Why I’m Not Losing Weight Despite Calorie Deficit & Exercise

Struggling to lose weight despite calorie deficit and exercise? Explore common reasons like hidden calories, metabolic adaptation, muscle gain, and more in this guide.

It seems simple: eat less, move more, and you should lose weight. But it’s not always that easy. Several things can make this plan not work for you. These include health problems, stress, and hormone issues.1 We’ll look into why weight loss might not be happening when you’re trying hard and what you can do about it.

Reducing calories and working out should make you lose weight. Yet, the human body is amazingly complex. Things like1 basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the main part of your daily calorie burn,1 hormonal water retention, and menopause might stall weight loss. So can1 changes in diet and medications,1 increased stress, and less sleep, which may up cortisol and make you eat more. Moreover, losing muscle and1 sleep’s effect on hunger could slow you down too.

To tackle these problems, focus on making a real calorie deficit. Choose foods that pack a punch nutrition-wise. Manage stress and ensure you rest well. Getting expert advice can also be helpful. This way, you can beat these hurdles and achieve real, lasting weight loss.

Key Takeaways

  • Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is a big part of your daily calorie burn. Understanding this is key to knowing your personal calorie needs.
  • Water retention can stop weight loss, especially due to hormone changes, menopause, diet shifts, and certain medications.
  • Stress and high cortisol levels can make you gain weight and mess with your metabolism.
  • It’s crucial to do weight training and get enough protein to avoid losing muscle during calorie deficits.
  • Not getting enough sleep can make you eat more, which might lead to gaining weight.

Understanding Calorie Deficits

Beginning your weight loss journey involves checking your123 calorie intake first. The key to shedding pounds is a calorie deficit diet paired with exercise. This means eating fewer calories and increasing exercise. Doing this makes sure you burn more energy than you take in.

Making small changes to both eating and exercise works best. For example, doing strength exercises and eating unprocessed foods can be great. It helps you lose1 body fat effectively.

How Does a Calorie Deficit Work?

A123 calorie deficit happens when you consume fewer calories than your body uses. To lose weight, you need to eat less than what you burn off. This helps your body use up stored fat, leading to weight loss.

The trick is to find the right balance. You should lower calorie intake while increasing activity. This way, you can steadily maintain a123 calorie deficit.

Calculating Your Calorie Needs

Finding out your daily123 calorie needs is crucial for creating a deficit. Your BMR shows the calories you burn at rest. It makes up most of your daily energy use. Age, gender, height, weight, and how active you are affect your BMR and TDEE.

Once you know your TDEE, aim to cut down by 500-1000 calories a day. This can help you safely lose 0.5-1 kg (1-2 lbs) weekly.

Your Calorie Deficit is Imbalanced

Not sure how many calories you eat? Start by looking at energy balance. It’s your calories in minus your calories out. To lose weight, you need more out than in.1

Underestimating Food Intake

We often miss the mark when counting calories. We might not remember our ‘cheat meals.’3 This makes it hard to know if we’re really eating less than we burn.

Liquid Calories

Don’t forget about drinks. Sodas, juices, and some alcohol have lots of calories but don’t fill you up.3 Watching what you drink is key to a proper calorie deficit.

Using a Food Diary or Tracking App

A journal or app can help you see how much you really eat.3 This shows if you’re off with your guesses. It lets you adjust your diet smartly.

By tackling these issues, you make sure your calorie count is correct. This lays a good foundation for losing weight.2

calorie tracking

Reaching a Weight Loss Plateau

Have you stopped losing weight? It’s quite common.4 Many people face a weight loss hurdle. This halt occurs when your body burns as many calories as you eat. When you drop weight, you lose muscle too. This lowers your base metabolic rate or BMR. In simple terms, your metabolism slows as you shed weight. Hence, you burn fewer calories.4 Losing muscle as well as fat during dieting affects your metabolism, slowing it down.4 Thus, the calories you use drop as your weight decreases.

Reasons for Weight Loss Plateaus

Do you notice your progress stopping without changing your habits? To start losing again, up your exercise or cut calories.4 Breaking this pause requires more physical work or eating less.1 Periods and water retention might cause these halts. When you eat fewer calories, you might lose muscle. This too can slow your metabolism down.

Breaking Through the Plateau

Eating less already? Then, work out harder to move past this phase.4 Try lifting weights to boost muscles. This can help burn more calories.4 Aim for 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of hard exercise every week to lose more.4 Keep exercising and watch what you eat for lasting weight control.

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1 As you get more active, you might need to cut back on food to keep losing.1 Sleeping better makes you choose healthier foods, aiding long-term success. Concentrating on overall health can also push you beyond a stall.

Water Retention

Water retention can slow down your weight loss journey. It happens for various reasons, like hormonal shifts, menopause, and changes in your daily routine.1 Luckily, these issues are often short-lived.

If it keeps happening, seeing a doctor is smart. They can look for health issues like kidney or thyroid problems. Also, some medications and health conditions can cause it.1

Temporary Causes of Water Retention

Things like hormonal changes or a shift in diet can make you hold onto water for a bit.1 Our bodies, especially with the help of a hormone called cortisol, sometimes hold water. Cortisol aids in preparing the body for changes during dieting.5 So, don’t worry too much if you see your weight go up quickly or feel bloated. It might just be water weight, not fat.6

Managing Chronic Water Retention

There are actions we can take, like using the sauna or doing HIIT exercises. They can help. But, it’s crucial to drink enough water, as it supports losing overall fat.1 During the process of shedding fat, it’s common to see water weight go up and down. This happens as fat cells first fill up with water before getting smaller.6

However, if water retention keeps coming back, you need your doctor’s help. They can find and treat any diseases or health problems causing it.

Poor Sleeping Habits

Not sleeping well often goes hand in hand with gaining extra weight. When you don’t get enough sleep, your hunger can grow, making you eat more.1 Also, poor sleep messes with the part of your brain that controls pleasure and self-restraint. That’s why we might turn to high-calorie, sugary treats more often.7

Sleep Deprivation and Appetite

Being sleep-deprived messes with your hormones, which can make you want more unhealthy foods.1 This makes it hard to cut down on calories and shed those extra pounds.

Improving Sleep Quality

Getting better sleep is key to avoiding these problems. Going to bed early can stop you from snacking late at night. Plus, sleeping more helps you think clearly to pick healthier foods.1 Setting a bedtime routine and making your sleep space peaceful can greatly help with losing weight.

Menstrual Cycle and Hormonal Changes

Age and genetics influence our weight, alongside how hormones impact metabolism.8 During our menstrual cycles, it’s common to see weight changes.8 And, when menopause hits, our metabolism slows down.8 This makes losing weight tougher.

Weight Fluctuations During the Menstrual Cycle

Ever thought menopause was the cause of your weight gain? Women usually gain about 5 kilos during this time.8 But, menopause isn’t always to blame for the extra weight.8 Its symptoms, like hot flashes, poor sleep, and feeling down, can affect your eating and activity levels.8

Menopause and Metabolism

Doing activities such as weightlifting can help you gain muscle and improve how your body burns calories.9

Exercise Recommendations

Adults need about 300 minutes of moderate exercise weekly or 150 minutes of intense exercise.9 Including resistance training in your routine can boost muscle and reduce fat.9 It’s also important to vary your workouts and combine activities like cardio with strength exercises for better weight management.9

why am i not losing weight even though i’m in a calorie deficit and working out

Are you working out more but not losing weight? The issue might be your exercise type, especially if it’s mainly cardio. This can lead to losing muscle in areas not being exercised, like a runner’s upper body.1

Overtraining and Cardio Exercise

It’s key to add weight lifting to your routine to prevent muscle loss. Keeping up with your protein intake is crucial too.10 But, don’t ditch cardio. Finding the right mix is vital.

Balancing Cardio and Strength Training

Focus on losing weight in a way that you can maintain. This includes improving your mental health. Taking time for relaxation and doing activities like yoga can help.

Focusing on Overall Well-being

Remember, your weight loss journey is also about mental well-being. Make sure to rest and do calming exercises like yoga. These are important for your overall health.

Increased Stress Levels

Sometimes, we all feel stressed. It’s not just in our head – it affects our body too. Stress can mess with our weight by making us want to eat more.1 Often, we turn to unhealthy food for comfort.
Stress also slows down our body’s calorie burn.1 So, if you’re gaining weight because of stress, it’s time to relax. Try activities like yoga to feel better.

Stress and Cortisol Levels

Too much cortisol from stress can slow down weight loss. It messes with how our body uses energy and stores fat.9 It’s important to handle stress well for effective weight control.9

Stress Management Techniques

It’s key to deal with stress to avoid its bad weight effects. Join activities like yoga and meditation to bring down cortisol.1 Also, having good support around helps. It boosts your metabolism.1

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Inconsistent Weighing Habits

Seeing your weight change day by day can feel tough. Yet, it’s normal for weight to go up and down daily. This is often because of what you eat or drink.1

Changing when you weigh yourself can make your weight seem all over the place. Foods with lots of salt or carbs can make it jump more.1

But, remember, the key is to weigh yourself the same way every day. And if the scale is stressing you out, it’s okay to take a break. Focus on being healthy instead!

Factors That Affect Daily Weight Fluctuations

Many things can make your weight change during the day. This includes what and how much you eat, times you drink water, and even when you weigh yourself.1

Being bloated can stop you from losing weight. This can happen for different reasons, like menopause or if you change your eating habits.1

Stress is another big factor. It can make you hold onto weight by messing with your hormones.1

It’s crucial to notice these things and stick to a regular weigh-in schedule. This way, you can tell if you’re making real progress.

Proper Weighing Techniques

Wanna weigh yourself the right way? Do it at the same time every day. Morning is best, after using the restroom but before you eat or drink anything.1

Getting enough sleep is not just good for energy. It can stop you from snacking late at night and help you make better food choices.1

Keeping an eye on what you eat is key, too. Use a food tracker or app. It helps you know exactly what you’re putting in your body.1

By being consistent and paying attention to your routines, you’ll understand your weight changes better. This way, you can make smarter choices for losing weight.

Medical Conditions and Medications

Some health conditions and medicines can affect how easy or hard it is to lose weight. For instance, having an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or insulin resistance might slow your weight loss down.9 Medicines for mental health issues, high blood pressure, and birth control can also cause weight changes.9

Conditions That Impact Weight Loss

Health conditions such as hypothyroidism, PCOS, and insulin resistance can make losing weight tough.9 They can mess with how your body burns energy, affecting your weight loss efforts.9

Medication Side Effects

Some drugs for mental health, high blood pressure, and birth control can add on pounds or make you struggle to lose weight.9 They might change how your body deals with food and energy, making you eat more or keep too much water.9

Consulting a Healthcare Provider

If you think a health issue or medicine is stopping your weight loss, talk to a doctor.9 They can change your medicine or find other ways to help you reach your weight goals.9

Seeking Professional Help

If you’re trying hard to lose weight, but the results are slow, don’t lose hope. It could help to get advice from a professional. They know a lot about weight loss. They can give you tips that fit your life. This can make your weight loss journey easier and more effective.1

At My Weight Loss Clinic, we get that everyone’s journey is different. Our team looks at your goals, health, and what makes you, you. They offer advice and support just for you. This way, you can beat obstacles and meet your weight loss goals.1

Nutrient-Dense Foods for Weight Loss

Eating 1,500 calories a day matters, but so does the type of food. If what you’re eating is processed, sugary, or heavy on alcohol, it’s bad for your health and weight loss.7 These choices might give you calories, but they’re low on the nutrients your body craves. Going for nutrient-dense, whole foods such as fruits, veggies, lean meats, and whole grains can change everything.7 These nutrient-dense foods can help you lose weight by keeping you full and satisfied. They also give you the vitamins and minerals you need for good health.

The Importance of Whole, Nutrient-Rich Foods

Eating whole, nutrient-rich foods is a big deal for losing weight and staying healthy.7 These foods don’t just offer calories. They also pack vitamins, minerals, and good-for-you stuff that help you feel well. When you choose nutrient-dense foods, you’re less likely to crave unhealthy snacks or overeat.7

Meal Planning and Preparation Tips

To max out on nutrient-dense foods, giving time to meal planning and prep is key.7 Making your meals ahead of time helps you pick healthier options and watch your portions. It also keeps you away from processed and high-calorie foods. With some planning, you can enjoy tasty meals that help with your weight loss diet and keep you healthy.

Patience and Consistency

Setting goals is great, but it’s also important to see how far you’ve come. Your progress might not show on the scale immediately.1 If losing weight is your main goal, focus on feeling better overall. Don’t let the scale number bring you down. Remember, change takes time.2 Shift your focus to long-term progress and staying healthy. This mindset will keep you motivated and enjoying your journey.6 Losing weight is slow but steady progress. Each step takes you closer to your goal!

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Sustainable Weight Loss Takes Time

Losing 0.5-1 kilograms (1-2 pounds) a week is healthy and safe.2 Though it’s tempting to want quick results, slow progress is better for keeping it off.6 Celebrate small wins, like better-fitting jeans or more energy.1 This will keep you focused on your health, not just the scale.

Celebrating Small Victories

The scale might not show changes accurately; muscles weigh more than fat.1 Instead of being sad about the scale, look at other signs of progress. Notice how your clothes fit or your energy levels.6 Celebrate small achievements. Like improving in your workout or enjoying healthy meals.2 This change in thinking will keep you motivated for lasting change.


Losing weight can feel tough. It might seem like everything is right, but you’re still not losing.11 Key to success is identifying what’s stopping you.12 Make sure to eat less than you burn, choose healthy foods, reduce stress, get enough sleep, and ask for help when you need it.11 Keep going, stay consistent, and take care of your whole self. This will help you win the battle and keep the weight off.

It sounds easy to burn more calories than you eat. But, things like your metabolism, water weight, and hormones can make it hard.13 Knowing about these challenges helps. You can make changes that lead to lasting success.

The real key is to look at weight loss in a big picture way.12 Focus on eating fewer calories and choosing nutrient-rich foods. Add in self-care, like stress reduction and good sleep. Then, you’ll be on track to meet your weight loss aims.11 Take your time, be good to yourself, and enjoy the journey. Getting healthier isn’t a quick run, it’s a steady walk forward.


Why am I not losing weight even though I’m in a calorie deficit and working out?

There are a few reasons why weight loss might stall. You could be underestimating how many calories you eat. Water retention, hormonal changes, stress, and sleep problems play a part. Sometimes, it’s due to medical issues.

How does a calorie deficit work for weight loss?

To drop weight, you must eat less than you burn. This comes from eating fewer calories, moving more, or both.

How can I accurately track my calorie intake?

Use a food diary or an app to eye your calories better. People often miss how much they eat, especially with treats or drinks.

What causes a weight loss plateau, and how can I break through it?

A weight plateau means you burn as much as you eat. Metabolic changes or losing muscle might be at fault. Amp up workouts or cut more calories to keep dropping.

What are the causes and management of water retention?

Diet shifts, hormone changes, and health problems can hold water. Simple causes can be tackled with more movement and fluids. Chronic issues may need a doctor’s care.

How does poor sleep affect weight loss efforts?

Not enough sleep makes you eat more, lowers your ability to say no to food, and might mess up your diet plan.

How do the menstrual cycle and hormonal changes affect weight?

Women’s weight shifts each month. Menopause can slow your metabolism. Exercise, especially strength training, is key to handling these changes.

What is the role of exercise intensity in weight loss?

Doing cardio and lifting weights is both important. It keeps your muscles and metabolism strong, crucial for losing weight.

How can stress affect weight loss efforts?

More stress can up cortisol, making you hungry and slowing metabolism. Managing stress with yoga and mindfulness can keep you on track.

How should I approach weighing myself for accurate results?

Step on the scale daily at the same time, like in the morning. What matters is the trend, not day-to-day changes.

How can medical conditions and medications impact weight loss?

Health issues and some medicines can make losing weight tough. It’s vital to talk to a doctor about this.

When should I seek professional help for my weight loss journey?

If your efforts aren’t paying off, it might be time for expert advice. A nutritionist or a weight loss professional can offer a tailor-made strategy.

How can nutrient-dense foods support my weight loss efforts?

Eating whole, nutrient-packed foods helps you feel satisfied. They’re good for your health and your weight loss goals.

How can patience and consistency help me achieve sustainable weight loss?

Remember, losing weight is a gradual process. Stay consistent, celebrate small wins, and your journey will be both healthy and long-lasting.

Source Links

  1. https://www.myjuniper.com/blog/why-am-i-not-losing-weight-in-a-calorie-deficit
  2. https://myweightlossclinic.com.au/for-life/why-am-i-not-losing-weight-in-a-calorie-deficit/
  3. https://www.fuadfit.com/blog/why-you-are-not-losing-weight-in-a-calorie-deficit
  4. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss-plateau/art-20044615
  5. https://us.myprotein.com/thezone/nutrition/water-retention-weight-loss-plateaus-importance-caloric-deficit/
  6. https://www.trifectanutrition.com/blog/why-am-i-not-losing-weight-9-common-reasons-and-what-to-do-about-it
  7. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/20-reasons-you-are-not-losing-weight
  8. https://www.medichecks.com/blogs/womens-health/are-your-female-hormones-sabotaging-your-weight-loss
  9. https://www.health.com/weight-loss/working-out-and-still-not-losing-weight-here-are-7-reasons-why
  10. https://welltech.com/content/why-am-i-not-losing-weight-in-a-calorie-deficit-8-reasons-explained/
  11. https://www.businessinsider.com/weight-loss-work-out-eat-calorie-deficit-not-losing-fat-2022-4
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10908186/
  13. https://outlift.com/not-losing-weight-in-a-calorie-deficit/