December 11th, 2018
eating healthy can't lose weight

5 Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight Despite Eating Healthier

It’s frustrating and annoying… you’re eating more salads, you’ve cut out most of the junk food, you’ve done everything possible, but you just can’t lose weight!

But fear not, there are a few things you can do to ensure healthy weight loss. However, just remember that weight loss should not be the only end goal. Muscle weighs more than fat, therefore you could easily lose significant body fat without losing weight if you are also adding muscle. So you should consider not only bodyweight, but also body composition.

What’s body composition? It’s your body’s ratio of body fat to muscle. Simply put, having more lean muscle and less body fat will improve your body composition.

Remember, long term, healthy fat loss takes lifestyle change, not a 30-day fad diet you read about in the tabloids.

So with that said, here are five reasons you’re eating healthy but not losing fat and how to fix them.

1. You haven’t decreased your daily calorie intake

eating healthy can't lose weight
Photo: Pond5

Plain and simple, in order to decrease weight and body fat, you need to create a caloric deficit. This means that you need to expend more calories than you are taking in.

So while you may be substituting in healthier options like salads, healthy fats and complex carbs, your total daily caloric intake may not have changed.

Caloric deficits can primarily be accomplished by either increasing physical activity or reducing caloric intake. However, remember that in order to experience sustainable and healthy weight loss, you should not cut calories too drastically too quickly!

Instead, create a smaller caloric deficit over time instead of trying to do it all in 1 week. This will lead to longer-lasting and healthier body composition changes.

Solution: track what you eat daily for a week and find your average caloric intake per day. Aim to gradually reduce that number – 10% to 20% over 3-4 weeks should result in noticeable changes without being too drastic.

Also, consider using a nutrition plan like IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros), it’s an easily manageable nutrition program that requires you to adjust how much fats, proteins and carbs you eat a day.

2. You need more muscle

weightlifting woman
Photo: Pond5

In order to boost your resting metabolism, it’s important to increase the muscle mass on your body. In order to do this you need to incorporate more exercise into your lifestyle.

However, before you start hitting the treadmill and running around your neighborhood, remember that weightlifting is more important than cardio for fat loss.

Solution: start a basic weight lifting regimen. Try our free six week program Intro To Weightlifting: Strength and Fat Loss.

3. You’re not eating enough protein

high protein meal
Photo: Pond5

In regards to building more muscle, having a high protein intake is critical. So if you do partake in a resistance training program, it’s important to make sure you are eating enough protein.

Also, protein helps you stay full longer and can help reduce cravings.

Solution: keep some high protein snacks on hand and try to eat at least 15-20g of protein for breakfast. Aim for 0.6 to 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight when training for fat loss.

4. You’re too stressed

Stressed woman sleeping
Photo: Pond5

Life is stressful enough, and putting pressure on yourself to lose weight can add to that stress.

Unfortunately, stress causes our bodies to release a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is an inflammatory hormone that also can contribute to weight gain and body fat storage.

Solution: Don’t be too hard on yourself! Weight loss takes time. In order to reduce stress, try getting better sleep and participating in some form of yoga, meditation or simple breathing exercises.

5. You’re not giving your program enough time

weight loss calender
Photo: Pond5

There’s no such thing as a quick weight loss solution that’s also sustainable over the long-term. Any program, no matter how much marketing hype it receives, takes time.

The human body takes a few weeks to adapt to change so make sure you’re giving a new program enough time. Find a program that works for your lifestyle and stick to it.

Solution: Don’t program hop. Give whatever changes you make to your nutrition or workout program at least 4-6 weeks to start seeing a difference in your body composition.

Evan Clark

Evan Clark is a former wildland firefighter turned fitness pro (NSCA CPT). Though he loves his heavy squat and deadlift sessions, he believes that health and fitness extend well beyond the gym and that fitness should be a tool to promote mental health and lifestyle balance.

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