by Matt Weik
How many of you started your weight loss journey and the weight started dropping like bird poop on a clear day in July? Then all of a sudden it was like your body started pumping the brakes and your weight loss progress seemed to have slowed down or even stopped all together? Well, you aren’t alone, and this is just part of the game you play with your body when you are trying to force it to make change. This article talks about four common reasons why your weight loss progress has stalled and how to overcome them.
1. You’re eating more than you think you are
As a sports nutritionist, I’ve found more times than I can count, people who don’t track their calories and can’t understand why they are gaining weight when they are exercising regularly, eating healthy foods, and doing cardio. It doesn’t matter how much of those you do, if you’re still eating too much (even healthy food), you’re still in a caloric surplus—hence, you’re going to put on weight.
If you want to ensure you are eating the correct number of calories each day and hitting your macros, you need to use something like MyFitnessPal to track your intake. It will give you a detailed view of your daily intake and will show you where you’re off on macros and how many calories you have left that day to hit your goal. The app is free and can be downloaded on just about any platform available out there from iPhones to Androids.
What you put in your mouth will be the telling tale of your weight loss success. If you are eating too much, even if you think you aren’t, your weight will steadily creep up on you. Get in in check to ensure this doesn’t happen.
2. You’re eating less than you think you are
To go along with the above, it’s difficult to truly know how many calories you are taking in a day without logging them somewhere. Again, MyFitnessPal does an excellent job of doing this and makes things extremely easy. You can even scan the barcode on packaging and it inputs everything right into the app so all you need to do put in your serving size.
I guess another key piece of information stemming from what was just said is “serving size.” If you want to lose weight, measure your food. That doesn’t mean eyeballing it and saying “close enough.” Close enough only counts with horseshoes and hand grenades. If you aren’t familiar with serving sizes or truly measuring out your food, you might be eating healthy foods that aren’t calorically dense and think you’re eating enough when in actuality, you aren’t even close to hitting your calories for the day. When you aren’t eating enough calories, your body thinks it’s going into starvation mode so it tries to hold onto every little bit of fat in your body for self-preservation. This is an uphill battle. For that reason, you truly need to pay attention to what you’re eating and tracking how much.
3. Your body has adjusted to your program
How long have you been doing the same workouts? Seem like forever? Then it’s time to change it up. If you are consistently doing the same workouts every week, your body will get used to the same exercises, the same reps, the same sets, etc. You need to shock your body by throwing in something different. It doesn’t need to be extreme, but change up the exercises, change up the rep range, change the angle you’re hitting the muscle, just do something different.
Treat cardio the same way. If you’ve been doing 30 minutes on the treadmill, that doesn’t mean you have to bump it up to 40 or 45 minutes. You can jump on the elliptical for 30 minutes to change it up. Use a rowing machine. Or hop on the bike for a change. In fact, if you haven’t tried a cycle class at your gym, I’d highly recommend you give it a go. They are fun, entertaining, and you can be in the same class as your friends if you wanted to do it together. I will give you one word of wisdom though… when you are done with your first cycle class, if you haven’t ridden a bike in a while you will feel like you were violated. I’ll leave it at that.
4. Early changes don’t last forever
For some individuals, it can take months for their body to realize you’re trying to force change until it eventually gives in and allows it. That’s why so many people quit early because they aren’t seeing the results. Then on the opposite side of the spectrum, you have some people whose body adjusts very quickly to exercise and a nutrition plan and the weight comes off very quickly. If you are a heavy individual, you could see great progress very early on. If you are in shape, and don’t have much weight to lose, it will generally be a little tougher to work off those remaining few pounds.
However, there will be a time where the heavy individual will see their weight loss slow down to around one to two pounds each week. Many of them are used to seeing more coming off on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. This is normal. In fact, a healthy weekly weight loss goal should only be one to two pounds anyway. So, while you may feel that your progress is stalling, you’re still on track and making great progress. Don’t get frustrated, you just need to stick with it and those one or two pounds will keep coming off.