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With All This Exercise, Why Am I Not Losing Weight?


I cannot begin to tell you how many clients that I see from Contra Costa County and the surrounding counties such as Marin, San Francisco, Sacramento, Santa Clara and Alameda, CA tell me they are working out, making healthy food choices but not losing weight. When a person seems to be doing the right things and not making any progress these are some of the common hard truths why you are not losing weight.

You are eating all the calories that you burn during your workouts.

Yes, when you work out you are burning extra calories. But you are overestimating how much you are burning.  Saying “I exercised today so later I can overeat or over-drink” or “I’ll have this now, but work out extra hard tomorrow and burn it off” does not make it. That 3 mile walk may burn 300 calories but does not compensate for the 1000 calorie restaurant meal you are about to have.

You are relying on exercise alone to lose weight.

Yes, exercising can help you lose weight, along with lots of health benefits, because it helps you create the calorie deficit needed to drop body fat. But here is the truth – Exercise alone will not help you lose weight. Exercise does burn calories but not as much as you think. A full hour of intense exercise may only burn 400-500 calories, but hundreds even thousands of calories can be consumed in a few minutes. It would take an hour or more of exercise to offset those calories. If you are not changing your diet and reducing your caloric intake, exercise alone will not help you lose weight. You must have both caloric reduction through diet and intense exercise for optimal weight loss results.

You are not eating as healthy as you think you are.

Often new clients come to my office with a food diary for a few days. They think they eat healthy and are shocked to hear they are eating too much sugar and fat and not enough protein and fiber. Recently, I had a pre-diabetic client that was eating a double serving of Raisan Bran (when he measured it) and a glass of orange juice for breakfast. I calculated that he was eating 800 calories, which contained 10 teaspoons of sugar for the two servings of cereal, 5 teaspoons of sugar from 1 1/2 cups of milk and 8 teaspoons of sugar from the orange juice for a grand total of 23 teaspoons of sugar!  I see clients that are not realizing how much fat they are consuming with many servings of olives, nuts, avocadoes, cheese and beef. Also I see clients skipping meals and then eating up all their daily calories in the evening when our bodies process calories less efficiently. You might be eating healthy but your portions are too large for your age, height and activity. My clients need nutrition plans that are individualized and based on all these factors.

You are not being consistent enough.

When you are struggling to lose weight consistency is most important.  Clients tell me they are sticking to strict diets and exercise programs for a week but cannot possibly continue this regimen without  “cheating”.  They try to eat “perfectly” and exercise “religiously” but do not lose weight and then throw up their hands in frustration and never succeed. I also see clients that seem to be on a reasonable nutrition plan and then get totally off course with family celebrations and restaurant meals. Their restaurant dessert is 5 times the standard portion size and their alcohol consumption can be 500 calories. A significant part of my practice is how to manage these events to provide balance while enjoying goodies.

It is easy to lose weight but not very easy to keep it off. It takes a reasonable nutrition plan, intense exercise and consistency (with forgiveness for occasional lapses).

Not keeping track of mindless eating.

A recent Kaiser study tracked 1,685 overweight and obese adults (men and women), whose average weight was 212 pounds, encouraged participants to adhere to a reduced-calorie, DASH eating plan and asked them to record their daily food intake and exercise minutes.  After 20 weeks, the average weight loss was 13 pounds per person. But researchers discovered something quite interesting – the more participants recorded what they ate, the more weight they lost in the end. Participants who did not keep a food diary lost about 9 pounds over the course of the study, while those who recorded their food intake six or more days per week lost 18 pounds—twice as much as those who didn’t track any food!

LindaRD  works with clients from outlying areas via phone, e-mail and Skype. Please read through the blog section for articles about counseling clients from a distance from LindaRD’s office.

I am glad to inform you that nutritional counseling may be covered by your insurance. Please feel free to call me at (925) 855-0150 and tell me about your nutritional concerns.