Updated: Jun 12
Body weight is one major issue many women struggle with, and as a result, the weight loss and weight management industry is a billion-dollar industry that capitalizes on women's unending desire to lose weight to gain "ideal" body figures. Sometimes, it's not even about gaining an ideal body type but a desire to shed off extra fat to become healthier, or for medical reasons.
If you are failing to lose weight despite trying all the newest diets and workout programs, you are not alone. In this post, we'll look at the six most common barriers to weight loss and offer advice on how to overcome them.
Understanding Weight Loss: Calories in, Calories out
Before we get into why you may not be seeing results, you need to understand how weight loss works. Basically, you lose weight when the amount of calories you burn is more than what you consume. This is referred to as a calorie deficit. When you have a calorie deficit, your body is forced to use stored fat for energy, which causes you to lose weight. On the other hand, when you consume more calories than you burn, your body stores most of the excess as fat, causing you to gain weight.
What is a Weight Loss Plateau?
Since we now understand how weight loss works, understanding weight loss plateau should be simple. A weight loss plateau occurs when there is zero calorie deficit. This means that you consume roughly the same amount of calories you burn, causing you to remain the same weight over a period of time. This is great news if you're trying to maintain your current weight, but that is not the state you desire to be in when you want to shed extra weight.
Common Roadblocks to Weight Loss
There are countless reasons why you might be struggling to lose weight, but we've identified six of the most common roadblocks.
Reason #1: Underestimating calorie intake
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to lose weight is underestimating how many calories they're consuming. Always bear in mind that "little drops of water make a mighty ocean." It is easy to forget about that handful of chips or that extra splash of dressing on your salad, but those seemingly small calories add up quickly. To address this, try tracking your food intake by using a food diary or app. This will help you stay accountable and make sure you're staying within your calorie goals.
Reason #2: Overestimating calorie burn
On the flip side, a lot of people overestimate how many calories they're burning through exercise. While exercise is important for weight loss, it does not give you the license to eat whatever you want, especially if you're trying to lose weight. You will end up remaining the same weight because you gain back all the calories you lose through unhealthy eating. If you're not careful, the "rewards" you give yourself because of 30 minutes of cardio can be twice as much as the calories you burned while exercising, causing you to gain more weight.
Make sure you're being honest with yourself about how much exercise you're actually doing and how many calories you're burning.
Reason #3: Lack of consistency in diet and exercise
Consistency is key when it comes to weight loss. If you're only sticking to your diet and exercise routine only when you urgently need to fit into a new dress, you're not going to see the results you want. Once you have a weight loss plan, be consistent with your diet and exercise routine, even on the weekends or when travelling.
Reason #4: Not enough sleep
Adequate sleep is very important for weight loss. Unfortunately, many people don't realise this. Lack of sleep can disrupt your hormones, leading to increased hunger and cravings. Another factor is that the longer you stay up at night, the more likely you are to be eating junk food. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night and try to establish a consistent sleep schedule.
Reason #5: Stress and cortisol levels
"Stress eating" is very real. Stress can wreak havoc on your weight loss efforts because when you're stressed, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that can increase appetite and lead to weight gain. Make sure you're taking time to manage your stress levels through activities like listening to music, going out with friends, indulging in fun activities that make you happy, meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
Reason #6: Medical conditions or medications
In some cases, medical conditions or medications can make it difficult to lose weight. If you're doing everything right but still not seeing results, it might be worth talking to your doctor to rule out any underlying medical issues.
Overcoming Roadblocks: Tips for Breaking through a Weight Loss Plateau
If you've identified one or more of these roadblocks as the reason why you're not seeing results, don't worry. There are plenty of ways to break through a weight loss plateau.
Recalculate your calorie needs: As you lose weight, your calorie needs will decrease. Make sure you're adjusting your calorie goals accordingly.
Mix up your exercise routine: If you've been doing the same exercise routine for months, your body might have adapted. Try switching things up with a new workout or activity.
Try intermittent fasting: Intermittent fasting is a popular weight loss method that involves restricting your eating window to a certain number of hours per day.
Weight Loss Apps: Weight-loss apps can be very helpful in your weight-loss journey. They can help you keep track of your calorie intake and your progress.
Get support: Losing weight can be tough, but having a support system can make all the difference. Consider joining a weight loss group or working with a personal trainer.
Conclusion: Don't Give Up On Your Weight Loss Journey
Losing weight can be a long and difficult journey, but it's important not to give up. Understanding the common roadblocks to weight loss and implementing strategies to overcome them can help you break through a weight loss plateau and achieve your goals. Remember that weight loss is a marathon and not a sprint. It is better to make permanent changes that are sustainable and can help you lose weight over a long period of time than to keep trying fad diets that keep you feeling frustrated each time you regain all the weight you lost. Keep pushing forward and you'll get there eventually.