Why Am I Not Losing Weight? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself
You’ve been so careful with your food, you’ve eaten nothing naughty for weeks but you’re still not losing weight! It’s frustrating enough to make you want to just give up!
But don’t despair, you might just need to fine tune your approach a little. Consider these pointers and see if you can finally nail down where you might be going wrong. Let’s start with the basics:
1. Are your portion sizes correct?
Over the years, our portion sizes have increased steadily in size so that we no longer really know what a normal, healthy portion size should be. If your portion sizes are too large, you are eating more food than your body needs for energy. Unless you are taking in less calories than your body can use in a day, you won’t lose weight.
Further reading: Portion Sizes: Building a Healthy Plate of Food
2. Are you eating enough?
At the other end of the spectrum, restricting your calorie intake too heavily tells your body that you are starving. This means that your body starts to conserve energy and stops you from burning fat. Yes, eventually you will lose weight (if you don’t give up and start binge eating because you are so hungry and miserable), but you will also feel tired, listless and moody, with lank hair and dull skin. This is not the pathway to healthy eating! You need to eat three, correctly portioned, well balanced meals and two healthy snacks a day. If you eat the right foods, in the correct portions, you will start to lose weight and feel much healthier for it.
3. Are you on a diet?
Nothing kills healthy weight loss and sustainable life style changes like a diet! But did you know that people on a ‘diet’ often eat far more sugar than they would when they are not dieting? Low fat diet foods, for example non-fat yoghurt, branded diet cereal bars and low-fat bread, usually replace satiating fats (the tasty part of foods that makes you feel satisfied and full) with sugar. Eating refined sugar makes you crave more refined sugar. Sugar also causes your blood sugar levels to peak and then crash, which causes further food cravings. Sugar isn’t just present in the obvious foods like cakes and sweets, it is present in a whole host of processed foods including ready meals (including weight-loss meals), pasta sauces, crisps, dips, cereals and yoghurts. If you want to lose weight, you need to cut out sugar, and this includes the hidden sugars found in processed foods.
Further reading: Sugar Science: Should I go on a Sugar Free Diet?
4. Are you eating the right food?
We’ve already discussed sugar containing foods, but processed foods can also contain high amounts of refined carbohydrates and saturated fats. Refined carbohydrates are not nutrient dense, in other words they provide plenty of calories but not much in the way of nutritional value. It is easy to overeat refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta, cakes and biscuits. Refined calories are quickly broken down into free sugars in the body which if not used, are stored in the body as fat, hampering your weight loss. Refined carbohydrates can also cause the same peaks and troughs in blood sugar levels as refined sugar, encouraging you to binge eat more refined carbohydrates.
In order to lose weight sustainably, you need to be eating plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, seeds, eggs, fish and meat, with portion controlled amounts of complex carbohydrates such as whole grains, pulses, legumes, whole wheat pasta, whole grain bread and brown rice.
5. Are you eating too much of the right food?
We’ve already discussed portion sizes, but there are some other high calorie foods should be eaten in moderation if you are trying to lose weight. These include nuts, nut butters, olive oils, butter, coconut oil, fatty cuts of meat and natural sugars such as dates, maple syrup and honey.
6. Are you always hungry?
If you are eating the right foods, in good amounts but are still always ravenous, then your hormones may be out of balance. Leptin resistance makes you feel hungry even when you’re not. It is important to eat three meals and two snacks a day, at regular intervals until your hormone levels out. In the beginning, this may mean eating when you’re not hungry, and not eating when you are hungry.
There are many possible reasons why you are not losing weight. The best way to lose weight is to eat controlled portion sizes of fresh, unprocessed foods. You should cut refined sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet as much as possible. You also need to eat three well balanced meals and two healthy snacks a day.
As a member of The Green Apple Club you can follow the 28 DAYS Clean Eating Challenge for Weight Loss. When you become a member you will also receive an exclusive 16 page E-book, ‘Getting Started on Your Clean-Eating Journey’ which contains helpful, practical information on how to get started, as well as 80 healthy snack and meal ideas.