Why Am I Not Losing Weight Counting Calories? (AVOID Doing This)

Why am I not losing weight counting calories? If you have wondered this, you are not alone. Keep reading for troubleshooting tips.

why am i not losing weight counting calories

If you aren’t losing weight counting calories, you may find it hard to stay motivated. Let’s review the 10 troubleshooting steps you should follow if you aren’t losing weight counting calories. 

Why Am I Not Losing Weight Counting Calories 

If you aren’t losing weight counting calories, it’s typically a result of not being in a calorie deficit, not properly tracking your calories, lack of sleep, not consuming enough water and high stress levels. If you want to lose weight counting calories, you need to be consistent and make sure you are in a calorie deficit. 

Why Am I Not Losing Weight Counting Calories – Troubleshooting Steps

Step 1: Make Sure You Are Getting Enough Sleep

Did you know that poor sleep is one of the biggest risk factors for obesity? According to PubMed, adults and children with poor sleep have a 55% and 89% greater risk for developing obesity. 

When we are tired, our bodies produce the hormones ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin tells you when to eat and leptin tells you to stop eating. When you are sleep deprived, our bodies produce more ghrelin and less leptin. This can result in weight gain. 

To avoid this, make sure you are getting enough quality sleep. You can ensure that you get a good night of sleep by avoiding caffeine in the afternoon and limiting your exposure to blue light before bed. 

It is recommended that the average adult gets 7-9 hours of sleep per night. If you feel like you are doing all the right things and still not sleeping well, you may benefit from chatting with your doctor. 

Related: Sleep Statistics

Step 2: Make Sure You Are In A Calorie Deficit And Are Properly Tracking

You may not be losing weight if you are not in a calorie deficit and if you are not properly tracking your calories. 

When you are counting calories, to see results, you need to make sure you are in a calorie deficit. A calorie deficit is when you consume fewer calories than you burn. 

To calculate your caloric deficit, you can use an online calorie deficit calculator or you can calculate manually. To perform a manual calculation, you can multiply your current body weight by 15 to estimate how many calories you need each day. Then, to determine how many calories you should consume for a calorie deficit, you can subtract roughly 500 calories from that number.

Now that you know what you should be consuming for your caloric deficit, you need to make sure you are properly tracking what you are consuming. 

If you want to lose weight and make progress, you can’t simply estimate how many calories you are eating. You need to track the calories you consume so you know that you are for sure in a caloric deficit. 

There are many apps that you can use to track your daily calories. Both MyFitnessPal and Lose It are great options to track your calories. 


When you are tracking, be sure you are measuring! If a serving of peanut butter is 2 tablespoons, make sure you are measuring and knowing exactly what you are eating. What gets measured, gets managed. 

If you are not following tracking and sticking to your deficit you can’t expect to see results. Even a few bites or licks from your child’s plate adds up. 

Step 3: Make Sure You Are Drinking Enough Water

Did you know that hunger is often confused with dehydration? If you aren’t drinking enough water and staying hydrated, you could be thinking you are hungry, when you are actually thirsty! 

According to PubMed, in one 12-week weight loss study, people who drank 17 ounces of water 30 minutes before meals lost 44% more weight than those who did not. 

Additionally, drinking water has been proven to boost the number of calories burned by 24-30% over a period of 1.5 hours. 

Here are some helpful tips if you struggle to drink water:

  • Set reminders on your phone so you remember to drink water. 
  • Add fruit to your water for a little extra flavor.
  • Use an app to track your water consumption. 
  • Drink a glass of water before each meal. 

Bonus Tip: Choose water instead of other beverages! If you are struggling to lose weight, make sure you are not drinking your calories. Smoothies, kombucha, juices, etc all add up! 

Step 4: Make Sure Your Expectations Are Realistic

Make sure you have realistic expectations for your weight loss. If you are expecting a drastic result in a short window of time, you may need to reevaluate your expectations. 

According to the CDC, losing 1-2 pounds per week is average. However, your body may lose weight slower or faster than that. 

Keep in mind that weight loss is a slow process. Generally, the slower you lose weight, the more likely you are to keep it off! 

If it’s only been a few days and you haven’t lost weight, reevaluate your expectations and know that it may take time for your body to release weight. 

Step 5: Make Sure You Are Tracking Progress In A Variety Of Ways

You may not be losing weight on the scale, but it’s important to track progress in a variety of ways. If the scale isn’t moving, you may be losing inches, reducing inflammation and more. 

Here are a variety of different ways that you can track progress:

  • Track your weight on the scale. But don’t obsess over it. Use it as a tool. 
  • Take progress photos. If the scale isn’t moving, take a look at progress photos and see how far you have come. 
  • Take measurements. Take body measurements so you can measure the inches you have lost. 
  • Record your non-scale victories. Can you now walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded? Is it easier to sit on the floor with your kiddos? Has your acid reflux improved? Has your acne cleared up? Weight loss and getting healthier can improve so much in our lives beyond the scale. Keep track of your non-scale victories – they will add up!

Step 6: Make Sure You Are Being Honest With Yourself

If you are not losing weight, you need to make sure you are being honest with yourself. Are you truly in a caloric deficit? Or are you eating an Oreo here and there thinking it doesn’t count? 

Every bite, lick and taste adds up! If you aren’t losing weight, commit to being honest with yourself and tracking everything you are consuming – including every secret Oreo and every bite, lick and taste. You don’t have to track what you are consuming forever, but tracking short-term can help you be honest with yourself. 

If you struggle to be honest with yourself or to stick to counting calories, you could also consider finding an accountability partner. Find someone who will keep you honest and who you can check in with. Maybe you agree to send them your food diary daily and ask the to check in with you. 

Having an accountability partner can really keep you honest and on track! 

Step 7: Make Sure You Are Eating Enough

If you are stuck in a dieting mindset, you may not be eating enough. Eating too little can prevent you from losing weight. 

How does that happen? When you aren’t eating enough, your metabolism can stall. According to PubMed, low-calorie diets can decrease the number of calories the body burns by as much as 23%.

In fact, researchers believe a stalled metabolism may explain why more than 80% of people regain weight once they go off calorie-restricted diets.

Make sure you are eating enough and stop stressing over calories! Our ancestors never counted calories. They ate until they were satisfied and that was it! 

Here are a few signs that you may not be eating enough:

  • You have low energy levels.
  • You are having trouble sleeping.
  • You feel cold all the time. 
  • You are constipated. 
  • You’re easily irritable. 

If this sounds like you, you may need to be eating more! Increasing your food intake can help you see the numbers on the scale go down!! It sounds backwards, but your body is smart and needs to be fueled. 

Step 8: Make Sure You Don’t Have Any Underlying Medical Issues 

If you are being honest with yourself and counting calories exactly and you are still not losing weight, it may be time to make sure you don’t have any underlying medical issues. 

Some medical conditions like PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) can make it harder to lose weight. Knowing of any medical conditions could help you to better understand your body and why you aren’t able to lose weight. 

If there are medical conditions that run in your family or you are not releasing weight after truly sticking to a calorie deficit, it may be time to schedule a visit with your doctor to rule out any underlying medical issues. 

Step 9: Make Sure You Are Eliminating Stress

When your body is under a constant state of stress, you won’t lose weight – no matter how well you are tracking what you eat and sticking to your calorie deficit. 

When your body is stressed, it releases certain hormones. First, it releases adrenaline, which warns you to fight or flee. At the same time, your body also releases cortisol which reminds you to replenish your food supply. 

Back in the day, our ancestors literally had to fight or flee from threats, like animals chasing them, so these hormones were helpful. However, most of our stress today is very different. Luckily, there are things we can do to lower our stress and reduce the surges of adrenaline and cortisol. 

Exercise is a great way to release stress! Pick an exercise option that you enjoy and look forward to. This could be as simple as going for a walk. Exercise produces endorphins, a hormone that releases happy feelings. This is a great way to combat stress. 

Another way to combat stress is to release the stress by journaling or talking to a friend/family member. Release those emotions so your body can get back to a state of rest! 

Step 10: Make Sure You Are Not On A Glucose Rollercoaster

What does glucose have to do with losing weight? Actually, just about everything. “When we focus on flattening our glucose curves, we reduce hunger, cravings and increase time spent in fat-burning mode,” according to Jessie Inchauspé.

“Studies show that when we flatten our glucose curves, we lose more weight, more easily, even if we eat more calories, than if we don’t take care of our glucose levels,” according to Inchauspé.

I think many of us are in the mindset that if we aren’t diabetic, we don’t have to worry about our glucose levels. This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Glucose can impact everything from our mood, our skin health, our weight and more. 

Here are a few tips from Jessie on how to flatten your glucose curves:

  • Eat a savory breakfast, not a sweet one.
  • Start every meal with a plate of veggies and fat. 
  • During a meal, eat your starches after your protein and veggies. 
  • Only have fruit whole, never juiced or dried.
  • Pair your starches with protein, fat or fiber. 
  • Go for a 10 minute walk after each meal. 
  • When you eat sugar, have it as a dessert after a meal, never on an empty stomach. 

What Is Calorie Counting?

Calorie counting is when you count the calories you consume. A calorie deficit is when you burn more calories than you eat. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why am I not losing weight even in a calorie deficit?

You may not be losing weight in a calorie deficit because you are not properly tracking what you are consuming. Measure and weigh what you are consuming to ensure that you are accurately tracking what you are eating. 

What should I do if I am not losing weight on a calorie deficit? 

If you are not losing weight on a calorie deficit, first make sure you are accurately tracking and measuring what you are consuming. Then, make sure you are getting enough sleep, drinking enough water and eliminating stress. 

Additional Calorie Counting Troubleshooting

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