Why Am I Not Losing Weight?
You want to lose weight and have started eating more healthy foods and less unhealthy ones. You’ve been really diligent, have only slipped up a few times, and four weeks later the scale hasn’t budged.
In today’s day of instant gratification, we desire “hacks” and shortcuts, but often we lack motivation and become frustrated without immediate results. Sound familiar?
Sometimes in order to move forward, we have to go back to the beginning and revisit the basics.
There is one -- and only one -- reason why any person’s weight changes: calories. Think about weight change and calories like a bank account. If you take out $1000 and put in $1500, your bank account has grown by $500.
Weight management works the exact same way. If you put in (eat/drink) more calories than you burn, you gain weight. If you put in fewer calories than you burn, you lose weight. If you put in the same amount you burn, your weight stays the same. This is often referred to as “calories in calories out” because it is quite literally a math equation. If I put in (consume) 2000 calories and put out (burn) 2500 calories, I have a deficit of 500 calories and have lost a little bit of weight that day.
That’s it. That’s the simple truth, and there are no ways around it. To lose weight one must be in a caloric deficit (burning more calories than have been consumed).
“But Kyle, what about my thyroid and other diseases that affect weight management?”
Yes, great question.
Even diseases or other abnormal physiology still adhere to the same laws. That’s why they are laws...they don’t change.
Thyroid, for instance, is a hormone that affects how many calories a person burns, or metabolism. Too much thyroid (hyperthyroid) ramps the metabolism up, and too little thyroid (hypothyroid) causes the metabolism to slow down. Thus, these conditions affect weight management the same way: by affecting the calories in vs. calories out equation. They change the amount of calories we burn. (Please seek out the advice from your regular physician before starting a new meal or diet plan if you deal with hyper or hypothyroidism.)
Even then, metabolic and thyroid disorders account for less than 1% of obesity rates. Unless you have a diagnosis from a doctor, don’t even think of blaming your thyroid for your weight.
“But what about carbs? Everyone knows you have to go low-carb to lose weight!”
The keto diet and other low-carb diets have become popular, and some people have wild success with them. Now that you know what causes weight change, you tell me: what is the reason people lose weight with low-carb diets?
Ding ding, very good! You are correct.
The reason is because they’re in a caloric deficit.
What’s the reason people lose weight on low-fat diets?
They’re in a caloric deficit.
What’s the reason people lose weight on the paleo diet?
They’re in a caloric deficit.
What’s the reason people lose weight on the Whole30 diet, the cabbage soup diet, the “I’ve had the flu for two weeks” diet, or any other diet?
They’re in a caloric deficit. Plain and simple. That’s it.
That’s the textbook science some really smart nerds in lab coats discovered a long time ago that gets taught in college classrooms. But there’s often a disconnect between the classroom and the real world, right?
Let’s be real: It’s one thing to know you have to maintain a caloric deficit to lose weight, and it’s a totally different thing to actually be able to avoid that cookie dish every day at work and find ways to somehow please your whole family at the dinner table when you know they want foods that probably won’t work with your caloric budget.
Finding solutions for real-world problems like this is where the magic in nutrition coaching happens, and that’s where things like the paleo diet and the ketogenic diet can be useful. They make it easy. “If a caveman couldn’t eat it, you can’t either.” That’s pretty simple. No on potato chips, yes on apples. And more times than not, making choices like that will reduce caloric intake, thus having an effect on weight.
At Courthouse, we believe in making nutrition easy, simple, and tasty. If you want to lose weight and don’t want to go through the hassle of counting all your calories and planning all your meals to fit your caloric budget, we’ve got just the thing for you: Courthouse nutrition. We provide you with meal plans, cooking instructions, and a shopping list for five meals per day. Plus, it’s all real food. You know, stuff you buy at the grocery store, not a powder you buy from a chemist.
Editor’s Note: Readers, please know that at Courthouse we do not advise dropping your caloric intake to below your daily energy output. We need food to fuel our brains and our bodies. We encourage eating more real, whole foods, which will overtime reduce your caloric intake as you make healthier choices. There are many, many, many factors to take into account when it comes to weight loss, including your personal health history, stress levels, and even sleep. No bodies are the same, but all bodies can benefit from making healthier food choices.