10 Reasons You're Exercising And Not Losing Weight

By MaryAnn DePietro, CRT. May 7th 2016

If you started an exercise program in part to lose weight and the scale is not budging, it can be frustrating. Not making progress can cause you to lose motivation and even stop your workouts. Not only is exercising important, but how you exercise is also key to weight loss. If you’re exercising and not seeing the weight loss results you want, here are 10 reasons why.

Not Working Out Hard Enough

Simply put the harder you workout, the more calories you will burn. Exercise intensity is measured in two ways including perceived exertion and heart rate. Perceived exertion means how hard you feel you are exercising. Another more objective way to measure intensity is by heart rate. Working out at 50 to 70 percent of your maximum heart rate is considered moderate intensity, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. If you are not seeing any weight loss, consider increasing the intensity of your workout.

Doing The Same Routine All The Time

If you always do the same routine every time you work out, your body gets used to it and is not challenged any longer. When your body is used to the same exercise routine you’re likely burning fewer calories than you did when you first started. Consider changing your routine every two months. Trying something new can also help prevent boredom and injuries from repetition.

Eating Too Much Before And After Your Workout

Eating something light before a workout may be acceptable, but eating a lot more than you normally do because you know you’ll be exercising may not be a good idea. Also, exercise can make you hungry. If you put the calories right back into your body after a workout, your canceling out what you just burned and may not see not weight loss.

Stressing Out

Everyone has some stress in their lives, but could stress be preventing you from losing weight? According to Harvard Medical School, research indicates weight gain is connected to stress. The hormone cortisol is released when you feel stress, which may increase appetite and cause you to overeat. If stress is high in your life, try stress reduction techniques, such as message, deep breathing and meditation.

Skipping Strength Work

When it comes to exercise, strength training is an important piece of the puzzle to help you lose weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, as you age muscle mass can decrease and body fat can increase. Adding strength training exercise twice a week can help prevent loss of muscles and increase the amount of calories you burn even at rest.


Finding the time to exercise on a regular basis can be a challenge. If you find you’re skipping workouts frequently or only exercising on weekends, inconsistency may be the problem. Take an honest look at how often you workout and determine what’s getting in the way.

Mistaking Thirst For Hunger

Throughout the course of your day and especially after exercise, you need to be drinking enough fluids. Sometimes the body can mistakes thirst for hunger. It’s not uncommon to reach for something to eat when it’s really water your body needs.

You Are Not Doing Cardio Long Enough

Although any exercise is better than none, if you’re trying to lose weight, you may not be working out long enough. Cardiovascular exercise burns calories. The longer you workout the more calories you’ll burn. How long you need to work out to lose weight may vary depending on your age, what type of exercise you’re doing and the intensity of your workout. According to Harvard School of Public Health, people trying to lose weight should exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.

Lack Of Sleep

You may be aware of problems associated with lack of sleep, such as fatigue and decreased alertness, but lack of sleep may also be hindering your weight loss goals. Too little sleep can affect both the type of food you eat and how much. Lack of sleep also affects stress and hormone levels, which also contribute to trouble losing weight. Although individual sleep needs vary, the average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night as recommend by the National Sleep Foundation.

Going By The Calorie Counter On The Fitness Equipment

It may not be a good idea to rely on exercise machines for an accurate assessment of the number of calories you burned during your workout. Fitness machines, such as the stair climber, elliptical and treadmill often overestimate calories burned. Instead of measuring your workouts by calories burned, measure it by time and intensity.

If you are not seeing any weight loss, or you have reached a plateau, making a few of the above adjustments to your exercise routine may be all you need. Even if the scale is not budging just yet, sticking with your exercise program has many benefits including reducing your risk of certain illnesses and increasing overall health.


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