If you are dieting, exercising and not seeing the numbers on the scale go down, it can be disheartening. You may even go back to your unhealthy habits, thinking that the healthy changes don’t seem to be worth all the trouble. Don’t give up just yet. By determining the reasons why your diet and exercise plans aren’t working, you can make changes to put you on the track to weight loss.
Body Fat vs. Body Weight
The number on the scale isn’t the only thing that you should take into consideration. You also need to consider your body fat percentage, which is the percent of your body weight that is fat. It is possible for your body fat to go down while having your weight either stay the same or go up. If you are doing weight training exercises, for example, you may be building lean muscle mass, in addition to losing body fat. To get a fuller picture of your weight loss efforts, try taking your measurements–chest, stomach, hips, things, calves and arms–and using a body fat monitoring scale.
You may be overestimating the number of calories you burn during a workout and underestimating the number of calories you are eating. If you started your diet tracking things accurately–measuring food and writing down everything you eat, for example–but have gotten out of the habit, thinking that you can “eyeball it,” you may want to start tracking your food again. You may find that your portion sizes are creeping up and that you are eating more than you thought. Additionally, as you lose weight, your body becomes more efficient, and it starts to burn fewer calories when you do the same activities.
Same Old Routine
If you have been doing the same workout routine since you started your weight loss plan, your body may have become used to the routine and more efficient at it. This means that you are burning fewer calories doing the same exercises. You can solve this problem by changing your routine–if you always used the elliptical machine, try the treadmill or the bicycle, for example.
If you’re not getting enough sleep or if you have high levels of stress, your body may be holding on to fat. You also may be taking a medication that prevents weight loss.
Additionally, your body may already be at its “happy weight” and if you want to lose those last 10 lbs. to get a flat stomach, you may need to take more drastic measures, such as eliminating all refined carbohydrates and sugars, focusing your diet on lean proteins, fruits and vegetables.
What You Can Do
Pay stricter attention to your diet. Even though you may be staying in the correct calorie range, limit your unhealthy food choices more than you are. Measure your foods to make sure you’re getting the correct portion sizes and write down all the foods that you eat. Additionally, step up your exercise routine and train a bit harder or a bit longer to challenge your body. These small changes could provide the jump-start that your body needs to get back on track.