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Why Can't I Lose Weight?

If you’re doing everything right, but the scale won’t budge, here are a few thoughts to get the numbers moving. 

Are you a cardio queen or king? 

If you are jamming away at the cardio 1-2 hours/day and your weight is consistent or increasing, change it up. Chronic cardio can decrease muscle. Muscle burns calories for hours after your workout. Try trading out 50% of your cardio time with weightlifting to boost your metabolism. A pound of muscle may weigh the same as a pound of fat, but muscle is much leaner and compact than fat. So, you may drop a size or two in your clothing, but the number on the scale may not budge for a while.

Abs are made in the kitchen. 

You’ve probably heard this phrase, and it is usually true. The first step is “clean eating.” Aim to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, a variety of lean proteins, minimally processed carbohydrates, and unsaturated fats each day. Then, try tracking your foods for a few days. Are you eating clean 80% of the time? Are you getting in at least five or more servings of vegetables every day? Are you including unsaturated fats? These are all checkpoints to keep your metabolism at its peak.

Are you eating enough? 

While you generally need more calories out than in to lose weight, chronic dieting will slow metabolism. Most adults need more than 1,500 calories/day to sustain daily life and even a short 30-45 minute workout. If you are chronically dropping below this, your body might hang onto fat by slowing down your metabolism.  

Are food sensitivities at play? 

There’s a difference between a sensitivity and an allergy. Food sensitivities may promote inflammation. They commonly manifest as stomach discomfort, mild intestinal issues, low or mid back pain, headaches, fatigue, or brain fog. If you are noticing patterns in your reactions, try eliminating your suspected culprit food for 3-5 days. See how you feel when you add it back in. If you have one sensitivity, there are usually more, so working with a nutrition expert would be very helpful. 

How’s your stress level?  

Yes, stress increases cortisol. If cortisol is increased for prolonged periods, it is going to be very difficult to lose weight. Setting a regular bedtime and wind-down routines like meditation, journaling, or even 5 minutes of yoga are all steps that can help.

Give these checkpoints a try. Consistency is key. Whatever you commit to doing, do it for at least 30 days. See what changes. Remember, you may have to try a few strategies before you find the ones that work for you. 

We’d love to hear from you and see your journey in action on Instagram and Facebook. Which tip will you start with today? 

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About the Author: Dr. Meredith Butulis is a Sports Medicine Physical Therapist, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, NASM Certified Personal Trainer, and Precision Nutrition Certified Nutrition Coach in practice since 2002. She consistently walks the talk as a fitness, physique, and OCR world level competitor and lifestyle transformer since 2006, celebrating many wins along the way. 

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