake they found it to be on average over 2,500 calories.
This was clearly the reason why they couldn’t lose any fat. And it wasn’t until subjects were then supplied with the actual amount of calories that they claimed to be eating that they started finally losing weight at roughly 1.65 pounds per week.
This phenomenon of underestimating calorie intake is something that multiple other studies have found as well. With one study showing that even experienced dietitians ended up under reporting their true calorie intake. So why exactly does this occur?
The truth is that most people are really bad at estimating the actual amount of calories that they eat. For instance how many calories would you guess is in a meal consisting of two pieces of whole grain toast with avocado and a little bit of olive oil drizzled on top?
Chances are you wouldn’t have guessed that this healthy meal consists of a whopping 620 calories. Now let’s take a look at two seemingly similar bowls of dry oats.
Would you honestly be able to eyeball and guess that the one on the right has almost a hundred calories more than the one on the left just from adding a little bit more oats? Probably not. And this difference in perceived versus actual calories very easily becomes the factor that’s inhibiting your fat loss.
So to mitigate this you want to start monitoring your food intake and ideally taking the time to accurately measure everything with a food scale.
Get an affordable food scale and then use an app like My Fitness Pal to then track the calories from these foods. I highly recommend you do this or at least try it out as its going to help you see how many calories you’re truly eating.
Besides, it’s also going to drastically improve your skill of estimating calories in foods.
In addition you want to make sure that you don’t forget about hidden calories in foods. For example, let’s say you require 2,000 calories to lose weight. You’ve monitored your food intake for the day and you’re confident that you hit that goal.
However, upon further analysis you’ve forgotten about the drop of oil that you use to cook your eggs and the ketchup that you ate them with, the drizzle of salad dressing added to your healthy salad and the little bites you had of your significant other’s chocolate bar that’s a whopping 300 calories you’ve forgotten about.
These can easily put you out of the calorie deficit that you thought you were in and becomes a reason why you’re not losing fat. Bottom line: just be aware of and take into account these hidden calories as they do quickly add up and can prevent to you from seeing the results that you’re after.
Mistake 2: Not Weighing Yourself Properly
The next reason why you’re exercising and dieting but not losing weight is you’re not properly weighing yourself. What most people do is they weigh themselves sporadically every week or so. Now the problem is that you will see your weight fluctuating and inconsistent.
If you weigh daily with consistency then you will be able to accurately see if your fat loss is trending downwards or upwards. Weighing once weekly will leave you frustrated because you’d be under the impression that you haven’t made your progress and actually gained weight despite all your hard work which you don’t know isn’t true and leads you to quit altogether but this is just because you haven’t taken the time to properly track your data.
With only one weighing per week you become severely misled about the general direction of your weight change. What do you need to do? Weigh yourself every single morning right when you wake up after you’ve used the washroom but before you eat or drink anything. This is going to help minimize any weight fluctuations.
You’ll then want to write down this number every day and take a weekly average of it and then every week you want to compare that average weight to the prior weeks average as this will more accurately represent what’s actually happening with your weight.
Then if after three or four weeks or so you don’t see any change in your weekly average weight then you’ll be much more informed that something may need to be changing your plan and you can dress it accordingly. Another advice to that point is that you need a scale that measures to the decimal point. Believe me this is essential.
Mistake 3: Overestimating and Eating Back Calories You Burned
The next hidden mistake you’re making is overestimating and eating back the calories you burn. A lot of people find that after doing an intense workout they’re hungrier and feel as though they should eat more to compensate for the calories that they burn.
However, multiple papers have found that especially after a cardio session people end up eating back in significant portion or even exceeding the calories that they burned from their workout. This can slow down and/or prevent fat loss altogether and to make matters worse.
Research indicates that people tend to overestimate the calories they’ve burned in a workout by up to 70% and devices or machines that track the calories that you’ve burned in your workout have been shown to overestimate the actual calories that you’ve burned by up to 24 percent.
So if you’re using either of those methods to track your calories burned and then you’re eating back your calories based on that that’s likely what’s hindering your fat loss. A much better method is the stick to a set daily calorie intake and a set weekly workout routine then you simply keep track of your weekly average weight and if you’re not losing weight then you adjust your plan accordingly by either slightly decreasing your calorie intake and/or bumping up your weekly cardio as needed.
Mistake 4: You’re Going Through Body Recomposition
The last reason why you’re dieting and exercising but not losing weight is you’re not realizing that you’re going through a body recomposition. When most people think of fat loss they immediately think of numbers on the scale. They assume that if their weight isn’t going down then they’re not losing any fat.
However, this isn’t always the case because if you’re relatively new to training or you’re coming back from some time off or you’ve just started taking your training and your nutrition much more seriously then you’re more likely to experience something called a body recomposition.
This is where your body both builds muscle and lose fat at the same time which is a good thing but it will result in your weight actually remaining the same. This can throw people off and this is exactly why it’s so vital that you’ve measured your progress in other ways rather than just relying on the scale.
In addition to tracking your weight it’s also a good idea to keep track of your strength in the gym. Take weekly progress pictures and take weekly bodily measurements because if for example in the past six weeks your weight has stayed the same but your strength has increased your arm measurements have increased and your waist measurements have decreased then these are all signs that you’re going through a body recomposition.
Meaning that you can rest assured that you are indeed making progress and doing everything correctly.
The Importance of Tracking Everything
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of tracking. Tracking your strength in the gym, tracking your food intake, tracking your weight and so on are all a must. Having all these variables tracked you’ll then know exactly what it is that you need to change or adjust in order to break through any plateaus you encounter.
I’ll be the first to admit fat loss can be confusing at times and nothing is more demotivating than not seeing the results that you’re after despite exercising and dieting but not losing weight.
Take these four points on why you’re not losing despite your best efforts and properly apply them then you will see the change that you’re after in your fat loss journey.
Avoid making crucial mistakes like the ones we went through in this article before they even happen. This is the only way you’re going to see incredible changes in your body.