The Top Five Reasons You Aren’t Losing Weight- and what to do about it

In my 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, I have never, note NEVER, met anyone who could not lose weight no matter how hard they tried. Unfailingly, clients who could not lose weight were making crucial mistakes that were preventing them from success. Unfortunately, many people are in such denial about their exercise, eating and lifestyle habits, that they convince themselves they are doing everything they can to lose weight, while deep inside (deep inside) they know this is not the truth. Here are my top 5 reasons for lack of weight loss, in ascending order of importance:

5-You have no patience. Someone somewhere- maybe a fitness magazine, or an ad for a weight loss supplement, or maybe Biggest Loser- convinced you that losing 3-5 pounds a week is doable and expected. NO. This is the farthest thing from the truth. Expect no more than 2 pounds per week of real fat loss, and also expect staggered weeks of no weight loss, then loss. I have seen so many people GIVE UP on weight loss just before the body is ready to give the fat up. Your body does not shed fat easily- have patience. Eating well and exercising daily are their own rewards, but weight loss will happen if you do the work and maintain consistency.

4-Your job and life are sedentary. The biggest impact on metabolism and calorie expenditure is from our day to day activities- not exercise. It is amazing how many people will exercise one hour a day, but then sit, literally sit, for the remaining 13 hours. If you are trying to lose weight- then become a calorie expending machine throughout the day. Jog to the car, jog up stairs, walk an extra loop around the parking lot, fidget, get up and down from your chair. Do not conserve energy- expend it! Then, add vigorous exercise to top if off.

3-You walk as your primary source of exercise. Unless you are a true beginner and very deconditioned- walking is not a great calorie expending form of exercise. And, to boot, most people walk at a very slow pace, and pay no attention to how hard they are working. The harder you work- the more calories you burn, and the more likely you are to raise your metabolism. Weight loss necessitates HARD exercise- where your heart rate is up, you are sweating, and you feel like you are really exerting yourself. If you walk for exercise and do not feel like this- then you need to change things up. Research has shown that high intensity cardio intervals are a much better way to expend calories, are much more time efficient, and are safe for most everyone, even the deconditioned. You WILL need help designing an interval program, so ask a fitness professional how to begin.

2-You do not lift heavy enough weights while weight training. Big problem here. Women are especially prone to this error. Weight training is one of the two keys to weight loss success (key #1 below!). You should be lifting maximally- to failure in some cases, and not just your arms, or the parts you “don’t like”. You must create systemic stress working the major muscles of the body to create changes in body fat and lean tissue to create weight loss. For example; squats, rows, bench presses, lunges, dead lifts are all multi-muscle group exercises that crank the metabolism and change bodies. The inner and outer thigh machine will never do that!

And, the #1 reason you aren’t losing-can’t/won’t lose-weight:
………drum roll please…….

1-You do not pay close enough attention to nutrition. It is amazing to me what people think is “good nutrition”? Not eating all day, skipping breakfast, eating bagels and low fat muffins? Or, you go on a ridiculously strict regimen (because you have no patience -see #5) and then crash and burn and overeat for days. Or, you are great all week, then overindulge on the weekends (research has shown most people overeat by 35% on weekends), thinking you “deserve” it. Healthy nutrition ALWAYS results in achievement of a normal weight. But healthy nutrition is not about under eating then over eating; not about good and bad foods; not about any gimmicks or supplements; it is about moderation and proper fueling. Smaller portions, frequent meals, reduction in refined/ high glycemic carbohydrates, increase in lean proteins and vegetables and healthy fats, low alcohol intake- these are the keys to good nutrition. And, for God’s sake, do a nutrition log! Anyone who is not willing to do a food log is someone who will not lose weight. Period.

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