Dieting and Exercising But Not Losing Weight
“I can’t believe it: I’ve been dieting and exercising but not losing weight!! What gives?!”
This is a popular statement that many people make first thing in the morning after stepping off the scale. I’m usually at the receiving end of this tantrum, and almost always at the end of a clients first week of training. I’ll say it again: their first week of training. But in all seriousness, there’s a good chance that you may actually not be eating enough, but that’s a discussion for another day. If dropping pounds were as simple as just cutting down on the food you eat then the fitness industry would cease to exist.
Losing weight isn’t just as simple as cutting food out and expecting to see the needle on the scale move. There are far too many processes in the body that are involved in our metabolism. For one, metabolism actually mimics calorie consumption, so if you’ve been slowly decreasing the food you eat, you may actually sending your metabolic rate with a ticket to rock bottom. Furthermore, how your body loses weight is dependent on:
- Activity Level
- Exercise Intensity
- Nutrient Intake
- Behavioral Tendencies
- Environmental Factors
- Digestive Capabilities (1)
Those are a lot of things to factor in. You could look at each one with a microscope and drive yourself nut. I’ve met a lot of clients you might have one or two of these things somewhat under control, but it’s just a lot to focus on. This whole list could take a lifetime to master, and you can see how many different disciplines (physiology, endocrinology, psychology, etc) are involved. Pretty complicated, huh? Others, like your age and genetics, are completely out of your control.
There is hope though. You can put yourself on a strength and conditioning program and most of these things will work themselves out over time. Strength training can help your metabolism and hormone profile improve; it will also increase your appetite. Usually what happens when people start a serious strength training program is one of two things: they either realize they need to start changing their behaviors, or the training just burns them out because they pay no attention to their lifestyle choices.
So you can’t control everything on that list, but you can start somewhere.
1. Berardi, John. Andrews, Ryan. The Essentials of Sport and Exercise Nutrition 2nd ed. Precision Nutrition. 2013.pp 110