Thursday, 12 June 2014

Why am I not losing weight?

The title of this post is not about me.  I lost 3kg this week.  And when I don't lose weight I usually know exactly why!  The amount of work I put in is eerily parallel with how the scale reacts...funny that.

But what if, you're like me in my 'good' times, and you're working your butt off, and the scales just aren't shifting?

This week I've had a couple of people message me with the same question...and by
glancing at some social media posts, I've seen other people struggling with the same topic.  

I'm not talking about people who aren't following Basic Weight Loss 101.  Energy in vs energy out.  If you're not sure what that means then this post isn't for you.  Instead I'm talking about the people who are genuinely following the 'right' weight loss rules, but week in, week out, aren't seeing changes.  These people who messaged me and who I read about are struggling, and as far as I can tell, are genuinely putting the effort in.  In fact they're going above and beyond basic effort!  They're working so damn hard for this, and I know how heart wrenching it can be, to not see your efforts reflect on the scales.

I replied to one of the messages and I asked the person I sent it to if they would mind if I used my response for this post - I thought it was something worth blogging about, in case this can help anyone else, as there seems to be a few people out there.  I have permission to use what I said and have taken out all identifying references! :)  My answer would be similar for anyone - so here it is for other people, edited and fleshed out a little for my blog.  I've split it up into sections too, for easier reading.

Before you read it though, please know that the only expertise I have, is in being myself.  I am not a doctor, dietician, nutritionist, medical or health professional in any way, shape or form.  My name is Kate, and I used to be Morbidly Obese and now I'm not.  That's it.  All of the stuff I say below should not be taken as gospel - my ideas may be wrong!  Also, this is not advice, these are just my thoughts and suggestions of what to perhaps look for.  If you want professional advice, please see a professional.  I'm not an expert, but these people asked my opinion.  And the only basis my opinion has is from my own experiences and from what I've seen in other people and read about.  Disclaimer-ed enough??  Well then, here we go. :)

Hey :)

With the weight thing, this is NORMAL.  Please relax, it could be one of many things:

How much you weigh:  

You said you're not losing as much as you used to.  What you lose when you start losing weight won’t be the same all along.  As you get lighter, more work needs to be done to hit the same losses.  Eg. generally speaking most people who start out at 140kg+ can easily drop 20-30kg in the first 3 months.  Easy.  People who start out at 100-140kg can probably lose more like 10-20kg in that time frame, people 80-100kg maybe 10kg, and it goes down - down - down.  So someone 65kg would be lucky to lose 5kg in their three months.  I’m making these numbers up from the top of my head so they’re not exact, but it’s around about from what I’ve heard and seen and experienced.  As you get lighter, the weight loss slows down.  I saw someone ask yesterday how much weight people dropped when they first started losing weight.  It totally depends on their start weight (and a million other factors).  Someone who starts at 160kg, who’s never moved before could easily be 130kg down by the end of their first three months.  However imagine a 70kg person, there’s no (safe) way that they’d be 40kg in the same amount of time.  So try to relax…this is normal.  You’re heaps lighter than when you started so it’s literally physically inevitable that you’ll drop weight at a lower rate now. 

Body stress:

Also your body could be stressed to the max with all the exercise you’re doing.  This happens to me all the time.  Sometimes less exercise (less stress on the body) makes me drop more rather than when I’m going nuts and climbing a mountain or two a day. 

Your body's used to it:

Also the fact you’ve been doing this for so long, your body is probably plateauing and used to what you’re doing.   It could believe that what you do now is the norm, so it will stop dropping, as it takes everything as normal.  It might be time to spice things up a bit?  Maybe change your diet around…start trying foods you don’t usually eat.  Stay within your calories, but just eat differently.  Eg. I did a big cook-up late last year and I made a lot of food that I hadn’t tried before.  Turns out I wasn’t fussed on it lol – it was a good lesson learnt – don’t make 30 batches of something you haven’t tried before – you may not love it, then you have 29 more batches in your freezer to get through!

Anyway, I didn’t eat it all and after a couple of months I wanted to clear some space and felt like I should eat what I’d made.  So as much as I was not a fan of the stuff I'd pushed to the back corner of the freezer, I made myself eat everything.  I reckon that kicked my weight loss up a notch, coz I was eating stuff I don’t usually eat.  It was the same cals I usually eat, but it was just different types of food.  My body was like whoah – what is this different food?  I dropped more weight around then than I believe I would have if I'd stayed eating my usual favourites that my body had grown accustomed to.  I think because it had to start learning how to process this new food - it was different and it mixed things up for my body.

Also maybe look at changing the exercise you’re doing around.  As long as you’re moving that’s all that matters really, but if you want to start losing more, it may be worth changing things.  Just to shock your body and to make it think again.  What do you do for exercise?  If you do boot camp, try running.  If you’re walking, try dancing.  If you’re hiking, try cycling.  LOL.  Change things around…

Regular eating:

Some people might disagree but I find it really important to eat every 2-3 hours.  I eat 5-6 meals a day.  I think I have a shot metabolism after years of eating disorders, so this is my little way of trying to get it working as best as it can.  And I know you know this, but of course never skip breaky.  Eating loses weight - starving yourself doesn't.  Eat up!  Also a little side note, I tend to lose more when I up the protein in my snacks.

The unknown:

There's so much going on with our bodies, we can never really tell what's going on inside.  Mine surprises me all the time.  When I was leading up to Operation Birthday, there was one week where I was absolutely perfect with my eating.  I did not have one bite of anything that wasn't strictly planned and within my cals.  I was really focused this whole time, but this particular week, I was vigilant to the absolute letter!  I also worked out like a nutter.

The next Wednesday I jumped on the scales, expecting to be digitally rewarded, and I can't remember exactly, but I either stayed the same or put on weight.  WHAT?  I was shocked.  (And very disappointed!)  But I did the best thing I could have done, and I kept going the next week.  And that following week when I was slightly less than perfect, I lost something like 4kg.  I have no idea why those 2 weeks worked out that way, but it happens.  TTOTM, DOMS, fluid retention, injuries, illnesses, weird ass body stuff that we will never could be anything.  We can plan all we like and work as hard as we can, but internal rules all and will dictate the scales every single time.  There's only so much we can do.  Just keep going and don't give up, and it will all work out in the end. 

Medical stuff:

Remember that there actually could be medical stuff going on.  My friend has a thyroid issue and this physically affects her ability to lose weight.  I'm sure you're fine but just keep it in mind, that if you are doing all of the 'right' things and nothing happens for so long, it might be worth going in for a check-up.

On a similar note, check your calories.  Calories in (food) and calories out (exercise).  They may need adjusting.  It's possible you're eating too little for the amount of exercise you're doing.  If you're smashing out 3 hours of intense exercise a day and trying to cope with limited calories, your body may not lose anything as it's holding on for dear life, the small amount of cals that it's getting.  Consult professionals and test out what is best for you.

Keep going:

More than anything, just keep going and relax because it’s normal.  I’ve seen people be excited when they hit their goal of losing 2kg in 3 months.  Starting at over 140kg myself, I get so amazed by this, I think 2kg??  But they started at 58kg, so 2kg is a lot to them, just like 20kg is a lot to us.  It’s all relative.  Also, the smaller you get not only the less weight you drop, but the harder it is to do so.  So I've been told anyway - I've never gotten to that point yet!  I'm sure there’s a reason Mish has a book dedicated to “Losing the last 5kg”.  So many of us struggle with this, it's so disheartening when you know you're working so damn hard and the scales aren't reflecting the effort you're putting in.  This does a lot of people’s heads in and it’s no wonder why xx  The stuff above are just a few of the things you might want to consider - I'm sure there's more that it could be.  But more than anything you can't give up.  It will happen eventually.  Also, that’s all just physical stuff.  Mentally and emotionally is a whole other kettle of fish.  This journey is so LONG!  Especially for us who have a lot of weight to lose.  Take heart sweetheart and keep going, mix things up if you can and sit back and know that it’s 100% normal, and that you will get there.

Lots of love, hope this helps xoxoo


  1. Good post Kate!! My weight fluctuates by 2kg's every week depending on how hydrated/dehydrated/fluid retaining I am.

    When the scales aren't moving remember your measurements. If you are still losing centimeters you are heading in the right direction. You may be increasing muscle mass while losing fat which stops the decrease in scale weight.

  2. Love it thank you. I've got new scales which now measure % h2o, fat and muscle. So my overall weight went up but my fat % went down and water % went up. I love my new scales.

    Thank you for sharing your life in these blogs, I find them very inspirational. Claire Crow