“Why can’t I lose any weight” is one of the most popular questions online. Not only is dieting hard, but when you can’t lose any weight it is discouraging. In fact not losing any weight is so frustrating, it’s easy to quit trying.
That’s why we’ve put together 8 possible reasons you’re not losing any weight. These are real problems dieters face along with the solution to each. So, take a look at the infographic below.
Why Can’t I lose Any Weight?
The fact is, with a little encouragement, fat cells have no choice but to give up the fight and leave your body. If you are having weight loss problems, there’s just something about your efforts that needs changing. There is no reason to give up on your diet before reading all the 8 most common things that get in the way of weight loss.
8 Reasons Why You Are Not Losing Weight Infographic
Let’s take a more in depth look at each of the 8 problems that keep people from losing weight, no matter how hard they try.
1. You Are Not at a Caloric Deficit
You may have read that you can lose weight without counting calories, and that is true.
But, dieting is easier when you know how many calories you are consuming each day vs how many you are burning. Without that information you have no idea where you are in the game.
The only way I know of to lose weight is to be at a caloric deficit.
That means you are burning more calories than you eat. There are two ways to get your body to a caloric deficit
- Use more calories through physical activities than you eat
- Consume less calories than you burn in your day’s activities
Forget the magic pills and empty promises. Forget spending money on lose weight schemes and books.
Burn more calories than you eat. There is no other way.
— Do I Need to Count Calories to Lose Weight?
I say yes! Some people need to count every calorie that goes in their mouth, others, not so much?
Either way, how can you put yourself in a caloric deficit without knowing where you stand?
— Do I Have to Exercise to Lose Weight?
No, you don’t have to exercise to lose weight. But, why make dieting any more difficult or stretch it out?
Of course, there are some people who for whatever reason, simply can’t or won’t exercise.
If that’s you, then use the calculators I mentioned and eat less than it takes to maintain your present weight.
There’s only one formula for losing weight: consume less calories than you burn. Do that, and your body has little choice but to use fat stores for energy
Think how much faster you will lose weight if you cut a few calories and burn more with exercise. This post has a chart indicating calories burned with various exercises.
2. Your Metabolism Is Low
Metabolism is the process that your body uses to convert food and stores to energy.(Calories you don’t use converts to fat cells)
The higher the rate of metabolism, the easier it is to convert food or fat cells to energy. The lower it is, the easier it is to convert food to fat stores.
A lot of things affect your metabolism. Here’s a few of them:
- Age. The older you get the slower your metabolism gets. That means you’ll need regular physical activity to keep it stoked. No matter your age, any physical activity you can get will increase metabolism.
- Muscle Mass. Muscle requires more energy than fat stores. So one of the best ways to increase metabolism is to increase muscle mass. That’s why exercises like resistance training works so well for weight loss. But, even a regular walking routine builds muscle and increases metabolism.
- Gender. It’s true! It can definitely be harder for women to lose weight than men. Their metabolism is generally slower than a man’s.
- Diet. Did you know that some foods raise your metabolism and some tend to lower it? Eat more protein, peppers, and legumes to increase metabolism naturally.
- Exercise. Regular exercise is the best way to increase your metabolism. Exercise increases metabolism, burning calories for hours after you’ve finished.
- The pace of exercise. Most any physical activity calls for your body to increase metabolism. But speeding up the pace, or exerting more energy, speeds up metabolism. One way to do that is with HIIT workouts.
When you speed up your metabolism, you burn calories faster! Increase the rate you use calories, consume less food, and lose weight fast.
3. You Are Not Drinking Enough Water
If you can’t lose any weight, you may not be drinking enough water?
Your body is about 60% water. Most every function of your body, including burning fat stores, requires water. The more hydrated you are, the easier it is to lose weight.
Staying hydrated is important to any weight loss goals.
— How Drinking Water Helps You Lose Weight
- Water is an appetite suppressant. Drinking water before a meal reduces your appetite for that meal. Less appetite, less calories consumed.
- Proper digestion and elimination of waste requires water. Your digestive system needs water. It depends on water for digestion, soft stools, and to keep waste moving through and out. Part of that waste is fat.
- Under hydrated makes your body keep water. Don’t worry about water adding extra pounds. It’s the opposite! If you’re not drinking enough water, your body will retain fluid, adding pounds to the scales.
- You need water to help burn fat stores. Lipolysis is the process the body uses to break down stored fat cells. There’s evidence that upping your water intake can increase the results of this process.
- Drink water instead of snacking. If you are under hydrated, your brain can think you are hungry. Not only will a glass of water help curb the need for a calorie laden snack, it can help suppress your appetite.
The bottom line is that your body needs water to stay efficient in everything you undertake.
Drinking water alone will not generate any significant weight loss. Yet, staying well hydrated must be included in your overall strategy.
A strategy that includes fewer calories, eating healthy, eliminating junk food, and exercise to burn calories.
4. You Are Not Consuming Enough Fiber
High fiber foods are low in calories, more filling, and more satisfying — which leads to easier weight loss.
When your diet includes plenty of high fiber foods, you’ll stay full longer and eat less junk food. (High fiber foods are fruits, veggies, whole grains, legumes, dried fruit, nuts and seeds.)
— What Is Fiber?
Fiber is a plant-based carbohydrate. It’s referred to as roughage, bulk, and dietary fiber.
This type of fiber doesn’t break down into sugars that are digestible. Instead it takes a while to digest and doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes like the carbs that got you fat.
Because dietary fiber takes a long time to digest it stays in your stomach longer.— That means you fill full and satisfied longer.
Include plenty of fresh vegetables, whole grains, and dried fruits in your diet. Even though whole fruits are packed with fiber, they are also packed with carbs that stall your diet.
Diet off pounds while eating all the high fiber foods you want. You’ll stay full and satisfied longer.
5. It May Be Too Soon
We all hate to hear it, but you may be expecting results too soon? We want to lose the weight as fast as possible. That makes it easy to fall for the false advertisements claiming miraculous results.
But the truth is – a couple of pounds a week is realistic weight loss. More than that is setting your up for failure and discouragement.
Realistic and permanent weight loss can be slow and seem grueling. Especially when you’ve set unrealistic goals.
You will need to burn between 500 and 1000 calories a day more than you eat to lose a couple of pounds a week. Or eat 500 – 1000 calories less than you use.
The best way to do that is with a regular exercise program. Most overweight people avoid exercise at all cost. If that’s you, try doing most anything that requires physical activity.
Check out this post if you have trouble coming up with something to burn calories: What to Do for Exercise
If you need to lose 4 or 5 pounds to look your best for a high school reunion, you can do that in a week. Just put yourself on a strict fast from food for a few days. Most of the weight loss will be water, but still, the pounds will disappear.
Of course, this is not a permanent weight loss solution. The 4 or 5 pounds will be back next week
6. You Are Carb Sensitive
I doubt if you are a stranger to all the buzz about low carb diets? First came the ever popular Atkins Diet with Keto diets fast on it’s heels. Personally, I think most overweight people are carb sensitive and should limit carbs when trying to lose any weight?
What is carb sensitive?
In the simplest terms, it means your body has trouble metabolizing carbs in a normal fashion. (what ever normal means?)
Any time a body consumes more carbs than their body can handle, a couple of things happens. First the pancreas overloads the body with insulin which helps your body store fat.
Next your liver gets involved. Now it takes in all the carbs you didn’t use for energy and turns them into fat stores. When this happens it usually leaves you bloated and chronically fatigued. Those are two good signs you are carb sensitive. You are eating too many carbs to lose any weight.
What to do if You Are Carb Sensitive?
- Stop drinking soft drinks and energy drinks.
- Replace all white bread with whole wheat or rye bread.
- Forget fruit juice.
- Give up snacks that aren’t nuts, raw vegetables, or small amounts of cheese.
- Replace breakfast cereals and donuts with eggs.
- Break the sugar addiction with Stevia, Erythritol, or Xylitol. These will sweeten foods and drinks without raising blood sugar levels.
- Eat far less potatoes.
- Look for low carb foods.
Most research indicates that going to a no carb diet will help you to lose weight rapidly, but doesn’t produce permanent results. The reason is simple: It’s easier to give up an addiction for a short time than making lifestyle and healthy eating changes.
7. Your Cortisol Levels Are High
Sometimes we do all the right things to cause weight loss, and still — nothing happens?
That could be due to high Cortisol levels.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that plays a part in many body functions, as well as controlling blood sugar levels.
With an overload of the hormone Cortisol, some people feel hungry constantly with no way to satisfy their appetite. In fact, Cortisol sends signals to your body to store more fat.
To lose weight, it’s important to take steps to regulate this hormone.
— How to Lower Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone, so stress is it’s primary activator. Here are 6 ways to take an active part in lowering Cortisol levels:
- Stick to Healthy Food. Sugar is a primary cortisol trigger. Removing sugar from your diet should be the first consideration for anyone seeking weight loss.
- Exercise, exercise, exercise. Unless you move to a far away cave by yourself, there’s little chance of removing stressful situations from life. Regular exercise will not only help get you to a caloric deficit, it is the best known way to reduce stress.
- Relax. Most stressed out people never learned methods to relax. Exercises like walking, meditating, turning off the TV, computer, and news, reading, yoga, hobbies, and relaxing music can help you relax.
- Sleep. The amount and quality of sleep influences Cortisol levels. All science and research still indicates that we need 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep to be at our best.
- Get a Pet. There are numerous studies proving that getting and nurturing a pet reduces stress, Cortisol, and makes for a happier person. Goldfish don’t count. You need a pet you can touch.
- Take Fish Oil Supplements. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are proven to reduce the body’s Cortisol. Fish oil supplements are the easiest way to consume enough fish oil for both lowering these hormone levels and bettering overall health.
8. Inflammation and Weight Gain
We all know what inflammation is when it comes to a wound or sore knee. But less people know about chronic inflammation, what causes it, problems associated with it, or what to do about it.
Chronic inflammation is responding to internal problems, and is linked to almost all major diseases. We know it plays a significant part in heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and weight gain.
Chronic inflammation is a major and rampant health problem, and when it comes to losing weight, it is a a major stumbling block.
The good news is that you can take action to stop inflammation. Most of the preventives measures are directly related to losing and maintaining a healthy weight.
— How to Reduce Inflammation and Lose Weight
✪ Stop Eating Sugar and Processed Food.
Processed food is anything packaged or canned. Processed foods look great and last much longer than fresh food due to the chemicals, sugars, and other additives. Limit canned foods as much as possible, and always thoroughly rinse between the can and pan.
Limiting processed food and increasing fresh and whole foods is essential to reducing chronic inflammation as well as losing weight. When fresh vegetables and fruits are limited opt for fresh frozen.
✪ Include More Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Severely limiting the foods that are irritating internal organs and systems is just the start. The next step is to include foods that fight against inflammation. These foods include:
- Cold water ocean fish like salmon
- Plant based oils
- Vegetables and more vegetables
✪ Regular Exercise
Have you noticed how often exercise comes up? Here’s why: Humans didn’t originally come with 8-5 jobs, automobiles, and easy chairs.
No! We are designed to be physically active. We walked or ran every place we went. Our bodies were designed for movement, a lot of movement.
Because our modern lifestyles don’t include a lot of physical activity in our day to day activities, it’s paramount to include this as regular exercise.
Regular exercise that aids in the reduction of inflammation, weight loss, and better health means 30-45 minutes 4-5 times a week. And if you can do something that raises your heart rate and makes you breathe just a little harder, you’ll receive all the benefits.
✪ Reduce Stress Levels
Research everywhere shows that stress affects cardiovascular diseases, cancer, depression, and inflammation.
Most of the time it’s almost impossible to get out of the stressful situations, so what is the answer?
Learning and implementing ways to reduce pent up stress in our body every day. Like we mentioned earlier in this post, things like exercise, yoga, relaxing music, hobbies, gardening and more is the answer.
Taking action to reduce stress levels pays off with easier weight loss, reduced risk of chronic diseases, and improved health.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Do Fad Diets Work?
Even if you do manage to lose those extra pounds while punishing yourself with a fad diet, you can expect to find them again in short order.
Fad diets seldom include the amount of nutrients including vitamins and minerals you need to sustain a healthy lifestyle. Your body quickly reacts to the loss of nutrients and is just waiting to start overeating again. These diets are really just more of the poor decision making skills that get us here to start with.
The recommended pounds lost a month is usually about seven to nine from people who have seen highly successful results that last.
Why not try the Atkins plan, the South Beach diet or a keto diet. Millions of people have and are having proven success with these dieting methods?
I’m not surprised that these diets have been around for years. In the end, these diet plans will help you to educate yourself about serving size and eating things like broccoli and vegetables which takes them out of the latest fads category.
2. Can I Eat too Few Calories to Lose Weight?
You can’t merely stop eating and be miserable all the time to lose weight. Unless you plan on fasting off of food regularly, it won’t work. Yes, you need to be at a caloric deficit as in the infographic, but that doesn’t mean fasting and you don’t want to completely eliminate carbs and protein.
Here’s why you must have calories to lose weight: Your body requires calories for energy and movement. If you cut all of the calories out of your stomach, your body will begin to save the belly fat and cannibalize your muscles.
Change your diet to healthy foods instead of processed flours, sugars, and pre-packaged foods for real results. Making the switch to a healthy diet will help you stop overeating and lose weight.
Be sure to eat enough calories from nutrient dense foods and you will slim down and have plenty of energy.
3. Do Crash Diets Work?
Stay away from starvation diets if you value your health and expect long term results. Avoiding extreme measures and expecting consistent and steady result over the long term.
Research has found that when weight loss is consistently 1-2 pounds a week, people are always more successful over the long term.
Cutting entire meals or waiting too long between meals is really the same thing as not eating enough calories.
Controlling your eating by going without food for too long will backfire and stop your weight loss plans. You still need to consistently eat healthy foods like potatoes, broccoli, vegetables, and brown rice several times a day to lose weight.
You need your metabolism to be working at top speed to dispose of the fat. Going without meals or cutting serving size to nothing actually slows your metabolism because your body thinks you need to conserve your energy.
The absolute best way to accomplish this is by eating very small meals every two or three hours throughout the day.
4. What Are Realistic Weight Loss Goals?
So you have been reading all the latest diet headlines, and now you fully expect to drop 10 pounds in a week? Setting unrealistic goals will definitely have you asking yourself “why can’t I lose any weight?”
What you have to do here is to back away from lunatic thinking, and get a grip!
Healthy weight loss isn’t just about a “diet” or “program”. It’s about an ongoing lifestyle that includes long-term changes in daily eating and exercise habits.Read the rest at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Of course, we want to drop 10-20 pounds in a few days or a week. But weight loss goals and ideas like this are both unhealthy and unrealistic.
If you need to lose 25 pounds, plan on it taking three months, not a few days. When the weight is gone by learning new eating habits and exercising more you will wind up healthier, feeling better, and sleeping better.
Try to count up all of the times that you actually gained ten pounds in a week even with living on bagels and cream cheese?
Because unrealistic goals are spelled with these letters..f-a-i-l-u-r-e. Why not go ahead and change your eating habits?
Set realistic goals and use these common sense eating diets to lose weight and stop craving unhealthy foods.
5. How to Set Weight Loss Goals?
✪ Set Long Term Lifestyle Goals
It’s easy to make constant gaining and losing weight a lifestyle. And that’s an unhealthy and aggravating way to live your life. Short term dieting is never the best answer to permanent weight loss and management.
Making lifestyle changes to avoid a life of dieting should be your first goal. Come to grips with the fact that regular physical activity (exercise) and long-term healthy eating habits is the answer.
✪ Set Small Attainable Goals
Studies show that people who lose weight gradually and steadily are more successful at keeping weight off. Health experts recommend 1 to 2 pounds a week over the long run for healthy weight loss. That’s better than trying to lose a lot of weight all at once.
✪ Set Small Goals
When you’ve decided on the weight you want to get to, break it up into smaller short term goals. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds in 3 months (a noble and realistic weight loss goal) write a goal for each month.
You could set a goal of 6 or 7 pounds for the first month, second, and third. Whatever you decide for your monthly goals, make them realistic and award yourself when you reach them. Writing the reward at the same time you write the goal works to keep me on track.
Stop asking yourself “why you can’t seem to lose any weight?”
and ask yourself if you are following the plan you made to eat healthy and not overeat?
6. How to Remove Unhealthy Temptations
Get all of the sweets, breads, snacks, pasta, sodas, bread, fries, and other foods that you know full well causes you to gain weight out of the house and office. Try to cut all the processed foods possible from your meals and substitute them with real foods that are nutrient dense.
Give them away, or throw them away, but get them out of your home, and office, before you ever begin your new diet plan.
Stock your home and workplace with the best foods to lose weight so you won’t be tempted to eat fattening foods.
As humans we are definitely omnivores which means we do best with a healthy balance of meat and plant foods. The problem comes from surviving on packaged foods which are highly processed instead of fresh vegetables that are naturally calorically light.
Go to the grocery and get loaded up on real foods that focus as much as possible on fresh or fresh frozen vegetables, lean meats, fowl, and nuts and seeds to snack on between meals.
Why submit yourself to temptation, and sure failure? A smart person who wants to get back to a healthy weight makes a deliberate decision to cut out fatty sauces, processed foods, and junk food. The decision is to stop dieting once and for all and get to eating real food.
7. Why Can’t I lose Any Weight Without Exercise?
Remember, we aren’t believing advertisements, and we are giving up on fad diets, right?
Do you really believe you can shed those extra pounds by eating the same as always, not exercising, and taking weight loss pills? Of course not!
Burning off the accumulated fat is the goal, and there’s only one method of doing that, and it’s not exercise. You must simply burn more calories than you consume.
There are two ways to do that: eat less or get more physical activity. That’s it, the only two ways.
However, when you stop overeating, and eat a diet consisting of whole foods and grains, vegetables that fill your stomach with nutrients instead of chemicals and highly processed foods — and exercise — you suddenly have the magic diet.
Finding the motivation to exercise is a big deal with most people, so don’t think you’re alone.
You don’t have to join a gym, but you do need to get some movement in your life; 30 minutes a day of walking, dancing, jumping, raking leaves, most anything that will get you sore, ok?
Exercise will get your metabolism up which calls for more fuel. As your body needs more fuel to workout with, it will burn stored fat cells.
So don’t neglect to exercise if you really intend to lose weight, and stop dieting.
Check out the simple exercise equipment you can use in the privacy of your own home without a gym membership.
8. How Much Water to Lose Weight?
Here’s the little discussed method to get those pounds gone….drinking more water.
And drinking more water works!
Very few of us are drinking enough water for good health to start with, but now you need to be sure you are drinking the daily minimum, plus more.
The minimum for any good health is 8-8oz glasses a day.
That’s the minimum requirement, but you need to drink more than that to flush the fat cells out of your body and lose weight.
9. Should I Tell Others About My Weight Loss Plans
Don’t keep your diet a secret.
Put yourself on the spot!
Tell everyone you come into contact with what you are doing, and why.
Talk your new lifestyle up, and throw all of your old clothes away. Burn those bridges, so there’s only one way to go!
You can lose weight, Just say so!
10. How to Get Motivated to Start a Diet?
Stop living with that internal voice that continues to remind you that you are overweight.
No one needs to remind you that you are overweight. You know it’s hurting your health and your self esteem.
But sometimes we just can’t find the trigger to pull and get started.
It seems easier to keep on the familiar path.
But think about how much life you are loosing when you continue on like you are today?
Think about how much better you will feel, how much more energy you will have, how much better you will feel about yourself, and how good you will look when you finally do lose that weight.
Seriously, it’s too easy to just think about losing weight:
While steadily grazing on your favorite fat foods.
Don’t let this chance pass, think this thing through, make your plans, and see it through.
Why Can’t I lose Any Weight in a Nutshell
As you can see there are a lot of legitimate reasons why you can’t lose any weight. However, I would submit (based on my own weight problems) that the real reason most of us have a problem is this: The volume of food we eat far outweighs the physical activity in our lives.
The Best and Healthiest Way to Lose Weight
✪ Eat More Small Meals
Instead of gorging yourself on two or three meals a day, try eating very small meals 5-6 times a day. Of course the trick to eating several times a day, is to be sure that you are eating miniscule amounts of food each time.
I found that eating some cooked food, nuts, raw vegetables and small amounts of fruit all through the day keeps me satisfied. I never get hungry and my blood levels stay the same all day so I don’t experience the normal sluggish times after a meal.
Weight loss will be slower, but more permanent. You’ll find you have more energy and feel better all the time.
✪ Implement Intermittent Fasting
I’ve found that when I am impatient to lose the pounds I can move to one meal a day. In fact, when nothing else works, if you have the fortitude, this can make your body start using fat stores pretty fast.
This is easier for me than counting calories throughout the day. I spend most of my days sitting at a desk. Not only can it be boring which causes me crave food, it burns no calories to speak of.
If I eat the normal 3 meals a day, I consume far more calories than I can possibly burn — even with regular exercise. You might find intermittent fasting to be just the ticket to jump starting your diet.
Trying to lose and maintain a healthy weight can be a major battle. Today’s fast paced society makes staying at our best weight even more difficult.
We are all different with different responses to changing anything about our life. But if you are serious about losing weight you will get serious.
Most all of can see success when we eat smaller portions, stay on a diet of wholesome foods rich in nutrients, and get the exercise we need. Break the habit of eating foods that have no nutritional value, become health conscious, and make losing weight easy and permanent.