Tell me if this sounds familiar:
You’ve been diligent on “eating healthy” for weight loss but the scale just won’t budge. It feels like you’re making such a big effort without reasonable returns. Maybe this is causing you to feel motivation waning, maybe it’s making you feel disappointed, maybe it’s making you think there’s something wrong with you or your body.
First of all, take a breath and acknowledge that it’s okay to feel the emotions you are feeling. You’re human and all of this is valid and valuable information.
I’m serious, take a big deep breath and get grounded before you read the rest of this blog.
Okay, now that we’re in a slightly more stable headspace, let’s talk about why “eating healthy” isn’t yielding the weight loss results you’ve been looking for.
While there could be many reasons, today we will focus on 4 common ones I see in my practice and help you understand them so you can plan your next steps.
4 Reasons you’re not losing weight despite “eating healthy”
1. You are eating too little
Most people know that in order to lose weight, you have to create a caloric deficit where your body is using up more energy than it is consuming. But, the mistake here is creating too big of a caloric deficit too quickly. When you suddenly starve your body of essential nutrients and energy for vital functions, your stress response mechanisms respond to this drastic reduction with mechanisms that slow down your metabolism and drive up fat storage to protect itself from famine and danger. (1)
Even though what you’re eating is healthy, you still have to make sure you are gradually and strategically reducing overall intake in a way that doesn’t alarm the body’s survival instincts! On your weight loss journey, you should be checking in with your relationship with food, how you feel before and after meal times - physically and psychologically, and how energetic you are, as these are all clues to help you decide whether the amount you are currently eating is helping you function well.
2. You are working out too much
Along the same lines as reason 1, if you overexercise compared to how much you are eating, or in other words expending far too much energy than you are taking in, this can trigger hormonal adaptations that make you more resistant to weight loss and fat loss. (2)
One example is the increased levels of cortisol hormone that result from chronically overtraining. (2) Intense exercise, while it can have meditative, mental health benefits done in the right doses, is still a physical stressor.
Some general guidelines when it comes to working out:
Prioritize working out for fitness and longevity over weight loss
Focus on quality over quantity when it comes to reps, sessions, and exercises
3. You are too stressed out
As mentioned in the previous 2 points, stress from starvation and stress from overexercising can both lead to elevated cortisol levels. In addition to these 2 very common forms of stress, psychological stress from demanding, fast-paced, and imbalanced lifestyles also lead to heightened cortisol production from the adrenal glands. (4) This hormone is supposed to be used in case of emergencies, but there are so many triggers in our day-to-day lives that are setting off the survival alarms, such as not sleeping enough, feeling immense pressure at work, depressing and anxious thoughts from scrolling social media.
High cortisol levels have been linked to the accumulation of central fat, or belly fat, especially in women. (3) And there is a study that remarks on how the metabolism is slowed when the body and mind are under chronic stress, which means the body’s ability to expend energy and create caloric deficit is also affected. (4)
4. Your body composition is changing but your weight isn’t
Finally, it is also important to bring the conversation back to the number on the scale and how it is just a tool that shows one sliver of your health status and progress.
Diet culture and media often attribute far too much power to what the scale weight means, and it has been doing that for decades. So long has this association between weight and health been going on that people began to also associate their self-worth with the number on the scale.
What the scale doesn’t tell you is your body composition, which is a measure of the types of mass you are carrying, including fat mass, lean body mass, muscle mass, water, bone density, etc. As you embark on a healthy journey with more whole foods and regular movement, your body composition will likely shift to have more lean body mass, more muscle mass, and less fat mass. This may not be reflected by the scale weight, which only tells you what you weigh as a whole.
In essence, if you notice yourself feeling and looking leaner or more muscular, it can be normal that the scale weight hasn’t gone down. This doesn’t mean your efforts are wasted, it just means your body has chosen to reallocate its resources to the parts that empower health and vitality!
Another result that comes from eating too little, overtraining, or being too stressed is digestive dysfunctions! The Enteric Nervous System and much of the Immune System all reside in the gut, so various forms of stress and hormone imbalances impact the population of gut bacteria and the expression of enzyme production in your Gastrointestinal Tract.
For this reason, if you’re experiencing weight loss resistance from the first 3 reasons in this article, evaluate your gut health and use fermented foods, such as R’s KOSO to support the gut.
R’s KOSO contains 3 important nutrients that help out our digestive system:
1, Prebiotics: They are food for the gut flora
2, Probiotics: They are live bacteria that replenish the good bacteria populations
3, Postbiotics: They are nutrients that are made by good bacteria
You can enjoy R’s KOSO in water, tea, smoothies, and much more! Check out the other blogs and videos on our website and YouTube channel for recipe inspiration.