I Exercise Regularly. Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

Oct 09, 2023

I Exercise Regularly. Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

You know that cleaning up your diet and becoming physically active are proven pathways to gradual, sustainable weight loss. That’s why you’ve been working hard to establish healthier eating patterns and make daily exercise a top priority. 

But, what if you’ve made significant dietary improvements and you work out most days, but you’re still not losing any weight? Believe it or not, it’s actually a common problem that many people face when attempting to shed excess pounds.  

As a board-certified primary care and functional medicine provider who specializes in weight loss management, Heather Kennedy, PA-C, and our team at Refine Medical in Oklahoma City, can help. Here, we explain why your exercise efforts might not be delivering the results you expect. 

Exercise is so much more than “a calorie burner” 

Before we explore why your current exercise routine may not be moving you closer to your body weight goals, we’d like to discuss the benefits of regular physical activity and how it supports better long-term health and weight management. 

Metabolism boost

Regular exercise boosts your metabolism, or the rate at which your body burns calories. Regular exercise can help your body shed pounds more efficiently when you’re in weight-loss mode, and make it easier to sustain your new weight once you reach the maintenance phase.   

Increased fitness

Even better, daily exercise can help you gain fitness as you lose fat. A well-rounded fitness plan can help you tone your muscles, improve your cardiovascular health, increase your flexibility, and build stronger bones and joints. 

Health improvements

When it comes to chronic disease prevention, regular exercise is a key recommendation. Why? Physical activity can help foster better blood sugar control, normal blood pressure numbers, and a healthier cholesterol profile, all of which supports better health. 

Reasons your activity may not prompt weight loss

Like most people, you probably believe that as long as you put in the effort, you should be able to see measurable change — hopefully to the tune of 1-2 pounds a week (or up to about eight pounds each month).


But, if you’re not seeing any change in your weight despite your increase in activity, chances are it’s for one of the following reasons:

1. Exercise is making you hungrier 

Compensation is one of the top reasons that people who start a moderately intense exercise program don’t see the weight loss results they expect. This means that instead of simply creating a calorie deficit that helps you burn fat, your workouts are serving to increase your hunger — and you compensate for that hunger-inducing calorie burn by eating more. 

It doesn’t have to be much, either; just one or two extra snacks can be enough to keep you stuck at the weight you’re at.

2. You’re making progress, but not on the scale 

Another reason that the number on the scale may stay the same despite increased activity levels is that you’re building lean muscle mass as you’re burning fatty tissue deposits. 

A pound of muscle obviously weighs the same amount as a pound of fat, but it takes up far less space by volume. So, if you’re building muscle as you lose fat, the scale might not let you know — but your looser-fitting clothing will.  

3. You’re eating wholesome foods, but…

Eating well can give your body the nutrients it needs to keep you energized and help you build muscle as you lose fat: Fruits, vegetables, legumes, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains, are satiating, heart-healthy, and can facilitate easier weight management. 

However, if you’re not paying attention to portion size or listening to your body’s satiation signals (i.e., eating too quickly), or if you aren’t getting enough protein or dietary fiber, you may be consuming more calories than you need. And without a calorie deficit, your weight stays the same — no matter how active you are. 

4. You still drink plenty of calories 

One of the fastest (and sneakiest) ways to wipe out the calorie and fat burn you get from exercise is by drinking your calories. Your workout plan could be well-rounded and your eating plan spot-on, but if you frequently indulge in liquid calories, weight loss will be more elusive. 

Liquid calories go down easily and are rarely satiating or nutritious. Instead of making wine, beer, soda, sports drinks, or sugary blended coffee drinks a mainstay of your diet, consider them a treat to enjoy on occasion.   

Get on the right track with expert guidance and support 

These are just a few reasons you might not be losing weight, despite your steady exercise habits. You might also have trouble losing weight if your workouts:  

  • Fall short (i.e., brief duration, lack of intensity) 
  • Don’t incorporate any type of strength training
  • Don’t advance as your fitness level progresses, causing a weight loss “plateau”  

Weight loss difficulties can also be the product of a medical condition, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or hypothyroidism. Fortunately, treating the underlying disorder usually helps. Age-related hormonal changes can play a role in weight loss struggles, too; in such cases, hormone replacement therapy may help.    

If you’re struggling to lose weight, we can help. Call 405-609-7369 or schedule an appointment online at Refine Medical.