5 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

Beginning a weight loss journey can seem like a rollercoaster. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself stuck in a rut, feel like the scale just won’t move and wonder to yourself, why am I not losing weight… is it actually worth it?

If you’re feeling frustrated and lacking motivation, it is important to know some of the roadblocks that might be impeding your pathway towards sustainable weight loss.

Five Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight

Ignoring Muscle Gain

One of the most common misconceptions about weight loss is solely relying on the scale to track progress. While the scale provides a numerical representation of your weight, it doesn’t differentiate between fat loss and muscle gain. As you begin  a fitness routine, especially one that incorporates strength training, you may experience an increase in muscle mass. Since muscle is denser than fat, it’s possible to be getting leaner and more toned without seeing a significant drop in scale weight.

To accurately assess your body composition, consider measuring your body fat percentage using methods such as calipers, an Inbody Scale or a DEXA Scan. By focusing on body composition rather than just weight, you can get a clearer picture of your progress and celebrate the positive changes happening within your body.

Overestimating Activity Levels

It is easy to fall into the trap of overestimating our activity levels. Many of us rely on GPS watches, fitness trackers, and smartphone apps to monitor our daily movement and exercise routines. While these devices can provide a lot of numbers, research has shown that some devices may overestimate your calories burned during exercise by as much as 93%

If you have a sedentary job or transitioned to work from home after the pandemic it is crucial to find ways to incorporate more movement into your daily routine. It is not uncommon for us to hear that work from home employees only get a few hundred steps in throughout their normal work shift.

Where possible, take short walking breaks or schedule multiple 5 to 10 minute exercise routines into your home routine each day to support your weight loss efforts.

Underestimating Caloric Intake

Weight loss ultimately boils down to a simple equation: calories in versus calories out. Despite your best intentions, many  underestimate the number of calories that they consume, especially during weekends and social gatherings. Indulgent meals, liquid calories and mindless snacking can quickly add up, sabotaging your efforts to maintain a calorie deficit.

To gain a better understanding of your eating habits and calorie intake, consider keeping a food diary or using a calorie tracking app. By logging your meals and snacks, you can identify patterns, pinpoint areas of overconsumption, and make informed choices about your diet. Paying attention to portion sizes, choosing nutrient-dense foods, and practicing mindful eating can also help you stay on track with your weight loss goals.

Unrealistic Expectations

You probably did not gain additional weight over a couple of days or weeks. It was most likely a slow and gradual process. Sustainable weight loss should also be the same – slow and gradual. However, due to the empty promises of magazines, books and your favourite social media influencer, we’ve been conditioned to expect rapid results and instant gratification.

It is essential to set realistic expectations and understand that progress may not always be linear or immediate, especially if you’re looking to avoid ”yo-yo dieting” for the rest of your life. 

Plateaus, fluctuations, and setbacks are normal parts of the weight loss journey, and they shouldn’t deter you from your goals. Instead of fixating on short-term outcomes, focus on long-term trends and celebrate non-scale victories such as increased energy levels, improved mood, and enhanced fitness performance. 

Neglecting Sleep and Stress

While diet and exercise play important roles in weight loss, they’re not the only factors to consider. Sleep quality and stress levels also exert a significant influence on our body’s ability to regulate weight and metabolism. Unfortunately, these aspects are often overlooked in the weight loss phase.

Inadequate sleep disrupts the balance of hormones that regulate hunger (ghrelin) and satiety (leptin), leading to increased cravings, overeating, and weight gain. Additionally, chronic stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone that promotes fat storage, particularly in the abdominal area.

To support your weight loss efforts, prioritise quality sleep hygiene practices such as establishing a consistent bedtime routine, creating a conducive sleep environment, and limiting screen time before bed.

Moreover, incorporate stress management techniques into your daily routine, such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, or spending time in nature. You’ll be surprised by how much better you feel after spending just a little bit of time each day to focus on your own mental health.

By prioritising self-care and addressing the underlying factors contributing to sleep disturbances and stress, you can create a more conducive environment for weight loss and overall well-being.


In conclusion, achieving sustainable weight loss requires a multifaceted approach that encompasses diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management. By identifying and addressing common pitfalls such as ignoring muscle gain, overestimating activity levels, underestimating caloric intake, having unrealistic expectations, and neglecting sleep and stress, you can overcome obstacles and make meaningful progress towards your health and fitness goals. Remember, transformation takes time, consistency, and dedication, but with perseverance and resilience, you can achieve the lasting results you desire.