Stepping on the scales after a period of dieting and finding the number is the same, or higher, can be a disheartening and upsetting moment. We may even find ourselves wondering if the hard work was even worth it, and question if we should carry on. The truth is that there are a number of reasons you may not be losing the weight you thought you were, and many are more common than you might have once thought. Read on for a list of just some of the things that might be adding to the scales instead of taking away.
You’re retaining water
Our weight fluctuates day to day because our bodies are 50-65% water, and the amount of water within these ranges varies daily in conjunction with how dehydrated we are, hormonal fluctuations, and how much sodium we consume, among some other factors. Our weight may fluctuate up to 3kg a day depending on how much water we retain, so before you start telling yourself you’ve not lost any weight or have put some on, take retention into consideration.
Water retention is necessary to keep our bodies working properly, so we shouldn’t necessarily try and lose water weight, but if we are able to cut down on sodium (salt) and refined carbohydrates- leading causes of water retention, this will benefit our overall health as well.
You’re eating too much- even of the right things
It’s a common misconception that if we’re eating healthily then there’s no limit to how much we can eat. People often think they can eat as much salad and vegetables and lean protein as they can muster and they’ll still lose weight because what they’re eating is healthy, and unfortunately, that is simply not true. The only way to actually get rid of fat and lose weight is through consuming fewer calories than you’re burning- i.e. being in a calorie deficit. Eating healthily within a deficit means your body is much healthier, your metabolism is sped up, and you’re less susceptible to diseases such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Our meals are healthy and nutritious, full of veg, whole grains and lean protein, but also portion-controlled so that you don’t overeat.
You’re not getting enough sleep
A lack of good quality sleep can significantly affect our hormones, subsequently slowing our metabolism. Therefore, the less sleep you receive, the harder it can become to lose weight. Furthermore, when we are sleep deprived our decision-making skills are affected and we have much less willpower, meaning we’re more likely to choose unhealthy foods because they’re harder to resist and easier to prepare and eat. Ensuring your sleep schedule is sound and gives you enough hours of sleep each night, while allowing you a lie-in when you need it, can significantly help your body shed weight and enjoy a healthier lifestyle.
You’ve got a medical condition
Sometimes weight gain, or an innate difficulty to lose weight, can be down to a medical issue that you may already be aware of. Hyperthyroidism is an issue that can often cause people to put on weight and can affect their metabolism and energy levels. We know that low energy levels can cause us to eat more, and a slow metabolism means we’re unable to burn the calories we need to in order to lose sufficient weight.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which the body finds it much harder to utilise insulin, and therefore has to produce more. This insulin resistance can lead to weight gain, which can make PCOS symptoms even worse- as having excess fat causes our body to produce more insulin, with the pattern being difficult to break. Ensuring you continue to eat healthily and don’t give up your weight loss journey is incredibly important for those struggling with PCOS, as weight may come off slower.
There are a number of other medical conditions that can hinder weight loss- make sure you speak with your doctor if you think you may have a problem or if you require help or advice.
You’re getting older
Unfortunately, the older we get, the harder it becomes to lose weight. Beginning in our 30s, every decade we start losing active muscle mass, and because muscles burn more calories than fat, a loss in muscle means a slower metabolism. This means weight gain is much more likely as the number of calories we were able to eat before to maintain our weight will now be too many, especially paired with less physical activity. Our Longevity package is nutritionally tailored to support hormonal health, is rich in antioxidants and high-quality proteins, is portion-controlled, and excludes refined sugar and dairy to reduce inflammation, which can help to slow down the ageing process.
You’re experiencing menopause
Mixed with hormonal changes caused by age, before, during and after menopause the oestrogen levels are decreased, causing the metabolism to slow and making it harder to lose weight. Alongside all the unpleasant symptoms of menopause- including hot flashes and mood swings, the body tends to start storing fat around the belly, and with a slower metabolism, this fat can be very hard to shift. This is also paired with the fact that we often lose muscle mass as we age- and muscles burn more calories than fat, making burning that hormonal fat even trickier. Ensuring that those experiencing perimenopause, menopause and post-menopause stay vigilant in their health and well-being practises- eating a healthy and portion-controlled diet and exercising often, can help to minimise additional fat stores, help keep muscle mass up, and keep the calories burning.
You’re not planning meals
Knowing you’ve got a healthy meal at home waiting to be cooked each day means you’re much less likely to get a quick, unhealthy fix while you’re out, or a takeaway or quick unhealthy meal when you’re home. This can also affect the size of the portions eaten, as a quickly cooked meal, even healthy, can lead to weight gain if too much is eaten. Make sure you’re planning meals that are portion-controlled, healthy, and packed full of nutrients and you’re much more likely to lose weight and fall into a healthy stride. The Pure Package does all the meal planning and cooking for you, completely removing this stress. We deliver your daily 3 meals a day plus 2 snacks, ensuring you’re eating the necessary amount of calories each day to lose weight, and eating the healthy foods your body needs to thrive, without having to cook. Find the perfect plan for you here.
You’re exercising but not altering your diet
Many people are under the impression that a lifestyle based on excessive daily exercise cancels out an unhealthy diet. Unfortunately, this is far from true, and you cannot out-exercise poor eating. Exercise simply doesn’t burn enough calories to cancel out unhealthy treats. It has been proven that eating a nutritionally balanced diet that keeps you in a caloric deficit (burning more calories than you’re consuming) is the most effective way of losing weight, but that’s not to say exercise is obsolete in any terms. While diet is the main factor of weight loss, exercising helps build muscle mass and speeds the metabolism, meaning we are able to eat more calories in a day while staying within a deficit.
Exercising also makes you hungry, so it’s important to make sure you’ve got healthy and nutritious food, such as The Package meals and snacks, waiting got you when you finish. Make sure that alongside a healthy and nutritious diet you’re moving each day and adding strength training, cardio and flexibility into your daily routine.
You’re measuring the wrong results
Don’t just focus on the number on the scales – this can be disappointing and cause you more stress. There are many other factors that you can consider that go beyond the number on the scales. How do your clothes fit? Try on the same pair of jeans or your favourite top every eight weeks to see if the fit has changed. How are you feeling? Are you more energised, do you sleep better and feel less stressed? Have you become fitter in the gym? If you have access to smart scales, try and measure your subcutaneous and visceral body fat as well as your muscle mass. You may be more likely to see changes in these numbers- which are a much better indicator of health than overall body weight.
You’re cutting out whole food groups
While so many fad diets rely on the idea of cutting out particular food groups, this is never a great idea for optimal health and long term weight loss. We need all of the food groups in order to receive all the necessary nutrients to keep us healthy and strong and keep our brains performing well. Eliminating food groups can subsequently lead to deficiencies and a lack of vitamins.
Try not to get too focused on the number on the scale- there are so many things that may be affecting your weight at any given time. Focus on living and eating well while taking into account the aforementioned points, and most of all, don’t be too hard on yourself. Give yourself time to see results and be patient with yourself. Health is a feeling, not just a number.
If you want to discover the best plan for you, book a nutritionist consultation and discuss your goals with one of our in-house nutritionists. We can help you find the best portion sizes and menu plans to help you reach your full potential and live a far healthier lifestyle.
Book a consultation here.