I’ve started training, why am I not losing weight?

Updated: Jun 13, 2020

The short answer to that is your energy balance is still not in the negative – either you’re still not moving enough, you’re eating too much for what you need or a combination of the two.

The long answer is the same, but let’s go into a bit more detail.

1 kg of fat is equivalent to 7000 calories. Let’s say that you hope to lose 1kg per week. That’s quite a sensible, realistic weight loss. So to lose 1kg in 1 week, we need to achieve a negative energy balance of 7000 calories.

Now if I were to be realistic with you, if you have commenced training and still not seeing a weight shift, I would hasten a guess that you have been possibly consuming more calories than what you need. Many people do. However, for the purpose of this explanation, let’s assume at the moment that your energy balance is equal – that is, you are consuming the same number of calories that you are expending.

In order to lose 1kg per week, you would need to reduce your energy balance into the negative by 1000 calories per day over 7 days (remember 1kg = 7000 calories).

If you made no change to your diet habits, that means you would have to exercise away 1000 calories each day. How could you do that?

Running high intensity – 1hr 45mins

Jogging medium intensity – 2hr 30min

Walking – 3hr 20mins

Dancing – 2 hours 50 mins

Housework – 6hrs 30 mins

Gardening – 5hrs

To lose 1 kg per week, without changing your diet, you would have to choose to participate in one of the above exercises (or something similar) for the time indicated, every single day, day after day, week after week. That’s why 3 training sessions per week where you might burn off 400-500 calories per session is NOT enough to create weight loss alone.

So how do you lose weight?

Burning off 1000 calories per day through exercise alone is extremely hard. Running at high intensity for 1hr 45mins every single day is completely unrealistic, as is gardening for 5 hours every day. You need to create a negative energy balance through exercise and diet combined. If you burn 500 calories per day through exercise and reduce your calorie consumption by 500 calories then that will achieve the 1000 calorie per day deficit that it required to lose 1kg of body fat.

Other crucial tip for increasing the amount of energy you burn every day is to build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more energy your body burns all day every day.

No, it’s not easy moving more and eating a bit less and that’s why losing weight is difficult. But if losing weight is your aim, that is what it takes.

Stick to your guns, stay committed and enjoy the journey!

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