Working out extensively, but not losing weight? There is a problem in what you are doing – either in your diet or the way you are doing your workout or your genetic makeup. Whatever is the case, you need to lose weight. Read further to know how.
Reasons why you don’t lose weight
“I am working out so hard, at the gym, and in my every-day-life, but I am not losing weight.” Isn’t this an oft repeated comment that you make to your friend / colleague at the gym or office regarding your negligent loss of weight.
Have you ever given a thought as to why you are not losing weight? There could be a variety of reasons.
A guy who is very health conscious plays badminton at a local court in Bangalore, and spends about a couple of hours every day at the courts. At office, he indulges in eating oily snacks, and junk food like chips and others. At home, he takes brown rice, or diets. The point is when someone, who is looking to reduce weight, and indulges in workouts or playing badminton or any such game, ends up consuming junk food or other such stuff, probably he may not be losing weight at all, and whatever benefits he is supposed to get through the workout or game is lost through the diet consumed.
The above example actually indicates that the need to losing weight does not end with workouts, and there are a lot of other factors that need to be considered. So, what have you figured out regarding your negligent weight loss after workouts? If you have not, then go ahead and read this article. You will be able to figure out why in spite of working out, you are not losing weight.
As mentioned above, there can be varied reasons for not losing weight after workouts and let us understand more about them.
All weight loss regimes focus on a combination of two things – workouts that include cardio exercises and strength training, and a healthy and wholesome diet.
In order to lose weight, you need to do both. But, the critical question is “are you focusing on losing weight or are you focused on losing fat?”
Let us take a minute to differentiate the two of them.
Fat is the content of fats (such as oils, cholesterol, and other forms of energy that are stored in your body). Fat primarily provides you energy to expend, when you do work – physical or mental.
Weight, is primarily a force that your body exerts on the earth. It is your mass multiplied by acceleration due to gravity (generally taken as 9.8m/s2). This is a physics concept, but for all practical purposes, you consider and mass as equal, and is considered to be the sum of fat (required + excess fat) and non-fat tissues in your body (bone, muscle, etc.)
When you are on a weight loss regime, you are concerned about losing the excess fat (fat that has no real existence in your body, for it gives you nothing but extra weight to carry).
So, this is where the concept of “weight loss” comes from. A misnomer, we could be better off calling it “loss of excess fat” from the body.
So, when you work out, you are only concerned with loss of excess fat, and hence, weight, from your body. You need weight, otherwise you will not be able to sustain yourself. Everything in your body, organs, tissues, muscles, bones and water, together add up to your weight, and there is an optimal weight that you need to have so that you can survive without any problems.
Now that you have understood the difference between weight and fat, it is time for you to understand why you are not losing weight (read: excess fat).
Recall what all weight loss regimes focus on – a combination of diet and exercises. Your diet should include lean proteins, wholefoods, less of carbs and a lot of exercises. You should also cut down on junk food too. But what you may end up doing is the following.
1. Not keeping track of what you are eating
Many people, like the person whose example I quoted, have no idea of what they are eating, and continue eating foods that add to their weight. So, whatever energy they have lost is not gained with wholesome and lean protein rich foods but foods that negate the strenuous exercises that you have just completed.
The result is that your body has not really lost the excess fat (and thus, the weight) as compared to what it should have.
The first and foremost thing that you need to do is to keep a track of what you are eating.
2. You are not eating enough lean proteins
Proteins strengthen your body, while allowing the excess fat to be released from the cells and converted to energy. When you do not eat enough proteins, especially lean proteins, you will not be able to convert excess fat to energy. In fact, the proteins that you consume end up converting to excess fat and get stored in your cells. This adds to excess fat, and as such, you do not lose any weight at all.
Try consuming lean meat, fish, have more of legumes such as soy, and lentils. They are one of the sure shot ways of reducing weight, because lean proteins boost metabolism by up to 80 – 100 calories per day.
Ensure that your breakfast is protein rich.
3. Consuming a lot of calories
The average human being requires about 2000 calories per day for doing all major work. Anything in excess of 2000 calories gets stored as excess fat. Watch out for what you eat. If you are consuming excess of calories, then you need to immediately cut down on them.
Avoid foods that give you a lot of fat. Dairy products contain a lot of fat and so do nuts. Ensure that you get monounsaturated fat, not saturated fat. Saturated fat only adds up to your calories, and to excess fat, not providing you with any health benefits.
Keep a track of the amount of calories that you are consuming, and bring it down to about 2000 calories per day.
4. Not consuming wholefoods
Eating wholefoods help in improving your health and regulating your appetite. Processed foods do not provide you with any health benefits, though many processed foods do indicate “healthy food” in their packaging.
Whole grains and foods provide you with most necessary nutrients that you require for your day-to-day activities.
5. You are binge eating
Binge eating is a common side effect of dieting. When you diet, you suddenly find yourself losing nutrients, energy and feel lethargic. In order to provide energy, you end up binge eating (eating large quantities of food in a very short span of time, often more than what your body needs).
In such cases, your body does not have the time to adjust to the quantity of food you have consumed, and can interfere in your fat loss (weight loss) regime. Binge eating on healthy foods is also not good.
Instead of binge eating, focus on eating health foods such as dark chocolate, nuts, nut-butters and cheese.
6. Not enough strength training or cardio
One of the most important requirements of a weight-loss regime is to indulge in strength training. Strength training includes activities like lifting weights. Lifting weights can help you burn muscle fat, while holding on to precious muscle mass.
Additionally, when you practice enough cardio exercises, like swimming, cycling, running , jogging, etc. will help you in losing weight. It will help in burning belly-fat, one of the most important harmful “visceral” fat that builds up around critical organs and causes diseases.
Once you practice endurance and strength training, you will be able to lose weight.
7. Not sleeping well
One of the most important aspect that you need to consider while losing fat (or weight) is to get enough sleep. Sleep provides you with physical and mental strength to do what you want, and manage your weight.
Poor sleep ups risk of heart diseases, and obesity, and reduces your ability to lose weight.
Sleep well to ensure that you lose weight after your intense workout.
8. Not drinking enough water, and drinking too much of alcohol
Drinking water is an essential part of any weight loss program. Water helps in burning calories, thus, leading to losing weight.
Have water before each meal, so that you eat less. When you eat less, you will find that you are losing weight.
After a strenuous workout, your body also loses important fluids, and drinking water helps in replenishing the fluid lost through the workout.
Alternatively, if you drink alcohol, you will only add on calories. If you drink moderately, then you may not have issues in losing weight. However, if you drink a lot of alcohol, your weight will not reduce; on the contrary, you will only end up increasing your weight.
9. Underlying medical condition
The last, but not least, reason that you may not be losing weight may be due to an underlying medical condition that affect you. Hypothyroidism, polycystic ovarian syndrome and sleep apnea can hinder your progress in losing weight.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where in spite of workouts and dieting, you will keep adding weight.
Get yourself treated for any underlying medical condition that is affecting your weight loss regime. Your doctor will be able to prescribe appropriate medication to aid you in your weight loss regime.