Losing weight is challenging. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 2 out of 3 adults in the U.S. are overweight and of those, 36.5% are obese. According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately half of the overweight and obese adults report that they are trying to lose weight. If you are struggling to lose weight or have hit a plateau, there are many reasons why you might not be hitting your goals as planned. Here are 5 common reasons why the number on the scale might not be budging.
You’re not eating enough protein
Protein is one of the most, if not the most, important nutrients to consume to promote healthy weight loss. If 25-30% of your calories throughout the day are protein, it can boost metabolism, reduce cravings, and even prevent weight regain. Protein has effects on appetite-regulating hormones, such as ghrelin, which can help you consume fewer calories during the day.
You need more structure on the weekends
If starting on Friday, you’re too relaxed about your diet, you could erase all of the hard work you accomplished Monday-Thursday. According to the National Weight Control Registry, the majority of individuals who have lost weight and kept it off for at least a year, keep up their diet during the week and on the weekends. Try to limit indulgences, cut back on full cheat days, and be as consistent as possible with your weight loss plan.
Your medication is interfering
According to the president of the Obesity Society, some medications may cause weight gain such as Benadryl, Ambien, benzodiazepines, older antidepressant and antipsychotic medications, Paxil, beta-blockers, several diabetes medications including insulin, sulfonylureas, and thialidazones, and some contraceptive methods, such as Depo-Provera. If you are taking one of these medications or are concerned that a medicine is interfering with your weight loss, talk with your doctor about the effect of the medicine and the alternatives available.
You’re consuming more calories than you realize
Just because you’re avoiding the holiday treats at work and bringing in your own lunch, doesn’t mean that you are hitting the ideal caloric intake. That homemade salad might pack in more calories than you realize and after a long day of work, volunteer commitments, and family time, you might be eating more than you think. The little snacks in between meals and the glass of wine at the end of the day can add up and majorly interfere with weight loss. Keep a journal or use an app to track your caloric intake so you always know how the numbers are stacking up.
You’re not getting enough sleep
Getting enough sleep every night can directly impact weight loss. The North American Association for the Study of Obesity found that individuals that got less than 4 hours of sleep at night were 73% more likely to be obese than those who slept 7-9 hours per night. When you’re lacking sleep, you are more apt to make poor food choices as you will likely have less willpower. Also, the longer you are awake, the more time you have to eat!
Maybe you are losing weight
Just because the number on the scale isn’t dropping, doesn’t mean that you aren’t progressing toward your goals! You gain muscle at the same time that you are losing weight, especially if you recently started exercising or upping your workout regimen. Use something other than the number on the scale to gauge how your body is responding to your diet and exercise regimen. Measure your waist circumference or body fat percentage, notice how well your clothes fit, or simply take a look in the mirror! There are many reasons that delay or challenge us on our weight loss journeys, but once we are able to pinpoint the problem, we can continue to our goals of living a happier and healthier life!
It is possible that you are not losing weight despite exercising and eating right because you may be building muscle, which is denser than fat. Muscle occupies 18 percent less space and burns calories, while fat stores them. Therefore, if your weight isn’t decreasing, but your clothes are fitting more loosely, you may be building muscle.