5 Reasons You’re Not Hitting Your Weight Goal

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5 Reasons You’re Not Hitting Your Weight Goal

Here’s the scenario: you’ve been soooo good. You haven’t cheated on your diet, you’ve been exercising your tail off, you’re consistently logging all your meals in MyFitnessPal, and you even turned down your favorite dessert at dinner last night. You expected to drop at least a few pounds since the last time you stepped on the scale, but… The numbers haven’t budged. What gives?

If this annoying story line sounds all too familiar, you’re not alone. We’ve uncovered the top 5 sneaky reasons that could explain why you’re simply not hitting your goal weight.

You’re not counting “extras” A dish usually isn’t served plain or alone. Normally, it’s served with dressings, sauces or dips that you need to take into account—not to mention how it was cooked, which Jackie London, M.S., R.D.N, says is most overlooked. “You have to consider cooking methods when logging food,” says London. “Was your entree sauteed in butter? Is there cream in the sauce that you just entered into MyFitnessPal as ‘tomato sauce’?” It’s important to be as specific as possible. Don’t skip over the dressing on your salad, or forget that your chicken is covered in creamy alfredo. “Those calories add up,” says London. “And interestingly, it tends to be these higher calorie or more calorie dense items that are often overlooked.”

You’re misjudging portion sizes Remember if you’re eating lean meat, one serving is about the size of a deck of cards. If you’re eating a sushi roll, the calories are likely for a six-piece serving, not eight or ten. Make sure you’re aware of just how much you’re taking in. “This is easier, of course, when you’re preparing meals at home and can measure everything out,” London says. Try cutting back the number of meals you’re eating out or immediately box up half of your restaurant meal for the next day.

You’re not logging foods right away Logging your meal after you eat it eliminates the attention to detail. You might forget to add the cheese you had on your salad, or that small side roll that came with it. “Accuracy is what makes a food journal work,” London says. “By not writing it down while it’s happening, you lose the accountability factor, which makes your goal harder to achieve.” Logging your dinner before you eat it might help you notice that the cookie from earlier actually pushed you over your calorie target for the day, so you’ll be less inclined to reach for a second helping.

You’re not counting the liquid calories If you’re quenching thirst during the day while on the go, or sipping mindlessly as an accompaniment to your meal, you may not be counting all those liquid calories. And there’s a laundry list of culprits: “Coffee beverages, wine, beer, cocktails, juices, sports drinks, et cetera, et cetera,” London says, noting how easy they are to forget. “Just because you can’t remember it, doesn’t mean you didn’t drink it.” As soon as you do, log it!

You’re overestimating your activity level To figure out the number of calories you should be consuming daily, you need to determine how many calories your body is going to burn in 24 hours. MyFitnessPal will calculate this for you using your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), but you still have to appropriately choose your activity level—something most casual exercisers tend to get wrong. “We often perceive our intensity as being much more difficult than what it actually takes to create a calorie-deficit for the day,” London says. If you’re not losing the weight you want, you may have incorrectly guessed your activity level. You may not be up and about during the day as much as you thought, or your workouts aren’t as high-intensity as you assume. Try recalibrating your activity level in MyFitnessPal: on the web, go into settings and select “Update diet/fitness profile;” and in the app, select “Goals” from the main menu.

Confession time: Are you guilty of these little logging slip ups? How do you keep yourself on track?

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  • AnnGepp

    Or simple put, you’re eating more than you think you are, and moving less than you think you are. Something most of us are all guilty of when we starting a weight loss journey.

  • Netty D

    The hardest thing I’ve ever encountered was and still is other people, who don’t understand or maybe there just trying to sabotage your eating! they say things like “you can have a little just this one time” or who cares what you look like” “why are you on a diet anyway?” or finally its my party, you gotta have something!” and these things can send you into a tail spin! Now I just tell people its not apart of my plan, so the answer is no thank you! Smile and walk away..

  • Netty D

    The hardest thing I’ve ever encountered was and still is other people, who don’t understand or maybe there just trying to sabotage your eating! they say things like “you can have a little just this one time” or who cares what you look like” “why are you on a diet anyway?” or finally its my party, you gotta have something!” and these things can send you into a tail spin! Now I just tell people its not apart of my plan, so the answer is no thank you! Smile and walk away..

  • Caz

    To lose it you’ve got to use it!! It’s easy to go over your calorie allowance with all the little things you eat.

  • Caz

    To lose it you’ve got to use it!! It’s easy to go over your calorie allowance with all the little things you eat.

  • Brian

    I’m trying to maintain at this point, but find logging the “extras” a pain. What works for me is keeping MyFitnessPal set as if I was trying to lose 0.5-1.0 pounds per week and the weight stays off.

  • Brian

    I’m trying to maintain at this point, but find logging the “extras” a pain. What works for me is keeping MyFitnessPal set as if I was trying to lose 0.5-1.0 pounds per week and the weight stays off.

  • Elizabeth

    Dieting is one of the toughest things I’ve tried. If any of you are still young – 20 to 40 my advice is to pay particular attention to what you consume now, because when you get older it becomes even more difficult to drop even a few pounds. I was fortunate to get to be around 60 when I began to blossom. Then it seemed the pounds came quickly. I am 5′ 5″ and weigh 135, but I am used to being around 125 and I find it difficult to drop those few pounds. I will not give, but also as you age, things do shift. The body changes. If this can help anyone to start watching now that’s a good thing.

  • Elizabeth

    Dieting is one of the toughest things I’ve tried. If any of you are still young – 20 to 40 my advice is to pay particular attention to what you consume now, because when you get older it becomes even more difficult to drop even a few pounds. I was fortunate to get to be around 60 when I began to blossom. Then it seemed the pounds came quickly. I am 5′ 5″ and weigh 135, but I am used to being around 125 and I find it difficult to drop those few pounds. I will not give, but also as you age, things do shift. The body changes. If this can help anyone to start watching now that’s a good thing.

    • Struggling @ 60

      This is so true! I hope everyone listens to this great advise.

      • geordiejock

        so true the older you get harder it is. I do lots of exercise classes , do weight watchers and iam lucky if I loose half a pound, took me two months to loose half a stone. where as it used to take three week s when I was young iam 59 been on diets since I was 17

  • JoBo

    If you just say a firm “no thanks” when offered something you don’t want to eat rather than explaining that you are trying to lose weight people just accept it rather than trying to sabotage your efforts.

    • Sonolodo

      very true

  • Jen Clark

    I have been overweight for many many years but always said if I get an obesity related disease I would deal with it…it’s happened! I’m 61 next month and was diagnosed with early diabetes type 2 at the end of March and just this week found out I have asthma. Both of these conditions are exacerbated with being overweight. So.. that’s it, I’ve started logging all of my foods and exercise and lost 3 pounds in my first week. I’ve been ‘nagged’ as I wasn’t eating enough which prompted me to snack on something healthy.

    I’m LOVING the app at the moment, it’s re-educating me and has shown me that my love of butter needs to be curbed, I’d forgotten JUST how calorific it is with the amounts that I slather on bread. Due to the diabetes (which I’m determined to combat with diet and exercise rather than medication) I mustn’t eat white bread, pasta or rice and I’ve cut down substantially already on my sugar intake. Loving the nutrition guide although sometimes it doesn’t register the vitamins. My Greek salad last night with half a cucumber and baby plum tomatoes still registered absolutely no vitamin C? It has also highlighted that I need more protein in my diet.

    Hopefully I’ll prove that it’s never too late and I’m in this for the long haul, I’m impressed with the app and look forward to learning more about it.

    • nadean

      I am in the same boat as u Jenna .diabetic for 2 yrs ,just recently diagnosed with asthma.,61 and I work shift work.I’m hoping that I can get off my medication however I get lazy, its cool to find someone to relate too.

      • Jen Clark

        I sneaky weighed myself this morning (know you’re not supposed to) and I’ve lost another pound! Being super-strict with EVERYTHING that goes in my mouth because I’ve only just started. I already take meds for high blood pressure and know I have to use the inhalers but I’m damned if I’ll take pills for diabetes when it’s controllable. I want to go into the winter of my life in better shape! It’s all about quality eh? Good luck!

        • Sonolodo

          keep it up!!!! You’re off to a GREAT start!!!

  • Coffee doesn’t have calories. The cream & sugar, however, . . .

  • Marianne

    I’m surprised there’s no mention of muscle mass here. You could be gaining muscle and slimming down while still not be losing as much weight as you want.

    • Sonolodo

      Yes, that is part of it, at first (for some). But, after a short period of time, your muscle mass causes your body to become more efficient and weight does come off. If that doesn’t happen, you need to read the article and adjust.

      • Des

        Even that is almost entirely myth. A pound of muscle burns about 2 calories a day more than fat (look it up – it is not the 50 that some blogs claim). If you add 10 pounds of muscle you’re only adding 20 calories a day of extra burn. It is still good to be fit (both for aesthetics and for bone health) but it isn’t going to do much either to the scale or towards caloric efficiency.

    • Lulufee

      Athletes can only gain about 18 lbs a year of muscle, which is like, only 1.5 lbs a month. So, a casual weightlifter is not gaining that much muscle mass. In short, it’s a convenient lie people tell themselves to avoid the fact they are not losing weight.

  • A.J. Dub

    I find that if I log as I prepare my meal, or before I begin eating it is much more accurate. It is easier to eliminate from my counts what I didn’t eat than try to remember what I ate later and add it in.

    • Cleecan2

      I like that idea. I’m thinking that if I have a plan detailed for the day it would keep me on track vs waiting to log what I eat, therefore I can only eat what I already logged!

  • John Marucci

    This article is absolutely right on. We’ve been using MyFitnessPal with great success for 16 months and have experienced real progress. All of the five points apply and are needed to succeed. Two things have really helped that I will add: first, if you can move from walking exercise to biking or jogging, the time-to-calorie burn goes way up and buys you more calories for the day making it easier to not have to make drastic adjustments to your intake. Second, if you can take an hour or so once a week and menu plan using MyFitnessPal, it makes staying on track that week all the easier.

  • BilNan

    II am 67 years old and in just under a year I have lost 24Kg (53lb) with the help of MyFitnessPal and a FitBit activity tracker and my wife. Based on my BMI I was obese but now have moved through overweight to a clinically acceptable weight. The reason I was overweight was that I ate (and drank) too much and exercised too little. To reduce my weight I have had too change my lifestyle by eating and drinking less and taking more exercise. As I have now almost reached my target weight, I can eat a little more. But if I want to stay around my target weight, I can never go back to my old eating habits. I have changed my lifestyle. I have changed my diet, yes, but I do not regard it as being on a diet.

    • 重ね

      Wow! Congradulations! ☆*:.。. o(≧▽≦)o .。.:*☆

  • Cleecan2

    I have been on a fitness and food hiatus for three weeks and I’m ready to get back on track throughout summer. The tips are great but I am very aware of logging everything, except I start off good in the morning but logging snacks and lunch are hard. I seem to forget after dinner then end up trying to remember everything in the morning from the next day. When I’m eating good I follow a routine so then logging seems redundant. I really need to be better at logging my food intake right after I consume it!

  • Sonolodo

    I try to log my day in halves BEFORE I eat, so I have a plan. Then as long as I stick to my plan, I’m in good shape (literally). I’ve lost 18 pounds (in 4 months) to my ideal weight and I’ve kept it off now for 3 months.

  • Jen

    Make sure you have a heart rate monitor, that way you know exactly how many calories you burn in a workout. It makes the diary more accurate so you know how far in the green you are. A heart rate monitor truly proves if you are working extra hard or just think you are working hard!

  • guest

    I can barely walk around my own living area on pavement ,can’t walk on grass. I really want to loose 80 lbs.but all I do is take dog out when ever she wants on a good day I am in constant pain.On a bad day she goes out every 6 hrs.or the neighbor takes her out for me. I clean when my legs aren’t giving out on me. I started first of June to by no sugar added jello products 5 to 90 calories and source yogurt that is 35 calories.I don’t have chewing teeth for raw veggies but loved them steamed half way.this way I figured the containers are all between 92 and 100 g except for the applesauce it is 2/3 cup and for fiber 100 cal fiber one bars,cantaloupe and honey dew melon and pineapple for digestion .I have 1 coffee in am and usually a tea with skim milk at night or herbal tea with 1/2tsp sugar.I take alot of meds and most are separated and have to be taken with food. So I rinse my containers out and leave them in the sink till the end of the day so I keep track for sure .Wrappers and fruit skins go in a zip lock baggie . Do you have any other helpful suggestion for some one very immobile.

    • Dorothy

      Have you tried Leslie Sansone video’s? There are various work-outs, walking tapes and just stretching, working with bands.

    • nicailyzee

      Is it possible to ask your doctor to refer you to a nutritionist and some sort of fitness program that is covered by your insurance. That way you will be able to get guided help. I am really praying for you!

  • Tammy Eaton

    any advise im 53 and have only lost 17lbs since january seems like its coming off very slowly i try eating a low carb diet i do eat out once a week i drink all my water a day i do walk threw the week every morning before work