Author: Troy Theodosiou
It’s very common to feel like you’re not losing weight fast enough, despite faithfully sticking to your diet. However, the number on the scale is only one measure of weight change. Weight is influenced by several things, including fluid fluctuations and how much food remains in your system.
Weight can fluctuate by up to 4 lbs (1.8 kg) over the course of a day, depending on how much food and liquid you’ve consumed.
Increased estrogen levels and other hormonal changes in women can lead to greater water retention, which is reflected in scale weight.
If you’ve been working out, you may be gaining muscle and losing fat. When this happens, your clothes may start to feel looser — especially around the waist — despite a stable scale weight.
Measuring your waist with a tape measure and taking monthly pictures of yourself can reveal you’re actually losing fat, even if the scale number doesn’t change much.
You may feel as though you’re not eating very many calories. But in fact, most of us have a tendency to underestimate and under report what we eat.
Studies on very low-calorie diets providing less than 1,000 calories per day show they can lead to muscle loss and significantly slow down metabolism.
Processed low-fat or “diet” foods are often considered good choices for losing weight, but they may actually have the opposite effect. Many of these products are loaded with sugar to improve their taste. For instance, one cup (245 grams) of low-fat, fruit-flavored yogurt can contain a whopping 47 grams of sugar (nearly 12 teaspoons)
Rather than keep you full, low-fat products are likely to make you hungrier, so you end up eating even more. Instead of low-fat or “diet” foods, choose a combination of nutritious, minimally processed foods.
Many people believe that exercise “supercharges” their metabolism. Although exercise increases metabolic rate somewhat, it may actually be less than you think. Fitness trackers tend to overestimate the number of calories you burn during exercise, often by a significant amount!
What’s more, liquid calories don’t seem to affect the appetite centers in your brain the same way calories from solid foods do. Often you end up consuming more calories overall, instead of compensating for the liquid calories by eating less later in the day.
Getting enough protein is extremely important if you’re trying to lose weight. Protein has been shown to help with weight loss in several ways. It can reduce appetite, increase feelings of fullness, decrease calorie intake, increase metabolic rate and protect muscle mass during weight loss. A review also found that higher-protein diets, containing 0.6–0.8 grams of protein per lb (1.2–1.6 g/kg), may benefit appetite control and body composition.
I would recommend tracking what you eat so that you get an accurate picture of your calorie and nutrient consumption, as well as provide accountability.