One of the most frustrating things when you are trying to lose weight is when you see the scale remain dormant. You watch what you eat and bust your butt every day, only to see the same number week after week. I've been there, I know how discouraging it can be, and it makes you just want to quit it all and go back to your old ways.
If you are being honest with yourself and know that you are truly giving it your all, there might be another reason why you are not losing any weight. You might be eating all wrong for your body, gaining muscle, or you may even have an underlying medical condition. There are many possibilities that would explain why you are hitting a plateau, and each one can be overcome. You just have to narrow it down to a reason, solve the issue, and keep pushing on.
You Might Be Eating Too Many Calories
This is the first possibility you need to address. Are you eating too much, maybe? Weight loss comes down to a simple science: you need to have a calorie deficit. This means you have to burn more calories than you consume. If you lead a fairly sedentary life, you may not be burning as many calories as you are eating.
It's true that not all calories are treated equal, but in a way they are. It doesn't matter if you are eating 2,000 calories of healthy food, but only burning 1500 calories a day, you are not going to lose any weight. One simple way to determine if you are eating too many calories is to keep a food journal. Write down what you eat every day, or download any free food tracking apps and after a few days you will know your answer.
You Might Be Eating Too Few Calories
On the other end of the spectrum, you might not be eating enough calories. It might surprise you, but if you eat too few calories you might not lose any weight; in fact, you might even gain weight. This is because your body will essentially go into "starvation mode," and store whatever food you do eat. You want to make sure that you are eating enough calories to sustain your body- this is necessary for your health as well as losing weight.
It is easy to determine if you are eating enough calories or not. All you have to do is track your food, just like you did to see if you were eating too many calories. You should never eat less than 1200 calories a day if you are a female, and 1800 if you are a male. If you are eating close to that amount or less, that is probably why you are hitting a plateau.
You Might Be Gaining Muscle
This is a very common illusion with the scale when you are working out consistently. You are hitting it hard at the gym every day, your nutrition is on point, but the scale is not moving- why? Well, you are doing so great that you are gaining muscle. Everyone has heard that muscle weighs more than fat, and it's true! Ok, muscle doesn't technically "weigh" more than fat, one pound is one pound, but muscle is denser.
This is one of the main reasons you should not rely on the scale. When you are gaining muscle you are still losing fat, but the scale does not reflect those changes. You should instead take your measurements each week, and that will tell you the true changes in your body.
You Might Have an Underlying Medical Condition
Believe it or not, but there may be a medical reason you are not losing weight. There are a number of conditions that can prevent weight loss, or even make you gain weight. Without a diagnosis, there is no real way to tell. Your best bet is to have your doctor run some tests and determine whether or not you have a medical condition that is preventing you from losing weight.
One of the most common conditions that hinders weight loss is hypothyroidism. This basically means you have an underactive thyroid, and your metabolism isn't working as well as it should be. Once your doctor confirms that you have hypothyroidism, you can come up with a plan to treat it and lose weight. It's not impossible to lose weight with hypothyroidism, it's just a little more complicated than normal. There are many different food plans and supplements out there that can help you lose the pounds.
You Might Not Be Drinking Enough Water
Water is the most important thing for your body aside from Oxygen, hands down. Your body needs water to survive, and there are a number of different ailments you can experience if you don't drink enough water. When you are not getting enough water, your body will hold on to any water that it has, to try and avoid dehydration. This water retention prevents weight loss, and you may even see the scale go up. It is important to drink water throughout the day to keep your body hydrated. How much is enough water? The rule of thumb is to take your body weight and divide it by two, and drink that many ounces of water each day. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should be drinking 80 ounces of water every day.
There are so many different reasons why you might not be losing weight, and it might be a combination of a few. You need to make sure you are not eating too many calories, but also that you are eating enough calories. You may want to have your doctor check you for any underlying conditions that may be causing you to gain weight, and as always, make sure you are drinking enough water.