It can be frustrating when you are trying to lose weight but the number on the scale is not moving. As you may know, I do not think you should worry about the scale. In fact, I think you should throw your scale in the trash because it is a not a great way to judge your fat loss journey. However, I understand that it is difficult to let the scale go, so here are eight reasons why the number on the scale is not moving.

1. You are eating too much.

A calorific deficit is when you eat fewer calories than you burn. In order to lose weight, you must eat in a caloric deficit. There is no other way. It does not matter what kind of diet you do, calories matter. If you are not tracking your food, you may have no idea how much you are really consuming. It is very easy to overeat. So make sure you are logging your food and eating in a deficit.

2. You are not sleeping enough.

Sleep is very, very important. When you do not sleep, your cortisol, or stress hormone, levels rise. This makes you crave unhealthy food, feel like crap, and makes losing weight very difficult. I have had clients who were doing everything correctly – exercising hard, eating properly but they were not losing weight. Once they started getting 7 hours of sleep a night, the scale began to move.

3. You are overeating on the weekends.

You cannot just eat healthy Monday through Thursday and half of Friday. Your eating needs to be on point seven days a week. Two bad days of eating in a row can wipe out all the hard work of the previous five days. Yes, you can occasionally indulge, but it needs to be limited. Don’t let the weekends ruin all the hard work you do during the week!

4. You are retaining water.

This is one reason I think you need to throw away your scale. Water weight counts! The scale has no idea that there is a difference between water and fat. If you consume too much sodium, then you are probably retaining water. If you are a woman, you will retain water during certain periods of the month. Various factors in your life will cause you to retain water and that will cause the number on the scale to go up despite your healthy habits.

5. You are impatient.

Weight loss is not a linear process. You will not lose weight quickly or methodically. It is very possible to lose 3 pounds one week, 1 pound the next and then the scale will not move for three weeks. That is okay! Your body needs time to adjust to your eating and exercise habits before it will let go of your fat. Give yourself time and the weight will come off.

6. You are inaccurately tracking your food.

There are sneaky foods that are healthy but pack a big caloric punch. Things like nuts, nut butters, oils, and condiments are difficult to measure and can very easily be overeaten. If you feel like you are not doing a good job of measuring those foods, consider purchasing a food scale. Make sure you are accurately tracking all of your food or you could be failing to eat in a caloric deficit. (see number 1)

7. You are not active enough.

Can you lose weight without exercising? Yes! Does this make losing weight more difficult? Yes! Make sure you are being active every day. You do not have to go to the gym. You do not have to lift heavy weights. Find something you enjoy and do it. This can be walking, dancing, riding a bike or playing Frisbee at the park. It does not matter what it is, but those movements burn calories that will help you reach your weight loss goals much more quickly.

8. You are building muscle.

Muscle weighs more than fat. And you want to build muscle! Muscle burns fat, keeps you healthy, and takes up less room than fat. If you are consistently lifting weights, you might not lose weight on the scale but in inches around your body.

Remember that the scale is not something to live or die by. It does not represent the total picture of your weight loss journey. Measure yourself, take progress photos, and keep a journal to track your energy and sleep. These measurements will give you a more accurate picture of your progress. If you are not seeing improvements in these areas, then it is time to step back and reevaluate your diet and exercise habits. Remember, you are so much more than a number on the scale.