Losing weight is not easy; in fact, many people find it challenging. It’s hard, tests your patience and discipline, and definitely tests your commitment, especially when you’re not seeing any progress.
Most people that try to lose weight have stages of success, particularly at the beginning, followed by stages of failure, and then comes the inevitable plateau. Whether it’s lack of sleep, poor diet, or stress, any number of factors can slow your weight loss progress.
Today, we examine the top 5 most common reasons people fail to lose weight. Some will seem obvious, while others will take you by surprise. But one thing is for sure, after reading this article, you’ll be one step closer to achieving your weight loss goals.
Five common reasons why you’re not losing weight
Below are 5 common factors holding you back from achieving your weight loss goals. Chances are, you’re failing at one or more of these, so take your time to read through them before evaluating your exercise and diet to make appropriate changes.
1Lack of sleep
Lack of sleep and poor sleep quality are major contributors to unwanted weight gain. Some studies have concluded that lack of sleep slows your metabolism and can negatively impact the secretion of cortisol, making you hungry; that’s a double whammy.
According to a National Institutes of Health study, 25% of men and 9% of women have OSA or obstructive sleep apnoea. However, a whopping 93% of obese males and 74.5% of obese women also suffer from OSA and other sleep disorders. This study highlights the possible connection between lack of sleep and weight gain.
Many people make the fundamental mistake of overeating, and if you’re not tracking your calories or at least keeping a food diary, it’s easy to do. The main reason most people overeat is portion control. Controlling your portions is tricky to manage, especially if you’re someone who likes to eat out a lot.
Start by keeping a detailed food diary or using one of the many apps that help track your calories. Another factor to consider is your metabolism. Some studies show that muscle mass declines by 3% every decade after age 30, so if you’re eating the same calories at 50 as you did at 30, you’re almost certainly going to put on extra weight.
3Not exercising enough
One of the most common reasons people struggle to lose weight is not burning enough calories. It also doesn’t help that the best fat-burning workouts are the most challenging: Aerobic training and Strength training.
Those experienced gym-goers with a solid fitness base enjoy these tough workouts, but for beginners to fitness, it’s another story. Doing a 45-minute HIIT session can be a real shock for beginners and enough to turn many away.
So how much exercise do your need to lose weight? According to the CDC’s Physical Activity Guidelines for America, adults need 150 minutes of moderate-intensity weekly exercise and two days of resistance training.
Aerobic training is any exercise that increases your heart and gets you breathing harder. Whether riding a bike, taking a walk, or mowing the lawn, if your heart rate increases, these activities count. Intensity simply refers to how hard you’re working; for example, working at “moderate intensity,” you should be sweating but able to hold a conversation.
Here are a few activities you can perform at moderate intensity:
As your fitness levels progress, you can gradually increase the intensity of your exercises. For example, jogging becomes running faster and further, and cycling becomes riding up hills instead of the flats. A good rule of thumb for beginners is that 1 minute of high-intensity activity is roughly equivalent to 2 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise.
The CDC recommends adults perform two days of resistance training weekly to stay in good shape. You should target your major muscle groups by performing full-body workouts utilising strength and aerobic training.
If you’re new to weight training, aim to perform your chosen exercise until you find it difficult to do another rep. A good rule of thumb for beginners is to complete 1-2 sets of 8-12 reps. As with your cardio, you can gradually increase the weight, reps, sets, and frequency as your strength improves.
Examples of strength training:
Body weight exercises; i,e, push-ups, sit-ups, squats, pull-ups
Digging in the garden, working on a farm
4Being too stressed out
You’re exercising daily, and your diet is good, but you’re still not losing weight; does this sound familiar? Chances are you’re stressed out.
Stress increases cortisol levels, making you hungry and increasing fat around the waist for women and the love handles for men. According to the American Psychological Association, a 38% of adults have reported binge eating junk foods in the last month. 49% of them also reported binge eating at least once a week.
If you’re stressed out, take some time to go for a walk, ride your bike, or listen to music. Even better, how about booking a weekly massage and prioritising your health rather than your work?
Be honest, are you consistent with your workouts? Are you consistently eating the right foods? The reality is we all get off track from time to time.
When it comes to losing weight, you need to be as consistent as possible with your diet and your training program; not only that, but once your body has adapted, you need to constantly change your workouts to keep you from hitting a plateau.
Building positive habits often starts with finding an activity you enjoy and one that meets your fitness goals and lifestyle. Be realistic about how much you can work out because the last thing you want is to set unrealistic goals, leading to a lack of motivation and, ultimately, a halt in progress.
Sum it up
Losing weight is not easy, and you’re bound to encounter ups and downs along the way. Diet, stress, and lack of sleep can bring your metabolism and your weight loss to a grinding halt.
Here’s one final challenge, eliminate the reasons you want to lose weight that have to do with vanity. Now, look at the reasons that remain. Maybe you need to lose weight because you have a medical condition like cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Perhaps you’re outside of your ideal weight range? In these cases, yes, it makes sense to lose weight.
But if you’re in good shape and are struggling to lose 1 pound, will it really impact how you view yourself? There’s nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight, but at some point, you have to be happy with who you are.
Hungry to learn more?
In this informative clip, Joe Rogan plays host to Dr. Peter Attia, who explains why people struggle to lose weight. Dr. Attia is a Stanford graduate who trained for an additional five years at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, specialising in general surgery. He focuses on helping patients improve their quality of life and longevity.
Receive Exclusive Tips & Weekly Digest – subscribe to our newsletter