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Can't Lose Weight Despite Eating Less? This Could Be Why

An expert reveals a common mistake people make while trying to lose weight. 
FACT CHECKED BY Christopher Roback

Just because you aren't eating very much doesn't mean you are going to lose weight. Jamie Michele (@jamiemiichele) is an online coach and food and fitness expert, who tries to help people become the best and healthiest versions of themself. In one of her viral videos she schools her followers on the importance of making nutritious choices and meal planning. "If you are someone who is wondering, 'I don't eat very much. I have no idea why I'm not losing weight,' I'm going to show you why," she says in the clip. Find out if you are guilty of this unhealthy habit and what you can do about it. 

If You Are Grabbing Food Out of Convenience, It Might Not Be the Healthiest – Even If You Don't Eat a Lot

@jamiemiichele Once you start tracking the calories of the foods you eat, you will be shocked! #fitness #fitnesstips #nutrition #fatloss #weightloss #lowcalorie #caloriecounting #highprotein #lowcaloriemeals ♬ original sound – Jamie Michele

"Let's say you're running late to class or work, and you stop at Starbucks and you grab a bagel and cream cheese and a grande vanilla latte. Pretty simple, right? So then in the middle of the day, you don't have any time for lunch. So you grab a protein bar and a Coke again, not that much. So then by dinnertime, you're starving. You still want to get something decent. So you go to Cava, you get the bowl, you get the pita chips because you haven't eaten that much today, and those are your meals for the day," she says. 

Just Those Items Add Up to 2,055 Calories


She explains that this type of menu amounts to a lot of calories. "This day of food, which isn't that much, you just have a bagel, a protein bar, and a bowl. It comes out to 2,055 calories, which is the average woman's maintenance," she says. 

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Unless You Are Exercising A Lot, This Type of Diet Won't Get You Into a Caloric Deficit

Running shoes - woman tying shoe laces. Closeup of female sport fitness runner getting ready for jogging outdoors on waterfront in late summer or fall

Exercise and movement also comes into play. "If you combine that with a pretty sedentary lifestyle, like not getting a ton of steps, just working out two to three times a week, it is easy to see why you are not losing weight or even gaining weight, or you can eat a lot more," she says. 

You Can Eat More, and Still Lose Weight


She then shows an alternative meal plan. "This is 500 calories less, which is a deficit for a lot of people. You get a full breakfast, burger, bowl, potatoes, sauce, a big bowl of pasta and dessert, and you get to lose weight," she points out. 

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Meal Planning Is Key, an Expert Says


If you want to stick to a healthy diet, meal planning is important. "A lot of us tend to eat reactively and don't plan ahead," explains The Diet Diva, Tara Collingwood, MS, RDN, CSSD, LD/N, ACSM-CPT, a Board Certified Sports Dietitian. "The result is eating out with high calorie, low nutrient foods, skipping meals, grabbing anything around the office or home, and making poor choices. If you plan ahead you can eat more strategically with more nutrient dense foods, snacks to bridge your hunger between meals, proper portion sizes, and not skipping meals."

💪🔥Body Booster: Plan out your meals for one week and try sticking to it. At the end of the week, do you feel better? Have you lost weight? 

Leah Groth
Leah Groth has decades of experience covering all things health, wellness and fitness related. Read more