I’m a nutritionist – here’s the 6 surprising reasons you are not losing weight

IF weight loss is one of your health goals, you might think you know exactly what you need to do to shed unwanted pounds.

But despite your best efforts to change your diet and improve your exercise, sometimes you feel like you’re doing everything right, only to find that the results aren’t there when you step on the scale.

Are you trying to lose weight but not sure why the scale isn't going down? It could be lack of sleep or it could be because you're not eating enough


Are you trying to lose weight but not sure why the scale isn’t going down? It could be lack of sleep or it could be because you’re not eating enoughPhoto credit: Getty

So what’s going on?

We asked Sarah Bockhart, weight loss specialist, nutritionist and diet coach, to reveal where you could go wrong – and how to make sure your weight loss efforts aren’t wasted…

1. You’re not eating enough protein

Sarah says: “When people start a new diet, they think about eating less.

“This can be a good place to start when reducing portion sizes, but a common mistake people make is to cut out certain food groups.

“Many people also start new exercise routines when they are trying to lose weight but cannot change their diet to support their increase in activity.

“Protein is key to supporting our muscles when we’re working out, and it’s also satiating, meaning it supports our energy levels for a long time and keeps us from consuming more.”

“Unprocessed, high-protein foods include things like chicken breast, turkey, steak, eggs, nuts, cheese, cottage cheese, and tofu.

“Rather than reducing these, increase the amount of protein you eat and this should keep you from feeling hungry while also helping your body lose weight and build muscle.”

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2. You fall into diet “traps”

Atkins, low-fat, vegan, 5:2, or just “I’m on a diet” — no matter the eating plan, there’s a high chance you’re focusing on cutting things out of your daily meals rather than what you’re adding.

Sarah says, “Achieving a calorie deficit (taking in fewer calories than you expend in a day) is key to weight loss, but how we achieve it can impact if we’re able to maintain it.

“Nutritious food and plenty of it is key to keeping us full as it keeps our body satisfied.

“If you count calories but are struggling to lose weight, chances are you’re choosing to get your calories from poor quality foods with little or no nutrients.

“Takeout and processed foods (chips, granola/diet bars, processed meat) may fit into your calorie count, but they won’t make your body happy.

“When we eat a balance of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats, along with a wide variety of these foods, we improve our gut bacteria and overall health and mental well-being.

“Research has proven that going into a calorie deficit by eating nutritious foods versus going into a calorie deficit by eating ultra-processed foods not only helps us lose weight more effectively, but also helps us maintain the weight over the long term.

“Not sure where to start? Follow a meal plan or try to cook from scratch more often.”

3. Your exercise is “all or nothing”

Sarah says: “Increasing your weekly exercise is a great way to lose weight and improve your health.

“Exercise not only improves your chances of reaching a calorie deficit — because you burn more calories over a 24-hour period — but you also increase your feel-good hormones, reduce your stress levels, and are more likely to motivate you to make healthier food choices.

“One big mistake you could make, however, is that you’re in an ‘all or nothing’ pattern with your exercise.

“If your new exercise routine calls for you to exercise for an hour or more and spend those 60 minutes training as hard and fast as you can, only to then do nothing for the next few days, then chances are your long workouts are doing you more harm as useful.

“Long and difficult workouts can make us extremely hungry and we’re more likely to eat more later in the day.

“Also, they make our bodies extremely tired and need a break, which means we move a lot less in the few days after.

“While you may burn a large number of calories in one long, intense session, you’re much less likely to experience the positive, weight-loss-promoting benefits of more regular exercise if you follow it up for two days without exercise.”

“Opt for shorter workouts – more often, and try to fit more general movements into your day, like walking. E.g. walking or just not sitting for a long time.”

4. You don’t sleep enough

Sarah says: “That’s right, not getting enough rest could delay your weight loss.

“Not getting enough sleep is detrimental to our health and can make it much harder for us to lose weight.

“Fatigue has a tremendously negative impact on the decisions we make by doing things like: increasing our impulse to snack; Increasing our cravings for high-calorie foods, decreasing our motivation for training/exercise, increasing our stress levels (which can decrease our ability to burn fat), affecting our mood (which makes us less likely to make healthy choices).

“Do you want to lose weight? Prioritize your sleep. Try to get in at least seven hours a night, but aim for eight if you can.”

5. You lose muscle

Sarah says: “You probably haven’t considered this, but losing muscle mass can prevent us from losing weight.

“When we have healthy muscles, our bodies expend more energy throughout the day to keep those muscles well nourished and maintained — which uses more calories.

“If we don’t work to maintain our muscle mass, we can lose anywhere from 3 to 8 percent of our muscle per decade as we age.

“It may not sound like much, but the loss of strength and mass in our muscles can keep us from reaching our calorie deficit goals.

“Prevent this decline in muscle mass by incorporating strength training into your exercise regimen.

“Regular resistance training (using weights during exercise) helps keep muscles strong, and researchers found that those who resist regularly lose more body fat than those who don’t.”

6. You don’t actually know why you’re doing it

Sarah says: “You’re trying to lose weight… why?

“If you can’t answer that question right away, that’s probably why you don’t.

“We’re often bombarded with messages that convince us we need to lose weight, ‘New Year’s weight loss,’ ‘Summer weight loss,’ ‘Down a dress size.’

“We see these messages so often that we tell ourselves we need to lose weight — even though we may not know why.

“Take a moment and ask yourself why and write it down.

“To improve your health? Boost your self-confidence? make it easier for you to play with your children?

“Whatever it is, remember it and use it to motivate you.

“If you don’t have a reason, maybe you should reconsider whether you need to embark on that weight loss journey at all.”

https://www.the-sun.com/health/7435290/nutritionist-surprising-reasons-not-losing-weight/ I’m a nutritionist – here’s the 6 surprising reasons you are not losing weight

Emma James

Emma James is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma James joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing emmajames@ustimespost.com.

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