Five Sneaky Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight

So you’ve made a commitment to live a healthier life. That’s fantastic! But why aren’t your results reflecting your hard work?

Many people who commit to a healthier diet find that they struggle to lose weight, or that they plateau after the first few weeks. Why does this happen? Let’s look at five sneaky reasons you’re not losing weight, and what you can do about them.

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#1: You’re making bad choices about what you drink (and I don't mean just alcohol).

You might feel conscious of your health for switching out your daily coke for a diet one instead, but the facts show that your new caffeine fix isn’t any better for your health. In fact, studies have linked the low-calorie sweeteners sucralose and aspartame to increased belly fat, and daily diet soda drinkers can gain nearly three times as much weight around their midsection as those who stick with water instead.

Think your morning coffee is a safe option? Only if you skip the cream and sweeteners! A latte habit can quickly set you back 200 calories per cup, so strive to wake up with black coffee or green tea instead. You should also make it a goal to drink a liter of water by lunch each day to fend off dehydration.

And yeah. Alcoholic beverages are carbs. So plan your day accordingly.

#2: Your carb-free diet is high in calories

One time-tested strategy for shedding stubborn weight is to cut carbs from your diet. But sometimes, that fat still won’t budge. If this sounds like you, part of the problem might be that you’re consuming too many calories from protein and fat. Banning bread from your plate but loading up on butter and thick cuts of steak will fill your body with more calories than you can conceivably burn in a day, which can stop your weight loss in its tracks.

#3: You're working out too hard and it’s making you hungry.

When you’re eager to reach your goal weight, it’s common to want to hit the gym hard. However, more exercise doesn’t necessarily lead to a slimmer figure- and I’m not just talking about gaining muscle weight.

The truth is, most people who love extreme workouts develop an appetite to match, and ending your endurance session with a monster meal can quickly undo the calorie deficit you worked for. That’s why one study shows that moderate levels of exercise are just as sufficient for weight loss as going all out. Likewise, it’s possible for excessive exercise to change your hormone levels and switch your system to burning muscle instead of fat.

If you’re not satisfied with your results so far, keep in mind that maintaining a healthy weight requires a balance between exercise AND your diet.

#4: “Hidden Carbs” are wrecking your diet

If you’re striving to follow a carb-free diet but aren’t seeing weight loss results, the problem might be that your diet isn’t as low on carbs as you think it is. ‘Hidden carbs’ abound in unexpected places like starchy veggies, alcohol and many sauces, and if you don’t take them into account, you’re likely going over your levels.

The solution? Track what you eat a little more carefully, and you can pinpoint your calorie bombs before they become a bigger problem.

#5 You’re snacking too much

When you’re trying to eat healthy, it’s easy to fall into the myth that snacking is good for you. Many of my clients tell me that they try to eat something every few hours to “rev up their metabolism,” but this practice just doesn’t stand up to fact. Instead, I’m a fervent believer that you should eat only when hungry and give up on mindless snacking for good.  

It’s important to let your stomach empty to the point you feel hungry between every meal, and many of us should give up snacking altogether. Trust your body to tell you when it’s hungry, and you’ll take in fewer unnecessary calories throughout the day.

In need of a Food Fix?

When it comes to optimizing your eating style for better health, there are plenty of pitfalls that can compromise your efforts. That’s why I created The Food Fix clean eating and weight loss system, a proven eating strategy that gives you the support and guidance you need to make a positive health change you can maintain for life. Learn more at foodfix.me.

Heather Bauer

Heather Bauer is a nationally recognized nutrition expert, author, and entrepreneur.

She brings her fresh and inspiring approach to diet to prime time spots on Good Morning America, CNN, CBS, The Talk, Access Hollywood Live and The Tyra Banks Show. And she's featured in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and People Magazine. 

Heather is the author of two best-selling nutrition and diet books, The Wall Street Diet and Bread is the Devil, and has regular columns on The Huffington Post and USNews where she writes about the latest trends.

She is the founder of Bestowed, the leading product discovery platform for health-conscious consumers, and has an active nutrition counseling practice in NYC, which she founded in 2001.

Heather is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a New York State Certified Dietitian-Nutritionist (CDN). She graduated from The University of Wisconsin with honors and is a member of the American Dietetic Association (ADA) and the New York State Dietetic Association (NYSDA).