My Weight Loss Is Slow & I'm Discouraged

Losing weight can be a frustrating journey that is not always accomplished by the simple calories in, calories out method. The idea that burning more calories than we consume directly results in weight loss isn't always the case. While it works for some, there are other areas that must be considered if you are having a difficult time dropping pounds.

An overweight woman is walking on the beach. Credit: Lisa F. Young/iStock/Getty Images

Current Weight

Contestants on "The Biggest Loser," a popular reality weight-loss television show, are known to drop incredible amounts of weight per week. For the average person, losing 1 to 2 pounds per week is generally a safe guideline to follow. How much you can lose per week, however, is largely dependent on how much you currently weigh. A 300-pound person is going to have a much easier time losing weight than a 150-pound person simply because that person's lifestyle will allow for more drastic changes. Consider that a 300-pound person will hypothetically eat 3,000 calories per day and not exercise. The moment the individual cuts calories down to 2,500 and burns calories from working out, losing 2 pounds per week would seem simple. Perhaps the person weighing 150 pounds already only eats 2,000 calories per day and works out. That person's average weekly weight loss may only be a half pound per week.

Muscle Mass

A person with more muscle mass and less body fat will have an easier time losing weight than someone who has a higher body fat percentage. Muscle mass is closely related to metabolism. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even when your body is at rest. To lose the largest number of calories possible, focus on strength training to increase your muscle. This will ensure that when you do lose weight, you are losing it from your body fat rather than your muscles.

Age, Sex and Genetics

The older you get, your BMR becomes lower. As you age, staying active will be very important in maintaining a healthy metabolism. It may even mean working harder and longer than you have in the past. Gender plays a role in weight loss as well. Men have a naturally lower body fat than do women, making it a little easier to drop the pounds. According to Acefitness.org, men also tend to lose weight from their abdomen first, while women tend to see weight loss from that area last. Finally, genetics play a very real role in how easy or difficult it is to lose weight. Unfortunately, there's no way to rewire your body.

Attitude and Behavior

While weight loss doesn't come with a magic pill and it can certainly take a lot longer than expected, staying positive and focused will play a huge role in whether or not you succeed. Be honest with yourself and pat yourself on the back for how diligent and focused you have been. Tracking calories, working out most days of the week and maintaining a healthy diet will be the biggest factors in losing weight.

Recommendations

Every little bit counts, so begin to focus on small lifestyle changes that you can make. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a walk with friends instead of out to dinner, and leave a few bites on your plate instead of finishing every last morsel. Reward yourself with new workout clothes or a massage when you meet your goals. Finally, instead of focusing on the big picture, break your weight-loss goals into smaller increments. Try losing 5 pounds per month, and take monthly measurements to track your progress. If every ounce of effort isn't resulting in weight loss, see your doctor to rule out any possible problems that are inhibiting your results.

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