3 Reasons Why You Can’t Lose Weight

We’ve been in the fitness industry for many, many years and one of the most popular questions we get is this:

How do I lose weight and keep it off for good?

Let’s start by saying there’s no secret diet or magic pill that will get you real results. Our goal at Fern Creek Community Fitness is to teach you healthy, sustainable habits that will move you towards your goals each and every day. 

Here are 3 of the most common reasons why you may not be shedding those unwanted pounds:

1. You’re over-estimating the amount of calories you’re burning

Virtually every cardio machine in the gym gives an estimate of the number of calories you are burning while working out. If you wear an Apple Watch or a Fitbit (or another similar device) the amount of calories you burn during an activity are being tracked. Unfortunately, studies show that these devices may be inaccurate in these calculations… by quite a bit. For instance, a 2010 study from the UC San Francisco’s Human Performance Center found that the elliptical trainer (who hasn’t been on one of those for 45 minutes of your life that you won’t get back), over estimates the number of calories burned by an average of 19%! Here’s the breakdown:

  • Treadmill: overestimates by 13%
  • Stair climber: overestimates by 12%
  • Elliptical: overestimates by a huge 42% 😳

The number on the screen does not give you permission to grab an extra donut.

When you start a new workout program where you’re up and active at least 3-4 days a week, you will be hungrier throughout the day. This is not a bad thing! If you already have unhealthy eating habits, you’re now just eating more food with refined carbohydrates which may stall results or even cause weight gain.

Track what you eat using a tool like MyFitnessPal or MacroStax. The simple task of writing down what you eat will help you eat better foods and get your daily intake to a level supported by your activity. We can help you figure out those numbers. Just let us know.

2. You spend the weekend “un-doing” all of your hard work.

After pushing yourself in the gym all week, it’s easy to give yourself a pass on the weekend to order dessert, eat your favorite snacks, or ask for another bowl of chips to go with that queso. You earned it, right? There’s certainly nothing wrong with treating yourself once in a while to some of your favorite foods. But people oftentimes underestimate how easy it is to “out-eat” the workouts they did. Breaking this habit requires a mindset shift from the idea that you “earn unhealthy food choices” to pursuing a lifestyle of health and nutrition. We want you to properly fuel your body, enjoy a few intentional treats here and there, and rewrite your story to the weight/size/dress/pair of jeans/etc. you’ve been dreaming about for so long. That feeling is the best dessert!

Proper nutritional habits partnered with all the hard work you’re putting in at the gym and proper amounts of rest will do wonders for your body!

3. You’re looking at the wrong number.

The number on the scale doesn’t tell the whole story. Your weight is one single point of data. That’s it. Don’t get so hung up on it in the first place. We don’t worry so much about how many inches tall we are, right? The scale doesn’t define what you’re capable of. It’s an indicator. I can give you a long list of indicators that are just as important:

  • Skeletal muscle mass in pounds
  • Body fat percentage
  • Total daily energy expenditure in calories
  • Triglycerides and Cholesterol
  • 1 rep max front squat in pounds
  • Mile run time in minutes and seconds
  • Max pull-ups in 60 seconds
  • Max push-ups in 60 seconds
  • Max plank hold in seconds
  • 3 rep max deadlift in pounds
  • Time to complete Fran
  • Time to complete Grace
  • Time to complete Isabelle
  • Time to complete Jackie
  • Time to complete Diane

All of these are indicators that help define who you are an a continuum of wellness and fitness (and happiness). We believe if you can deadlift twice your bodyweight, run a 9-minute mile, and finish Grace is under 5 minutes, your health metrics are good and headed in the right direction.

We’ve seen members gain a few pounds on the scale after 6 months in the gym only to find out that they lost 3% body fat and gained lean muscle mass. The best part was, they lost inches around their waist and fit into clothes they hadn’t worn in years. We have an InBody body composition scanning machine in the gym just for this reason. We can give you a better understanding of what’s going on with your body that the number on the scale cannot.

Bottom Line

Realize where you are now is simply a starting point. The only way to make real progress is to put in the effort each day on a consistent basis. The destination is the journey.