You bought running shoes. Downloaded the fitness app. You tracked the calories and drank the water and brewed the slimming tea.
And yet? You can’t lose weight.
You’re fed up. Frustrated. And you’re tired of asking yourself:
Why can’t I lose weight?
It feels like a neverending uphill slog. You’ve been working so hard. So, why aren’t you seeing the results you want?
That doesn’t seem fair, does it?
But you may be missing some important pieces of the puzzle. If you feel like you can’t lose weight no matter what you try, you may be struggling against a weight loss plateau.
Well, here’s what all those fancy fad diets and fitness apps don’t have the nerve to tell you:
Why it is so hard to lose weight and how to overcome your personal weight loss plateau.
Why Can’t I Lose Weight?
Anyone who has ever embarked on a personal fitness journey knows what a challenge it can be.
It’s a challenge to start. And it’s a challenge to continue, especially when you feel like you’re not getting the results you want.
“Why can’t I lose weight?” you ask yourself. “I’ve been working so hard.”
But tidying up your diet and committing to a regular exercise routine isn’t always enough.
Because our bodies have evolved to hold onto fat.
Why is it so difficult to lose weight?
It’s so difficult to lose weight because the human body was literally designed against it.
Now, before you cry sabotage, let’s take a beat to dig into this because it’s complicated.
Fat loss is something we struggle with because our bodies were evolutionarily designed to store fat.
Think about it: when we were hunter-gatherers, we didn’t always know when or where we’d get our next meal. The scarcity of food drove our bodies to compensate by building fat stores during feast times as a way of safeguarding us from famine.
The problem isn’t with our bodies. Our bodies are simply doing as they are genetically programmed.
The problem is in our modern food consumption habits.
These foods are designed to be cheap, easy to access, tasty, and most of all: terrible for our bodies.
We consume more calories than our bodies need, and as a result, our bodies do as they were designed. They dutifully build fat stores in preparation for a famine.
But it’s a famine that never comes.
What medical conditions can stop you from losing weight?
In addition to struggling against the natural tendency toward building fat stores, you may also have a few other variables stacked against you.
For example, in most cases, it’s a greater challenge for females to lose weight than males.
Why? Because to prepare for potential pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding, female bodies have more fat stores.
Women carry on average between 6% to 11% more body fat than men. Which can make losing weight a big challenge.
But there are also a number of medical conditions that make it difficult to lose weight:
- Anxiety and depression
- Cushing’s syndrome
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Low testosterone
Should you struggle with any of these conditions, you may be in for a steeper challenge than most folks trying to shed fat.
But here’s the thing:
No matter the genetic, biological or medical challenges you face, there are things you can do to conquer and succeed.
What Is A Weight Loss Plateau?
Nothing tastes as good as health and longevity.
—Eric Edmeades, Author of Mindvalley’s WilfFit Quest
If you’re wondering “why can’t I lose weight?” — the answer may be a weight loss plateau.
So, what is a weight loss plateau?
A weight loss plateau is what keeps most people from achieving their personal fitness or weight loss goals.
It’s the slowing or halting of weight loss despite pursuing a healthy diet and regular exercise.
You cleaned up your diet and joined the gym, and you were dropping pounds like it was nobodies business.
But a few months later, you’re eating right and working just as hard, and yet — your weight loss has completely stalled. No matter what you try, that scale won’t budge.
So, what gives?
This is a weight loss plateau. It occurs when your metabolism decreases as a result of the muscle loss that comes with slimming down.
Set point theory may also play a role. This theory suggests that the body has a natural set point weight range it prefers to operate in.
Weight loss plateaus can be frustrating as heck. But don’t be discouraged.
Recognizing you’ve hit a plateau is half the battle.
Will a weight loss plateau go away on its own?
If you’re stuck on a weight loss plateau, don’t hold your breath in the hopes it will pass.
Weight loss plateaus don’t spontaneously resolve on their own.
You need to be willing to take action.
The question is: what actions are most effective at combating a weight loss plateau and getting your health goals back on track?
How Do I Get Past A Weight Loss Plateau?
If you’re looking to kick that weight loss plateau to the curb, here are a few effective strategies you can try:
1. Try intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting can be a powerful tool in revamping your health and burning excess fat. It involves fasting for a predetermined amount of your day.
There are a few different ways that intermittent fasting can be done:
- The 16/8 protocol: in a 24-hour period, you fast for 16 hours and eat for 8.
- The 5:2 protocol: eating normally five days out of the week, and restricting caloric intake for two days out of the week.
- The eat-stop-eat protocol: Fasting for a full 24-hours once or twice a week.
But before you try any of these methods, make sure you speak to your doctor, as intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone.
2. Build muscle with strength training
One of the most surefire ways to amp up your metabolism is by increasing your muscle mass.
Increased muscle mass has been shown to fire up the resting metabolism, which means you burn more calories post-workout.
So throw some strength training into your usual exercise regime for a long-term metabolism boost.
3. Reassess your food habits
If you’re not seeing the weight loss results you want, you may need to reassess your diet.
As Eric Edmeades explains, “Once you begin to understand why you make your food decisions the way you do, you begin to take a step toward food freedom.”
So many of us tighten up our food habits, experience weight loss, and convince ourselves to loosen the reins because — hey, we deserve it!
A little late-night snack here. An extra cookie there.
It creeps in through the cracks in our self-discipline and sooner or later, you’re back at square one.
If you’re ready to knock down your weight loss plateau, it may be time to reassess your food habits.
And we’re not talking about counting calories or cutting carbs. Eric Edmeades suggests choosing wholesome, healthy foods that give your body the nutrients it needs.
“Recognize that as a member of homo sapiens, there are some specific nutrients that you need,” explains Eric Edmeades. “The first thing you need to think about is what are the foods that my body evolved requirements for and how can I get enough of them?”
So, ask yourself what your body needs. Really needs. And consider making some dietary changes to accommodate the nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats your body craves and deserves.
Have you ever asked yourself, “why can’t I lose weight?” Or encountered weight loss plateau? Share your experiences below!