Here’s Why You’re Eating Healthy But Not Losing Weight
Few things are as demoralizing as not seeing results when you’re trying really hard.
You’ve been trying to eat healthily for a few months, yet the pounds aren’t coming off. If anything, you see the scales increase now and then.
Why is this happening? You’ve been told that healthy eating is the secret to losing weight, so why the hell isn’t it working for you?
It turns out there are many possible reasons your healthy eating habits aren’t helping you shed extra body weight. Before we get into them, we will address one key thing. All of the points below apply to people without medical conditions. If you have a medical condition – like a thyroid problem – you need to address that and get it under control before attempting to lose weight.
For “healthy” individuals, the reason you’re not shifting weight is probably because of one of these problems:
You’re packing on more muscle
Muscle is heavier than fat – which is why a very muscular person will weigh more than a non-muscular person of the same general size and height. If you’ve been going to the gym, lifting weights, and getting lots of protein, you’re probably packing on some decent muscle mass.
This is good – muscles are important for maintaining strength and keeping your joints healthy. However, it will give you the illusion of gaining weight. Stop giving the scales all of your attention and focus on your body composition.
Do you look in better shape? Can you notice more muscular development? If so, you’ve probably lost body fat and added muscle, yet you now weigh a bit more. It’s nothing to worry about, so stop checking the scales if you’re adding muscle mass.
You’re not exercising enough
The previous point relates to a lot of people when they begin a fitness journey. Everyone starts going to the gym with the aim of losing weight to look “fitter”. Little do they know that getting fit means putting on muscle and gaining a bit of weight.
However, you also have people that need or want to lose weight for health reasons. Perhaps you’re overweight and worried about the impact this has on your health. If so, you’ve been looking in the mirror and watching the scales, yet no changes can be seen. You look the same, so you can’t even put it down to muscle growth.
What’s happening here then?
More often than not, this problem can be solved with a simple question: how often do you exercise? If you’re only exercising once or twice a week, it might not be enough to burn the calories needed to lose weight.
For those that don’t know, losing weight is a simple equation of calories in vs. calories out. Burn more calories than you take in – on a consistent basis – and you will lose weight. Even on a diet, you will struggle to burn enough calories if you’re not active.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise a day – this doesn’t need to be frantic gym sessions, walking is exercise! The best advice is to pick a sport that you enjoy doing – something that doesn’t feel like a lot of effort. Golf is a great example! One of the great things about golf is that you spend a lot of time standing up and walking around. The more time you spend not sitting down during the day, the more calories you burn. Pick a sport and it gives you an excuse to go out and exercise while having fun.
Likewise, start walking more. Aim for 10,000 steps a day and you are going to burn calories very quickly. From here, you should see a turnaround in fortunes as the weight comes tumbling off.
Your healthy meals aren’t healthy
Imagine thinking you’re eating a healthy diet, only to realize you’re not. Most people think healthy meals include things like chicken and rice, salads, etc. You think more about the actual food substances themselves than the overall meal. Did you know that a salad can have thousands of calories if you’re not careful? It’s true – if you lather it in a high-fat salad dressing and toss loads of croutons in there it’ll end up being a pretty unhealthy meal.
Likewise, your healthy meal of salmon, rice, and broccoli can be unhealthy if everything was fried in copious amounts of oil. Portion sizes are a big deal too – you bake the salmon and broccoli but have a massive portion of rice on the side. Suddenly, you’ve doubled the calories in the meal. The point is, you need to be more aware of what you’re cooking. Focus on healthy cooking methods, avoid adding lots of sauces or dressings to your meals, and always keep an eye on portion sizes. This will keep your meals “healthy” and make it easier for you to burn more calories than you eat.
You keep having cheat days
Cheat days have been popularized by celebrities like The Rock and various fitness influencers. It’s the idea that on one day of the week (or two days) you eat whatever you want. If your diet is clean 80% of the time, that’s all that matters…right?
Not always. The problem with cheat days is that you go overboard. You stop caring about what you eat and have suddenly consumed an inhumane amount of calories. In many cases, you eat enough on this one day to upset the progress you made during the rest of the week. When everything is added up, you didn’t manage to burn more calories than you consumed over 7 days. Repeat this each week and it’s no wonder you aren’t losing weight.
Avoid cheat days and cheat meals as they are damaging – and some studies link them to eating disorders. Eat healthily, but allow yourself small treats throughout the week to avoid cravings and make it easier to stick to your diet. In reality, you might not lose weight because of a combination of these things – or just one of them. Look at your current eating/exercise habits, view your body composition, and you will be able to tell which problem’s been plaguing you.