8 Reasons Why You Are Not Losing Weight or Fat
I have worked with 1,000’s of clients over the years and as you would guess, I have gathered a lot of information on how to get clients in amazing shape.
Consistency, dedication, determination and most of all, professional guidance all lead to kickass progress.
However, not everyone is ultra successful in their fitness conquest. Next time you are out in public, look around. Most people are still out of shape and in my opinion, it’s not from a lack of trying.
Fitness is at an all time high right now in terms of popularity. More people are working out and trying to get fit than ever before. So what’s the deal, why are more people not in great shape?
As you would guess, the answer to that question is complex. Are people not exercising correctly or does it come down to issues with nutrition? Likely, the answer is a combination of both. For the purpose of this article, let’s focus on nutrition.
So, in terms of nutrition, here are the top 8 things that prevent weight (or fat) loss.
1- Eating Too Much (Not Tracking Your Food)
This is a big one.
Before we get too far down the rabbit hole, we need to define what a fat loss diet is.
Nutrition is a game of numbers. In order to lose weight/fat, you need to be eating less food (calories) than you require to maintain your weight.
This is the classic calories in vs. calories out formula.
A fat loss diet is a calorically restricted diet. There is no other way to define it.
It’s of utmost importance to recognize how many calories you are eating per day. I mean, you can’t really accurately eat at a deficit if you don’t know how many calories you are consuming.
Ahh so what about “clean eating”? You know, the diet where you clean all your food with Windex before eating it. How does that factor in? I joke, I joke.
But seriously, remember what I said — “a fat loss diet is a calorically restricted diet. There is no other way to define it”.
This brings us to the first reason why you are not losing weight (or fat).
It doesn’t matter what foods you eat, unless your diet creates a caloric deficit, you will not lose fat.
You can be eating nothing but chicken, rice and broccoli and still not lose weight if you are consuming too many calories.
I call this unknowingly eating too much. You are eating everything you are “supposed to” but the problem is, you are just eating too many calories.
Some typical “diet foods” can still be calorically dense. Things like nuts, nut butters, some fruit, cereal, etc. all contain more calories per serving than you probably think.
2- Not Tracking Everything (Part 1)
This can mean a lot of different things but what I want to focus on here is the little slip ups that go untracked.
Let’s first assume you are tracking your macros and have a system for measuring out what you eat. As we found out in the first point, tracking your food is very important(at least initially) if you want to make the fat loss process as easy as possible. Read, How to Start Flexible Dieting if you are unsure how to get started tracking your macros.
With that being said, tracking your macros does not automatically equal success.
Let me tell you a story that I think we all can resonate with.
You go to make yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Let’s say you have a healthy amount of carbs in your diet but are semi limited on fat. No worries, you will just use a half serving (16g) of peanut butter…that should do. But here is the problem — as you spoon out what you think is a tablespoon (16g), it turns out to be over 40g!
We have all been there. These little instances all add up. An extra serving or two doesn’t seem like a big deal until it turns into 3–4 extra servings a week, 12–16 extra servings a month, etc.
Parents are guilty of this.
Kids waste a lot of food. My daughter will say she wants something, eat half of it, and never want to see it again. As a parent, it can be pretty easy to just finish up the scraps. I don’t care what anyone says, chicken nuggets with a side of macaroni and cheese never gets old!
If you are dieting, this is a big no, no. Those extra calories will add up fast.
Be careful. Don’t let untracked food ruin your diet.
3- Not Tracking Everything (Part 2)
Continuing on from the last point…
If you are going to track your macros, it’s important to track everything. Even the small things that don’t seem calorically dense enough to worry about can add up.
Some examples of what I am talking about…
- Condiments (not calorie free ones)
- Low calorie drinks
- Supplements (fish oil, cla, etc.)
Ketchup, barbeque sauce, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, low calorie energy drinks, coffee creamer, fish oil capsules, BCAA powders, etc.
Let’s make this simple, you need to track everything that has calories.
4- Eating at Restaurants Too Frequently
Look, we all love eating at restaurants. Nothing beats a great meal out. The food always taste better, the drinks go down smoother and on top of all that you don’t even have to clean.
But, there are a couple consequences of going out to eat if you are dieting.
1- You are bombarded with calorie dense, unfriendly diet options.
2- You never really know exactly what you are getting.
It’s a lot harder to follow your diet when you have a bunch of great food available.
Yes, restaurants list their nutrition facts on their website but remember, the chef’s goal is not to make sure the meal’s nutrition information is accurate. The chef just wants the food to taste as good as possible so you come back. If that requires an extra tablespoon or two of oil so be it.
If you have to go out to eat when dieting due to family or work obligations, I recommend ordering basic meals. Chicken, steak, or fish with rice/potato and vegetables. Ask for the food cooked without butter or oil. Even if the macros are totally wrong, it won’t be that damaging. Also, when going out to eat always overestimate the calories a little bit. If the meal is listed at 500 calories, leave room for 550.
Keep in mind this is for people who are on a fat loss diet and struggling. I’m not saying you should never go out to eat. Just keep this information in mind if your diet is at a sticking point.
5- Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol…the 4th macronutrient.
It’s common knowledge that protein and carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram and fat has 9 calories per gram. However, alcohol “the fourth macro” as it’s called actually contains 7 calories per gram.
So it fits right in between protein/carbs and fat on the calorie scale.
The image of the 98lb sophomore college chick who goes out every night of the week might mess with your thoughts about how alcohol prevents weight loss.
A couple things. One, those girls don’t eat. Two, they are probably more active than you even if they don’t work out. Three, they are young. Nuff said.
If you are willing to consume all your calories from Starbucks and Natty Light be my guest. However, chances are you will look and feel like shit.
So can you consume alcohol when dieting? Yes you can. It just needs to be accounted for.
On days my clients are planning on having a few drinks, I have them drop their carbs and/or fats a little throughout the day to account for the extra calories from alcohol. Never reduce protein to make room for alcohol. Always drop carbs and/or fat.
For more information about alcohol, read this article ==> kylehuntfitness.com/the-effects-of-alcohol-on-building-muscle
6- Your Metabolism Sucks
Not everyone is in a position to start (or continue) a fat loss diet. Unfortunately, some people have “dieted” their way to low calories and an impaired metabolism to the point where they can’t successfully diet anymore. If you are maintaining your bodyweight on really low calories, it doesn’t leave any room for movement.
I see this happen in two groups of people.
1- “Chronic dieters”. These are the people who are always dieting. You know who I’m talking about. Everytime you talk to them they are back on their diet. It’s basically a form of yo-yo dieting. They diet for a couple months, make enough progress to temporarily satisfy the urge and within a week or two, are right back dieting. As soon as they gain back a little fat (or weight) it pushes them to start the fat loss process again. This is a terrible way to go about making long term progress.
2- “Transformation dieters”. These are the people who have lost a bunch of weight but are looking for more. These people have been successful dieting, sometimes losing more than 25 pounds. However, there comes a point where you need to take a break and work on eating more food. Spend some time in a surplus…or at least maintenance.
Like previously mentioned, in order to lose weight/fat you need to be at a caloric deficit. Dieting is a tough process. It causes your metabolism to lower, energy to suffer, your daily activity to go down, and sometimes your hunger to get out of control.
If you have been dieting but are at a crossroads, everything you are trying is not working, it might be time to take a break. One step back, two steps forward.
It’s time to actually stop dieting.
I recommend a diet break. Read more about diet breaks here: kylehuntfitness.com/diet-deloading
7- Not Being Patient Enough
Look, it takes time to see progress. We live in a world where everyone wants results overnight. I’m not really going to say much about this. Just remember it usually takes twice as long as you think to reach your goals. Don’t give up or give in too soon.
8- Not Asking for Help
I like to compare dieting to a long vacation or car ride. Traveling is pretty convenient these days. You can get directions to pretty much anywhere in the world just by typing a few words into Google Maps.
Getting directions is the first thing I do when I am taking a long trip to a place I have never been before.
Could I figure it out on my own?
Honestly, yes I probably could. I am pretty good with direction and can find places just by following the signs and knowing which direction to go. But I never do that. Why? Because that takes a lot longer. One wrong turn can set you back hours!
Time is money.
Another good thing about Google Maps is it tells you how long the trip is going to take. If it says 10 hours you can trust it to be correct. Sometimes it takes longer but it will adjust for bumps in the road. You won’t get frustrated because you know what’s going on. The app will let you know there is construction or even an accident that is slowing down your progress.
It will even give you an alternate route if that becomes faster. Essentially 10 hours will be the average speed you are traveling at during the trip.
The app will take into account you can go 70 on the highway but have to go 30 in town and 45 in other spots. It will take into account traffic. Sometimes you won’t even be moving at all but it’s still part of the process.
A long drive is never linear.
Lastly, if you want to travel from New York to Florida you can definitely just follow the signs if you are savvy. It will probably take you longer but if you are independent and don’t like following directions you can make it happen. However, once you get closer to your specific destination things get tough.
It will be hard to find 153 Monroe Street in Apalachicola Florida if you have never been there before. It’s new territory. One wrong turn can really set you back now. You are so close but yet so far.
Sometimes even after you find the correct street, if the house numbers are not visible you might not be able to find it. Who hasn’t had to make 3 or 4 trips up and down a street to find the correct house in the dark?
See, this is just like dieting. Go back through what I just wrote but this time think in terms of the dieting process.
Find your Google Maps. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!