Why isn’t the Scale Budging?

You’re following a healthy balanced diet, your tracking the calories on a mobile app, and writing EVERYTHING down. You’re eating what you should be eating to LOSE weight, and balancing it with exercise, but the scale isn’t budging. So why aren’t you seeing results?

This is something all dietitians hear from our patients. It can be tough to determine what’s going on, and it could simply be hormonal or your body fighting to stay at its “set point”.  

Here are some common reasons the scale isn’t budging;

  1. You’re not measuring. There is a big difference between 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter and 4. Almost a 300 calorie difference! Most people underestimate portions, especially with foods like oil, peanut butter and other fats. Use measuring utensils and a kitchen scale to get more accurate calorie counts.
  2. You are eating at restaurants and plugging the foods into a calorie calculator that has generic recipes.  These calorie counts can be completely unreliable! It’s highly unlikely that fish you ate at the restaurant was 200 calories. It was more likely 4 times that. Order carefully at restaurants and don’t rely too much on calorie calculators to determine your calories on that day.
  3. You’re relying on the “calories burned” numbers that your cardio machines spew out. These numbers are really just an estimation based on the “average” person. They can vary significantly between people.
  4. You work out daily so you consider yourself “very active”, however other than your workouts you’re either sitting at your desk or on the couch.  This brings things down several notches and your calorie goals may be inaccurate. Try to move as much as possible. Get up at least every 30 minutes!


These aren’t the only mistakes but they are the most common ones I see. Your best bet is to pay attention to your body, eat slowly and mindfully, start eating when you feel hungry not “starved” and stop eating when you feel satisfied not “stuffed”. Fill your plate at least half full of vegetables and fruits; choose lean sources of protein, high fiber starches, and healthy fats in moderation. Limit television to no more than an hour a day and be as active as you can be to feel your best!

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