About 6-8 weeks ago I started have a green drink/protein shake for breakfast lunch and sometimes dinner. I eat meals on the weekends. I have a few beers. I exercise 5-6 days a week, usually during about 400-500 calories doing some form of cardio and also light weights 2-3 time per week. I was 211 lbs when I started and went to about 199 lbs in 2 weeks or so. Pretty much same routine over the next 6 weeks but weight hasn't budged one bit. My calorie intake is much lower than before the shakes and I am exercising more...why am I not losing weight?

The shake consists of 1 scoop of each of these + 12oz water, ice and a banana: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00K7ICBMK/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004GSKZQQ/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  • 2
    There's a reason whey suppliers state they their products shouldn't replace proper meals. It's a supplement. You need proper, smaller meals and then supplement with supplementation products. You need to eat real food.
    – cbll
    Jun 14, 2016 at 13:01
  • Actually, both these products list "meal replacement" as a use for their products. I appreciate the response but it did not address my question which is, if a calorie deficit is being achieved why is it not resulting in weight loss. Is there not a simple rule that "if you burn more calories than you take in...?"
    – Sizzle
    Jun 14, 2016 at 13:18
  • 1
    @Sizzle It's way more complex than calories in, calories out: intensivedietarymanagement.com/…
    – michael
    Jun 14, 2016 at 14:00

3 Answers 3


Is there not a simple rule that "if you burn more calories than you take in...?"

The answer if "Yes, but...". The body gets accustomed to a state of calories deficit and enters a more "efficient" mode where it uses less calories to survive, in addition to muscle mass loss which results in less energy required for weight maintenance.

Few tips:

  1. Have a proper diet. Yours is unclear from the post, but if your carbs intake comes from a single banana and a few beers, it's far from being ideal.

  2. Do a carbs load once in 7-10 days. It helps maintaining your metabolism rate, which becomes slow in a long period of calories deficit.

  3. When other things don't work, reduce a bit more your deficit, changing your diet or adding a cardio session.


You haven't asked for a diet plan so I won't provide one. You are just asking why your plan is not letting you lose weight.

Usually I would go to MyFitnessPal to find out how many calories and what the macronutrient breakdown is for your shakes but that is out the window. We are also missing vital information about your build and what else you eat (snacks/dinner/weekends).

What I can say is the following:

  1. Exercise should be challenging. Doing the same thing every time you go will result in your body doing the minimum to become efficient at that activity. You need to constantly move your goals as you get better at a activity. In beginner weightlifting most programs start at 20kg (bar only) and add 2.5/5kg every time you go in a linear fashion. This is the principle of progressive overload and it is proven to force your body to constantly do work and develop itself into a more muscular, lean (and good looking) machine.
  2. Body fat percentage. I can use myself as a great example here. I am 80kg, 5ft5 and male (look at my profile for my lifts). I work out 4 times a week lifting weights with a known program, track my macros and micros via myfitnesspal AND I was not losing weight. I checked my bodyfat last week and compared it with a long time ago when I was at the same weight and I found that I have gone from 32% down to 23% while maintaining the weight (same measurement technique). This may be the case for you, lots of beginners gain muscle and lose weight simultaneously. It was just my period of that got extended beyond my first 9 months of sustained lifting.
  • Thanks for the response! I likely have lost some body fat %. I am not a beginner with weights so I have muscle mass and good size. I am looking to get leaner and drop the spare tire. I am 5' 10". I haven't been lifting as aggressively due to a nagging shoulder injury.
    – Sizzle
    Jun 17, 2016 at 18:28

You are correct in thinking that a caloric deficit over a period of time will result in weight loss. Don't listen to anyone else when they say it's more complicated than this because it's not. The only thing more complicated is how you manipulate your macros to reach a certain body composition. For example, if you don't eat protein, you will lose more weight via muscle loss, or if you don't eat carbs, you will lose relatively more fat via ketosis but the end result is the same...weight loss. I see what you're describing all the time...whether it is someone skinny person saying "I eat a lot but can't gain weight", or someone little overweight "I eat less now why am I not skinny yet". Usually, the most common mistake is, you don't ACTUALLY know how much you're eating. You also need to play around with your diet, everyone is a little different. Your ability to lose weight is technically determined by calories in vs calories out but how are you so sure that you're actually in a deficit without counting ? I made this mistake for a solid 3 years, trust me, it makes a huge difference. You're 200 lbs, so this mean your resting metabolic rate is somewhere around 2800-3000 calories (this number could be much lower if you don't have adequate muscle, so start lifting more often and dont lift "light"). Now, knowing this rate, in order to lose about half a lbs a week, you need to consume 2800-3000 minus 500-600 calories on a daily basis, so anywhere from 2000 to 2500 calories to be safe. Use myfitnesspal or a daily log and actually record the calories on everything you eat, are you ACTUALLY consistently eating around this many calories? And please don't fall into the trap of thinking you burn 400-500 calories from these cardio machines, its been proven time and time again that the numbers you observe from these machines are so far from the truth it's not even funny...should be illegalized.

Another big mistake that I see here is the excessive cardio that you do. You need to remember that more muscle equates to more calories burned and hence a higher metabolism. Combined with "light" weights, this is a recipe to lose muscle mass. If you lose muscle mass, your metabolism will slow down accordingly, and hence the amount of food you used to consume before hand, may now be too much in order to reach a deficit. Fix: start lifting weights consistently (not light but not too heavy just yet), stop doing cardio so much and if you are going to not stop doing this cardio, consume most of your calories around it.

So to sum up:

  • Actually count your calories, and make sure you consume less than the numbers I said above.

  • Start lifting weights more often and cardio less often. It's known that excessive cardio (keep in mind I mean low intensity cardio) will make you lose muscle mass and hence lower your metabolic rate, as a result you will need to consume even less calories than you used to.

  • Try to consume around a gram of protein per lbs of bodyweight in order to maximize protein synthesis and hence get a higher metabolic rate through building muscle, this will help you maintain a deficit easier.

  • Don't go too hard on the alcohol, beer can certainly mess with your fat burning hormones as alcohol is a known fat burning suppressant. Think about it, why does the term beer belly exist?

  • Thanks for the response. Having mostly shakes, I do a have a grip on my calorie intake. It is somewhere around 250 calories (20 grams protein) per shake so my daily is between 1000-1500 calories per day. I have muscle mass. I don't know if "light" was the right term but its not heavy lifting.
    – Sizzle
    Jun 17, 2016 at 18:20
  • 1
    Heavy and light is subjective, referring to them means "heavy/light for you"
    – John
    Jun 19, 2016 at 16:55
  • let me put it this way, you're not going to gain muscle by doing an exercise for an easy 20+ reps...that would be considered light
    – 0xMert
    Jun 19, 2016 at 17:20

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