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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

Why Am I Not Losing Weight? 7 Reasons Revealed

Why Am I Not Losing Weight? 7 Reasons Revealed

You’ve made some great changes to your diet and started a good exercise program, but you’re not dropping pounds. Or you’ve been able to lose a little bit of weight, but it seems like you always regain it back, and then you wonder, “Why am I not losing weight?”

There may be a few reasons why.

The big thing to acknowledge, first off, is that you have made the decision to start getting healthy. This is the first big obstacle to overcome, and if you’ve gotten underway with working out or making changes in your diet, you’ve cleared the biggest hurdle.

Of course, everyone needs some extra info and knowledge to approach weight loss in the best way. So if you’ve been wondering why you aren’t losing weight, here are 7 things that may be causing it.

1. Working out Too Much

You’ve started a new exercise routine, and you’re getting the hang of it. It’s exciting to get in tune with your body through physical activity and get feedback by feeling better after. It’s also great to see some increases in strength, and even some lean muscle.

If you’ve been enjoying it and seeing some positives, it might make sense in your mind to start working out longer and harder. If three days a week has felt great, then why not five? Why not seven straight days of strength training and cardio?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way, and you’re better off allowing your body to rest. When you work out too much, you can tax your central nervous system. You put your body into a situation where it’s constantly being stressed and releasing stress hormones.

Overtraining can lead to injuries, muscle tears, and strains. It also can weaken your immune system and make you more prone to sickness. You want to avoid this overtraining syndrome to be able to keep losing weight[1].

When your stress hormones are up, it’s more difficult to lose weight, as your body wants to preserve what it has. Therefore, exercise regularly, but allow yourself time to rest and recover to improve your fitness and weight loss.

2. Not Getting Enough Sleep

This is going to piggyback off point number one. If you are not getting adequate sleep, you can create this same overtraining syndrome in your body.

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If you’re experiencing a lack of sleep, your body starts to think there is some sort of trauma happening, or else why wouldn’t you be asleep?

This can also lead to higher stress hormone levels, and, over time, they can get pretty nasty. They can lead to a lot of inflammation in the body and may be at the core of a lot of bad diseases. Along with that, these stress hormones also make weight loss very difficult, and your metabolism also starts to slow[2].

Studies show that sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain due to increased food intake. One study pointed out that “increased food intake during insufficient sleep is a physiological adaptation to provide energy needed to sustain additional wakefulness”[3].

This is fairly logical. If your body doesn’t receive energy from sleep, it will look elsewhere (food) in order to make up for the lack.

Make it a point to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night. This means creating a good wind-down routine, sticking with it, and starting it at the same time each night.

Look to cut out blue light from electronics that can disrupt sleep, and don’t drink alcohol or caffeine later in the day.

Keep your room as dark as possible and a touch on the cool side to promote better rest and rejuvenation. With your body fully rested and repaired, you set the stage for better weight loss and improved fitness.

3. Not Eating Enough

This may seem confusing, as if you’re eating less, surely you should be losing weight, right? This all comes back to metabolism, and again, that stress hormone issue. If you find yourself wondering, “What am I not losing weight?” it’s time to take a look at what and how much you’re eating, as you may be experiencing a calorie deficit.

Think of your body fat as a back-up fuel source. When times of stress or trauma hit, it can be broken down and used as energy by your body.

When the number of calories you take in isn’t sufficient for your body type, your body thinks there’s another form of trauma, like a drought, happening since you’re not feeding yourself. Body fat storage can be your body’s form of a contingency plan.

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When you don’t eat enough, your metabolism slows down as your body doesn’t want to waste what it has. Everything becomes about conservation at this point, and losing weight is not going to be top on your body’s priority list.

Add to this overtraining in the gym, and it can really stall your weight loss. This is where injuries and sickness can also happen as your body may be trying to slow things down as much as possible.

Allow yourself to be fed and nourished with healthy foods. Your body needs consistent fuel in order to function properly and lose weight in the long term.

4. Not Building Muscle

We’re not talking giant bodybuilder muscle here, but good, lean muscle can be part of what helps you lose weight.

First off, just the act of having to build the muscle through strength training is going to take a full body effort. This burns a lot of calories, which will help in weight loss.

Also, the style of training that helps to build muscle—a high-intensity style—is going to put your body into a better state hormone-wise. Your body will be able to burn calories long after your workout is done[4]. Your metabolism will now be higher, and losing weight will be more achievable.

Along with this, just having more muscle increases your ability to burn calories. Lean muscle is metabolically active, even at rest, so when you have more muscle, you’ll be burning more calories, even if you’re sitting still.

If you want more information on how to build muscle fast, check out this article.

5. Not Eating Enough Protein

You probably hear about protein all the time, and its main goal is not just to build muscle mass.

Protein is important for so many different functions in the body, from building hormones to regulating tissues and organs in the body.

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Protein also has a thermogenic effect, meaning that it takes calories just to eat and digest it.

Have you heard of the “meat sweats”? This is that thermogenic function in action, as it takes a lot of energy for the body to digest and absorb protein. This act of muscle protein synthesis can be a big calorie burner in the body[5].

Protein can also be good at holding off cravings and can keep blood sugar more stable. This way, you won’t get those big peaks and drops that can lead you to craving more carbs and possibly gaining more weight.

6. Eating Too Much

If you’ve been serious about losing weight, you’re probably more aware of your food portions and calorie intake. Calorie counting is not as simple as it may seem, as not all calories are created equal. 100 calories of walnuts is going to act differently in your body than 100 calories of a soft drink.

However, it’s still important to be aware of how much you’re eating, even if you’re eating healthy, as you may be surprised by how many calories you’re taking in without knowing it.

To lose weight, it’s important to stop drinking your calories. This means cutting out soft drinks, juices, sports drinks, specialty coffees, etc. These are fast-acting calories that don’t fill you up and can make you want to eat more.

Since these drinks are all sugar, they can spike your blood sugar, leading to a crash. This crash phase is where you tend to crave more of those fast-acting carbs in the form of simple sugars or refined carbs. This is going to make weight loss difficult, so do yourself a favor and stick to water.

You can try to track your calories for a few days just to get an idea of where you stand. From here, you’ll know how you need to restructure things.

Take almonds, for example. They are a great, healthy snack, and having a small handful can be great. But say you do this multiple times over the day. Just one cup of almonds has around 530 calories, which may be more than you were planning to take in.

You don’t have to be a slave to tracking food and calories, but get a general idea where you’re at and adjust as needed.

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7. Eating Too Many Carbs

You may be sick of hearing about everything to do with carbs, but if you find yourself asking, “Why am I not losing weight?”, you need to be aware of them.

If you’ve been having issues losing weight, or have blood sugar issues such as type 2 diabetes, you may want to go lower-carb.

This is something you want to talk over with your doctor, but the majority of the carbohydrates we’re exposed to are not needed at all.

Things like white bread, white rice, white flour, and white sugar, for example, are providing you no nutrition and are very high glycemic. This keeps your blood sugar elevated and makes it harder to lose weight.

Reduce bad carbs to help you lose weight.

    Keeping things lower carb can have positive effects on triglyceride levels and cholesterol, along with controlling blood sugar and losing weight.

    In one study, which measured 63 obese men and women who were randomly assigned to a specific diet, “subjects on the low-carbohydrate diet had lost more weight than subjects on the conventional diet at 3 months”[6].

    Carbs based around your workout can still be great for energy, but look to the best choices. Aim for things like steel cut oats, wild rice, sweet potatoes, and quinoa—the more color on your plate, the better!

    The Bottom Line

    “Why am I not losing weight?” is a common question heard around gyms and health clubs everywhere. There are often specific reasons why, so it can be easy to get back on track with your fitness and weight loss goals once you identify the problem.

    Get your diet and exercise routine in check, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you start to lose weight. Get started today!

    More on Why You Aren’t Losing Weight

    Featured photo credit: i yunmai via unsplash.com

    Reference

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    Jamie Logie

    Jamie is a personal trainer and health coach with a degree in Kinesiology and Food and Nutrition.

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    Published on April 8, 2021

    6 Health Benefits of Beetroot Powder (And How To Choose A Good One)

    6 Health Benefits of Beetroot Powder (And How To Choose A Good One)

    Beetroots are vegetables rich in nitrates, antioxidants, and polyphenol compounds that have a role in improved cardiovascular function and exercise performance.[1] However, beetroot juice has limitations with storage and taste preference, and so other more convenient forms have been investigated. One of these forms is beetroot powder.

    What Is Beetroot Powder?

    Beetroot powder is made by dehydrating or drying out thin slices of beetroot (to remove all the moisture) and then grinding them into a powder. If you don’t like the earthy taste of beetroot, then beetroot powder might be an alternative since it is more concentrated than fresh beetroot but with a relatively neutral taste. One fresh beetroot is the equivalent of approximately one teaspoon of beetroot powder.

    Powdered beetroot can be added to sauces, smoothies, pasta, gnocchi, curries, cakes, muffins, or anything you choose to add nutrients and color to. Watch out that your urine may change color too! Due to the natural sugars in beetroot, it can also be used as a natural sweetener. Beetroot powder is even used in natural cosmetics.

    Beetroot Powder VS. Other Beetroot Products

    One study looked at the total antioxidant potential, phenol compounds, sugars, and organic acids in beetroot juice, cooked beetroot, powder, and chips. They found higher amounts of total antioxidant potential and organic acids in the chips and powder compared with the juice and cooked beetroot.[2] However, it’s important to consider that it is a lot easier to take larger quantities of beetroot when powdered or juiced than just eating it and this means ingesting much more sugar.

    6 Health Benefits of Beetroot

    While beetroot may have potential health benefits, it’s not clear if these are temporary or have long-term effects. More research is needed to answer this question and what the optimal dose is. Most studies have focused on beetroot juice, with only a handful of studies investigating beetroot powder. There hasn’t been evidence so far to support the benefit of beetroot powder on blood flow.[3]

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    Despite that, beetroot contains several different compounds with different properties. Here are the six health benefits of beetroot powder.

    1. Beetroot Powder Is Rich in Nitrates

    Firstly, beetroot powder is rich in nitrates. Nitrates have important roles related to increased blood flow, gas exchange, mitochondrial efficiency, and strengthening of muscle contraction.[4] By causing relaxation of the smooth muscles that encircle arteries and veins, nitrate leads to the dilation of these blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure. Nitrate medications are used for people with high blood pressure, angina, and heart disease to relax blood vessels, widening them to allow greater blood flow.[5]

    A meta-analysis that combined 22 different trials and analyzed the results together found that additional beetroot juice significantly decreased blood pressure.[6] However, there isn’t evidence to support the long-term effects.[7]

    2. Beetroot Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties

    Secondly, beetroot contains antioxidant polyphenol compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants are molecules that have the ability to neutralize free radicals and protect against cell damage that can lead to chronic diseases. Eating a diet high in antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of chronic disease.[8] Different polyphenol compounds are different colors, that’s why you will often hear about eating a rainbow of fruit and vegetables.

    3. Beetroot Has Anti-Cancer Effects

    Beetroot also contains betalains that have been found to have anti-cancer effects in cellular models in the laboratory.[9] Clinical trials are now needed to assess if there are potential anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects and the nature of these effects. While the anti-cancer effects of beetroot in humans aren’t known yet, including them in your diet may help and is unlikely to risk harm.

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    4. Beetroot Powder Is a Great Source of Vitamins C and Folate

    Beetroots are also a great source of vitamins C and B9 (folate). Vitamin C and folate have many important roles in our bodies. Vitamin C is required for the biosynthesis of collagen, which acts as a scaffold in the skin and ligaments. It is also has a role in wound healing and protein metabolism. Folic acid is vital for the production of healthy red blood cells, and cellular growth. Inadequate intake of vitamin C over a 3 month period can lead to scurvy, and smoking can further reduce the bioavailability.[10]

    5. Beetroot Contains Essential Minerals

    Beets also contain the minerals iron, manganese, and potassium. Iron has a vital role in the transportation of oxygen by healthy red blood cells. Over 40% of children worldwide have iron deficiency anemia and women of childbearing age are also at increased risk because of menstruation.[11] Potassium may actually prevent the harmful effects of eating excess salt (sodium chloride). Manganese has several roles including metabolism, bone formation, and the immune system. Beetroots are a great way of including all these micronutrients in your diet.

    6. Beetroot Powder Is a Great Source of Fiber

    Fiber is such an important component of our diet, with most of us needing to eat much more to reach the recommended daily amount of 30g. For every 10g of fiber you eat a day, you may decrease your long-term risk of bowel cancer.[12]

    Fibre also acts as a pre-biotic, providing food for the friendly micro-organisms in your gut called the microbiota. There are trillions of micro-organisms in your gut that are now known to play a key role in inflammation and both mental and physical health. Eating beetroots can help to increase your fiber intake and support a healthy gut community.

    It’s clear that for relatively few calories, beetroot contains a variety of vitamins, minerals, nitrates, and antioxidants. For these reasons, beetroot is labeled as a “nutraceutical” and supplementation has become increasingly popular.[13] While most studies have looked at the effects of beetroot on blood vessel dilation, there are still many unanswered questions about other potential benefits.

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    How to Choose a Beetroot Powder

    Like all other supplements, there is very little regulation. Therefore, it is very difficult to be sure exactly what is included in the supplement or assess the quality. My recommendations for choosing a supplement are to check for a product license and always buy from a reputable company.

    There are, however, no agreed benchmarks for quality or efficacy. How much and how often are also unknown at this time. Try to avoid powders that have added preservatives, sweeteners, or artificial flavorings. Consider whether an organic powder is worth the extra money to you. I would avoid powders that have added silica to avoid clumping. Some supplements now use 3rd party companies to verify the contents.

    There isn’t an agreed dose of nitrate or beetroot powder, so while some powders do contain nitrate content, it is difficult to know exactly what this means in practice. The higher the nitrate content, the more likely it is to have a beneficial effect on raised blood pressure. But if you don’t have high blood pressure, it’s difficult to know if more nitrate is beneficial.

    In summary, look for:

    • organic beetroot powder
    • tested for quality by a 3rd party company
    • is free from preservatives, sweeteners, and artificial flavorings
    • avoid powders containing silica
    • buy from a reputable company
    • look at the nitrate content

    How to Make Your Own Beetroot Powder

    First, wash, peel, and grate your beetroots by hand or using a food processor. Then, place them on a tray, spread them out, and cover them with parchment or grease-proof paper to protect them from direct sunlight.

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    Leave to dry until there is no moisture left and shake intermittently so that it dries evenly. When it snaps instead of bending and feels dry, it is ready for the next stage.

    The drying stage can take up to four days depending on the air temperature. To speed up the drying process, you can do this on low heat in a saucepan for 15 to 25 minutes or in the oven at no higher than 180 degrees Celsius or in a dehydrator. If you use the oven or on the hob, just be careful not to burn the beetroot.

    The final step is to grind the dried beetroot using a grinder. It can then be stored in an airtight container, avoiding sun-light for up to one year.

    Should You Try Beetroot Powder?

    Beetroot is a great vegetable that contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, nitrates, and fiber. The nitrates present in beets may lower your blood pressure in the short-term, but the long-term effects are not yet known. More research is needed to know about other potential benefits such as the effect on cancer.

    So, while beetroot powder may have health benefits unless taken in excess, it is unlikely to have significant side effects. Large doses of beetroot, however, are associated with an increased risk of kidney stones.

    If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, taking beetroot supplements is best avoided as there isn’t sufficient safety information. Beetroots do also contain fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols or FODMAPS for short. These are types of carbohydrates that are hard to digest and can cause symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in some people. FODMAPS are thought to act as prebiotics, feeding the friendly micro-organisms that live in your gut (microbiota). So, for those people who can tolerate them, they are beneficial for a healthy gut.

    More Resources About Beetroot

    Featured photo credit: FOODISM360 via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] NCBI: Vascular effects of dietary nitrate (as found in green leafy vegetables and beetroot) via the nitrate‐nitrite‐nitric oxide pathway
    [2] SpringerLink: Comparison of total antioxidant potential, and total phenolic, nitrate, sugar, and organic acid contents in beetroot juice, chips, powder, and cooked beetroot
    [3] Maastricht University: Effects of Beetroot Powder with or without L-Arginine on Postprandial Vascular Endothelial Function: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial with Abdominally Obese Men
    [4] PubMed.gov: Effects of Beetroot Juice Supplementation on Cardiorespiratory Endurance in Athletes. A Systematic Review
    [5] PubMed.gov: Nutraceuticals with a clinically detectable blood pressure-lowering effect: a review of available randomized clinical trials and their meta-analyses
    [6] PubMed.gov: The Nitrate-Independent Blood Pressure-Lowering Effect of Beetroot Juice: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
    [7] PubMed.gov: Medium-term effects of dietary nitrate supplementation on systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis
    [8] NCCIH: Antioxidants: In-Depth
    [9] NCBI: Red Beetroot and Betalains as Cancer Chemopreventative Agents
    [10] Healthline: Beetroot 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
    [11] NCBI: The impact of maternal iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia on child’s health
    [12] Cancer Research UK: Does a high fibre diet reduce my risk of cancer?
    [13] PubMed.gov: The potential benefits of red beetroot supplementation in health and disease

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