No Weight Loss After 3 Weeks of Exercise

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Written by Megan Ayala. Last Updated: April 22, 2022

Are you dieting and exercising and still not getting the weight loss you’re after?

There could be many factors at play. If you are looking at your lifestyle and you’ve made the necessary changes and you still aren’t losing weight, you’ll need to look at several things that could be causing it. Firstly, how much are you working out? You could say you are dieting and exercising all you want.

However, are you doing it enough? These are things you need to ask yourself.

Throughout this article, you will learn why you may not be losing weight after 3 weeks of exercise and some of the top things you can do to improve your results.

Why Are You Not Losing Weight After 3 Weeks Of Exercise?

a woman in a white sports bra and black tights does bicep curls with a small dumbbell

1. Three Weeks Isn’t Enough When Checking The Scale

This one is very important to understand because it could completely wreck your progress if you don’t. The majority of people will gain weight when they start a new exercise program.

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This happens for several reasons.

First, your body goes through a lot of different changes when you start working out. Mainly, it stresses your muscles. Every time you workout, your muscle fibers get these microtears which result in inflammation.

This is why you need to spend time resting for recovery. Your body responds to these recovery efforts through inflammation. Both of these things can lead to more water retention [1].

Water retention equates to weight gain.

This is why you can’t simply look at the scale after a few weeks and see the results you want. A lot of the weight you may have gained is water weight that will eventually come off.

2. You’re Adding Muscle

This is another factor that could be contributing to the lack of results on a scale.

This is why it’s always best to measure your body fat by measuring your waist. The scale will tell lies because muscle weighs more than fat.

As a result, if you are adding muscle through your workouts, you’re going to be putting on weight. This can lead you to believe that you aren’t getting the results you wanted.

Instead, it will look like you are going backward. However, in reality, you are losing fat and burning excess weight. You are simply adding more muscle mass which is resulting in weight gain on the bathroom scale.

You should want to add more muscle because lean muscle mass helps you boost your metabolism [2].

3. You’re Eating Too Many Calories

This is a trap that a lot of dieters fall into. The key to losing weight is consuming fewer calories than you are burning [3].

Many don’t count calories. Counting calories may not be the most fun activity in the world, but it’s certainly a worthwhile one. If you want to achieve your desired weight loss objectives, you’ll need to track your progress.

You need to track how many calories you are consuming and how many you are using daily. Tracking your caloric intake is the best way to do this.

However, that’s not all that’s needed. You also need to factor in how many calories you are burning. There are plenty of ways to both of these things much easier than in the past.

You have weight loss apps that will track your caloric intake and you can sync them up with fitness trackers to track the calories you are burning.

RELATED: Is it Normal to Gain Some Weight Before You Start Losing it?

This is the easiest way to ensure you are burning more calories than you are taking in regularly.

You need to be doing this daily to get the results you want. If you aren’t already tracking your food intake and exercise routines, it’s time to start now.

4. You’re Eating The Wrong Foods

If you find that you aren’t getting the desired weight loss you want after three weeks, it could be time to start examining your diet.

Are you getting the right foods in your diet? While tracking your caloric intake is essential, you also want to ensure you are filling your diet full of the right foods.

A good rule of thumb is to stick to whole foods.

The more whole foods you can add to your diet, the better your diet will be optimized for weight loss. Track what you are putting into your body. You want food that has the right macronutrient content.

If you are consuming the right number of calories but they are all from carbohydrate sources, you aren’t going to lose weight as well as you want.

Whereas, if you are limiting your simple carbohydrate intake, you will lose weight much more effectively. There is such thing as empty calories.

You want to consume foods that are nutrient-dense so you can consume fewer calories and still provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function as well as possible.

5. You Aren’t Sleeping Enough

This one sounds like hyperbole, right?

Well, sleep can dictate the success or failure of your weight loss efforts. If you aren’t getting optimal sleep, your weight loss will be minimal. There is plenty of research that showcases how important sleep is to your weight loss efforts.

If you are getting poor quality sleep, expect your metabolism to suffer [4].

Your metabolism is the rate at which your body burns fat. As you can probably tell, having a slower metabolism is detrimental to your weight loss efforts.

If you are dieting and exercising perfectly every day, you could still experience weight gain if you aren’t sleeping. Sleep is one of the most essential aspects of keeping your body functioning optimally.

Try to go to sleep earlier and get up at a normal time if you want to improve your metabolism.

6. You Aren’t Eating Enough

This one sounds like an oxymoron, but it isn’t.

Just as you can eat too much, you can also eat too little. Your body needs sufficient fuel to keep going. If your body doesn’t get the requisite fuel it needs, it’s going to shut down.

Your body would enter starvation/preservation mode. This is when your body preserves fat stores to supply energy. If you aren’t eating enough, your body isn’t going to burn energy at a high rate because it’s not getting sufficient nutrients.

If you want to improve your weight loss efforts, you’ll need to continue to eat enough. You want to supply your body with all of the fuel it needs to max out performance and energy levels.

Not only is it going to supply you with more energy that you can use for better workouts, but it’s also going to help boost your metabolism at the same time.

7. You Aren’t Working Out Hard Enough

There is such thing as working out and not working out effectively.

You need to ask yourself whether or not you are truly working out as hard as you need to lose weight. If you are slacking off during your workouts and you aren’t doing everything needed to get your heart pumping, you may not be burning enough calories throughout your workouts.

The best way to track if you are working out hard enough is by tracking your workouts with a fitness band or watch. This will allow you to see your heart rate which can improve your weight loss efforts considerably.

Many assume they only need to go for a brisk walk here and there to lose weight. You need to put in a lot of cardio and strength training if you want to experience results in as little as three weeks.

Three weeks is not enough time to lose weight if you aren’t putting the work in the gym.

Key Tips To Implement To Improve Your Weight Loss Results

a woman in pink yoga pants and black sports bra doing crunches on an exercise ball

  • Switch Things Up

A good thing you can do when you feel you have reached a plateau in your workouts is to switch things up.

If your body gets used to a specific exercise, it will start to do it more efficiently. This can cause the exercise to lose effectiveness. The best way to break through a plateau is by changing things up so your body can’t get complacent.

For example, if you have been running 3 miles per day for your workouts, try to switch to short sprints.

This will force different muscles to activate and it can speed up your weight loss efforts because you’ll be burning more calories more effectively.

  • Change Your Diet

If you have been properly dieting and exercising for three weeks and you haven’t noticed any weight loss, you could be on the wrong diet.

Not everyone has the same body.

Because of this, a diet that works for one person may be completely wrong for another. This is especially true if you get into the more restrictive diets. You need to find a diet that works with your body. If you are lacking energy on a particular diet, it may be time to try something else.

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While certain diets like the “Keto Diet” will cause you to have short-term energy loss, you don’t want to be experiencing ill effects at 3 weeks.

If you aren’t getting the results you want by this time, it’s time to try something else.

  • Drink More Water

A lot of people overeat. If you are someone that overeats, it could be solved by drinking more water.

Believe it or not, you may think you are hungry, but you’re thirsty. As many as 37% of people end up mistaking thirst for hunger [5]. The signals can get mixed up relatively easily.

This could result in you eating when your body isn’t asking for fuel. This is only going to increase your caloric intake and result in you having to burn more calories to lose weight.

The best way to solve this problem is by drinking more water. If you are someone that forgets to drink water throughout the day, set reminders on your phone or smartwatch. This will ensure you are constantly filling your body with the water it needs for various bodily processes.

By filling your body with water all of the time, you can avoid mistaking thirst for hunger ever again.


If you aren’t losing weight or you haven’t noticed any weight loss and you’re three weeks in, it could be time for a change.

There are plenty of reasons why you may not have experienced the weight loss you are aiming for.

These reasons could be easily solvable. However, if you believe your diet and exercise program are flawed, switching things up isn’t the worst thing.

Use the tips above and you should have no trouble optimizing your routine to maximize your weight loss efforts.