10 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Fat

When the fat isn’t shifting, people have some bizarre ideas why this is the case.

“I must not be eating enough, my metabolism is so low”

“I’m eating too much protein and it’s being stored as fat”

“I’m doing too much exercise”

These are all genuine reasons that I’ve heard from people. I don’t mention it to make a mockery out of them, purely to highlight the misinformation that is out there which unfortunately spreads like wildfire.

These people have clearly heard these things from what they believe to be reputable sources, so I want to make people aware that a) these sources are full of bullshit, and b) what follows in this article are the real reasons why you’re not losing fat!

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1. Your calories are too high.

We’ll start simple. If you eat too much and this puts you into a calorie surplus, you won’t lose fat.

Drop your calories by 100 or so and stick to this new calorie intake for a week and see what happens. No change? Do it again until the scales do budge!

2. You think you’re eating less than you actually are.

For 5-7 days, write down everything that you eat or pop it into MyFitnessPal, I guarantee you’ll be surprised at the little things that you didn’t think mattered or even didn’t notice and how they add up over the course of week.

You know the stuff I’m talking about. That bottle of beer on Thursday night, that dollop of mayo on your otherwise macro friendly tuna jacket potato or that seemingly innocent glug of olive oil into the pan you fried your steak in.

Hell, they can all even add up to a whole extra day’s worth of calories if you’re not careful.

3. You’re eating back your exercise calories.

When you exercise and you get an estimated calorie burn from whatever cardio machine you’ve used, from your heart rate monitor, or had it worked out for you on MyFitnessPal. Unfortunately it is just that… an ESTIMATE. Burning off 300kcal on the treadmill does not necessarily mean that you can eat 300kcal worth of extra food and have it cancel itself out.

That’s not to say exercise isn’t good for you, or that it doesn’t burn calories, but too many people however have this attitude:

4. “I’ve earned that <INSERT FAVOURITE HIGH CALORIE FOOD HERE> because I’ve trained so hard”

This ^ is one bad mindset to have.

One because it could be argued that if you want a healthy relationship with food, it’s probably best not to regularly reward yourself with food.

Two, because unless you’re doing countless hours of exercise (I’m not saying you should…), normal exercise doesn’t actually burn that many calories. People who do have this attitude often overestimate how many calories they might have actually burnt in a session.

A trip to the chippy for a battered haddock and chips because you’ve done a 45 minute moderately difficult run or a squat session will likely not do you any favours for getting in a calorie deficit.

JB Front Before & After

5. You’re not NEAT enough.

NEAT stands for Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.

In layman’s terms this means getting off your arse and moving around but not in a manner that is considered to be structured exercise. For example walking the last few stops instead of getting the Tube to work. Or how about taking the stairs instead of the lift to get up to your office? How about standing when you can sit? You get the idea.

Performing enough NEAT is one of the best ways to increase your daily energy expenditure. Interestingly enough, there is some evidence to suggest that when we diet and start to lose weight our bodies subconsciously reduces our NEAT in order to preserve energy.

Quite cool what our body is capable of, but fecking annoying at the same time.

This means we need to make a real conscious effort to increase our activity. Try using a pedometer app on your phone or invest in a Fitbit to try and monitor your movement.

6. You have a cheat day

I’m guilty for recommending them in the past, but I now have gone almost a full U turn on my opinion on cheat days. In the very vast majority of cases they won’t elevate your metabolic rate to any meaningful degree like some will tell you, nor will they give you a healthy relationship with food.

For most people it’s simply too difficult to moderate them and stop from going way full on with a fry up for breakfast, pub lunch and rounding it all off with a lamb passanda, a peshwari naan and a dozen pints of Kingfisher to wash it down with at the Taj Mahal for dinner.

Even with a decent calorie deficit built up on your other days, if your cheat days are out of hand then you’ll easily wipe out your calorie deficit for the week, and may even end up in a calorie surplus just from ONE day of over consumption of calories.

So reconsider your use of a cheat day, or at the very least moderate them to a cheat meal where the damage control is a little easier.

Or better yet, adopt a flexible way of eating so your need for a cheat day in the first place is lessened!

7. You don’t sleep enough

Sleep may not affect weight gain directly, however, some evidence suggests that insufficient sleep can cause more muscle loss whilst in a calorie deficit as opposed to getting your full quota of ZZZs.

Stop watching late night episodes of Game of Thrones or Banshee and get yourself a good sleep routine. While you’re at it pop a few magnesium capsules too or have a cup of valerian tea, both which may promote restfulness.

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8. You’re impatient and inconsistent

These things take time to work. At the time of writing, I’m 18 weeks deep into my cut for summer and I’m still not where I want to be yet, but I’m going to keep on chipping away, safe in the knowledge that I will get there.

If you scroll back up to the top of the page and see Dan’s transformation, that took him a year. A year of consistent hard work. Sure he had small periods of plateaued fat loss along the way but he trusted the process, kept his head down and cracked on, ultimately getting to where he wanted to be!

People expect big things in a short space of time, we all want to get in shape this very second.

It doesn’t help when you see cover stories on Men’s Health like “Shredded in Six Weeks!” or similar crap. Sure, if you’ve not got a full-time job, don’t have a family or other responsibilities which means you have the time and resources to plough into your diet and exercise then maybe you can do it in a shorter period of time.

But we normals have to sensibly manage our own expectations and be consistent with an approach that works for us.

9. You need to chill the F’ out

Just like a lack of sleep, stress may not cause weight gain or halt fat loss directly, but it certainly increases your chances of overeating.

Treat the potential cause of your overeating rather than constantly battling with yourself and trying to diet. Play some sport, learn to meditate, go for a walk or just do whatever you enjoy doing.

10. You eat ‘clean’

If there’s one piece of terminology that needs to be eradicated from the English language, it’s ‘clean eating.’

It can encourage self-righteousness & food shaming, poor diet and nutrient variety, it doesn’t mean anything, even those that use it can’t seem to agree amongst themselves what it actually means and it certainly isn’t the panacea to everything health and fitness.

You can still very easily overeat on things that are considered clean and end up consuming far too many calories. Things like salmon, nuts, coconut oil, dark chocolate and the like all spring to mind as these are thought of as healthy, but are incredibly calorie dense, easy to overeat foods.

Oh and if I ever catch you wearing an item of clothing with the slogan “Eat Clean, Train Dirty” on it, I’ll bludgeon you with a dumbbell.

Just kidding.

But seriously, I will.

Why not stop your aspirations of being a clean eater, why don’t you put down your tupperware full of dry chicken and brown rice, and instead learn how to get shredded eating your favourite foods and drinks, and still be healthy by filling in your details below:

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