Help! I’m Not Losing Any Weight!

So you’ve found yourself on this page because you’ve been tracking your food and exercise, weighing and measuring everything you consume, and you weighed in this morning buck-ass naked, but the scale keeps telling you that your weight ISN’T going down! Or worse, it’s going up! Scales are jerks, right?


Scales are the worst kind of liar; They lie by omitting the whole complete truth. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but your scale is guilty! Guilty, I tell you!!! The whole lot of them are seemingly flawed devices, but there’s a substantial caveat. Let me explain.


Well, scales are sortof jerks, but not totally. They have a bad reputation but they are genuinely trying to be good! Like a stripper with a heart of gold… or something like that.

Your poor misunderstood bathroom scale has one purpose, and only purpose ONLY; to measure the total mass of your body plus your clothing/accessories at the time you stand on it. Your scale is EXTREMELY good at this job. You can even put a suitcase on it, and it will faithfully tell you that you’re taking way too much stuff on your trip! Actually it will just tell you the total mass of the suitcase and everything in it. You can put your cat on it (if she’d just sit still for 4 seconds) and the scale will tell you the total mass of your cat. The scale is very good at it’s one job.

But most of us never got the memo on the scale’s intended purpose. When WE step on the scale, we want the scale to say, “Yay! Your hard work is paying off and you’ve burned some of that fat off your body! Hooray!” Because when we set out to lose weight, what we really are aiming for is fat loss. This is where the scale starts to lose it’s utility in the short-term only. Your total scale-weight includes your muscles, bone, organs, skin, toenails, and even chin hair, not just fat. Weight fluctuates daily due to: food you’ve eaten, poop, water, sodium, water retention, glycogen, etc. So your weight is actually more of a weight range.

When we faithfully stick to our weight loss plan, logging all calories consumed, faithfully weighing and measuring, and sticking to your desired calorie deficit, we expect to lose weight! After all, the Law of Conservation of Energy tells us that energy cannot be created or destroyed, only converted to from one form to another. So If I’m sure I’m eating less than I’m burning, why won’t the scale play ball and get with the program???


Our bodies like to mess with us! That’s why it looks like you’re not losing weight, when you actually are losing fat! The most likely cause of this is water retention, but it could be poop or sodium-related. WATER RETENTION, that little jerk! When we’re operating in a calorie deficit, our bodies WILL make up the difference by burning our reserves of fat from our bodies. We are not little unique snowflakes, and our bodies have been honed through millions of years of natural selection! If you’re worried you have thyroid problems, PCOS, or something else that is making your metabolism slow, by all means, visit your doctor and have them check it out. If your doctor tells you nothing is wrong with your metabolism, believe them. I thought my metabolism was broken for years, but it was working exactly as nature intended, storing the extra few calories I consumed here and there as fat. You know, for when the famine comes… or whatever.

img_0466My Weight Loss Graph is shown above. This graph represents five months of DAILY weigh-ins. Look at all of that delicious data! Notice all those ups and downs? Totally normal. If you zoom in on some weeks or months it looks like I wasn’t losing anything, then a week later, I drop a bunch of scale-weight. Also totally normal. My calorie deficit in this time period was around 500-700 calories per day, which averages out to around 5 pounds a month, which is fantastic! Yay me!

The point of showing you this is to remind you that bodies are quirky biological systems with complex mechanisms. Water comes and goes in spurts. Fat is burned slowly but consistently when in a calorie deficit. It is. Energy cannot be created from nothing. Trust the science, it is sound. Too many people give up when their scale-weight stalls a little, and it makes me sad to see it happen. They give up because they think it’s not working for them. But it is. They just didn’t know the scale was a liar!

So when you step on the scale and it goes up instead of down, check yourself before you wreck yourself! If you’re weighing and measuring accurately and sticking to your calorie deficit, you ARE losing fat and it WILL show up sooner rather than later if you stick to the program. It may take a couple days to a month (at most), but weight loss always catches up.




Erin Hughes is an irreverent writer and successful weight-loser. She's on a mission to stamp out the bad advice from well-meaning colleagues and make weight loss attainable for others. Get her free QuickStart Guide To Weight Loss for strategies to get started on the right track.

  • kwenzqoatl says:

    My super duper mega awesome tips are: find a place to put your scale and keep it there, dont weigh yourself everyday, do your weigh ins at the beginning of your day, keep track and focus on trends and not dwell on a single weigh in. Well those are what I can come up with from the top of my head anyways. 🙂

    • Definitely keep a scale accessible for weigh-ins, but I actually prefer to weigh every morning so I can SEE and LEARN my personal pattern of fluctuations and I never miss a “new low weight.” I also am a data-whore and I love to see the patterns and trends over long periods of time… lol 🙂 I think I’ll write a post soon about why I weigh daily. Thanks for the comment! 🙂

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