7 Unexpected Reasons Why You're Not Losing Weight

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Frustrated you’re not shedding pounds like you expected? Maybe you’re realizing weight loss isn’t always a straightforward endeavor. Even with the town’s best trainer and a perfect nutrition program, various things can hold you back. On the bright side, you can overcome these setbacks! Here are seven things that are potentially keeping you from losing weight, plus ways to address them and give you a starting point for new growth.

1

Your Mindset

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Weight loss requires a certain mindset. What’s your attitude about the whole process? Are you in it to win it, or do you invent excuses for why you can’t work out? Do you let one little slip-up derail your whole plan? If you’re struggling with maintaining your priorities, ask yourself why. Getting control of your weight loss involves closely monitoring not just what you do and don’t do, but the why behind it. Start with the why of wanting to lose weight. Then, if your schedule changes, learn to adapt. If you have an injury, try something else. Turn your “I can’t” into a “How can I?”

Read more: 10 Ways Changing How You Think Promotes Weight Loss

2

Your Genetics

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While genetic factors aren’t really in your control, you can tailor your program to your individual physiology and body type. If you and your parents (and their parents) are heavyset and it seems like the smallest amount of junk food adds pounds to the scale, you may have to try a little harder than your bestie to lose weight. Limit empty calories, especially sugar, or try a lower-carb, higher-protein, high-vegetable diet. On the other hand, if you’ve thought of yourself as “skinny fat,” try increasing your protein consumption and focus your fitness on lifting weights and high-intensity interval training.

Listen now: How to Calm Down In Under 3 Minutes

3

You’re Too Consistent

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While exercising consistently is key to health and fitness, doing the same cardio or strength routine month after month and year after year will halt your progress. The solution is to periodize, or systematically progress, your fitness training. This will help you keep gaining strength, get faster or lose weight. In general, your routine shouldn’t differ much week to week for three to five weeks, and then it’s time to change it up. To take it to the next level, pick one or two parameters to tweak: increase the amount of weight you lift, learn new movements, decrease rest intervals, add more days of exercise or increase distance or intensity.

Read more: 11 Simple Ways to Add Variety to Your Strength-Training Routine

4

You Work Out Too Much

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If you’re a driven individual who doesn’t miss a day in the gym, listen up: It’s possible to work out too much! All exercise has some negative effects that are usually outweighed by the many positive effects, but without proper recovery, these negative effects pile up and get you into trouble. Intense, focused exercise is taxing on your hormonal and nervous systems, so pay attention to how your body and mind feel. If your performance and energy is declining, it’s time to lower your training volume or intensity until you feel strong again.

Read more: 3 Signs You’re Overexercising and 3 Ways to Avoid It

5

You Eat Too Little

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Probably the most common strategy to lose weight is to simply eat less. But eating too few calories only makes it harder to lose weight. Eating too little sabotages your metabolism, which slows to a crawl without enough food. Your body tries to conserve energy. Not to mention that then you get really hungry and can overeat on your next meal. In this low-calorie state it’s harder to be energetic because it doesn’t want to burn energy. That also hurts your workouts. Being fueled with calories and protein an hour or two before a workout will help you perform at a higher level.

Read more: Is Your Low-Cal Diet Wrecking Your Health?

6

Your Lifestyle

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Stress isn’t just mentally and physically taxing, it can also confound your weight-loss efforts. Chronic stress can lead to an unbalanced hormonal state that keeps your body from growing stronger and/or shedding weight. Stress also disrupts your sleep cycle, which limits recovery and dampens energy levels. If you regularly find yourself “too busy,” look for ways to work with your schedule. Long hours on the job? Exercise before work or on your lunch break. Live far from the gym? Start doing a couple of your workouts at home. Your health is non-negotiable: It needs to be a top priority.

Read more: 10 Weird Side Effects of Stress

7

Your Friends

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Your inner circle is affecting your health, whether you realize it or not. Think twice about going out with your crew to a “bottomless mimosa” brunch. All those extra calories add up and won’t help you lose weight. Besides that, alcohol is a poison that your organs have to work overtime to filter out, leaving you feeling drained the next day. Or if you and your friends like to spend late nights together, you’re likely cutting into your rest and recovery time. But your sleep is vital for getting stronger and losing weight. That doesn’t mean you need to kiss your friends goodbye, it just means that you’ll need to be more strategic about spending time with them.

Read more: 8 Surprising Ways Your Social Life Impacts Your Health

What Do YOU Think?

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Are you currently trying to lose weight? Have you tried and plateaued? What do you think is standing in your way? Have you ever successfully overcome any of these obstacles? What was your strategy? Are there other roadblocks to weight loss that you’d add? Share your stories, questions and suggestions in the comments below!

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Overview

Frustrated you’re not shedding pounds like you expected? Maybe you’re realizing weight loss isn’t always a straightforward endeavor. Even with the town’s best trainer and a perfect nutrition program, various things can hold you back. On the bright side, you can overcome these setbacks! Here are seven things that are potentially keeping you from losing weight, plus ways to address them and give you a starting point for new growth.

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