So, you’ve been eating healthily and regularly working out—but you’re not losing weight. Sooo frustrating, right? It’s a common problem, and one that has a few easy fixes. To get to the bottom of it, I spoke with nutritionist Brooke R. Alpert and fitness expert Michelle Goldberg for a 360-degree view of what’s going on.
Keep reading for all the weight loss answers you’ve been looking for.
You’re not changing your workout.
Goldberg explains, “The most common mistake I see women making is that they do the same workout over and over again without changing a thing. In order to progress, you need to challenge yourself! When you repeat a workout, change the weights, equipment, or increase the amount of reps you’re doing. In addition, Alpert speaks to the fact that women fear bulking up, and it often hurts rather than helps. She says, “Women avoid weight lifting because they don’t want to bulk up. But, it’s super important to help your bones stay healthy and maintain a lean physique.” Goldberg agrees: “Hit the weights! Want a hot body? Get over the insecurity of the gym floor and own it!”
You’re overestimating calories.
After a workout, I feel like I’ve burned my entire body weight in calories and want to reward myself with a burrito and a side of pepperoni pizza. Obviously this isn’t the best idea. Alpert explains, “Many times we overestimate the amount of calories burned in a single workout and tend to overeat as a reward. But, the majority of your workouts don’t necessarily call for a major meal afterward. As long as you’re well hydrated (with water, not a sports drink) your recovery is taken care of. As such, stick to a healthy meal to stay on track.”
You’re eating too much sugar (and/or drinking too much alcohol).
No matter how much you focus on eating right and working out, sugary drinks will be the death of your weight loss plan. They make a huge difference. Alpert says, “Too much sugar is dangerous for your health, bad for your weight, and causes premature aging. No matter how well you eat otherwise, if you are loading up your diet with added sugars or artificial sweeteners, you can undo the hard work you’ve done.” In the same vein, drinks like sports drinks or super-dense smoothies can be just as detrimental. Stick to water, as it’s cheaper (score!) and better for your body.
You’re not working out regularly.
I feel so accomplished after a good workout and a week of eating healthy—usually so much so that I don’t hit the gym again for a long time. Not good, explains Alpert. “Any exercise that you’re willing to do regularly is the best bet. I always ask my clients to mix up their exercise so they don’t get bored and their muscles are constantly challenged. I love a mixture of cardio and strength training. Even better if you can add high-intensity interval training, too—research shows it really is the most effective workout.” She adds, “One rule I have with all my clients is not skip more than two days of exercise. Two days off in a row is okay, but then you need to get back at it. It doesn’t have to be every day, but it needs to be a regular part of your life for it to make a difference.”
You’re not ingesting natural ingredients.
The things you put into your body are so important. Alpert recommends investing in collagen powders because of the added protein and the amazing health and energy benefits. Most importantly, though, she recommends a daily probiotic to keep your immune and digestive system in shape so your workouts are more effective. Goldberg agrees that the best thing you can do with your diet is go natural. Eat dark greens, acai, and flaxseed to supplement your strenuous workouts.
Your pre-workout meals aren’t easy to digest.
The best thing to eat before a hard workout is a little bit of protein and complex carbohydrates. Alpert suggests something small and easily digestible—like an apple and nut butter or an omelet and veggies. If you’re eating something heavier, it may be messing with your weight loss results and causing you to feel sluggish during your workouts.
You’re allowing your social life to wreck your workout.
Heading to the gym with friends is fun and even motivates you to get to the gym (for fear of canceling plans yet again; #beenthere). But it’s easy to turn an hour at the gym into more of a conversation than an actual workout. Alpert explains, “It should be difficult to talk during a workout, so make sure you pay attention to how hard you’re working versus spending time with friends. You can do both!”
You’re not adding products into the mix.
There’s no need to shoot down helpful advances in the beauty industry—some of them really work. I’ve had great success with iLipo, a nonsurgical fat-reduction laser technique (no needles, no downtime!) that allows you to target stubborn areas. The treatments are just 20 minutes each and are completely painless. Alpert agrees: “Sometimes, no matter how hard you work out and watch your diet, you can’t always get the exact results you want. While I prefer for body changes to come from hard work and lifestyle changes, I respect that sometimes we all need a little help. There are cool new laser treatments that can give you that extra help you may need. SculpSure seems really promising.”
You’re not eating enough.
It’s easy to believe that the less you eat, the more weight you’ll lose. And while, yes, you should be controlling the portions of your food, you also have to keep your metabolism happy and running properly. If you’re not eating enough during the day, it slows your metabolism and your body goes into fat-saving mode. If that’s the case, you’ll hold onto fat rather than lose it.
Looking for more easy weight loss tricks? This is how I completely changed my body in only three months.