8 Surprising Reasons You Are Not Losing Weight and how to fix it. Get off your fad-diet, learn what is healthy, and break through your weight loss plateau.
Not losing weight? Tried EVERYTHING?
We go to the gym, eat healthy, try hard and still see no results. Maybe you have tried diets like the keto diet, paleo, low carb, portion control, or counting calories?
You might think that eating less will work, and it does to a certain point, but actually eating THE RIGHT food is key. Because protein, fiber, fruits, and veggies boost your metabolism and help you stay full longer so you can eat a balanced diet without counting calories and still lose weight.
Today, I want to share 8 hidden stumbling blocks you might not be aware of in your weight loss strategy. The key to weight loss is paying attention to detail and making small changes for long term success.
8 Reasons you are still not losing weight
#1 You are not eating clean
By eating a clean diet, you avoid prepackaged foods and processed foods. They are not just filled with hidden calories and sugar, but also fillers, chemicals, and other ingredients that could harm your health. Start to read the ingredients list and see how much sugar and how many calories are in your items before buying.
Most hidden calories, sugars, and unhealthy fillers are in all prepackaged snacks, in sodas, sauces, dressings, and so on. If you are not losing weight stop buying prepackaged foods or at least reduce the intake.
Read more about what clean eating is, the problems, facts, and recipes HERE.
#2 You are drinking smoothies the wrong way
There is evidence that you should eat some plants whole, but others show the same effects no matter if eaten whole or pureed. Smoothies and juices can cause a higher spike in blood sugar than the consumption of whole fruit.
Then there is the myth about weight gain from drinking smoothies and the destruction of enzymes or other nutrients from blending your fruits and veggies.
On the other side, smoothies are a great way to add veggies, leafy greens, and many different not-so-tasty foods to your diet. Please head over to learn how to prepare a healthy smoothie>>
#3 You are not active
For some of you this might seem like a no-brainer, but actually you don’t have to be on a whole fitness program to lose weight. 70-80% of your weight loss success is determined by what you eat.
Nonetheless, being active will help you lose weight faster, strengthen your body, reduce stress, increase your endurance for daily tasks, help you focus, and improve your overall well being.
If you don’t like going to the gym, try workout DVDs at home or start by going on regular walks. A study shows that “walking a mile at 5 miles per hour uses up at least as much energy as jogging a mile at the same pace.” (source). So if you are not a gym-goer, include 1 to 2 walks to your daily routine and you can speed up your weight loss.
#4 You can’t stop snacking
Let’s say you eat 3 cookies every day or a similar amount of snacks. Just by cutting this out you could already lose 1-2 lbs. a month.
For most people it helps to stop buying snacks and control urges leading to cheat days. It is harder to get back on track after a cheat day than starting a healthy diet to begin with.
Remember that snacks will not fuel your body and simply cause unnecessary health issues. If you have cravings for sweets eat a banana or an apple. Initially, if you don’t care for healthy snacks but still choose to avoid junk food you will build a routine that ultimately leads to desiring healthy snacks over other unhealthy snacks.
Cravings usually happen when you are missing important nutrients. Start by including more vegetables and fruits to your diet. A plant based diet has helped me stop the cravings altogether, maintain healthy skin, eliminate heartburn, and build a healthy gut.
#5 You are following fad diets
When you pick a diet, make sure it is a diet that you can stick with for the rest of your life. If the diet is too hard to follow, or you will only do it for a period of time, you most likely will fall back into your old habits after the diet is over.
This is because you haven’t changed your lifestyle. So after the diet you are confused about what to eat and you haven’t trained your body to eat the right foods and portions.
Related: Is the Keto Diet Bad for You?
There are many success stories from people choosing a whole food plant based diet, because you do not have to count calories or portions or points. You can pick between fruits, vegetables, whole wheat grains, beans, and seeds. The vegan diet is something you can stick to your whole life and the only diet that is capable of protecting and even reversing several diseases.
Eating more vegetables and fruits will make you full quicker. You can eat more food with less calories on a plant based diet, making it a breeze to lose weight. Check out the book Plant Powered Health for easy and budget friendly recipes filled with fruits and veggies.
#6 You still think carbs are bad
Before I explain this one, let me make sure you understand that there is a difference between simple carbs (bad carbs like white bread, white rice, white flour) and complex carbs (brown rice, whole wheat). The difference is that the simple carbs break down faster, turning into sugar faster while the complex carbs contain fiber, break down slower, and come with many health benefits.
For example, this study shows a high carb, high plant fiber diet could help people off their insulin treatment after only 16 days (without lowering calorie intake).
In another study, one group was given a vegan diet comprised of approximately 10% energy from fat, 15% from protein, and 75% from carbohydrates and consisted of vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes. The other half was following the diet that is suggested by the American Diabetes Association:
“By the end of the trial, 43% (21 of 49) of the vegan group and 26% (13 of 50) of the ADA group participants reduced their diabetes medications […] Body weight decreased 6.5 kg in the vegan group and 3.1 kg in the ADA group (P < 0.001). Among those who did not change lipid-lowering medications, LDL cholesterol fell 21.2% in the vegan group and 10.7% in the ADA group (P = 0.02). After adjustment for baseline values, even the reduction in urinary albumin was significantly greater in the vegan group (15.9 mg/24 h) than in the ADA group (10.9 mg/24 h).” (source)
Eating more carbohydrates will drastically increase your fiber intake. Fiber is not found in meat, milk, or eggs and 90% of Americans do not eat the recommended amount of fiber (source). This is bad news, because there is proof that fiber reduces the risk of colon cancer (source), breast cancer (source), diabetes (source), heart disease (source), obesity (source), and stroke (source). It helps control cholesterol (source) and blood sugar levels (source). Fiber also binds toxins, lead, and mercury (source), which is mostly accumulated in animal fat.
#7 You’re not losing weight because you don’t meal plan
Planning and preparing is the basis of weight loss success. Whatever diet works best for you, make a plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Write the shopping list and stick to it when you go grocery shopping.
I like to pin my meal plans to the fridge so I can always see what is next. Picking simple and frugal meals helps me to stick to the plan. I always cook double the portion for another night to save some time cooking.
Also it helped me to plan for snacks, so when I have cravings I go to the plan and see what to eat. For example, I would plan to make certain smoothies as snacks, or I like to spread peanut butter on a whole wheat tortilla/flatbread and role a banana into it.
If you plan your meals ahead of time you can calculate the calories you are consuming. Make sure your meals are planned out to consume 300-500 calories less than you are burning, which is probably around 1700. If you know exactly what to eat and have it already in your fridge, it is easier to stick to it.
Check out my meal plans for inspiration. You can also subscribe to a meal planning service to get your weekly meal plan with shopping list delivered to your inbox. I love the Forks over Knives meal planner because it provides clean, whole food plant based meal plans that you can adjust to your needs. Read a review here.
#8 You are not drinking enough water
If you are drinking only a small amount of water a day you are setting yourself up for weight loss pitfalls. The daily intake of water should be 9 cups for women and 13 cups for men. To help you stay on track, get a water bottle like this one to track your intake by time.
Often we mistake hunger with thirst, so drinking more water will help reduce the hunger feeling and will definitely boost your energy. You can infuse your water with berries, lemon, or other fruits.
I also like to use this all natural fruit punch sweetener (0 calories) to upgrade my water. This one is the best tasting from all the natural sweeteners I have tried and they have a variety of flavors.