Why you are not Losing Weight
“My metabolism is out of whack.” “I’m eating like 1,100 calories, eating nothing but clean foods!” I’m also exercising a lot and burning hundreds of calories, and yet I’m not losing weight.” “Calories don’t matter.”
How many times have you heard or said anything close to that?
I hear some variation of those statements all the time.
We know the frustration. We know that losing weight is hard. That’s one of the reasons why we started this blog. To help people navigate through all the BS out there (especially in social media) and make this journey as pain-free as possible. That and it gave me an excuse to look at a bunch of research. Yes, I’m a nerd! No need to judge lol.
Also, we have been there ourselves. I don’t know how long I (Delwin) have been a “fitness freak.” Still, I struggle with accountability. I have fallen off the wagon many times.
In the case of Meli…well, she hates it lol. She hates going to the gym and that she needs to track her macros. She hates everything that is fitness related lol.
So when you feel that you are doing your best, and giving 110% to your weight loss journey, and yet don’t seem to make any progress, we feel that.
As to why you might not be losing weight, there are two possible reasons:
- You are eating a lot more than what you think you are eating.
- You are burning fewer calories while exercising than you think.
A study by Willbond SM et al. put 16 people (8 men and eight women), through a 28 and 44-minute walking workout (1).
- The subjects were not allowed to know for how long they walked or how many calories they burned.
- The 28-minute group burned 200 calories while the 44-minute group burned 300 calories.
- At the end of their workout, they were asked how many calories they thought they burned by exercising.
- Then they were told to eat as many calories as they believed they had burned during the exercise.
- The results:
- The 200 calorie group thought they had burned an average of 825 calories, with some people estimating burning as much as 4,000 calories.
- The 300 calorie group believed to have burned an average of 865 calories, with some people estimating burning as much as 3,000 calories.
- What does this have to do with tracking food?
- When participants were told to eat as much food as their estimate of calories burned, the 200 calorie group consumed an average of 556 calories. In comparison, the 300 calorie group ate an average of 607 calories.
Another study looked at why obese people weren’t losing any weight despite “only” eating 1,200 calories.
The researchers looked at their metabolic rate and total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) and found no anomalies. Everyone’s metabolic rate and TDEE fell within 5% of their predicted values.
Again, these participants not only overreported the number of calories they were burning by 51% (251 calories). They also underreported the number of calories they were eating by a whopping 47% or 1,053 calories per day (2).
What does this mean?
The results of these two studies mean that not only are we bad at estimating how many calories we burn through exercise. We are also awful at estimating how many calories we eat.
Now is when I tell you that you have to track your calories.
I know, I know tracking calories is a pain in the ass. But the only way to know that you are on a caloric deficit is to know how many calories you are eating.
In a study of 220 women, researchers found that those who used a self-monitoring tool (i.e., a food journal) more often and consistently improved their long-term weight management (2).
Another study tracked 123 postmenopausal overweight to obese women for a year. Researchers found that completing a food journal more often was associated with more significant weight loss (3).
We have been tracking calories for close to two years, and believe me when I tell you it isn’t that difficult. And, after a few days, you get used to it.
Also, tracking calories puts you in control of what you eat. It allows you to eat your favorite foods.
It helps you make better choices.
Tracking calories allows you to prioritize nutritious foods.
How? By allowing you to have a bird’s eye view of what you are eating. You can plan your day around that treat you have been waiting all week for. Let’s say you are hosting a Superbowl party. There’s gonna be pizza, wings, and beer. Tracking your calories would allow you to eat SOME, not all, of these tasty treats, and remain in a calorie deficit.
Don’t believe me? I’ll give you an example of what we ate in the last few days.
Tuesday: Personal pizza
Wednesday: Personal pizza
Thursday: You guessed it, personal pizza
Saturday: We went to the movies (watched IT chapter 2, the first one is better), shared a large bucket of popcorn. For dinner? Again, personal pizza.
Sunday: Turkey tacos
Now, these pizzas are not from Domino’s or Pizza Hut, so they don’t have a bazillion calories. These personal pizzas have around 800 calories. Some people might think that eating 800 calories in one sitting, especially if trying to lose weight, is a lot.
Still, we were able to eat these foods because we track our calories. Oh, and we are still losing weight. So, our progress hasn’t taken a hit because of our food choices.
If you are more interested in how we can eat the foods, we love and still lose weight, click here.
Weight Loss is all about sustainability. If you are too strict with your diet, it might come to the point where you will hate your life. Tracking your calories can help you eat the foods you love, still be in a calorie deficit, and make your weight loss journey a sustainable one.
Are you struggling to lose weight? “The complete fat loss guide” teaches you not only how to lose weight but how to keep the pounds from ever coming back.