Despite your best efforts, are you confused about why you aren't losing weight?
Although I've referred to it as losing weight, the number on the scale is not important. What matters is what your tape measure says, and how your clothes fit.
Here are 18 reasons why you may not be achieving the results you had hoped for:
1. You are eating too much fruit
Although eating fruit as a snack is a much better option than reaching for a bag of crisps, the sugar in fruit (like all carbohydrates) gets broken down into glucose, and excess glucose in your body is stored as fat. Don't let this stop you from consuming fruit; simply opt for fruits high in antioxidants, like berries.
2. You are doing too much cardio (and not enough weight training)
Cardio is great for burning fat, but on its own it's not enough. Weight training (obviously) helps you to build muscle, and by building muscle your body has to burn calories, which in turn boosts your metabolism. The higher your metabolism, the more calories you are burning...even while you aren't active.
We are all guilty of this; in modern society sleep is often overlooked, but it is essential to energize your body. There have even been research journals claiming that the biggest spike in fat burning hormones occurs during deep sleep.
4. You are not eating enough fat
Yes, you read that correctly, and no, I haven't lost my mind. Fat is often seen as "the devil", but good fats are vital for your heart; fats found in foods such as fish, nuts, eggs and avocados. The consumption of healthy fats increases energy and prompts the body to burn stored fat for fuel.
5. Your alcohol consumption is high
We all have different preferences for our alcohol intake, but if yours is high then it could be sabotaging your weight loss. Your body can't store alcohol, so it metabolizes it immediately. This may sound great, but while your body is focusing on processing the alcohol, your metabolism won't be working as efficiently on other foods that you've eaten; like breaking down carbohydrates and fat. This means that those calories will be converted into fat, and stored in your body.
6. You are just relying on exercise
It is a common belief that if you exercise then it makes it acceptable for you to eat more. Sadly this isn't true. Many people "reward" themselves for going out for a run by eating an extra slice of cake for example. Exercising is great for burning calories and building muscle, but if you increase your calorific intake then you aren't going to see any improvement in your body. Working out will build your muscle, but unless you eat healthier, then you will never get to see that muscle.
You could do 1,000 crunches per day, but if you don't adopt a clean eating lifestyle, then those abs will stay hidden.
7. You aren't being consistent
We all have good intentions when starting a new workout and healthy eating regime, but many of us let it slip from time to time. Nobody is perfect; I am yet to meet anyone who has completely given up all treats, for example. But if you are repeatedly finding yourself "falling off the wagon" then this could be a big factor in to why you aren't losing weight.
Once you have been exercising regularly your body will actually adapt and accept the new routine, so you will find that you begin to crave exercise, and will be much less likely to skip workouts.
Your exercising and clean eating must be consistent for you to see results; giving up and starting over won't stop you from achieving your goals, but it will take a lot longer. If you find yourself craving something "bad" and you eat it, don't let that take you off your path. Get straight back on track, and you will thank yourself for not giving up.
8. You aren't eating enough
This may sound insane, but you will actually struggle to lose weight if you don't eat enough. Lowering your calorific intake by a moderate amount is necessary to lose weight, but lowering it drastically can actually cause you to gain weight. If you don't eat enough then your body effectively goes into starvation mode, and begins to hold on to the fat that remains in your body for fear of needing it to survive.
9. Your diet isn't clean
It's fairly simple to eat less food. However, if you are cutting your food intake but still eating junk then you will struggle to lose weight. It's important to ensure that your diet is clean; so no processed foods. A clean eating plan is the best way to lose weight, but this must be a permanent lifestyle change. Adopting a clean eating diet for just a few months will see you lose weight, but if you decide to resort back to eating processed foods, etc, then you will soon regain that weight.
For more information on clean eating, check out my post about the basics of clean eating.
10. You are a fan of "diet" foods
These foods fool many people, simply because they have the word "diet" in their name. The majority of diet foods contain MSG (monosodium glutamate), which is a chemical that causes insulin levels to rise, resulting in your body storing fat. This could mean that consuming diet foods may actually cause you to gain weight.
Diet foods may often be low in calories, but they are usually high in artificial sugars and "bad" fats.
11. You've kept your "fat clothes"
If you have already managed to drop a dress size, then one of the worst things you can do is to keep your "fat clothes". By holding on to them, you are effectively allowing yourself to gain that weight back, because deep down you know that those clothes will always be there.
Get rid of them; donate them to charity, and once they are out of your life you will feel more inclined to keep the weight off because you won't have those clothes to easily fall back in to.
12. You eat without thinking
These days it's so easy to find yourself eating your meals while watching TV, or checking your phone, but this could actually be harming your weight loss goals. When your mind is occupied on something else, you often don't even realize what you are eating. We've all done this at the cinema for example; you're watching a film, and before you know it you've scoffed the whole box of popcorn.
Eat your meals at the table away from any technology that could distract you. Focus on what you are eating, and enjoy it. This way you will feel much more satisfied, simply because you are actually aware that you are eating.
13. You don't allow yourself a cheat day
Whether you have a cheat day, or allow yourself one small daily treat, this is a vital part of weight loss. You may think it's crazy to allow yourself to eat "bad" foods while trying to lose weight, but if you don't do this, then you will find that one day you crave everything so badly that you basically scoff far more than you would've felt comfortable with. Allowing yourself small regular treats is a great way to stay focused without depriving yourself.
14. People around you aren't on the same healthy path
It can be difficult to follow a clean eating diet if those around you aren't doing the same. Nobody is expecting you to force your family to change their eating habits (although if they're particularly bad habits, a little nudge in the right direction wouldn't hurt). Just letting them know that you will need support on this journey can really make a difference.
It's really hard to focus on eating healthily if everyone else in your house is gorging on treats, but it is possible. Just stay focused and remember why you are on this path, and ask for support.
15. You don't drink enough water
Water is the best thing to drink for hydration and (you guessed it) weight loss. Water does actually fill you up, so even just having a glass before a meal could help you to not eat too much. The recommended daily intake of fluid is 1.6 litres for women, and 2 litres for men. Cold water has even been found to speed up the metabolism...do you really need any more reasons to drink it!?
16. You are a fan of fad diets
Fad diets are terrible for weight loss. Although you may lose weight initially (which is often just water retention leaving the body), it will all pile back on when the diet finishes. See my recent article on why you should ditch the fad diets. The best diet, as mentioned before, is to adopt a clean and healthy eating lifestyle.
17. You are too stressed
Everybody gets stressed, but if you are particularly stressed then it can actually interfere with your weight loss. Stress triggers the production of cortisol (the stress hormone) in your body, and if too much of this is released then it can actually interfere with testosterone, which is the hormone responsible for building and maintaining muscle. A decrease in muscle mass leads to a reduced metabolism, which burns calories at a slower rate.
18. You are expecting too much too soon
Weight loss takes time; despite the unrealistic claims from many fad diets and some exercise equipment companies, there is not a quick fix. You need to exercise regularly and eat healthy, and you will see improvements. This may not happen for a few weeks, or even months, but it will happen.
Don't expect miracles; don't be upset if you measure yourself after one week and don't see a difference because it takes time. Don't get disheartened because, once you start to see results it will be one of the best feelings ever. Keep going, and remember that you get out of this what you put in.