I have been exercising three times a week for several months, so why am I not losing weight?

ask our dietitian your question todayfood choices and weight loss

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My main goal of joining the gym was to be fit and lose weight. I normally attend fitness classes 3 times a week (e.g. Body works, cardio kickboxing and Zumba). I weighed myself about a month ago and I was 158 Ib. It has been like this for months and I was wondering what I am doing wrong and why am I not losing weight? I am seeking advice on what I should do to achieve my goal, as I tend to get discouraged when I weigh myself and see that I am not losing weight. Any advice is greatly appreciated. – Yvonne

 

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Yvonne, as far as exercise goes it looks like you are covering the basics of a regular routine of moderate to intense exercise. Though, you could certainly add one weight training session and perhaps an hour of lower-intensity cardio each week.

But more than likely, you’ve not dropped weight due to your diet.

Unfortunately I don’t know enough about what you’re eating to assess what you could be doing better.

That said, I would encourage you to look at these prime culprits that prevent weight loss among new gym attendees:

Over compensating with food

With good intention, people who add pre or post-workout snacks, shakes or bars unknowingly increase calories thereby offsetting the exercise they are doing. Often they don’t realize that an estimated calorie burn includes what they’d use just sitting during the same time. If one burns 500 calories during a 50 minute class and would have used 100 calories anyway, the net caloric loss is 400 calories. This is easily wiped out by a sports drink and recovery snack.

Exceeding hunger demands

Beginning an exercise program usually results in some hunger as the body tries to signal you of an energy deficit. Even though the caloric deficiency is intentional, the body attempts to achieve maintenance. Naturally people eat to satisfy their hunger and may mistakenly increase intake to offset the new elevated level of hunger. It may take more food to be satisfied than previously. So if you’re not experiencing hunger now and then you may not actually be in a caloric deficit.

Not matching supply with demand

Like the previous two concerns, extra calories may be unwittingly consumed and stored if timing of intake is off. This happens when regular balanced meals are sacrificed for bouts of physical activity. Breakfast is pushed out of the way for morning exercisers and dinner becomes a late-night affair for the after work crowd. The end result is not supplying the working body with enough energy ahead of time but replacing lost energy (and more) later in the day or night when the body can’t burn it.

Keep in mind that the scale provides only one indicator of fitness. See how your clothes fit now. Are you sleeping better or have more vitality? Perhaps your stamina or strength are improved. Take pride in knowing your heart and lungs are stronger. There are immeasurable benefits to exercise that contribute to disease prevention and longevity. You are doing your body much good, and that may show in your liveliness despite gravity’s pull.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Do you have a question about your diet or nutrition? Ask our dietitian by submitting your question to nutrition@lafitness.com or simply ask it in the COMMENTS section below.

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Debbie James is a registered dietitian. Any views or opinions presented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or recommendations of Fitness International, LLC.

Posted on November 20, 2014, in Ask Our Dietitian, Health, Helpful, Nutrition, Weight Loss and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I don’t think that exercising 2-3 days in a week is enough to loose weight because it is compulsory to do exercise daily for any definite result if you have shortage of then you can spend only half hour daily but do exercise daily.

  2. Hi there, I disagree with the comment above. 2-3 days can result in weight loss. I have proven this many times in my life. Weight loss has many variables. I will give you a few. 1. How are your sleep habits. Not getting enough sleep raises your cortisol levels which means your body will want to hold on to fat. 2. How are you eating. There is no amount of exercise that can overcome over eating. I will use an extreme example. Say you jogged 26.2 miles in a marathon and burnt 2000 calories. You should be able to lose plenty of fat doing that, but lets say to celebrate you eat a large pizza. You could have actually gained weight in this example. 3. Fat is burned in muscles. Get muscles and burn more fat. This means weight or resistance training and not just endless aerobic sessions. You will get a nicer shaped body this way and burn more fat all the time. Weight training needs to be progressive meaning you start with light weight and every week you add an extra rep or an extra pound consistently and years later you will look incredible. You can lose weight doing exercise 2-3 days a week with a diet that doesn’t have you eating more food than you need. You will burn more fat if you workout 5 days a week but in most cases you won’t burn more working out 6-7 days a week because your cortisol levels go up. Cortisol is a stress hormone that activates with something is wrong. The bodies way of protecting you.
    I wish you success. Be consistent and try to never miss a workout. Very slowly add more intensity, weight, time etc.

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