Why aren’t I losing weight?

Tape measure on a table

I am exercising so why am I not losing weight?

Tape measure on a tablePounding the streets, but those pounds aren’t shifting? Read on for a few ideas of changes which might help.

Maybe you are just eating too much of the ‘healthy stuff’?

Nuts and wholemeal bread are great, so is whole wheat pasta (and lots of other things) – but too much is still not going to help your weight management. And maybe you are eating things thinking that they are ‘good for you’ and really they are not?

    • cereal bars – these are nearly as full of sugar and fat as a Krispy Kream doughnut!
    • bran muffins – yes, the bran is fine – but all the other ingredients take a muffin up to an average 500 calories! Quite a lot for one cake – think of the post sugar rush drop too.
    • granola – check the labels – most contain loads of sugar and fats. Better to make it yourself!
    • yoghurt – beware of the low fat varieties or those with fruit in, as these can contain very high levels of sugar.
    • fruit juices – don’t be tempted by the commercial ones – loads of sugar and lacking the fibre that you need

glass of waterPerhaps you’re not drinking enough water?

Drinking water regularly throughout the day can help with weight loss and give the feeling of satiety which can help to stop you reaching for the biscuits.

Perhaps you’ve got ‘number worry’

Try not to use the number on the scales as your measure of success. Consider other factors – how are you feeling about your body, do your clothes fit well? The number on the scales can be deceptive and subject to much fluctuation – don’t let the scales rule your day.

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Are you generally active?

Try making sure that you move every hour – avoid sitting at your desk for long stretches at a time – get up and move. Sitting for long periods of time inhibits the production of a fat burning enzyme called lipase.

Do you skip breakfast?

People who skip breakfast often end up eating more calories in the day than those who kick start their day. Breakfast helps to avoid snacking and provides you with fuel to keep going. Just make sure its not a bowl of sugary cereal – go for the slow release carbs like porridge.

How are your stress levels?

You might be surprised to know that stress has a big influence on weight loss. Stress releases cortisol which encourages the storage of fat, especially around the waist area (know that area?!) Try reducing your stress with exercise, meditation and writing (I find it really helpful to keep a diary, jot down thoughts, ‘work it out on paper’.)

Are you getting enough sleep?

Before you all shout at me – I know it’s difficult and I know life is busy – but sleep seems to have become something for softies. Well, it’s not. Lack of sleep leads to increased levels of cortisol. High cortisol levels can lead to the development of insulin resistance, which in turn leads to a less efficient metabolism and resultant weight gain and an increased risk of diabetes. When you are tired, you snack to keep alert – usually those simple carbs again. Avoid that by aiming for at least seven hours sleep a night.

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Eat enough of the right foods and keep the alcohol intake down

Screen Shot 2016-08-14 at 10.04.31Make sure you eat enough of the right sort of calories. Avoid what I call ‘empty calories’ such as sweets, crisps, biscuits and, of course, alcohol. These don’t fuel your body and won’t help you to feel fit and exercise more. It is also important not to limit your food intake too severely. If you are not giving your body enough food it will decide that you are likely to starve to death and will then work hard to protect you.

You will stop losing weight and your body will ‘slow down’ to preserve energy for key functions. So exercise will become difficult and ineffective and you will lack energy and drive. Too little food will make you ill!

Marion Foreman

About Marion Foreman

I fall neatly into the ‘women who weren’t born yesterday’ category. I grew up in a turmoil of Guardian fuelled feminism. I went from ‘little woman’ to independent person in a decade. I began my nurse training in the early 70s in the midst of a male dominated university town. I convinced myself that my views must be wrong as the ultra clever men didn’t agree with me. It wasn’t until I did my degree with the OU that I realised that I had a voice – and a legitimate voice at that. Four children and three husbands later I have found my place in the world. A place that simply says that I am who I am, that I can choose my own path in life and choose those who walk with me. I have learnt that equality means making and taking opportunities, not feeling compelled to ‘do it all’.