One of the most challenging experiences that someone can take is trying to lose weight. Despite trying your hardest, you may find yourself stuck in a rut or that your progress has staled hard. After maintaining a weight loss transformation of over 100lbs for over a decade, we understand the effort and heartache that can go into the process.
When asking yourself "Why am I not Losing Weight?", sometimes the answer is simple. Adjusting your diet to meet your new daily Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE for short) may be all that it takes.
There are other potentially hidden issues that could be affecting your weight loss as well, so lets identify all of them so you can make progress on your journey together.
- Weight Loss Plateaus Can Be Overcome: Plateaus are common but CAN be overcome with nutrition and exercise adjustments and monitoring.
- Slow Weight Loss Requires Patience and Adaptation: Slow weight loss may be due to metabolism, sleep, or stress; patience and lifestyle changes are essential for success.
- Uncover Hidden Factors and Sustain Weight Loss: Address hidden factors like medical conditions and medications while maintaining sustainable weight loss strategies.
Table of Contents
- Key Take Aways
- Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
- Reevaluating Your Diet
- Varying Your Workout Routine
- Monitoring Progress for Success
- Troubleshooting Slow Weight Loss
- Metabolism and Its Role
- Sleep and Stress: Weight Loss Influencers
- Hidden Factors Hindering Weight Loss
- Uncovering Medical Conditions
- Medications and Their Impact
- Unexplained Weight Gain Causes
- The Mystery of Unexplained Weight Gain
- Battling Fluid Retention
- Taming Hidden Calories
- The Journey to Sustainable Weight Loss
Overcoming Weight Loss Plateaus
Plateau: (noun) A state of little or no change after a period of progress.
It is important to understand that plateaus in weight loss are common and are incredibly frustrating when your progress halts. No matter how diligently you are following your diet and exercise routine, if the scale remains stubborn, the unhappiness can follow.
To overcome the plateaus, here are three things to consider.
Revise Your Diet
When re-evaluating your diet and adjusting your calorie intake it is important to understand what your new TDEE is as your body loses mass and works harder.
Thankfully, there are now tons of websites that help calculate your rough TDEE for free, our go-to's being the one from Calculator.net. While this isn't perfect, it will give you a starting point for your weight loss.
After calculating your TDEE, track your progress and adjust accordingly. We recommend dropping 200-300 calories from each day until you are losing between .5-1lb a week.
Another aspect of nutrition that is criminally misunderstood are macro nutrients. Finding the right balance of carbs to protein to fat is key to hitting any goal that you have set before you. While it varies from person to person, building a balanced plan starts here.
If you want to increase any lacking knowledge about macro's, HERE is an article we have done on the subject.
We also always recommend consulting a medical professional before you start to change any part of your diet.
Change Your Training
Your training is the next thing that should be evaluated and adjusted. By increasing the intensity or variety of your training, you may get that jump start that you need.
Often times, out body becomes more effective at the training and exercise routines it is being fed. This means that if you continue to do the same work over and over again without changing some portion of the stimulus, the body won't be burning as many calories.
Changing your routine is actually one of the easiest things that you can do, as it only takes a bit more effort.
If you are lifting weights, you can try adding a bit more weight to each set or add more reps to the training session. If running is your thing, then going just a small amount faster so your lungs are burning or a bit further so you legs are on fire can help.
You don't have to STOP training the way that you enjoy to change up your workout, all it takes is a bit of creativity and a touch of gumption to get going.
Monitor Your Routine
If you are still new to your routine or your weight loss goal, keeping a food journal or tracking your training can be a massive help.
There are dozens of apps that are designed to help you track and understand your nutritional goals. In the past we have used both MyFitnessPal and Renaissance Periodization Diet app, but as our understanding grew, we mapped out our plan and put it in a simple to read Google Spreadsheet.
Having a way to track your nutritional and fitness goals helps you see anything that could be missing or added to your plan, which in the end will only lead to a better result for YOU.
Troubleshooting Slow Weight Loss
If, after you have taken a look at the three things we just mentioned, you are still losing weight at a snails pace, it is essential to stay the course and stay patient.
But there are a few other factors that you can try and troubleshoot to kickstart your progress once again:
Your metabolism is how efficiently your body burns through calories that are consumed. IE if you have a higher metabolism, you will end up burning more calories, which in turn, creates an easier environment for you body to enter a state of weight loss
This furnace that you body produces can slow down due to many internal factors, such as aging, loss of muscle, hormones and an increase in the amount of time you sit around and do nothing.
You can attack some of these factors by increasing your muscle mass, moving around more, or going to the doctor and getting a blood panel done to address deficiencies. While this may not solve everything right away, these steps can help you move along the right path.
Stress and it's triggers affect weight loss dramatically because of the release of such hormones as cortisol, which has been shown to an increased appetite, a ramp up in cravings of your favorite comfort food, and it just makes you feel crummy.
Chronic stress can also cause another issue that is heavily tied into weight gain, which is your sleep pattern, which in turn causes even MORE hormone imbalances. It is a vicious cycle.
Trying to find ways to reduce stress is always recommended, from something as simple as meditation, to finding a hobby to get your mind off of the tasks that are causing issues, you will be thankful.
We understand it is much easier said than done, but you won't regret trying to improve your health by reducing your stress.
As mentioned, stress plays a huge role in maintaining weight loss because of it's affect on hormones and how your body burns calories.
If you have poor sleep, it can and will disrupt hormones related to your hunger, which can change how you feel about eating. IE you feel like eating more, even when you shouldn't.
Another not so fun fact about subpar sleep is it affects insulin sensitivity, which disrupts your bodies ability to regulate blood sugar levels, which again, will leave you feeling not so bueno.
To get better sleep we recommend that you establish a routine, something that you can do every night that cues your body that it is time for it to chill out and crash down. Many people recommend soft, lo-fi music before bed, turning of your phone, and meditation, but in our humble opinion, it comes down to a process you can and will repeat frequently.
Hidden Factors Hindering Weight Loss
Other factors that hinder weight loss sometimes aren't easily assessed, like the three talked about above.
For some individuals, there may be medical factors that you may want to consider if you believe that something is silently sabotaging your health goals:
- Medical Conditions: Thyroid disorders, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and insulin resistance can impede weight loss. Consult a healthcare professional if you suspect an underlying medical issue.
- Medications: Some medications, such as antidepressants and corticosteroids, can lead to weight gain or hinder weight loss. Discuss alternatives with your healthcare provider.
Unexplained Weight Gain Causes
If, after eliminating medical reasons and evaluating your life factors, there are STILL roadblocks that you may not even understand sitting in your way:
Your body sometimes holds onto water like you are about to enter a drought which results in you weighing more than you would expect. This fluid retention can be brought on by hormonal changes that come with the natural aging process or an increased stress load.
There may also be an increase in the amount of sodium in your diet, which causes your muscles to hold onto liquids easier. Examining your lifestyle and seeing if any of these line up to a weight plateau is an important step to eliminating the risks associated with them and will put you back on the path of losing weight.
Calories are hidden all around us, even in things that claim to be healthy and calorie free. Things like mindless snacking or underestimating portions can lead to you eating more than your TDEE.
Some of the biggest offenders of this are the sauces you use to flavor the healthy meals you so diligently cooked up. Making sure that you pay careful attention to labels will help in the avoidance of beefed up calories.
However, at a quick glance there are a few phrases on packaging that should set off alarm bells in your head and encourage you to dive deeper.
If a label says "Low-Fat", "Sugar-Free" and phrases similar to that, take a look to ensure they aren't stuffing the 'flavor' elsewhere. Supposedly healthy sauces that tout 'sugar-free' and 'low-carb' often have the fat kicked up a few notches to the average person still finds them tasty.
We aren't saying that you need to avoid sauces, just be mindful and cautious, because that is where calories can sneak in, quickly.
As a journey, weight loss has it's fair share of ups and a few downs. However, having an understanding often-overlooked issues can make progress more consistent and the process more manageable by a whole.
Overcoming plateaus by troubleshooting your process and identifying hidden factors that can slow you down can pave the way for your success. Trust us, we have hit our fair share of speed bumps as well. Just remember, that patience is the key, and persistence is the path to finishing your journey strongly.
Have you overcome any issues in the past? If so, how did you succeed?