Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

It can be extremely frustrating to feel like you are doing the right things, eating well, and not losing any weight. I used to practically kill myself at the gym 5 days per week and I wasn’t trimming down…I didn’t understand it. The problem was that I was still eating more calories than I was burning. The answer to “why can’t I lose weight?” is  slightly different for everyone, but there are a few factors that are much more common than others:

-Not knowing how many calories you need to eat/how many calories you burn during the day.  Each person burns a unique amount of calories throughout the day, and most have NO IDEA what their number is. I didn’t know until a few years ago My number is 1323 as I am writing this, meaning that I can eat about 1323 calories per day and maintain my weight. I talk more about weight loss in other articles, but knowing your BMR is a great place to start. Finding the BMR (not BMI, which it’s often confused with) formula basically changed my life because it gave me an approximate number of calories that I burn each day.  It’s not an exact science, but it’s the best tool that I’ve ever found to help me understand how much I need to eat in order maintain my weight (or lose some of it after a really good vacation!) Go to www.bmi-calculator.net/bmr-calculator to find your number!

-Not knowing how many calories are in the food that you are eating. You do your best to make choices based on what you think are smart food options, but if you’re not absolutely sure what’s in your food, you could be totally sabotaging your weight loss efforts.  The day that I found out how many calories were in a Caesar salad, I practically fell out of my chair. I thought I was being SO healthy and I was SO proud of myself for having a salad for lunch. I wanted to cry when I found out that a Caesar salad at Chili’s had over 1,000 calories and 70 + grams of fat.  Hmmm…I wonder why I wasn’t losing weight?!?? http://www.dietfacts.com/ is a good resource for looking up restaurant information, and there are lots of great resources for finding out what’s in your food, including apps.

-Overestimating the number of calories burned exercising. We all do this at some point. It’s also easy to justify eating way too much after a workout. “Oh, I can have two more slices of pizza, a side of fries and some nachos because I worked out today.” Sound familiar? I know I’ve done it! I usually check a site like http://calories-burned.findthebest.com/ to find out what I really burned during my workout.  OH YES, and don’t believe the calorie counters on exercise equipment.  Really, they are pretty useless.

-Dehydration. When you get too thirsty, your body can confuse the sensations of thirst and hunger. You might feel ‘hungry’ when you are actually ‘thirsty.’ Strange but true.  Try drinking some water when you start to feel hungry, wait about 10 or 15 minutes, and reevaluate whether you are truly hungry.

Also, if you do not drink enough water, sometimes your body tries to save it, creating ‘water weight’ (which can also be triggered by too much sodium or starchy carbohydrates.)

-Restricting calories TOO MUCH. Severe calorie restriction isn’t healthy.  It can actually confuse your body into storing unnecessary food and slowing your metabolism…neither of which will help you lose weight in the long run. Plus, severe restriction can also lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies, which keeps your body from operating at maximum efficiency. “Slow and steady” is the way to go when trying to lose weight or change your lifestyle.

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