Millions and millions of individuals make it a goal to lose body fat each year, and the vast majority of those same individuals also fail to realize their goal. Many of these same people have also previously tried to lose fat and experienced little to no success.
Why is this?
Is it hormones?
Is it eating the wrong foods?
Is it not using the right supplements?
Rest assured, there is no “secret” to losing body fat, but there are many reasons you’re not losing body fat.
Here are the top 8 reasons...
Top 8 Reasons You’re Not Losing Body Fat
#1 You’re Eating Too Many Calories
Simply put, losing weight boils down to calories in vs calories out.
No, it’s not sexy and it won’t be a New York Times best-seller, but the simple truth of the matter is that if you want to lose weight, then you need to consume fewer calories than your body burns each day.
Now, you’ll often hear people say that “I was eating in a calorie deficit and not losing weight.”
However, by definition they were not in a deficit...otherwise they would be losing weight.
Individuals might think they were eating in a deficit, but in reality they weren’t. This may be due to not tracking their calories and/or thinking that their maintenance calories were higher than they actually were.
Either way, the easy solution to this reason you’re not losing body fat is to track your calories using an app like the 1UP Fitness App.
The 1UP Fitness App not only gives you suggested daily calorie and macronutrient intakes based on your own information and fitness goal, but also offers customized meal options and the ability to quickly and easily track your nutrition so you know whether you’re hitting your nutrition goals or not.
#2 You’re Not Eating Enough Protein
Protein is most often associated with building muscle...but that’s not all it’s required for.
Our bodies are literally made of protein, including hormones, digestive enzymes, tissues, organs, and neurotransmitters as well as hair, skin, and nails.
Furthermore, when it comes to weight loss (or any other performance or physique goal for that matter), there’s no macronutrient more important than protein.
In regards to losing weight specifically, protein helps keep you feeling fuller for longer as it is the most satiating of all macronutrients. As a result, consuming adequate protein each day helps you feel fuller at meal times and therefore less likely to snack and/or overeat during the day.
Protein also requires more energy to digest than either carbohydrates or fats. So, not only does protein help you eat less (by helping you feel full) but it also increases energy expenditure.
Research also shows that individuals following a high-protein diet experience greater satiety (and thereby greater weight loss) than individuals consuming lower protein diets.[1,2,3]
Generally speaking, aim to consume around 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight per day.
Focus on consuming high-quality protein sources, such as eggs, poultry, beef, pork, dairy (including whey protein), fish, and shellfish. Plant-based protein options include soy, legumes, tofu, lentils, chickpeas, or vegan protein powders, such as 1UP Organic Vegan Protein Powder.
#3 You’re Drinking Too Many Calories
There’s a common misconception that liquid calories “don’t count.”
But, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The reality is that liquid calories are one of the worst sources of “hidden calories” in the diet.
Examples include soda, sports drinks, fruit smoothies, cold-pressed juices, gourmet coffees, beer, cocktails, etc.
From a basic biological standpoint, the only liquid your body “needs” is water, not the triple venti mocha frappe-crappa-chino that packs 500 calories (including dozens of grams of sugar) from the overpriced coffee shop.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to only drink water during your transformation challenge. You can still have coffee and/or tea (just don’t add a cup of creamer or six tablespoons of sugar to it). You can also drink sparkling water, diet soda, and/or flavored water. One of our favorite ways to stay hydrated without skipping on flavor is to mix up a serving of BCAA/EAA into water and sip it throughout the day (or during a workout).
#4 Assuming “Healthy” or “Clean” Foods Are Calorie Free
This misconception was largely fueled by certain weight loss organizations who promoted the idea that certain foods (high protein foods, non-starchy fruits and veggies, etc.) had a value of “zero points.”
All foods, even the much advertised celery that’s advertised as having “negative calories,” contain calories, however small they may be.
Furthermore, while it’s true that it is hard to overeat whole foods that are high in volume but relatively low in calories, it still is possible to exceed your daily calorie needs.
Moreover, don’t be fooled by advertising. Just because a product contains buzzwords like:
- Whole grain
- Paleo certified
Doesn’t mean it’s calorie free.
This is why it’s important to track your calories (yes, even the “superfoods”). The 1UP Fitness App allows you to track any and all calories with ease. Just a few simple clicks and you’ll be able to track every last morsel of food, from that handful of macadamia nuts to the serving of goji berries you added to your breakfast.
#5 Not Training Hard Enough
Many individuals think they push themselves hard during their workouts, but the sad truth of the matter is that most people stop WAY before they’re muscles even approach fatigue.
Just think about how many individuals you’ve seen at the gym over the past weeks, months, or years that haven’t gotten results. Sure, they show up to the gym (which is better than nothing), but they don’t put in the required effort needed to get results -- building muscle, gaining strength, losing fat, etc.
Progress in the gym is fueled by progressive overload. Quite simply, you have to force your muscles to do more work than they previously have -- more weight, more reps, decreased rest, increased time under tension, etc.
Simply showing up isn’t enough to guarantee results. You have to do more than you’ve previously done to continue to force your body to adapt, change, and improve.
This is why it’s vital to track your resistance training workouts, which you can easily do in the 1UP Fitness App.
#6 Not Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep is essential to getting results no matter if you’re focused on losing fat, building muscle, or just living a healthy and fit life.
Sleep deprivation is a significant stressor to the body, which elevates cortisol and reduces levels of fat burning and muscle building hormones. It also increases protein breakdown and promotes fat storage, effectively doing everything you don’t want your body to do when you’re trying to get results.
Therefore, it’s essential to get quality sleep each and every night...sleeping in on the weekends isn’t enough as many people like to think.
To improve your sleep quality each night, try using some of these tips:
- Set a bedtime
- Institute a nighttime ritual to prepare your body for sleep
- Avoid/limit blue light exposure 2 hours before bed (this includes TV, laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc.)
- Avoid sources of stress before bed (social media, news, work emails, texts, etc.)
- Take a warm bath/shower
- Wear loose, comfortable clothes to sleep in
- Make your room cool and dark
- Avoid/limit caffeine and alcohol intake in the hours before bed
You may also find it helpful to use a nighttime relaxation and recovery aid, such as 1UP Beauty Dream or Recharge PM. Our women’s and men’s nighttime formulas include natural ingredients to promote feelings of calm, relaxation, helping you unwind and achieve the deep, restorative sleep you need to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle whatever the new day has in store for you.
#7 You’re Always Stressed
Stress is a killer...seriously.
Being stressed all the time doesn’t just make you look older and grayer. It literally wreaks havoc on your physiology, disrupting your hormones, and making it that much harder to lose weight, build muscle, or just live a healthy life.
Chronic stress leads to chronically elevated cortisol levels, which is known to:
- Increase hunger
- Decrease satiety
- Reduce motivation to exercise
- Reduce daily energy expenditure
- Increase protein breakdown
- Decrease protein synthesis
- Impair macronutrient metabolism
- Encourage fat storage
We realize that it’s not entirely possible to remove all sources of stress from your life, but what you can control is how you respond to stressful situations.
For instance, you can remove yourself from a stressful interaction and go for a walk or take a moment to go through some breathing exercises. If a particular commute to work is causing you stress, you might try to find an alternate route.
Other practices like meditation, yoga, and/or gratitude journaling can also help reduce stress and promote feelings of well-being.
#8 Doing Too Much Cardio
Yes, it’s true that the most efficient way to lose weight is to use a combination of calorie restriction and exercise.
However, as with most things in life, there is a point where more doesn’t always lead to better results.
Many individuals fall into the trap that doing more and more exercise will lead to better weight loss results, but this simply isn’t true.
Doing too much cardio can actually put your body into a pro-catabolic state wherein it’s breaking down more muscle than it’s building, which leads to muscle loss and a decline in your metabolism.
Chronic cardio is also known to increase appetite, thereby creating a perfect storm of wanting to eat more and muscle loss, which doesn’t bode well for fat loss in any way shape or form.
Cardio can certainly be included in your weekly workout regimen, we even offer some suggestions for cardio & core workouts in the 1UP Fitness App, but make sure the focus of your weekly exercise regimen is on resistance training (“lifting weights”) which helps build/retain muscle and boost metabolism. Cardio is there to further augment energy expenditure throughout the week so that you don’t have to diet on “poverty macros.”
Keep the sessions moderate (15-20 minutes of HIIT or 30-40 minutes of low-to-moderate intensity steady-state cardio). Walking is one of our favorite cardio options that not only helps burn calories, but actually supports muscle recovery as it increases circulation.
- Layman DK, Boileau RA, Erickson DJ, Painter JE, Shiue H, Sather C, Christou DD. A reduced ratio of dietary carbohydrate to protein improves body composition and blood lipid profiles during weight loss in adult women. J Nutr. 2003 Feb; 133(2): 411-7.
- Campos-Nonato I, Hernandez L, Barquera S. Effect of a High-Protein Diet versus Standard-Protein Diet on Weight Loss and Biomarkers of Metabolic Syndrome: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Obes Facts. 2017;10(3):238-251. doi:10.1159/000471485
- Halton TL, Hu FB. The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004;23:373–385.