It happens to the best of us:
One day, you head to your closet to pull on your favorite pair of jeans, only to be confronted with the reality that they no longer button. You've gained weight, but the trouble is you're not exactly sure why it's happened.
You hit the gym with friends and do your best to watch what you eat, but you're still struggling to lose weight.
So, what's the issue -- and is it something you should be concerned about?
Read on to find out.
1. You're Exercising, But Not Dieting
Remember that if you're struggling to lose weight, it might be because you're focusing exclusively on your time in the gym.
As much as we all hate to admit it, you really do have to cut some calories and make sure you're eating nutrient-rich foods if you're serious about losing weight.
Exercise alone isn't enough. Plus, too much exercise can make you much hungrier, meaning that your calories in will still always be greater than your calories out.
If you have to cut back on your time in the gym to make some healthier meals, it's OK.
Try to create more of a balance between what you eat and the way you workout.
2. You're on a Crazy Restrictive Diet
While many of us long to experience that famous ketogenic whoosh, if you're on too restrictive of a diet, you likely won't lose weight.
When you don't get enough calories, you're much more likely to binge on foods -- even the moderately healthy ones -- later.
Plus, if you're essentially starving yourself, you won't get the nutrients you need to be able to work out. You'll have zero energy, so you'll look to sugary foods and drinks to give you a bit of pep, only to crash hard later.
Above all, these diets can destroy your metabolism, which means that even if you do lose a bit of weight, it'll come back ten-fold when you start eating normally again.
3. You're Not Getting Enough Sleep
While you may not be able to achieve the dream of getting a full eight hours of sleep every night, you need to be sure you're getting as much sleep as you can if you want to lose weight.
Sleep doesn't just boost your mood and give you the energy to work out.
If you don't get enough of it, you're at a higher risk of becoming obese.
4. You're Not Keeping Track
You think you're being healthy, so why are you not able to lose weight?
It might be because there's a serious gap between how much you think you're eating and how much you actually are. The same goes for the number of steps you take and the time you spend in a fat-burning cardio zone.
Now is the time to get a fitness tracker and to start keeping a food journal.
You might be surprised by the kind of insight the cold facts and data provided.
5. You're Neglecting Strength Training
You can run a 10K without any problems, you're obsessed with all things cardio, and you're eating a healthy diet.
So why are you still having a hard time losing weight?
It could be because you're totally neglecting your strength training and weightlifting routines.
Weightlifting helps you maintain your muscle mass, but it also speeds your metabolism. Plus, you'll realize that strength training makes it possible for you to push yourself harder in cardio workouts -- which could be what you need.
6. You're Drinking Your Calories
You're eating well and exercising, but you're still seeing your numbers on the scale increase?
Having a quick look at this list of the calories in popular alcoholic drinks can explain why you're struggling to lose weight.
Lots of us end up drinking our calories in the forms of smoothies, happy hours, and even sports drinks that are meant to energize you for a workout. Often, this is caused by artificial sweeteners in these drinks.
Aspartame actually makes you crave more "real" sugar and sweet foods, and it can seriously mess with your metabolism. If you must sweeten your coffee or smoothies, try honey or agave nectar instead.
7. You Have an Undiagnosed Medical Condition
Finally, one of the most frightening reasons for not losing weight may be that you have an undiagnosed medical condition.
This is especially likely if you've already tried all of the aforementioned tips without any results. The same goes if you often feel too fatigued to work out -- even though you prioritize a good night's sleep.
You may have a thyroid condition, PCOS, or even sleep apnea. In some cases, the medication you're taking may even make it harder to lose weight.
Talk to your doctor and get the tests and possible solutions you need.
Don't Keep Struggling to Lose Weight
If you're struggling to lose weight, it's important to develop a healthy sense of perspective in addition to making the changes we mentioned above.
As you age, your metabolism is going to slow down. When you're going through a stressful time, you're going to reach for those sugary and salty snacks. Sometimes, life just gets too busy to find the time to work out.
Don't beat yourself up, and keep your expectations realistic.
Never starve yourself or overexercise, which only further damages your body and metabolism.
Need some healthy meal prep tips? Curious about how to find a type of workout that you can actually enjoy?
Keep reading our blog posts for more diet and fitness tricks. Remember, you're more than the number on the scale.