Hit a stall? Or just never started losing in the first place? Here’s a walkthrough of the common problems and solutions.
Are you tracking your food intake?
No: No need to count every calorie; just write down what you eat at every meal and snack
for two weeks. Without this, you are fumbling around in the dark and very unlikely to find a
solution: just do it! Then come back and go through the chart.
Yes: Look back through your food log, and check for all four of the common culprits below:
Nuts or nut flour
- Nuts are a very common weight-loss stumbling block. More than one serving per day on average is not ideal. Try a 30-day moratorium and see how you do.
Fruit juice or dried fruit
- There’s no need to restrict whole fruit, but fruit juice and dried fruit are very sugar-dense; try eliminating for 30 days.
Honey or other sweeteners
- Sugar is sugar, whether it comes from honey or Domino. Sweeteners should be an occasional treat, not an everyday food.
Liquid or semi-liquid calories
- Protein shakes are the big offender in this category, but also watch out for smoothies and alcohol. For weight gain, smoothies and shakes are great, but for weight loss, they’re not good.
If you’re not eating any of these and your diet looks good…
What’s your exercise routine look like?
Does walking from the far end of the parking lot count?
- Nope. If you’re trying to lose weight, finding a sustainable exercise routine is crucial. Exercise improves insulin sensitivity, decreases inflammation, and does so much more for your weightloss goals than burning calories.
Mostly cardio – How much?
- A moderate amount – around 2 hours/ week or less: Try adding some strength training to your routine.
- I can’t get enough! Way more than 2 hours/week: Then try cutting back – too much treadmill time can do more harm than good. Reduce your cardio and replace some of it with weight training.
Mostly strength training, I play a sport, or do CrossFit
Have you measured yourself as well as weighing? You might be gaining muscle – so you’re not losing pounds, but you are losing inches.
- I haven’t lost inches: If you do only strength training, try adding a little cardio. Otherwise, move on to the next section.
- Yes, I’ve lost inches: Then you have nothing to worry about! You’re getting stronger and leaner; keep it up!
I’ve been consistently exercising in a healthy way for at least 1 month, but it isn’t helping!
Don’t give up! Here are some other common issues to consider.
Everyone has a different “sweet spot” for carbs and weight loss. Some people do better with a very low-carb diet; other people prefer a moderate carb intake. Depending on how you’re eating now, you may benefit from adding or subtracting some carbs from your diet – try both.
Are you under a lot of stress? Stress can be mental, like a job you hate or a drawn-out family crisis, but it can also be physical. Extreme calorie restriction, especially combined with a lot of cardio, is very stressful. And any kind of stress can be a powerful trigger to overeat, and the stress hormone cortisol seems to be associated with belly fat in particular. Try easing up on yourself – mentally and physically – you might be surprised at the results.
Are you trying to rush your body? Here’s a truth nobody likes to hear: no weight-loss intervention will work immediately. Trying five things in a week and giving up on them all when you don’t drop 10 pounds overnight is worse than useless. Try one thing at a time, and give it a while to take effect before you panic.
Problems like hypothyroid disorders, PCOS, or other hormonal issues can make weight loss difficult or impossible no matter what you eat. Have you been tested for one of these conditions? A doctor will be able to do more for you than any advice you can get online.