Updated: Nov 21, 2019
Losing weight can be a frustrating journey. Weight loss almost always begins with an impressive drop in weight - mostly due to water retention - and then can plateau. This impasse can be very demoralising, lead to a lack of motivation and ultimately weight gain. If you find you are struggling to lose weight then have a look through these 7 reasons.
Training Too Little
Well, this is a no brainer. If you are not losing weight, then chances are you might not be exercising enough. At the end of the day, your body is adapted to the stresses around it and the stresses you place upon it. If you want it to change, then you have to stress it to a point it is not comfortable which forces a physiological change. Put simply, if it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you. While you may think two classes per week and a long run on Sunday is sufficient to lose fat, the results might prove otherwise.
Wrong Type Of Training
In addition to not training enough, you might be doing the wrong type of training. As I touched on above, cardio and classes aren't necessarily the most efficient way to lose body fat. Resistance training helps to build muscle which helps the body burn more fat throughout the day and a hard resistance training session increases the amount of calories you burn after you finish the workout. High-intensity interval training is a better way to burn fat and takes up less time.
Related Post: The 3 Laws Of Cardio Training
Training Too Much
Yes, you can train too much! The amount of exercise you can do is dependant on your ability to recover from it. Failure to recover from the stresses of exercise can lead to over-training. Over-training is characterised by mood, hormonal and physiological changes which contribute to weight gain. Chief among these changes are the increased levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and other hormonal imbalances which can lead to increased fat storage.
Aim to perform a combination of 3-5 resistance workouts and high-intensity cardiovascular workouts per week. Compliment this with daily activities such as fasted walking (before breakfast where possible) and generally increased activity levels throughout the day.
Eating Too Much
This should be pretty straight-forward. If you eat more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. Likewise, if you burn more calories than you eat then you will lose weight. Whilst this is an over-simplified explanation - many other factors can influence weight management as brilliantly explained here - the principles remain true. If you are struggling to lose weight then it is worth evaluating your week's food intake to see if you are eating too much.
Related Post: 7 Foods You Must Eat (If You Exercise Regularly!)
Eating Too Little
As mentioned above, the factors influencing weight loss go beyond calories in vs calories out. Sometimes, the reason you may not be losing weight is because you are not eating enough! The body requires protein, fat, some carbohydrates and plenty of minerals and vitamins to function properly. If you are on a severely calorie-restrictive diet you may lack some of these vital macro- and micronutrients which can have a negative effect on your hormone levels and energy levels. In addition to this, many vitamin and mineral deficiencies are the root cause of certain cravings.
Use a comprehensive TDEE Calculator to calculate how many calories you should be eating per day and then track your intake. More importantly, consume high quality, natural whole foods including different coloured vegetables, high-quality cuts of meat, wild-caught fish and healthy fats.
Not Sleeping Enough
In addition to helping us recover from the stresses of exercise, sleep is an essential part of life. Insufficient sleep can lead to elevated cortisol levels (that pesky fat-storing hormone), a lack of energy and subsequent unhealthy food choices, and a lower motivation to exercise. Aim to sleep between 7-9 hours per night and follow these tips to ensure a good nights sleep.
One of the most complex factors affecting our weight is stress. There are different types of stress: acute and chronic. Acute stress is often a reaction to imminent danger and triggers the "fight or flight" response. This reaction primes the body for action and has helped us survive as a species - think running away from a lion. Chronic stress, on the other hand, is a prolonged exposure to lower-level stressors - think financial worries, relationship troubles etc - and has been linked to many common ailments such as coronary heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and stroke. Whilst the former has kept us alive, the latter may slowly be killing us. There are many methods to deal with chronic stress (exercise being one of them funnily enough) and they often warrant further investigation. If you feel chronic stress is negatively affecting you it may be worth speaking with a qualified therapist or your GP to get more help.
Healthy fat loss goes hand in hand with a healthy functioning body. Everything mentioned above helps to promote fat loss, but it also promotes a healthy life. Combine this with a healthy exercise regime and you can supercharge your results. For more information on exercise and personal training, check out the Personal Training section.
If you would professional nutritional guidance, check if Nutritional Coaching could help you to achieve your goals.
Related Post: 4 Benefits To Hiring A Personal Trainer
Related Post: 6 Ways To Boost Fat Loss (No Gym Required!)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Maitland is a personal trainer with over 10 years’ experience. He has worked alongside a wide range of leading CEOs, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. John is a keen athlete and holds a black belt in Shaolin Kung fu. A fan of the great outdoors, he can often be found exploring the British countryside and mountains...or breaking pine boards with his fingers.