The ever-present desire to lose three pounds is like the quest for El Dorado—fleeting and seemingly always just out of reach. If you’re one of the literally millions of betches trying to get in shape, lose a few pounds, and get healthier, we’re here to help. But many of us have experienced the frustration of ramping up our exercise routines, cutting carbs and calories, and still not losing any significant weight.
There are lots of sneaky reasons why you’re not losing weight and sweatpants are all that fits you right now, and being familiar with what may be sabotaging your health goals can help you overcome them and become the hottest betch at the gym.
1. You Are, But In A Weird Way
If you’ve upped the intensity of your workouts, are eating healthy, and sticking to your goals but either not losing weight or gaining, it could be that you’re actually gaining muscle at the same time you’re losing fat. “It is a good idea to use something other than the scale to gauge your progress,” says Healthline. “For example, measure your waist circumference and get your body fat percentage measured once per month.” So, yes, check the scale here and there, but keep in mind that weight can fluctuate by as much as five pounds and may be all over the place once you really start your new healthy lifestyle. Plus, if you’re looking FLY in the mirror, use that as a push to keep going. Stop obsessing about the number on the scale.
2. You’re Lying
Keeping a calorie diary seems extreme, but it may actually help you realize what you are and are not putting in your mouth. A lot of the trouble for those looking to lose weight is that they aren’t fully aware of what they’re eating. You may have forgotten about that chocolate bar you had at 2pm or the extra serving of salad with Caesar dressing you ate at dinner. “Total calories consumed matters when it comes to weight loss,” says CNN. “People frequently forget about the little things during or between meals that add up calorically and can interfere significantly with weight loss.” So, yes, track your calories for a week or two to get your spidey senses tingling, then see if you’re still having the same issues.
3. Sunday Funday Is Your Undoing
Yeaaaaaaah. So dieting during the week, when you’re sticking to a strict 9 to 5 schedule, is pretty easy thanks to the same routine day in and day out. However, on weekends, you’re likely drinking more and eating A LOT more. “Three days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) of more relaxed eating (and in many cases drinking) can easily erase four days of more perfect effort,” says CNN. So, having a cheat day or days can really f*ck up all those days of logging calories and going for a run before work. Grab a glass of wine or two on Friday night, but don’t follow it up with a calzone because you “earned it”.
4. You’re Skipping Meals
DING DING DING. Do you skip breakfast and only sip on coffee first thing in the morning? I know we’ve all heard it millions of times, but eating breakfast actually wakes up your metabolism. According to WebMD, “Research shows that breakfast skippers weigh more than breakfast eaters. There is a misconception that skipping breakfast—or any meal—saves calories. The truth is that most people who eat fewer than three meals usually end up eating more calories during the course of the day.” So, skipping those meals is sabotaging you into reaching for those jelly beans without realizing it. Or polishing off that extra bag of popcorn because “I barely even ate today.” Grab an egg, piece of whole wheat toast, and piece of fruit for breakfast, eat a filling salad for lunch, then try not to eat a million calories for dinner.
5. You Messed Up Your Metabolism, Fam
This one has always pissed me off more than anything else. Lemme break it down for you. When I went on a crash wedding diet (I KNOW, SO BAD), I was eating maybe 1,000 calories per day and I lost a LOT of weight. Obviously. However, once I tried to get back to healthy, normal levels of eating (like, 1,300-1,500 calories per day), I gained weight. So, naturally, I cut back again and … nope. Scale doesn’t budge. According to NBC News, “when you really cut back on calories, your body thinks you’re in trouble, urging it into starvation mode, and it slows down a lot of the necessary functions that are necessary to burn calories—including your thyroid, metabolism and blood pressure. What’s more, as a woman, it can make your period irregular, which can affect your hormones and lead to weight gain.” COOL, GUYS. So, congratulations, you played yourself. Skipping meals and starving yourself may cause you to lose 10 pounds, but once you break and go back to normal eating, you’ll gain. Then if you try to crash diet again, it isn’t going to work. Take it from me and do it the right way.
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