Some of the reasons you’ve stopped losing weight despite all that exercise and strict dieting will shock you.

#1. You haven’t been lifting weights.

This particularly applies to young females (afraid of bulking up) and people over 50 (thinking they’re too old or might get injured).

Muscle is the metabolic furnace of the body. The more muscle you have, the faster resting metabolism will be, even during slumber. Lifting weights will dramatically jump-start metabolism.

#2. Focusing on long cardio sessions and doing only a little lifting.

Long, frequent sessions on cardio equipment, or that after-dinner “power walk” have limitations regarding fat loss.

Twenty minutes of high intensity interval training on a stationary bike three times a week will cause much more weight loss than will two hours of steady state walking seven days a week.

#3. Skipping breakfast

You might think you’re saving calories, but many times, the absence of a morning meal will cause greater hunger later on, causing you to eat more than you would have, had you eaten breakfast.

#4. Skipping meals or going long periods without any food.

For some, this may slow metabolism because the body learns to become efficient at storing fat.

For others, long periods of not eating result in fatigue, which then adversely impacts exercise.

#5. Not eating enough.

“You are not consuming enough calories,” says Amanda A. Kostro Miller, RD, LDN, whose specialties are nutrition counseling, weight loss and medical nutrition therapy.

“According to the Harvard School of Medicine, women should eat at least 1,200 calories per day. Men should eat at least 1,500 calories per day. Consuming less than these amounts may deter weight loss.”

#6. Poor sleeping habits.

They finally caught up with you and are interfering with your weight loss goals. Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep.

This maximizes release of human growth hormone during sleep. Human growth hormone is a natural fat burner.

#7. Frequent napping.

A 20 minute snoozer is fine, but some people, despite sleeping 7-8 or even nine hours, will take a two hour nap most days.

This is complete inertia and completely unnecessary in an otherwise healthy adult who’s already getting sufficient sleep overnight.

#8. You don’t lift heavy enough weights.

Surprise! Those green dumbbells aren’t enough. And when you set the barbell down for your heaviest deadlift set’s last repetition…do you really feel like you can’t do more?

If you can do more than 12 repetitions, increase the resistance to keep your body in a shocked mode, rather than a maintenance state. A shocked body burns more fuel (body fat) to adapt.

#9. Few compound exercises.

Clients who want to lose weight whose trainers have them doing things like standing on half balls and curling small dumbbells for 10 minutes are wasting their money.

Deadlift

Deadlift

Compound exercises such as the deadlift (above) target multiple muscle groups simultaneously, forcing the body to dig deeper into fat reserves for energy and recovery fuel.

Leg press

Leg press

A top trainer knows that the cornerstone for weight loss includes the squat, deadlift, leg press, bench press, standing overhead press and pulling movements, all done with heavy resistance.

#10. Counting housework and yardwork as exercise.

This sabotaging approach leads to skipping structured workout sessions.

Bonus: MORE Reasons You’ve Hit a Weight Loss Plateau and Can’t Bust Past It

  • “Your calorie goal is too high for your new weight,” says Kostro Miller. “Now that you’ve lost weight, your body may actually need even less calories. Have your calorie needs reevaluated by a dietitian after weight loss.
  • “You’re holding onto water weight,” continues Kostro Miller. “People can hold onto water weight for a variety of reasons. For women, the time of the month can affect our water weight. If you have certain health conditions that put you at risk for water retention, that can slow or stop weight loss. If your diet is high in sodium, sodium can make you retain water.
  • “Your weight loss diet is not sustainable. If you tried a fad diet and lost a lot of weight, don’t expect it to stay off. Fad diets like the boiled egg diet, cottage cheese diet, etc., are designed to make you lose some weight initially, but then weight loss stops when you stop the fad diet. Choose a sustainable weight loss plan that will help you in the long run.
  • “Control your alcohol intake. Alcohol can throw off metabolism and can be a cause of weight fluctuations.” Women should consume no more than four ounces of liquor/day, and for men, it’s eight ounces. “Having several drinks in a night can make us temporarily retain water weight.”
Amanda Kostro Milleramanda miller has worked with U.S. veterans, people with eating disorders and those with various acute and chronic diseases. She serves on the board for Family Living Today.