Why Eating “Clean” Doesn’t Always Lead to Weight Loss 

If you’re reading this, you’ve likely entered freak out mode wondering how in the world this statement could be true. You’ve thrown out the junk, replaced chips with veggies and pizza with protein. Why wouldn’t this be enough to send you booty first into a beach body? Although what you put into your mouth is certainly important in order to lose weight and maintain your newly-found shape, it’s not always enough to get you results. Here are a few reasons why:

Calories in vs. calories out – The amount of food you eat trumps over what you actually eat. If you consume too many calories and, even if they’re “healthy” you’re weight will still go up. The key is to figure out how many calories your body needs to reach your goals. Once you have the magic number, stick to it, adjusting occasionally as you lose. 

You abuse cheat meals – Most people who eat “clean” apply the rule that if they eat healthy most of the time, they can afford a cheat meal. This is true – and false. Yes, if you eat healthy all week, your calories are in check, and you’ve completed your workouts, yes, you can have a cheat meal and still lose weight. However, cheat meal means cheat “meal.” It doesn’t mean that day you can eat crap from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed. It also doesn’t mean you can go crazy with that one meal. Having a couple slices of pizza, a burger or a piece of cake is fine. Loading up on all three plus a bottle of wine is not. Remember, a pound of fat is 3,500 calories. While it may take you a week to lose that one pound, it can pop back on you in one day if you overdo it on a meal.

Stress plays a part weight loss – if you really are eating clean and keeping your calories in check but still not seeing the scale drop, the issue could be stress. When you’re stressed, your stress hormone, a.k.a. cortisol, is released into your system. This hormone causes blood sugar levels to rise, leading to the release of insulin, carrying sugar to your cells. This sugar is stored as fat, typically around the mid-section. If your body is under constant stress, it often doesn’t matter what you eat, you’ll still struggle to see results. 

You’re sneaking in LBT’s (licks, bites, tastes) – While you may be eating healthy for the most part, simply drinking beverages and sneaking in small bites can spike the scale. Do you go through 2-3 cups of coffee a day coupled with 3-4 pumps of vanilla creamer? Do you love a tall glass of orange juice with your breakfast? Do you always give into just a few pieces from the company candy bowl? While these may seem like tiny vices, when ingested every day, it can lead to more calories in your system than you’re probably accounting for. 

You’re not tracking – Even when eating clean, I always tell my clients to track. This goes back to the “calories in and calories out” comment above. If you don’t really know how many calories you’re taking in, you’ll never know where to adjust. For example, if you don’t know that salad you grabbed at Panera was 250 calories more than your usual homemade one, you’ll never know to cut back on snacks the rest of the day or to add another 15 minutes to your workout to compensate. Budgeting  for your body and your particular goals is key to a healthy weight loss plan.

At the end of the day, eating “clean” is always better than grab and go junk food because it will make you feel better. However, keeping these little things in mind could give you that extra push you need to really start seeing results. Need a more customized approach to your weight loss goals? I’ve got you covered here.