Why you’re not losing weight—11 common exercise and diet mistakes, according to experts

I wonder why you’re not Lose weight when you’ve been exercising more than ever and have checked your diet? This could be due to part of the common diet and exercise mistakes people make when trying to lose pounds.

It’s important to keep in mind that a weight loss plan is different for each individual, so what works for some may not work for you, Roxana Ehsani, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) and Academy National Media Spokesperson of Nutrition and Dietetics. , saying news week.

“Each person has a unique lifestyle, with different abilities, needs and goals. Therefore, exercise programs must be designed specifically for each individual,” said Roger Franco, assistant fitness manager at Crunch Fitness Fort Greene in the New York City. news week.

Here, experts explain some of the common mistakes in exercise and diet for weight loss.

Why do I exercise but not lose weight?

Eating too much after exercise.

Dr. Keri Denay, a member of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and a physician for the US Figure Skating team, said news week that one of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight is assuming they can eat more because they exercise more.

“If a person’s goal is to lose weight by incorporating more physical activity, the individual’s caloric intake should remain the same as before they started increasing or decreasing the amount of exercise,” he said.

Skipping resistance training

Macklin Guzmán, scientific director of the Medi-Weightloss program, who is also an epidemiologist and clinical scientist, said news week than doing hours of cardio but skipping endurance training It is one of the most common mistakes made.

A woman looking at the dashboard of a treadmill. Exercise and diet go hand in hand when it comes to losing weight.
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Strength training can help you preserve lean muscle mass that has a higher energy expenditure than fat, helping you not only lose weight but also keep it off. While cardio burns more calories than strength training, your metabolism stays revved up longer after lifting weights than after cardio.

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“Getting it right means doing a combination of (high-intensity) cardio and resistance training to get the cardiac benefits of cardio and the positive metabolic effects of strength training. A combination of the two is the ideal exercise program to improve health and fitness.” body composition.” he said.

Why am I losing inches but not weight?

When this scenario occurs, you’ll likely be losing body water (initially) and body fat (eventually) while building muscle,” Denay explained.

“These changes may result in some degree of change in body shape,” such as a smaller waist, even if your weight on a scale hasn’t generally changed that much, he said.

Ehsani agreed. If you are having difficulty losing weight despite adjustments in diet and exercise, “it could be that your body weight may not have changed, but your body composition has changed in a more positive direction, such as less body fat, but more lean muscle mass,” she said.

Get a DEXA (dual-energy X-ray) scan to check your total weight, percentage of body fat, percentage of lean muscle mass, and bone health, the RDN advised.

A person with a measuring tape around his waist.
A person wearing oversized jeans and holding a tape measure around their waist. Losing inches on his body doesn’t necessarily mean he’s also losing weight.
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Why am I not losing weight in a calorie deficit?

extreme diet

Sports nutritionist and registered dietitian (RD) Nancy Clark said news week in many cases, people “diet too hard,” causing them to be hungry and overeat, which is “a physiological response to being too hungry.”

They are “expected” to have a nice dinner, but “that goes against circadian rhythms, as well as setting the stage for being overly hungry and overeating,” he said.

When we drastically cut calories, our bodies adapt to food shortages by conserving energy. This means that our metabolism slows down and movement is reduced, while our appetite increases.

Instead of cutting your calorie intake, you’ll want to “load your calories up front,” Clark said, noting that “as one customer put [to me] ‘When I ate dinner for breakfast and breakfast for dinner, I lost weight so easily…it seemed like my fat just melted away.'”

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While reducing calorie intake is the most common weight loss strategy, to change body composition and reduce body weight, it is necessary to analyze the nutritional value of each food, according to Franco.

“For example, foods can have the same caloric value but very different nutritional values,” he said.

Foods with good nutritional value (such as vegetables and lean meat) and a low glycemic index can help “increase lean muscle mass, improve overall strength, and increase
caloric expenditure through exercise,” Franco explained.

portion control

Research has shown that when offered larger portions, “people tend to eat more food than normal,” Guzman said. Therefore, portion size plays an important role in weight loss.

There are several strategies that can help control portions, from using smaller plates for meals at home, “because smaller plates hold less food and you’ll be less likely to over-portion on a larger plate,” to ordering a smaller portion at a restaurant and asking them to pack up the rest for you to take home, he explained.

Not tracking your calories accurately or at all

Keeping a food diary is another key tool overlooked by dieters, Guzman noted, which can track calorie intake, types of food eaten and portion sizes. Journaling allows people to “become more aware of dietary patterns that may have led to weight gain in the first place,” she said.

There are many apps that allow you to scan your food and provide nutritional values ​​such as calories and macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fat). Weigh your food on first entry to ensure data is accurate. You may find that you are consuming more than the recommended serving and therefore are no longer in a calorie deficit.

Other Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

Avoid fruits and vegetables

Guzman said the number of calories you eat is just as important as the type of calories you eat, since there are a lot of hidden calories in certain types of food, for example, “two hundred calories from spinach is not necessarily the same as two hundred calories from cookies,” he explained.

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Fruits and vegetables are often what most Americans lack in their diet. “Fruits and vegetables are our lowest-calorie foods, so if your goal is to lose a few pounds, adding more fruits and vegetables to your meals and snacks can help you get there,” Ehsani said.

Fruits and vegetables are also packed with vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, antioxidants, and nutrients that we need to promote overall health.

Not eating enough carbohydrates

Carbohydrates tend to be among the first foods people cut out when trying to lose weight. But if you exercise actively and eat fewer carbohydrates, you’ll notice a drop in energy and performance. “That’s because carbohydrates are the preferred source of fuel that the brain and muscles need every day to function,” Ehsani said.

“Being properly fueled with enough carbohydrates will give you the energy to train longer and harder and ultimately lose weight,” he explained.

Slices of wholemeal bread.
Slices of wholemeal bread. Carbohydrates are an essential source of fuel for the brain and muscles.
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protein overload

Many times people consume a lot of protein instead of carbohydrates in an effort to gain muscle. But eating too much won’t help you lose weight, as it will be stored as fat. Protein overload will also put a strain on the kidneys and can cause constipation, Ehsani said.

Do not cut down on processed foods

The rise in obesity in the United States “correlates well” with increased intake of ultra-processed foods, Clark said. So you need to “worry less about sugar/carbs and more about processing” and find time to prepare proper meals.

A woman eating a plate of salad.
A woman eating a salad at a table with fruits and vegetables. Eating more fruits and vegetables is a key part of losing weight.
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inadequate sleep

Ehsani explained that research has found that those who don’t sleep well are more likely to make less healthy food choices than when they are well-rested.

“Sleep deprivation can disrupt our stress hormones, hunger and appetite,” said the RDN. During the day, you’re more likely to eat more in general to help stay awake, potentially snacking more often and reaching for more sugary or caffeinated beverages.

not managing stress

Your stress levels could be sabotaging your weight loss goals. “When our stress hormone cortisol is constantly activated and high, it can also cause you to gain weight,” Ehsani said. Stress reduction techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help calm these stress hormones.

A stressed man sitting at a desk.
A man sitting at a desk, looking stressed with a hand to his face. Stress levels can sabotage your weight loss goals.
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