In my last article I showed the reader how to make your weight losses a tad more scientific and personal to your goal. Now that youâ??ve worked it out (hopefully!) I need to address some of the important factors at play in the human body that could cause your weight losses to vary from person to person and also your own from week to week. It is critical for you to understand this in order for you to stay motivated throughout your journey.

Well-known reasons affecting weight loss

1.    Muscle Gain â?? believe it or not, very little muscle is developed early on in your weight loss, in fact really overweight people would have developed additional muscle mass over time to support their body weight and additional fat every day, ALL day. When weight loss occurs, the body fat decreases and therefore your LEAN weight also decreases.

Lean muscle is your biggest contribution to your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), which determines your resting metabolism. This uses up energy even at rest. So if you lose fat, you also lose lean muscle. This will reduce your BMR by as much as 15% in a few weeks, therefore your metabolism slows down before it speeds up! The percentage of lean muscle mass on an individual directly affects your metabolic rate and therefore the rate at which you will burn calories or lose weight.

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2.    Decreased Thyroid Activity â?? There is a common condition called hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid!). Doctors prescribe medication as thefirst step. I advocate exercise as the first option; understandably once you have tried all the natural routes and failed, that is the only time to opt for medication, as medication comes with itâ??s own side effects! And sometimes it is easier and quicker to fix the problem rather than get to the real reason why the problem is there in the first place. Make sure medication is the last step on your list. Other options include diet, exercise, correct supplementation or homeopathic remedies.

3.    Eating Too Little â?? If you follow a diet too low in calories the TEF (Thermogenic Effect of Food) is reduced and your body will naturally adapt by slowing or stopping weight loss. Thatâ??s why it is important to reduce calories slowly so that the body does not go into a state of shock and hold onto every morsel eaten, just in case this could be a time of famine! The body also starts to break down muscle to provide it with  the energy it needs to survive which results in the metabolic rate slowing down and sometimes weight gain.

4.    Genetics â?? Every person has a predisposition to be a certain way. Genetics does have a part to play in oneâ??s shape and frame. A general rule is â??where you put it on first is where you lost it last!â? This Iâ??m afraid is all in your genes (not the Levis type!) By being patient though, you can tap  into those fat stores over time; most people give up by then and thatâ??s why they never get to the stubborn fat!

Now for some real reasons you probably never thought of before:

1.    Stress â?? never ever underestimate the effect of stress on your mind, but even more so, on your body. When the body is under stress, it secretes small doses of adrenalin all day. This then promotes the secretion of the hormone Cortisol. One of the functions of this hormone is to hold onto the body’s reserves in times of need / famine / shock / stress. For men it stores fat around the mid-section, for ladies it can contribute to infertility. This is all in order to protect the body from any further stress.

2.    Over- Training â?? When you over train a muscle it actually breaks down (Atrophys). As we read earlier, the less muscle mass, the lower your metabolic rate and the less calories you burn up on a daily basis. Cardiovascular work longer than 1 hour 30 minutes starts to break down muscle mass. Therefore rest is a critical factor in losing weight. Your muscle only repairs and grows on your rest days and when you sleeping and it is tearing while training.

3.    Adequate Sleep â?? Studies have been shown that people who get less than seven hours of sleep per night store more fat. This is because their bodies feel unrested and therefore stressed â?? it kicks the hormones out of sync and secretes that adrenalin and cortisol again!

4.    Bowel Habits â?? this topic I could write about for hours. 80% of the clients I see have either one of these problems â?? bloating, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), constipation and irregular toiler habits. Did you know that a healthy bowel is one that moves three times a day! If you take all that you ate for the past 3 days and laid it out on a table â?? you would be shocked at how much food that was â?? where is it? … Well sitting, rotting and fermenting in your gut!

Only 50% is absorbed as energy, the balance should be secreted as waste products. Many people are functioning day to day in a toxic state of health, but the scary thing is â?? they have never felt â??greatâ? before so they have no real comparison! Eating a diet full of watery fruits and vegetables and limited unrefined white carbohydrates, red meat and processed foods will help the digestion process considerably and of course lots of water and herbal teas.

Too much salt (which you find in most processed foods) will also dehydrate the body. You will retain water and it can even cause high blood pressure, headaches and cellulite. Salt leaches precious water out of the stomach, water that is needed to soften the bowels and move everything along a lot easier and quicker.

5.    Lack of Variety in Training and Diet â?? The human body is programmed to maintain physiological balance at all costs, by that I mean preserve energy. We can however learn to trick the body by keeping it guessing all the time. Prevent a weight loss plateau by mixing up your training every six weeks and vary your diet everyday. The body adapts to things in no time. The body will only burn at the rate at which it has to in order to perform itâ??s daily requirements from you! Golden rule- You cannot keep doing the same thing everyday but expect a different result! Mix it up and you will soon see the results of your efforts.

6.     Previous Damage â?? Your  dieting history has a very severe role  to play in the rate of your weight loss. Participating  in starvation diets, high protein diets, diet pills etc… can  cause a lot of damage to your metabolism. For every year you took to gain your weight or mess around with diets, take 1 month to recitify or reverse that damage. So it is never to late â?? everyday you try is one step closer to your goal. Just remember your weight has no choice but to shift eventually â?? that is science. You cannot train hard, eat clean and get no results at all, itâ??s just the rate of the results might vary from person to person.

7.    Positive Thinking â?? This is no doubt that what you think about most, you bring about. Positive thoughts, increase seratonin levels which can only reduce adrenalin and cortisol and therefore aid in weight loss.

8.    Some Medications â?? please check it out with your doctor â?? various medications have side effects which could be working against your efforts. Itâ??s best to know beforehand and then do a little research yourself to see how you could work around this.

9.    Your  Deficits are Wrong â?? remember a peppermint, a teaspoon of sugar a small glass of fruit juice, a hand full of a friend’s popcorn… all have calories in it! To make sure you lose at the rate you worked it out… make sure you stick to the formula 100%. An extra 200 calories a day will certainly make a difference.

10.    Acidity Levels â?? Many people I see have never even heard of a pH test. I do these on every person I consult with. The acidity / alkalinity of a person (i.e the state of their body inside) is very important. Acidic people do not function optimally. PH can throw out your whole system from joints to hormones to skin to weight loss. To get your pH to a more alkaline state, eat less red meat, have lots of foods rich in calcium, increase fruit and vegetable intake and take a good multivitamin.

Just some advice for the weigh in…

Always weigh yourself at the same time each week â?? keep all the variables the same (clothes worn, breakfast eaten / not eaten / take note if a bowel movement has happened or not!)

Donâ??t weigh yourself everyday â?? there are daily fluctuations in your weight which can leave you demotivated!

Donâ??t compare yourself to others â?? the more weight someone has to lose the greater their weekly weight losses can be â?? go buy your percentage of body weight loss, no one elses.

I hope I didnâ??t scare you off to not even start! But I feel that people need to be educated as to some of the reasons why things could be taking longer than expected. Knowing is better than not knowing. Just keep learning and therefore increasing your chances of better results… not just for today, but FOREVER!


Norman, the winner of my 12 week programme has just completed his third full week at the Lisa Raleigh Weight Loss and Wellness Clinic. So far he has had three weigh ins and has lost 10.4kg! And has lost 35.8cm all round! He is training twice a day and a two hour session on a Saturday, having five colons treatments a week and heâ??s on a specific calorie controlled healthy eating plan. He is one of the most dedicated clients I have ever seen and deserves to have won this prize! Well Done Norman!

While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.