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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!

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    Featured photo credit: i yunmai via unsplash.com

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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 July 14, 2021

    13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach)

    13 Best Foods to Eat at Night (Advice From a Health Coach)

    We’ve all had late-night cravings. Those times when you would lie in bed but your mind is on the fridge. You try to fight it, but you find out that you can’t. Food—you want food—to chew and to drink and to swallow. It usually goes this way: after much hesitation, you would get off your bed and walk over to the kitchen where you would stand for seconds and maybe even minutes contemplating a lot of things.

    You have heard about it—read about it, too—the famous “eating late at night isn’t good for you.” You know well about how eating late at night can cause you stress and make you gain weight. But you just want to eat—and eat you must.

    But what must you eat? What are your best and most healthy options? Here are the 13 best foods to eat at night.

    1. Turkey

    If you aren’t a vegetarian, then you most probably love turkey. It is not only very tasty and delicious, but it is quite nutritious, too. Turkey contains a lot of protein. As little as 28 grams of turkey already contains eight grams of protein.[1]

    It also contains some amount of vitamins and a nutritive compound called selenium. Selenium is a powerful antioxidant that plays an important role in ensuring the thyroid gland functions properly.

    Turkey passes as one of the best foods to eat at night because the protein tryptophan, which it contains in a considerable amount, is believed to promote tiredness and thus, sleepiness.[2]

    2. Fish

    Another great choice for non-vegetarians is fish, especially fatty fishes like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. These are considered healthy choices because they contain a considerable amount of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your body regulate its calcium levels and is good for your kidneys, parathyroid glands, skin, etc.

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    Fatty fishes also contain omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of healthy fatty acids that can serve as anti-inflammatory agents and are good for the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids are shown to be able to increase the amount of serotonin produced by the nervous system, and thus, make sleep feel better.[3] This means that fishes would not keep you awake! You don’t have to roll from side to side trying to fall asleep after eating them.

    Fishes also contain nutritive oils that are good for your body and skin.

    3. White Rice

    White rice is just rice that has no bran germ—that is, both bran and germ have to be removed as a result of processing from brown rice to make it white rice. This removal of bran and germ causes white rice to contain lower fiber, nutrients, and antioxidants when compared with brown rice. However, white rice still contains a commendable amount of nutrients such as thiamine, folate, and manganese and so is great as a late-night meal.

    White rice has a high Glycemic Index. (GI). A food’s glycemic index is simply the measure of the rate at which that food increases the body’s sugar level. Taking in foods with a GI index, such as rice, can improve the quality of one’s sleep. This is as long as one takes these foods one hour before sleep. If you plan to sleep by 7 p.m, then it is a good idea to eat white rice by 6.p.m.[4]

    4. Bananas

    Finally, Something for vegetarians. A fruit! Bananas not only taste good, but they are also rich in the compounds potassium and tryptophan, making them one of the best foods to eat at night.

    Tryptophan, as earlier stated, is an essential protein that plays a role in relaxation. Some bananas before meals can improve the quality of your sleep. Plus, they contain vitamins and are rich in antioxidants. They also contain compounds that are capable of making bowel movements easier.

    5. Cheese and Crackers

    Cheese and crackers, crackers being a source of carbohydrates and cheese a source of tryptophan, can help balance the body’s sugar level. When you take cheese and crackers together, more tryptophan is made available to your brain.[5] The sugar in cheese feeds your brain, and tryptophan helps with the production of melatonin.

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    This means that there would be more serotonin and melatonin production in your nervous system when you take cheese and crackers together. Serotonin improves the quality of a person’s sleep.

    6. Warm Cereals

    Cereals are great sources of fiber. Ones like oats also contain an impressive amount of melatonin, which improves sleep.

    Before bed, a hot bowl of cereal and maybe even whole grains are a good choice. They do not contain a lot of calories and would most likely not keep you awake.

    7. Yoghurt

    Yogurt tastes good, and kids and adults love them. They are also a rich source of calcium. Calcium is an essential mineral to the body. It is necessary for the growth of bone and teeth, and skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscles need it for muscular contractions to happen.

    Your body also needs calcium to produce melatonin from tryptophan. If calcium levels are low, there will be a reduced rate of production of melatonin—and thus, low quality sleep. Yogurt also contains casein. Casein is believed to reduce early morning hunger.

    Unsweetened yogurt is a great snack and one of the best foods to eat at night.

    8. Eggs

    Eggs are great sources of protein and don’t contain many calories. As a late-night snack, eggs are a great pick. They are easy to cook and can go along with many different kinds of snacks.

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    Eggs also contain tryptophan, which—as you must now already know—can improve the quality of one’s sleep.

    9. Protein-Pineapple Smoothie

    As you may have noticed, most of the snacks and foods on this list of best foods to eat at night are protein-rich foods. Protein-rich meals taken around bedtime can boost muscle repair. They can also combat age-related muscle mass loss especially in people who frequently exercise.

    As a late-night snack, you can blend some pineapple pieces into milk. Milk is a great source of the protein tryptophan from which the body produces melatonin. Pineapples do not contain a lot of calories and might not prove a threat to your body’s normal digestive functions. Pineapples can also boost your body’s serotonin levels.[6]

    10. Tart Cherries

    Juices made from tart cherries are great alongside other snacks, such as crackers and cheese. Tart cherries have anti-inflammatory effects. Even though in small quantities, tart cherries contain the sleep hormone melatonin. They also contain procyanidin B-2, which is believed to keep stable the essential amino acid tryptophan.[7]

    Tart Cherries have low calories, too. This means that they are not too heavy and do not pose the threat of fat deposition, and they would not keep you awake.

    11. Honey

    Honey harvested from bees is nutritious and does not contain a lot of calories. It is known to be capable of increasing the production of melatonin in one’s body.[8]

    It also contains healthy sugars, such as fructose and glucose, and can have a healthy effect on your body’s sugar level. Honey is one of the best food to eat late at night.

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    12. Popcorn

    When it isn’t swathed in sugar and milk and other fatty stuff, popcorn presents as a great late-night snack. Popcorn is a low-calorie snack and contains a rich amount of fiber.[9] High-fiber grains are believed to lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers.

    Also, popcorn contains polyphenols. Polyphenols are antioxidants believed to improve circulation and in general, health.

    13. Baked Sweet Potato Fries

    French fries are amazing. They taste so good. Do you like french fries? Then baked sweet potato fries are a great pick you might want to consider.

    As a late-night snack, you can very well bake sweet potatoes instead of frying them. They are easier to prepare when baked and do not contain so much fat. Sweet potatoes contain a good quantity of fiber and vitamins.[10]They also contain some great amounts of protein.

    Final Thoughts

    When next you have the craving for a late-night meal, you should know that not all meals are great when eaten at night. Some are about right, and others could contribute to excessive weight gain, heart diseases, digestive disorders, and other health issues.

    Have you ever woken up with swollen eye bags, felt nauseous, or had malaise after a late-night meal? Then it’s possible the meal was not a great pick.

    When choosing the best meals and snacks to eat at night, you should choose meals that contain low calories—not more than 200 calories—and have high protein content. Proteins like tryptophan enhance the quality of sleep. Some of these foods include eggs, turkey, cheese, bananas, yogurt, juices, etc.

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    Remember, eating healthy is a great way to remain healthy.

    More Healthy Snacks Options

    Featured photo credit: K15 Photos via unsplash.com

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