As a personal trainer and weight loss coach, I constantly answer my clients’ health and fitness questions, on social media and in our Start TODAY Facebook Group. In this column, I address some of the most common questions and obstacles that trip people up on their journey to establishing a health and fitness routine.
I’ve been exercising for a while, why am I not losing weight?
If you’re frustrated or worried you’re doing something wrong because you’ve been working out and haven’t lost weight, you’re not alone. Many of my clients get discouraged when they don’t see the scale start to move after committing to a workout plan. In fact, I’ve seen some people in our Facebook Start TODAY community feel down about not seeing weight loss results, even though they’ve fully committed to our monthly workout plans.
It is important to remember that weight loss can take time and you are more likely to maintain the weight loss if it is accomplished slowly and steadily. Seeing the ladder descend requires patience. Luckily, that’s far from the only sign that your exercise routine is working! This is why I encourage people to look for “wins without a ladder” to measure their progress, rather than focusing on the number on the ladder. Some of these things include: feeling more energized, sleeping better, your clothes fit looser, a better mood, feeling less stressed, and feeling more motivated to exercise.
It’s also important to note that while exercise is beneficial for weight loss, it’s only a lifestyle factor that contributes to our ability to lose weight. Losing weight requires more than simple movements. If your diet, sleep, and stress levels are out of whack, that may explain why the scale isn’t moving. Examine your routine and see if any of these things may be hindering your progress:
Your workouts are too intense – or not intense enough
Be honest with yourself about how difficult your workouts are. Could you push yourself a little more? I encourage people to feel like they’ve pushed themselves to their maximum effort at least three times during a 20 minute workout – this can mean needing to catch their breath during a workout. cardio training or feeling your muscles burn and fatigue during a strength training session. You can also try adding variety to your workout routine. The body begins to adapt when you perform the same movements over and over again. Changing routines can keep the body guessing and help avoid a plateau. If you’re a walker, consider adding a few days of strength training to your routine. If you like boxing, alternate sessions with yoga or Pilates.
On the other hand, sometimes you need to take a break after intense workouts. Do you overwork yourself during exercise? Pushing yourself too hard can backfire. Be sure to plan adequate recovery time with rest days where you do low-impact movements like walking, biking, or yoga. Or consider mixing it all up and trying a slower, low-impact form of exercise (that doesn’t mean lower intensity!). It wasn’t until I started a Pilates routine that I saw major changes in my body!
You don’t get enough sleep
Do you have those critical hours of sleep at night or do you wake up groggy and tired? Sleep has a huge impact on weight loss, especially as we age. Giving your body enough rest is important for muscle recovery and digestion and can even reduce the amount you eat during the day. Believe it or not, I tell my clients that if they have to choose between exercising or getting enough sleep, choose sleep!
You eat the wrong things
Your diet plays a huge role in weight loss. You can’t exercise a bad diet. Are you not eating enough fruits and vegetables? Do you constantly give in to cravings for sweets or fatty foods? If you know your power supply might need a cleanup, that’s where you should focus your attention. Eating protein every few hours to stabilize your blood sugar will help curb cravings and boost metabolism. A diet rich in green vegetables like spinach and kale, and healthy fats like nuts, seeds, and olive oil, can help reduce inflammation and increase fat loss, supporting your weight loss goals.
you are stressed
High levels of cortisol – the stress hormone – can cause the body to retain excess weight, especially around the midsection. Learning stress-reducing habits, such as meditation, afternoon stretch breaks, neighborhood walks, and short breathing exercises, can help lower cortisol levels and are an important tool in your arsenal when it comes to losing weight.
Your taking of certain medications (or other medical reasons)
Check with your doctor to see if any medications you’re currently taking might be interfering with your weight loss. It’s also important to get annual blood tests to make sure your vitamin B and D levels, as well as your thyroid levels and other markers, are within the normal range. Many deficiencies and conditions can affect our weight. So, scheduling a full health checkup with your doctor is a great way to get an idea of your overall health.