Scale Not Moving? 12 Reasons Why & What You Can Do About it

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Scale not moving? Learn the most common reasons why and steps you can take to get back on track!

It’s one of the most frustrating parts of losing weight. You feel like you’re doing all the right things.

You’re focused on your diet and exercise and following all the weight loss advice you come across. But you go to weigh yourself and you’re not making the progress you want to be.

Why is the scale not moving???

I’ve been there, and I know exactly how much it sucks. But I’ve also learned a lot of the reasons why you aren’t seeing the results you’re looking for.

In this article, I’m going to share 12 of the most common reasons why the scale isn’t moving and what you can do about it.

Let’s dive in!

Picture of feet standing on a scale. Another picture of a woman looking stressed out. Text says: Scale Not Moving? 12 Reasons Why & What You Can Do About it

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links which I’m happy to promote. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Much love & thank you for your support. 🙂 To learn more about my policy, click here.

12 Reasons the Scale is Not Moving

When it comes to why the scale is not moving there could be a whole host of reasons why. Because everyone’s body is different, there is no one-quick-fix to figure out what’s wrong.

However, there are some reasons that pop up pretty frequently. As you read through this list, see if one or two (or maybe even more) of these reasons feel accurate.

Once you pinpoint some causes of why your weight isn’t going down, keep on scrolling down. I’ve included some good tips to help you break through that plateau and keep making progress with your weight loss.

1.) Inconsistent weighing conditions

The first reason the scale is not moving could very well be that you aren’t weighing yourself under the same conditions each time. So many things can affect your weight.

Including how much sodium you ate the day before, how tough your workout was, the time of the month, your hydration levels, and so much more.

So in order to get the most accurate results to gauge your progress, you need to make sure you’re keeping everything the same as much as possible.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Weigh at the same time of day each time.
  • Try to wear the same or similar clothes. (Some clothes weigh more than others.)
  • If weighing weekly, pick the same day of the week.
  • Consider weighing first thing in the morning before you eat, drink, or exercise.

The more consistent your weighing conditions are, the more accurate your weight will be. Then you’ll have a better idea of how your weight loss is going.

2.) Your body composition is changing

A very common reason that the scale might not be moving is that your body composition is changing. Your body is losing fat while also gaining muscle.

You know that popular saying “Muscle weighs more than fat.” Well, that’s not actually true because a pound of muscle and a pound of fat both actually weigh… well, a pound.

But, muscle is denser and more compact than fat. So although the number on the scale will stay the same, your body will actually be getting smaller and you’ll be experiencing fat loss.

Changes like these are often difficult to see in the short term and they leave many people feeling like nothing is happening. While in reality, their body is actually making all kinds of changes.

3.) You’re storing water weight

Another common reason you might feel like the scale is not moving is that your body is storing water weight. Your body can retain water for all kinds of reasons. Some common ones are:

  • dehydration
  • changes to your diet
  • hormonal changes
  • a tough workout
  • certain medications

Your body will often hold onto extra water weight in order to help buffer the changes that are taking place. The scale might not seem like it’s moving, but your body is adapting and getting ready to change.

This usually goes away after a few weeks as your body adjusts, so don’t give up.

Picture of three different weight losst trackers

4.) You’re expecting changes too quickly

The next reason it may feel like the scale isn’t moving is that you’re expecting too much too fast. Weight loss takes time. If it were a quick and easy fix, very few of us would have a weight problem.

In reality, though, it can take weeks sometimes to see results from all your hard work. If healthy weight loss is 1-2lbs a week when you’re doing everything right, you can imagine it might be a little slower if you’re struggling to stay consistent.

If it’s been less than a month that your weight loss has stalled, you might just need to be patient and give it more time.

5.) You aren’t weighing often enough

Another reason you might be frustrated because the scale just won’t go down is that you aren’t weighing often enough. If you only weigh yourself once a week or even less often, you’re missing out on a lot of information about the changes your body is going through.

Some trainers or coaches recommend only weighing once a week. But depending on what day of the week you weigh yourself, that could leave you feeling really disappointed in your weight loss.

Say, for example, that you weigh yourself on Monday mornings and you have a tendency to slack off your weight loss plan a bit over the weekends. Even if you do amazing and even manage to lose a few pounds during the week, you probably won’t see all that progress on Monday because of your weekend habits.

It doesn’t mean that nothing is working. In fact, on average your weight might be down. You just happen to only see that data on your highest weight day of the week.

Picture of a Printable 12 Month Weight Loss Tracker on a desk.

6.) You’re already at an ideal weight for your body

The next cause of the scale not moving even when you’re doing everything right is that your body is already pretty close to its ideal weight. The closer your body is to your genetically predisposed healthy weight, the harder it is to lose weight.

Our bodies are designed to protect themselves. They are going to resist dropping down past a weight that keeps them functioning at their best.

Not to mention, your body size and composition have a big impact on what a healthy weight looks like. There is no one size fits all.

The recommendations for a healthy weight are pretty wide and span over 30 lbs. This means a healthy weight for your height might not be the exact same number for someone the same height.

If you’re within a healthy weight range and the scale isn’t moving, it might be your body trying to let you know that you’re right where you’re supposed to be.

Click here to look up weight recommendations based on height.

7.) It’s time to upgrade your weight loss plan

Probably the most common reason the scale isn’t moving is it’s time to upgrade what you’re doing. When you first started losing weight it probably didn’t take too much to lose fat and see results on the scale.

That was definitely the case for me. But after you lose about 15+ lbs, your body might start stabilizing at the new weight.

The lifestyle changes you were practicing got you that far, but now your body has hopped into maintenance mode. This means you might need to make some more changes to your diet and up your exercise plan to continue seeing the scale go down.

Printable Morning Weight Loss Journal

8.) You’re overeating (even the healthy food)

Another reason that the scale isn’t going down is that you’re overeating. And yes, it’s possible to overeat healthy food.

As much as I hate counting calories, they do matter. Even if you’re eating really healthy food, you can still end up consuming more than your body needs and that will stall your weight loss progress.

If you’re trying to follow a certain meal plan or diet and find yourself constantly feeling deprived or hungry, there is a good chance you’re not eating enough protein, healthy fats, or complex carbs.

These foods will help give you energy and keep you full longer between meals.

9.) You’re not eating enough

This reason surprises some people, but it’s pretty common. If you’re not eating enough food, it can definitely stall your weight loss.

When you don’t eat enough, your body goes into starvation mode. So instead of burning fat, it’s holding on to every calorie you send it’s way because it’s worried about not having enough in the future.

Plus, eating too few calories can also make you feel sluggish and low on energy, making it hard to stay motivated with your exercise plan.

On top of that, when we don’t give our bodies enough fuel all day long, we tend to go for bigger meals at night or indulge in snacks more often.

Picture of three different weight losst trackers

10.) Hormones

The next reason the scale isn’t moving could be your hormones. Hormones can do all kinds of crazy things.

Here is a list of hormones from medichecks that can affect your weight loss:

  • Oestrogren and progesterone – primary female sex hormones
  • Thyroid – regulates your metabolic rate
  • Cortisol – the stress hormone

Having these hormones out of whack can mess with your appetite, eating behaviors, and metabolism. So even if you’re doing all the right things, the scale might not be going down.

11.) Stress and lack of sleep

Another reason the scale won’t budge is that you’re stress levels are too high or you’re not getting enough sleep. Remember how we just mentioned cortisol, the stress hormone?

Medichecks also notes that when your cortisol levels are constantly elevated, it can lead to suppressed immune function, increased appetite, abdominal weight gain, and muscle loss. All of which will have the scale moving in the wrong direction.

If you’re also struggling to get enough sleep at night, it can make all the healthy choices you’re making during the day harder to stick to. Studies have shown that lack of sleep increases hunger, and cravings, and makes us more likely to give in to temptation.

12.) It’s been a while since you went to the bathroom…

The last reason that the scale is not moving is that you haven’t gone number two in a while. It’s normal to go poop one or two times per day, so if it’s been a few days since you went, chances are you’re carrying around some extra weight.

Depending on how long it’s been, being constipated could start adding on a few pounds. It might not sound like a lot, but it can quickly add up over time.

So if you’re scale isn’t budging, try to make sure your diet is full of high-fiber foods and that you’re drinking enough water so that you can go once a day or so.

Related posts:

What to Do When Your Scale Won’t Budge

Now that you know the most common reasons why the scale is not moving, let’s talk about what you can do about it.

Get consistent

The very first thing you want to do when the scale is not moving is to get really consistent with your healthy habits. A lot of times we think we’re doing everything we can to help lose weight, but we aren’t actually sticking to our nutrition and training plan.

It might look something like doing really good Monday through Friday, but then letting things slide a bit over the weekend. Or eating really good through the day and then giving in to sugary cravings at night.

It feels like you’re trying really hard, but the lack of consistency in a few areas is undermining your weight loss efforts.

So if you find yourself in this boat, try getting back on track by starting with small, achievable goals that you can reach each day. Once those become habits, add a few more until you eventually get to the point where your healthy lifestyle is second nature.

Track your workouts

Another good step in working to get the scale moving again is to track your workouts. This is a good step to becoming more consistent as we just covered.

When you’re tracking your workouts, it’s easier to stay on top of what you’re doing and make sure you’re actually hitting your workout goals.

Plus, when you start to get bored with the same old routine, you can use your tracking data to mix things up and challenge yourself in different ways that will help keep you motivated and push through plateaus.

Picture of a Printable 12 Month Weight Loss Tracker on a desk.

Track your meals

Just like tracking your workouts is helpful, tracking your meals can offer some big insights when the scale is not moving. Writing down what you’re eating each day in a food journal can help you identify areas where you might need to make some tweaks in order to get the scale moving.

It can help you pinpoint bad eating habits that you might not realize you have and can help you stay in control of your portions and calories. Plus, it’s a great way to keep yourself honest and make sure that what you’re eating matches up with what you think you should be eating.

Stay hydrated

Another good tip for when the scale won’t budge is to make sure you’re hitting your water goals. If you aren’t drinking enough water it can definitely impact your weight loss.

Being dehydrated can slow down your metabolism which makes it harder to burn fat and lose weight. It can also make you feel tired and sluggish, so you won’t want to work out as much.

Not to mention, one study noted that “increased hydration leads to body weight loss, mainly through a decrease in feeding, and a loss of fat, through increased lipolysis.”

So make sure that you’re drinking enough water throughout the day. A good rule of thumb is to drink half of your body weight in ounces each day or at least 64 oz.

Look for small improvements and changes you can make to your weight loss plan

If you know for sure you’ve got the other tips covered and the scale isn’t going down, then your next step might be to reassess your weight loss plan. It might be time for an upgrade.

Your current diet and exercise routine could be keeping your body in maintenance rather than helping you lose weight. So start looking for ways that you can make small improvements.

You don’t need to do a complete overhaul. Especially if what you’re doing has helped you lose weight in the past. Just look for small, 1% changes that you can make.

Make extend your workouts by 5-10 minutes or increase the intensity a bit. You might look to stretch your time between meals by 15-30 minutes or maybe reduce your portion sizes by a few spoonfuls.

One small change I made as I was losing weight was to cut down my treats from daily to every other day. I didn’t decide to completely cut them out because that would have left me feeling deprived, but I reduced them enough to keep seeing progress on the scale.

Give it time

My next tip for getting the scale to move is to give it some more time. Everyone’s body and metabolism are different and that extends to how we lose weight.

You aren’t guaranteed to see results on the scale right away even when you do everything right. It might take a few days to even a few weeks to see results.

Which I know can be frustrating, but staying consistent and eventually seeing results is way better than getting frustrated and giving up. So keep at it and eventually you should start to see progress.

Talk with your doctor

My last tip if you know you’re doing everything right, your weight loss plan is good to go, and you’ve been stuck at the same weight for a while, is to talk to your doctor. Sometimes things with your hormones, metabolism, or medications can be impacting your scale results and it’s best to get checked out.

Your doctor may recommend things like adding supplements to your routine or changing up your diet plan. They might also suggest additional tests to make sure everything is in order.

So don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor and make sure everything is good to go.

Body measurement chart for women

Other Ways to Measure Progress When the Scale is Not Moving

The last thing I want to talk about in this article is other ways to measure your progress. If nothing else, I hope you’ve learned how many different factors can impact the scale and that sometimes, weight loss just takes time.

But I know how important it is to have some sort of way to measure your progress to help keep you motivated and moving forward. So here are some other things to track when the scale is not moving:


Rather than step on the scale, try tracking your measurements each week. Seeing the inches fall away even when the scale isn’t changing will help reassure you that you’re on the right track.

Before and After photos

Take a picture at the beginning of your weight loss journey and every couple of weeks or so. The scale might be fickle, but pictures don’t lie.

Before and after photos help you see the small changes your body is making over time that you might not notice. Just be sure to use the same clothes and stand in the same place and position for each picture so you can really see the changes.

Fitness ability

Another good way to measure your progress is to see how much your physical fitness has improved. Regardless of what the scale says, if you’re breezing through workouts that used to have you dying, you know that you’re getting stronger and your health is improving.

Picture of three different weight losst trackers

Diet changes

Something else you can focus on besides the scale is the changes you’ve made to your diet. Are you able to scale back on portion sizes and make healthier choices?

Did the thought of giving up your favorite nightly dessert feel like torture, but now you’re not even tempted?

These are all good signs that you’re doing something right and should keep at it. Even if the scale isn’t budging yet, these small adjustments can help get you there eventually.

Improved quality of life

The last, and possibly most important, way to monitor your progress is to see how your quality of life has changed. Are you sleeping better? Do you have more energy?

Have you been able to get off certain medications or do things you used to not be able to? Do you overall feel better?

Seeing a small number on the scale is great, but the ultimate goal is living a healthier, happier life. And if you’re achieving that, you know you’re doing something right.

Conclusions to Scale Not Moving? 12 Reasons Why & What You Can Do About it

I hope this article has given you some good tips for what to do when you find the scale not moving. I know it can be unbelievably frustrating, but sometimes, you just have to hang in there and trust that eventually, you will figure it out.

Remember that sometimes things take time and it’s important to stay focused and consistently work toward your goals. If all else fails, don’t be afraid to talk with your doctor if things don’t seem right.

What do you do when the scale is not moving? Let me know in the comments below or email me at Follow me on Pinterest for more weight loss tips and advice.

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