You’ve been watching what you eat and making sure to stay away from processed foods. You’ve been putting in lots of hours at the gym doing cardio and lifting weights. You’re working so conscientiously to lose weight, but when you step on the scale...the numbers are disappointing, to say the least.
Don’t get discouraged — there are many reasons why you’re not losing weight, despite your hard work. Here are four of them and what you can do about each one so you can start seeing the results you deserve.
Lack of Sleep
Sleep isn’t just good for your well-being, it’s a necessity if you’re trying to lose weight. There are many reasons why: first, you’re more likely to skip a workout if you’re too tired and lack energy. You’re also more likely to rely on a large, sugary coffee or energy drink to help you get moving. You may skip cooking a healthy meal and instead opt for something quick, and we all know fast food hinders weight loss efforts. If this sounds familiar to you, consider restructuring your schedule to allow for more hours to sleep.
Not Enough Water
You must drink enough water to stay hydrated during those workouts, but it’s important to keep a bottle close by you throughout the rest of the day, too. Studies have shown that drinking water increases the amount of calories you burn when at rest, something known as resting energy expenditure. Drinking water is often linked to reduced calorie intake, as it is calorie-free and it is substituted for other beverages, which all contain calories. This reduces your risk of weight gain in the long-term and obesity. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the daily recommended water intake is 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women.
Health Conditions and Medicine
Certain medical conditions — hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome and sleep apnea — can cause weight gain, and make it difficult to lose weight. Additionally, weight gain or difficulty losing weight can be a side effect of certain medications. It’s best to consult with your doctor to discuss your condition or medications, so they can help you find a solution.
When you’re feeling tense, upset or under pressure, you’re more prone to reach for comfort food or skip working out. Stress eating is a way to suppress or soothe negative emotions, according to the Mayo Clinic. It also serves as a distraction, focusing on food rather than a tough situation. This creates an unhealthy cycle of turning to food whenever you’re in distress, no matter how small or large the issue. Instead, turning to exercise when you’re feeling down has so many more benefits. It can make you feel better to run or engage in physical activity when you’re upset, and releases endorphins that can ease your bad feelings. You will feel stronger and look better, which can improve your confidence and overall mood levels.
It’s important to talk to your doctor to help determine the reason why you’re not losing weight. Your doctor will discuss your lifestyle habits with you and possibly run some tests. You may find out a medically managed weight loss program can help you achieve your weight loss goals. To learn more about what this type of program entails, check out our guide, A New Way to a New You: Lose Weight the Right Way.