The Top 5 Surprising Reasons You're Not Losing Weight

Updated: Oct 28

You've decided that this is your year! Now is the time and there's no turning back! You're going to lose weight, look great, and feel amazing.

You start off armed with an exercise plan and the diet of your choice. Everything seems to be going well until you step on the scale.

Not even one pound lighter.

Even though all you've been eating are rice cakes and celery sticks. For weeks.

What gives?

You want to throw your hands up in frustration and eat a pint of ice cream. Maybe you already did? (No judgement here).

If you're having a hard time losing weight, then look no further.

Here are the top 5 surprising reasons why you just can't seem to shed an ounce...

1. Not Enough Physical Activity

WHAT!?! I can hear you say! I'm practically at the gym every day and most nights. How could you possibly suggest that I'm not working out enough.

Well just hear me out, ok? If you've had a visit with the doctor for weight loss, chances are they'll give the American Heart Association guidelines for aerobic exercise. Namely 30 minutes of moderate activity 5 days a week for a total of 150 minutes of physical activity a week [1].

Research shows that this is just not enough aerobic exercise to lose weight or even maintain weight that has been loss previously without the addition of caloric restriction [2].

This means that if you are following the minimal physical aerobic activity guidelines from the AHA and not restricting calories, you aren't going to lose weight. Not all is loss though, well not any is loss actually (forgive the pun).

If you've been exercising for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week, then you've gained some really good cardiovascular benefits like less chance of heart attack, stroke, and Type 2 Diabetes.

But to actually start seeing those numbers on the scale decrease, you have to increase the amount of physical activity you're doing.

Research suggests that 300 minutes a week of moderately intense exercise a week is a better goal if you want to lose weight [3].

2. Exercising at the wrong time of the day

Yes, I know that exercise is exercise but research shows that your body responds to exercise better when done in the morning versus the evenings.

A clinical study of overweight individuals found that exercise in the morning showed greater benefits than the same amount of exercise done in the evenings with the intensity of exercise the same between both groups.

Some of the benefits included: less calorie intake, more body weight loss, lowered BMI (body mass index), and smaller abdominal circumference [4].

It seems that exercising in the mornings, rather than the evenings, preps the body for the start of a good day and boosts metabolism which allows for better energy utilization and less need for more calories. Less calories eaten while burning calories means more weight loss.