You may have increased your activity level with the expectation of blasting calories and dropping pounds, but the scale hasn’t budged. Exercise is important for health, but many factors play a role in permanent weight loss. There are a few reasons you may not be losing weight with exercise.
You’re not tracking all of your food intake
Exercise can reduce appetite, especially right after an intense session, but exercise often increases appetite. This stems from a need to replenish the extra calories you burned. The extra calories consumed are easily overlooked. Your portions increase, you might talk yourself into a second helping, or add a snack in the late afternoon. Even minor changes in your eating patterns can increase calories enough to offset the calories you burned during exercise, which prevents weight loss. To control your calorie intake, track your food carefully as your exercise increases, and make notes about how exercise is influencing your hunger and cravings.
You’re getting less sleep
Beyond simply helping you feel rested and energized, sleep plays an important role in weight loss. A lack of sleep can upset the balance of hormones that control feelings of hunger and fullness. These changes can quickly lead to increased calorie intake and weight gain. If you are skimping on sleep to squeeze in more exercise, explore options for finding a better balance between the two. This might mean giving up habits like watching late-night television or increasing exercise intensity so you get the results you want with shorter sessions.
While exercise helps reduce stress, sometimes activity can’t fully control your level of stress. During times of excess stress, your cortisol levels can remain elevated. This hormone has been found to increase hunger and elevate calorie intake. These extra calories can undo your hard work and cancel out the calories burned during exercise. If you continue to feel stressed despite staying active, explore additional ways to control the source of the stress and your response to it. A balanced eating plan, meditation, time off from work, limiting screen time and adequate sleep can all help control stress.