You’ve been hitting the gym for six months now, yet your clothes aren’t any looser and your weight’s about the same.

This is frustrating AF. Here’s what you can do about it.

It’s important that you realize that the odds that you’ve been doing things incorrectly for the past six months are astronomically greater than are the odds that not losing weight is due to genetics!

The human heart was NOT designed to pump for two, let alone three, people.

The knee joints did NOT evolve to support an extra 50, let alone 100, pounds.

1     Caloric Intake vs. Expenditure Discrepancy

©Lorra Garrick

One of the fundamental principles of weight loss is maintaining a caloric deficit, where you burn more calories than you consume.

Regular exercise, such as your gym sessions, contributes to caloric expenditure, but the effectiveness is primarily contingent on diet.

If you’re not keeping a close eye on your caloric intake or succumbing to unhealthy food choices, you will unwittingly sabotage your weight loss efforts.

A secondary variable is an inadequate gym session. Simply going through the motions will not contribute much to a daily caloric deficit.

2     Underestimating Caloric Consumption

It’s a common pitfall to underestimate the number of calories consumed, especially when it comes to snacks, beverages and condiments.

I saw this firsthand with my overweight clients, whom I had instructed to keep a week-long food intake journal.

To gain a comprehensive understanding of your dietary habits, consider keeping a detailed food diary for a week.

This simple practice can shed light on areas where adjustments are needed, helping align your diet with your fitness goals.

And remember: Everything that goes into your mouth counts. This includes finishing your child’s leftover bread crusts.

3     Emotional Eating

The connection between emotions and eating habits is profound.

Stress, boredom or other emotional triggers can lead to unhealthy eating patterns, sabotaging your weight loss goals.

You may also be unknowingly eating more than you usually do, and more than your body needs, on gym days.

It’s essential to address the emotional aspect of your relationship with food.

4     Intensity Plateau

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If you want your gym workouts to fire up fat loss, then you’d better be including weight workouts.

However, with weight workouts should come progressive resistance.

This means that over time, you’re lifting heavier weights as your body becomes stronger.

This is crucial for fat loss because progressive resistance leads to the increasing amounts of lean muscle tissue.

The more muscle you have, the faster will be your resting as well as working metabolism.

You won’t gain any of this precious muscle if you keep staying at the same resistance for your strength training exercises.

5     Exercise Variety

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In addition to strength training, you need to do aerobic or cardio exercise.

This can be a cardio class such as step or Zumba, a machine such as the treadmill or elliptical, or outdoors such as brisk walking with hand weights or hiking.

If you add HIIT (high intensity interval training), which can be done on any kind of cardio equipment, this will add wonders to your fat loss campaign.

HIIT can be done twice a week, on non-weight days.

In a nutshell, HIIT is “sprint intervals,” meaning, brief kickass effort alternating with one to three minutes of easy casual effort.

For example, on a stationary bike, pedaling as fast as you can for 30 seconds to the point of being unable to talk, switching back and forth with a minute or two of very easy recovery pedaling.

HIIT sessions should last at least 20 minutes, but it’s not necessary to exceed 45 minutes.

For best results, your HIIT setting on the machine should be different than your recovery setting.

TIP: If you use a treadmill, do NOT hold on unless you’re changing the settings or sipping water. The calorie display can’t tell the difference between holding on or letting go.

6     Sleep Quality


Quality sleep is a cornerstone of overall well-being and weight management.

Lack of adequate sleep can disrupt hormonal balance, leading to increased cravings for high-calorie, sugary foods.

Moreover, insufficient sleep hampers the body’s ability to recover from workouts.

Prioritizing quality sleep can positively impact both your physical and mental health, supporting your weight loss journey.

On the flipside, excessive sleep is no good, either. Aim for seven to eight hours.

7     Stress Management

The impact of stress on weight cannot be overstated.

Chronic stress triggers the release of cortisol, a hormone associated with fat storage, particularly in the abdominal area.

Incorporating stress-management techniques such as meditation, yoga or deep breathing exercises can create a more conducive environment for weight loss.

You can also try journaling or coloring to combat stress.

However, intense exercise (remember, don’t go through the motions; really hammer away at your strength training!) unleashes hormones that counteract cortisol.

This is why intense strength training is so critical for losing excess pounds.

8     Consistency

Consistency is the linchpin of any successful fitness journey.

While six months is a commendable period, it’s essential to maintain a consistent approach to both exercise and diet.

Fluctuations in routine or commitment can impede progress, making it crucial to stay steadfast in your efforts.

TIP: Never skip a gym workout or home strength training routine just because you did a lot of housework that day.

TIP: Never skip any workout just because you “blew your diet.”

9     Body Composition Changes

If the scale leaves you frustrated, ditch it for a while and just keep doing what you’re supposed to be doing.

Over time, if you’re following all of these guidelines, you’ll begin seeing changes in the mirror.

Your clothes will be getting looser. You’ll start feeling lighter on your feet.

10     Smart and Logical Approach

©Lorra Garrick

If TikTok and Instagram leave you feeling perplexed over how you should be approaching permanent loss of body fat, then stay away from those platforms for a good long while.

Or at least avoid the accounts that leave you scratching your head.

There is NOTHING WRONG with wanting to get your body to a weight that your physician is happy with.

If the messages of “body positivity” are confusing, then switch to health positivity.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified by the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness, where she was also a group fitness instructor, she trained clients of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 


­Top image: ©Lorra Garrick