Why Am I Not Losing Weight? Clarifying the Most Common Causes

Author: Henrik Aulbach

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Lesezeit: 4 min

“No matter what I do, I'm not losing weight.” This is the kind of thinking millions of people experience every day. New diets and exercise routines are constantly tried, yet the weight remains more or less the same. What could be the reason? Why am I just not losing weight? The following approaches might help you.

Diets Routinely Fail - Lasting Dietary Changes Are Necessary

Numerous studies demonstrate that diets don't work in the long term. This is more than logical. Why should a short-term diet lead to a lasting decrease in body weight? After all, certain dietary mistakes or issues were responsible for causing overweight in the first place. Once the diet ends, people revert to their old eating habits. Therefore, you should start thinking about long-term dietary changes instead of diets.

For this, evaluate your diet. Through which critical habits does your overweight arise? Are you prone to snacking on things like chips or gummy bears? Do you tend to overeat during dinner because you've eaten too little throughout the day? Is it your food choices – do you consume too many processed ready-to-eat foods? The answers to these questions are much more helpful than searching for the next diet.

Moreover, you should stop looking for tips and advice in nutrition magazines and the like. If these magazines provided the right advice, one issue would be sufficient. They essentially thrive on people not achieving lasting success in weight reduction.

So: Forget about quirky diets like Low-Carb, Strawberry, or Ketogenic diets. Focus on lasting, healthy, and achievable dietary changes that promote a healthy diet and a healthy weight over the long term.

The Key Factor: Gut Microbiome – Is Your Microbiota to Blame?

Nevertheless, you might still not be losing weight. Research has uncovered interesting connections between gut microbiota and people's weight. For example, it has been found that the microbiomes of overweight individuals resemble one another, often containing certain bacteria in high numbers that are scarce or absent in lean individuals.

Furthermore, studies have hinted that a person's microbiome can influence their eating habits and even cravings for certain foods. How exactly bacteria influence individual cravings is unclear. Nevertheless, the insight that our microbiome could potentially be responsible for overweight makes it even more challenging for overweight individuals to achieve sustained weight reduction.

Not Losing Weight: The Fundamental Principle of Weight Reduction

Losing and gaining weight follows the laws of thermodynamics. From this arises a very simple principle that explains any weight reduction: To lose weight, a calorie deficit is necessary. You must consume fewer calories than you burn. In doing so, your body, to meet its energy needs, will tap into its fat reserves. Also, you can remember that one kilogram of body fat contains about 7000 kilocalories. So, you would need to burn 7000 kilocalories more than you consume to lose one kilogram of body fat.

This is the fundamental principle of any weight loss. As you can now see, it's relatively irrelevant whether you avoid carbohydrates or fats. What's crucial in principle is that more calories are expended than consumed.

Make sure that the calorie deficit is not too large. This could lead to a “broken metabolism.” A broken metabolism can occur when too few calories are consumed over an extended period. The body then enters a state known as “starvation mode,” where it reduces energy expenditure due to the fear of starvation. This makes further weight loss significantly challenging. To avoid this starvation mode, a modest calorie deficit should be maintained.

Symptoms of a broken metabolism may include cold hands and feet, as well as fatigue and tiredness in daily life. These signs indicate that your body wants to conserve energy at all costs.

Why Am I Not Losing Weight? Frequently Asked Questions

Why Am I Not Losing Weight?

There can be numerous reasons. In most cases, your calorie deficit is insufficient. You're not consuming fewer calories than you're expending, which would require your body to use energy from its fat reserves. By the way, when undergoing weight loss, it's important to engage in physical activity, as your body would otherwise primarily break down muscles. Muscles consume much more energy than fat cells, so your body conserves energy by breaking down muscles.

Why Am I Not Gaining Weight?

People can only gain weight when there's a calorie surplus. You can determine your calorie needs through various methods, including mathematical formulas and measuring devices. With this, you can accurately consume a daily calorie surplus.

If you're not gaining weight despite a calorie surplus, consult a doctor. There could be reasons why your body isn't absorbing the excess calories or storing them as fat reserves.

Why Am I Gaining Weight?

If you're gaining weight, it's due to a calorie surplus. Issues with the thyroid can cause weight gain or loss regardless of the amount of consumed calories. 

Why Am I Not Gaining Weight?

If calorie intake has been adjusted accordingly and you're still not gaining weight, consult a doctor. Various factors can prevent weight gain, such as gastrointestinal disorders that hinder complete nutrient absorption. Metabolic disruptions can also hinder weight gain.

How Long Does Metabolism Take to Adapt?

It's highly individual. Overweight individuals starting a weight loss journey transition from a calorie surplus to a calorie deficit. This is a change for the body's metabolism as it needs to rely more on energy from fat reserves. If the calorie deficit is too severe, as mentioned earlier, it can lead to a broken metabolism. The duration of this adaptation process is uncertain. 

Why Am I Losing Weight?

An individual loses weight when they have a calorie deficit. Regardless, gastrointestinal or metabolic issues can trigger weight loss. In such cases, the body is simply preventing calorie intake, leading to weight loss due to the calorie deficit.

Why Am I Gaining Weight?

According to the laws of thermodynamics, people gain weight when they have a calorie surplus. Once again, issues with the thyroid or digestive system disruptions can lead to problems with weight gain.

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