I’ve been doing everything I?m supposed to do – eating clean, exercising consistently and the scale is NOT budging! HELP.
Do you ever feel like this? If you listen to many health-care professionals you’ll hear the saying “calories in equals calories out” but is that really true?
Unfortunately weight issues cannot be reduced to a simple equation.
Your weight is a complex equation of your metabolism, caloric intake, exercise/activity, sleep, and hormone and stress levels. Many factors influence the number on the morning scale. If your diet is balanced for your needs with adequate protein, healthy fats and moderate amounts of carbs and you are still not losing weight, here are some things to consider:
Give your body the dignity of where it is right now
Just like humans do not care for change, the body does not like change. In fact, the body wants to gain and store fat in case there is a famine. Those with the so-called thrifty gene would have survived tens of thousands of years ago as opposed to those who burned off all their calories on a daily basis.
If you’ve lost a fair amount of weight and your body seems stuck it may need to hang out for a while, and catch a breather before moving on, so patience is the key. Many people give up, become discouraged, and start eating. If they had just given it a little more time the body would have continued to lose weight.
Have your hormone profile checked to rule out a medical issue
Have your thyroid, and other hormones checked. Whether you are male or female have your testosterone and free testosterone, estradiol, and progesterone checked.
A change in hormone balance might be the cause for a standstill. Since estrogen is stored in fat the body wants to increase belly fat to restore estrogen. Men with more belly/visceral fat can have lower testosterone values making it challenging to lose weight.
Check your Stress and Sleep Habits
If you are under stress at home or work, your body secretes cortisol, which increases insulin resistance, leading to weight gain or lack of weight loss. If your sleep suffers, insulin resistance is increased, making weight loss challenging.
Many years ago when I was working too many hours I started gaining weight, even though my exercise and food intake remained consistent. I had to modify my work and lifestyle to get back on track.
If your hours of sleep are consistently less than 7 there is a multitude of studies showing this increases insulin resistance and weight gain.
Mind your bites and activity levels
Even if you are eating balanced and “clean,” you may be overshooting your calories by as little as 50 per day, which can slow weight loss. Eating an extra 50-100 calories per day causes 5-10 pound weight gain per year.
Are you eating till you are just satisfied or full? It could be that simple.
In addition, sitting time DOES matter. If you are exercising an hour a day and then sitting for multiple hours doing work, returning emails, etc. your insulin receptors are not firing as quickly as they could which slows metabolism. Consider getting a Fitbit, iWatch, etc. It will reveal how many steps per day you are taking, which should be over 10,000 at a minimum.
Lastly, try not to obsess on changing the number on the scale. If all the factors above have been considered, you may be where you are supposed to be for now.
If you are doing everything possible, there is no way the body will not change. You will eventfully start losing weight again.
I’ve had way too many a client lose patience and start excessively eating again, only to come back 30 pounds more a year later.
Even if you have not lost all your weight, congratulate yourself on the weight you have lost and continue all your healthy behaviors and eventually the plateau will plummet down.