POPSUGAR Fitness

25 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight

Sep 30 2014 - 6:35pm

Even if you follow a fitness routine and you often choose healthier foods, you may not be seeing the weight come off the way you hope. While there are plenty of other healthy accomplishments to celebrate [1] on this journey, it can be frustrating to not see results when you step on the scale. Sound familiar? Chances are, one of these reasons is all that's standing in the way of your weight-loss goals.

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You Don't Drink Water

Besides keeping you hydrated, drinking water on the regular, according to recent studies, can aid with weight loss. Filling up on water before a meal helps encourage portion control, and eating foods that contain a lot of water (like fruits and veggies) will fill you up faster, causing you to eat less. A small study even found that drinking cool water can speed up metabolism [3] and discourage cravings for sugary drinks like soda and juice. Now that's a reason to stay hydrated!

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You Think Walking Your Dog Is Enough

A 15-minute stroll is better than nothing, but don't expect to see dramatic weight-loss results. You've got to kick it up a notch — big time — and do at least 30 minutes a day of heart-pumping exercise. Big calorie and fat burners include running, spin class, interval training, hiking, and circuit training.

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You Overeat Healthy Foods

Nuts, avocados, whole wheat pasta, olive oil, and dark chocolate are all natural and healthy, but they aren't void of calories. You still need to watch how much you eat of the good stuff. For example, avocado offers a ton of health benefits, but an entire fruit is over 200 calories. Find out what the serving sizes of your other favorite healthy foods are here [6].

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You Only Do Cardio

If you live on the treadmill but never lift a pound, then you're missing out on one of the most important pieces of the fitness puzzle. Not only does weight training prevent injury by strengthening the joints, but it also builds muscle mass and increases metabolic rate [8]. Bonus: thanks to a revved-up metabolism, you'll keep burning calories long after you've slipped off your sneakers.

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You Exercise With an Empty Stomach

If you regularly exercise without eating first, you should reconsider: when you work out on an empty stomach, research shows that the calories burned come from muscle [10], not fat. Since muscle burns more calories than fat, the more muscle mass you have, the better it is for weight loss. Not only will fueling your body help you avoid losing muscle, but also, you'll have more energy to push yourself through your workout.

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Your Partner Isn't on the Same Healthy Road

A partner who's on a similar path can be a huge help to your weight-loss goals, but if your partner is not on board, then your relationship may be making you fat. [12] You can't expect to lose weight if your husband constantly suggests ordering takeout, wants to go out for ice cream, or encourages you to sleep in instead of hitting the gym! Communicating that you need his support in losing weight is a great first step in finding compromises — for both of you. For starters, the next time you have dinner out, offer to split an appetizer or skip dessert.

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You Leave Out Entire Food Groups

Giving up entire food groups can lead to a nutritional deficiency — not to mention trigger major cravings for whatever food has been cut. Rather than, say, eliminating all carbohydrates, focus on whole grains and remember to monitor portion control. Usually it's the extra servings that add to your waistline, not the pasta itself.

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You Don't Sleep Enough

Making time for your workouts can mean less time for sleep, but it's important to get enough z's if you're trying to lose weight. You need extra energy to keep up with your exercise routine, and skimping on sleep can affect your body's ability to control its appetite: not enough shut-eye increases appetite-stimulating hormones [15].

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You Don't Get Enough Veggies

Eating five to seven servings of fruits and veggies a day is important for everyone, but dieters who go heavy on the produce are more likely to lose and keep the weight off, since a diet full of plant-based foods offers a greater variety of nutrients with fewer calories — and all that fiber keeps the body feeling fuller longer.

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You Eat While Standing Up

Standing at the fridge or the counter to chow down isn't saving time or energy and can lead to mindless eating. It's best to designate time for snacking and meals that's set apart from other activities.

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You Wear Clothes That Are Too Big

Loose clothes are comfy, but they cover up the body and allow you to forget what you look like, which can work against your fitness motivation. Instead, opt for clothes that have a more fitted silhouette to help give you a sense of your body image. Or better yet, start the day in your gym outfit to inspire you to do something active.

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You're on a Diet. Well, Sort Of . . .

Whether you're on Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers [20], or your own diet-and-exercise plan, you can't do it halfheartedly and expect to see results. Stay committed to your plan, or you'll see the pounds stay on your tush instead of dropping from the scale.

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You're Addicted to Condiments and Toppings

A salad is one of the healthiest meals you can have, but when you top it with bacon bits, goat cheese, nuts, dried fruits, and ranch dressing, you can double the calorie amount in a flash. Be aware of how many calories your favorite salad extras [22] add on. For instance, 10 croutons is an easy 100 calories.

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You Don't Eat Breakfast

Skipping breakfast may seem like a great way to save calories, but your body will actually hold on to fat because it thinks it's being starved. Keep in mind that people who eat breakfast regularly lose more weight [24], so make sure to eat breakfast each morning to jump-start your metabolism. Don't just grab anything: include protein to give yourself sustainable energy and fiber to fill you up for hours.

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You Don't Practice Portion Control

When it comes to a balanced diet, we know that portion control is one of the keys to success. Keep measuring cups and spoons on hand to make sure your serving sizes are appropriate, and learn how to give your body the "I'm full" signal [26] in order to help you drop the fork when the time is right and move on with your day.

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You Eat Without Thinking

Aligning mealtime with a screen like your computer or the TV can hurt your weight-loss goals. Designating a special time for meals without distractions will help you connect to your food and, as a result, eat less. Sometimes you don't even realize how much you're scarfing when your mind is somewhere else.

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You Don't Cut Your Food

Something as simple as slicing up your dinner can be helpful for your overeating woes. Cutting food into tiny pieces may seem slightly childish, but studies show that humans find smaller portions more satisfying [29] and, as a result, are satisfied with less.

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You Still Drink Soda

Soda offers literally no nutritional benefits, and continuing to drink the beverage is sabotaging your weight-loss goals — even if you only drink diet. Studies have shown that individuals who drink two diet sodas a day or more had waistlines that were 500 percent larger than the nondrinkers [31]. Since quitting soda is no joke, check out this 28-day plan for breaking a cola habit [32].

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You Don't Eat Enough

Don't starve yourself to save calories for later. It'll not only mess up your metabolism, and by dinnertime, that famished feeling will likely cause you to eat more than you would if you weren't starving. Not only is starving yourself not sustainable for continued weight loss, but also, limiting yourself to too-small portions can lead to excess snacking between mealtimes.

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You Don't Leave Time For Fun

Since stress is shown to cause weight gain [35] by triggering the body to eat more — especially foods high in sugar and fat — make sure you give yourself time to relax and unwind. And it's an added bonus that so many fun activities (like dancing, hiking, and shopping) are already natural calorie-burners!

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You Overindulge in Low-Fat Foods

Going for foods with a lower calorie count can be deceiving, since many times they're filled with extra sodium, sugar, or chemical additives to make up for the ingredients the company has removed or decreased. Not only are these light versions less nutritious, but they also end up tasting "lighter," leading you to eat more. You'll probably end up consuming more calories than you would if you just ate a regular-sized portion of the real thing.

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You Don't Keep a Food Journal

Writing down what you eat is an essential way to monitor daily caloric intake. Don't think it's worth the effort? A study from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics surveyed 123 women and found that those who were the most successful at losing weight monitored their food intake by keeping a journal [38].

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You're Always Dining Out

Hitting your favorite restaurant is a great way to unwind, but you're more likely to indulge in a huge meal complete with appetizers, drinks, fried foods, and dessert. Calorie counts are also a mystery, since many foods aren't labeled. If you don't want to give up your nights out, then split a meal with a friend, order healthy options like salads and grilled chicken, and sip water instead of wine. Check out more tips for eating healthy at a restaurant here [40].

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You Never Indulge

In an otherwise healthy diet, eating a few french fries or a piece of chocolate cake isn't going to ruin your weight-loss goals. A study found that it isn't necessary to up workout intensity the day after a piece of cake and that a daily variance of as much as 600 calories [42] won't reflect on your waistline, as long as you maintain a healthy diet in the long run.

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You Eat the Wrong Post-Workout Snacks

A post-workout snack is just that — a snack. And unless it's mealtime, what you eat after an average workout should be around 150 calories. Since healthy foods like trail mix can be high in calories, measure out a serving instead of mindlessly chomping straight out of the bag. If you're looking for some ideas, here are 10 post-workout snacks under 150 calories [44].

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Additional reporting by Jenny Sugar, Michele Foley, and Leta Shy


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