Why You’re Not Losing Weight at The Beginning of a Diet

You’ve done all the right things to set you up for success. You’ve built up your calories, spent adequate time away from dieting, stabilized your hormones, and worked on your relationship with food. 

But even after doing everything “right” your fat loss phase just isn’t going as flawlessly from the start as we thought it would. Why?

While this can be frustrating, it is quite common! Especially for clients who have had extensive dieting histories. We see this scenario with our clients all the time and it’s not for a lack of effort or them doing anything inherently wrong. 

Let’s go over a few of the main reasons why you may not be having a smooth start to your fat loss phase, even after setting yourself up for success in a non-dieting period.

Adaptive metabolisms
If you were able to build your calories up in the offseason without much change in weight, expect for this same scenario to happen when you decrease your calories as well. Individuals with more adaptive metabolisms are able to maintain their body’s set point through a wide range of calories. This is in part due to genetics, but previous dieting history can have a major impact on this as well.

Diet history
How might your dieting history play a role in your ability to lose body fat down the line? Depending on the frequency and severity of your previous dieting attempts, this can have a long-term impact on its ability to adjust to higher or lower intakes. Every time you diet, your metabolic rate slows down to adjust to your new energy availability. If severe enough, these instances can change your ‘maintenance’ metabolic rate, making it harder to lose weight on higher calories down the line.

Body type differences
Individuals who have an easier time putting on muscle, will likely have a harder time losing body fat. These individuals will typically need to get more aggressive with their fat loss phases to see drastic change. However, the bright side is that these individuals are much more resilient toward muscle loss during a fat loss phase as well!

Thresholds for fat loss
It has been our experience that clients need to reach specific caloric thresholds before seeing significant changes on the scale. Changes may not happen after the first few calorie adjustments, but then once calories get past a specific threshold, we won’t need to make changes for many weeks in a row! Oftentimes, this caloric threshold can be consistent across dieting phases within each client.

There are many factors that go into why you might have a hard time losing weight while being adherent at any point in the diet, but these are the most common causes for why most individuals won’t see fat loss right from the get-go. All in all, it is likely that the first calorie cut is not aggressive enough for the individual even if it is the perfect equation of -500 calories per day.

Can this be disheartening? Absolutely. But this isn’t the time to mentally beat yourself up, feel like a failure or go off plan. This is fairly normal, and your body is not “broken” for not responding right away. When you take these factors into consideration plus work in some additional patience with the right program for your body, you will see the changes you’re working towards. The timeline just might look a bit different than you had envisioned!

Be the first to know

Get exclusive, no bullshit content from our coaches that is scientifically based and experience driven.