It may be disheartening to find that frequent exercise and eating less are not producing the weight loss results you want. But it is not time to give up just yet. Here are 13 reasons you’re still not losing weight so you can identify what went wrong and get back on track!

1. Lack of H2O

When your body is dehydrated, it leads to water retention and subsequent weight gain. Drinking more water will allow your body to release excess water weight. Water is also involved in many of your body’s daily biological functions. Dehydration will hinder metabolism and proper digestion, which are crucial for your weight loss efforts. Downing a glass of water before your meal can help you control your appetite as well. So, drink up!


2. Unrealistic expectations

Toss out the images of toned and slender fitness models on social media. It is time to come to terms with the fact that not everyone can achieve that since biological reasons such as genetics play a huge part in determining your body shape. Instead, start celebrating your little achievements. Give yourself credit when you stick to your fitness plan and for every kilogram shed.

3. Sugary drinks

Beverages with high sugar content such as soft drinks and alcohol can hinder your weight loss progress. These beverages are high in calories and it is easy to overlook them when you are tracking your food intake.  Even ‘healthy’ beverages like fruit juice are loaded with sugar. You are better off swapping these beverages with plain water.


4. Stress

Cortisol is a hormone that regulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism as well as blood sugar levels. During times of stress, cortisol is produced in excess. This triggers a fight or flight reaction that tells your body to store more fat, especially in the abdominal area. It will also tell your body that it needs more food, increasing your appetite and cravings unnecessarily. To avoid this, learn to relax and avoid reaching for more food to cope with stress, as well as check out these time-saving wedding planning tips for busy brides-to-be

5. Binging

This is a common side effect of dieting. Binging may occur when you get too hungry from starving yourself and end up gorging on more food than your body needs at your next meal or even in between meals. Multitasking can also lead to binging. Eating while working or watching television may cause you to lose track of the amount of food you are consuming. It is better to avoid skipping meals, lower the frequency of snacking and always be aware of the amount of food you are eating.


6. You’re not lifting weights

Do not underestimate the impact of lifting weights on weight loss. It will help to retain muscle mass, which is often torched along with body fat. Building lean muscle mass will increase metabolism and help in fat burn. You can start off with simple bodyweight exercises such as push-ups and squats before moving on to actual weights.


7. You’re doing too much cardio

While cardio is necessary when it comes to weight loss, everything should be done in moderation. Overly long cardio sessions lasting more than an hour can eat away your lean muscle mass, which is required for fat burn. Frequent long and slow runs will gear your body towards endurance and cause it to start storing energy as fat to ensure your body has sufficient reserves. Try switching up your cardio routine with short, high-intensity runs occasionally as they are more effective for fat loss. Cardio should also be complemented with strength training for better results. 

Not into running? Try these fun 5 pre-wedding workouts


8. You’re starving yourself

Not eating properly will only ruin your weight loss plans when you become too weak to exercise and develop stronger food cravings. You might also end up eating more because you missed a meal. Eventually, metabolism slows down and it becomes an even bigger challenge to lose weight. It is alright to eat every 3-4 hours as long as you control your portions. Instead, diet smart - check out these 10 ways you can lose weight without crash dieting


9. Lack of sleep

A study published in 2015 and conducted by The Endocrine Society in the US has shown that lack of sleep may impact body weight and metabolism, leading to weight gain in the long run. Sufficient sleep is also required for rest and recovery so that your body will have the energy to perform basic functions effectively.


10. You’re eating the wrong foods

Processed foods contain high sugar and many other unhealthy substances. Avoid those and opt for whole foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It is also important to choose the right type of food to eat before and after your workout sessions. Here are 10 food rules for brides looking to lose weight


11. Genes

Frustrated at your one friend who eats a lot but doesn’t get fat? Blame it on genes! Different individuals have different metabolic rates. If you have been following a proper routine and have yet to see results, it may be time to consult a fitness instructor or doctor to get a customised weight loss plan.

12. You don’t have time to prepare your own food

When having a hectic schedule prevents you from preparing your own food, you may end up settling for takeaways, which are often less healthy than we would like them to be.  A good way to save time is to prepare meals in advance for the week. That way, you will have more control over your own diet. 

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Cover image: kzenon/

This story was originally published in Shape Singapore