Fit KnowledgeWeight Loss

Why am I Not Losing Weight? – 14 Reasons Why

Weight loss isn’t easy, and it’s all about achieving the perfect balance. You may believe you’re ticking all the boxes, but you’re not seeing the results you dream of. Right now you’re asking yourself – why am I not losing weight?

While this may be frustrating, it’s still not off the cards for you. It’s likely you’re just missing a few key factors.

To help you answer the question – why am I not losing weight, we’ve collated a few reasons why you may not seeing the pounds drop away.

If any of these points sound familiar to you, try altering your approach according to our tips.

Why am I not losing weight – 14 reasons

1. You’re eating too many calories

why am i not losing weight too many calories

Research has conclusively found that the only time you will lose weight is when you’re in a calorie deficit [1].

There’s no secret trick to it, you simply have to burn more calories than you consume.

While going to the gym and being active is amazing for your health and for assisting weight loss, it’s much easier to eat less food than to burn off that extra donut you had at lunch through exercise. That could be an hour or two of working out alone.

Instead, by finding out what your total daily expenditure is and forgoing those calorie dense treats to achieve a calorie deficit, you’ll start to drop the extra pounds.

2. You don’t eat enough protein

A review of the health benefits of protein found that a high protein diet is one of the most effective ways to promote muscle and therefore reduce fat [2].

Protein is made up of amino acids, and it’s these amino acids that are the building blocks of muscle. When you work out, it’s protein that helps to repair and grow the fibres in your muscles.

Muscle takes more energy to maintain, therefore the more you have, the higher your metabolism and the more calories you burn overall.

So, if you’re heading to the gym on the regular, but you’re not seeing results in strength or fat loss, you may not be providing your body with the fuel it needs to grow and repair muscle.

Even if you don’t want to grow muscle, a high-protein diet can protect muscle, ensuring you maintain what muscle you have, even when on a low-calorie diet [3]. This is important as a low-calorie diet can break your muscle down, which will drop your metabolism even further.

More protein in your diet could help fix this problem.

[Related Article: 13 Best Foods for Weight Loss

3. You don’t lift weights

barbell and plates

For so long, women have turned to the treadmill when it comes to finding a weight loss workout. Despite traditional practises, we’re here to tell you this isn’t the best way to drop fat.

[Related Article: Best Fitness Trackers for Small Wrists]

The process of lifting weights challenges and breaks down your muscles. When this happens, your body attempts to adapt to this change, by growing you’re the muscle back bigger and stronger.

Don’t worry, as a woman you can’t get bulky by lifting weights. You’ll simply become stronger and more toned as time goes on.

As we mentioned above, more muscle means a higher metabolism and more calories burned.

Here’s the numbers:

One pound of muscle = 5 calories per day (at rest)

One pound of fat = 2 calories per day (at rest)

As you can see, promoting muscle over fat will help you to burn significantly more calories – even while you’re asleep.

[Related Article: Weight Training for Fat Loss – How to Maximise Results

4. You don’t track your food

One of the best ways to ensure you’re hitting your calorie requirements and getting enough protein into your diet is by tracking your food intake.

By downloading an app like MyFitnessPal, you can input the foods you eat and ensure you’re meeting your daily requirements.

A scientific review found that self-monitoring behaviours such as tracking food contributed towards weight loss [4].

[Related Article: Best Weight Loss Workout for Women

5. Your portions are too big

why am i not losing weight portion sizes

One issue you may be facing is portion control. For example, you might be eating healthy, nutritious foods, but the bottom line is – if you’re eating too much of it, you might not be in a calorie deficit.

And without that calories deficit you won’t lose anything.

We’d recommend downloading a tracking app as we mentioned above and measuring out every meal to ensure you’re getting the right amount of food in your diet.

You should also keep an eye on your snacks too. Often you can carefully plan your meals, but if your snacks are calorie dense or too large, it can be detrimental to creating a calorie deficit.

[Related Article: 5 Best Fat Burners for Women

6. You’re not getting enough fibre

Continuing on from our last point about snacks, if you don’t have enough fibre in your diet, you may be turning to snacks more and more between meals.

Although known for it’s ability to support your digestive health, fibre can also improve satiety, or the feeling of fullness you experience after eating [5].

It’s been linked to lower body weight in some studies [5].

If you feel fuller, you may be less likely to turn to unhealthy snacks or treats between meals.

Foods like beans, cruciferous vegetables and oats are packed full of fibre.

[Related Article: Hourglass Fat Burner Review

7. Too many sugary drinks

why am i not losing weight sugary soda

One easy way to blow your calorie deficit out of the water is by drinking a sugary drink.

The sugars within a drink can contribute a large amount of carbohydrates and calories to your diet, without offering any kind of benefits at all.

They can be drunk even when you’re full, and don’t help to increase satiety in any way. Therefore, they’re a common culprit when it comes to tipping you into a calorie surplus.

It’s easy to opt for a sugar-free option or even to drink water instead.

8. You don’t drink enough water

Drinking enough water is essential to so many internal functions – including weight loss.

In one study, drinking water 30 minutes before a meal has been shown to reduce food intake in that meal [6]. Over a 12-week period, people who did this lost 44% more fat than those who didn’t [6].

On top of that, drinking water has been shown to increase metabolism through thermogenesis by up to 30% [7].

9. Too much alcohol

why am i not losing weight alcohol

Much like sugary drinks, consuming too much alcohol can have a detrimental effect on your dieting efforts, by forcing you out of that all-important calorie deficit.

Check out these nutrition facts:

  • 1 can of beer = 154 calories
  • 1 large glass of wine = 215 calories
  • 1 fl.oz gin = 73 calories
  • 1 fl.oz whiskey = 70 calories

While they may not seem like a lot, if you enjoy two or three glasses of wine on a Friday night, that can be in excess of 600 calories to add to your daily calorie intake.

What’s more, these calories don’t provide any kind of nutritional benefit to your body – they’re empty calories.

Rather than having a few drinks on an evening after work, cut it down to just a couple of glasses one night a week. That way you’ll significantly manage to stay in your calorie deficit for the majority of the week.

[Related Article: How to Lose Weight Without Exercise

10. You binge at the weekends

Often, when you’ve had an amazing week of sticking to clean eating, you might want to reward yourself by satisfying your cravings at the weekend.

This can undo all of your good work in just two days.

While you may have been in a calorie deficit Monday- Friday, by eating and drinking excessively at the weekend you even your average calorie intake out, which can often mean you’re back firmly in a calorie surplus.

Rather than going wild for the whole weekend, why not just choose one meal to splash out on. That way you still get to fulfil your cravings, but without ruining the efforts of the week.

11. You don’t do cardio

woman sprinting on a track

Although we mentioned above that lifting weights is a very effective way of dropping the pounds, cardio can help too.

We don’t want you to spend hours on the treadmill, as it’s not the best way to lose fat.

Instead try HIIT workouts, as they are time efficient, incredibly effective for fat loss compared to endurance training and can increase your metabolism for up to 24 hours after you finish working out [8].

12. Not enough sleep

A good amount of sleep every night is incredibly beneficial not only to your physical and mental health, but it can even help with weight loss.

One study has proven that lack of sleep is strongly linked to obesity [9].

Your body performs most of its metabolic functions during your resting hours, and it’s also most anabolic at this time. Therefore, it’s essential you get between 7-9 hours every night if you want to get the most out of your weight loss effort.

13. Too much dieting

tired woman dieting too much

If you’ve been dieting for a long time and you’ve found that your progress has plateaued, it might be time to take a break.

A significant calorie deficit for a long time can deplete your muscle and even reduce how effectively your body metabolises energy.

To counteract this, you can add a few hundred calories to your diet and head to the gym with a focus on getting stronger for a month or so.

This will help to regrow muscle and, by eating more and enjoying a few more carbohydrates, you’ll increase your metabolism and your sensitivity to your weight loss diet.  This kind of resets your body and should bring you out of that plateau when it comes to dropping the calories again.

14. You have a medical issue

If you’ve read through all of the points above and you’re still asking yourself why am I not losing weight, it might be time to visit your doctor.

You may have some kind of hormone imbalance that makes it harder for your body to lose weight, despite ticking all of the above boxes.

Book an appointment and discuss your options with a medical professional before you decide to drop your calories further, as that can be detrimental to your health.

The final word

Losing weight is not the easiest thing to do in the world – however with the above tips you should have everything you need to drop those unwanted pounds and lead a healthier lifestyle.

Our last tip is be patient and be consistent.

Weight loss happens over time and it’s the result of consistently eating right and being active.

So if you’re two weeks in and you’re asking why am I not losing weight – don’t despair. As long as you keep at it and stay motivated you can achieve your goals.


gymgirlfit was created by health and fitness enthusiasts, with backgrounds in powerlifting and writing. We've written for a number of well-known fitness publishing companies.

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