Top Reasons Why You Cannot Lose Weight

I can’t believe we are already into July. Happy belated July 4th everyone, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. It’s been a while since I’ve recapped my current weight loss goal and I feel like I need a reminder. It was back on May 19th that I chiseled out my new goal to lose 44 pounds by August 23 and reach my target weight of 170lbs. At this morning’s weigh in my weight was…

192 lbs

I lost three pounds last week, even over the holiday long weekend, which is miraculous (I’ll tell you how I did it below). This leaves me with approximately six weeks to lose another 22 pounds. Oh wow, that’s cool, I’m half way there. Wish me luck.

Eating too many calories, even if your diet is healthy, is one of the top reasons why you may not be able to lose weight.

Eating too many calories, even if your diet is healthy, is one of the top reasons why you may not be able to lose weight.

As I mentioned above, I managed the miraculous and did not gain weight over this past long weekend. My husband and I went camping with a group of our friends and usually on those weekends anything goes and we come back bloated and ten pounds heavier. This year, however, I packed my own food in my own cooler and vowed not to touch any other goodies that may be brought. In my cooler I had a huge bag of turnip, cucumber and celery sticks along with cherry tomatoes. In another container I had celery sticks filled with lite cream cheese. I brought diced papaya and low-fat yogurt for my breakfasts, lean cuts of meat and fish for dinners and an enormous amount of greek salad with lite feta and zero-calorie dressing. My only treat was two bars of dark chocolate that I slowly savored each evening while everyone else feasted on chocolate muffins, lemon cake, cookies and smores. Oh, and I can’t forget, I also brought my chocolate protein shake powder and milk to help curb my hunger during the day when everyone else was feasting.

You may think that my menu was really boring and ghastly, I know I did when I first packed it. The funny thing though was that everyone at the camping trip almost seemed envious that they didn’t have a healthy cooler too. And after watching the enormous amounts of calories that were being eaten every day, I was grateful to have a healthier alternative and munching on turnips and cherry tomatoes didn’t seem that bad at all. Afterall, undoing two weeks of hard work dieting for a one weekend blitz seems careless and unnecessary to me now. I know how hard it is to lose weight and I’m starting to appreciate the effort it takes a lot more.

These days it is becoming more and more obvious to me why in the past my weight loss efforts have failed so miserably, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. There are billions of dollars spent on the diet industry each year yet most people end up weighing more and more. Why does this happen? There are quite a few reasons why you may be struggling to lose weight; some of them are physical and some are mental, but they are all the same in one way – they have to be overcome for healthy and lasting weight loss. Overcoming these obstacles can sometimes be done on your own and sometimes require professional help, but they can all be dealt with.

One of the top reasons why you cannot lose weight is because of your diet. Despite the fact that you feel you are eating healthier, and you may be, you are still consuming too many calories. Calories are tricky because they can really sneak into your diet easily. I highly recommend using a calorie tracker, such as the one at where you can track all of the calories you eat. If you can’t lose weight despite exercising and dieting then track your calorie consumption for one week. Then, the next week lower your calorie consumption by 500 calories a day. If after this second week of a lower calorie diet you still can’t lose weight then a visit with your doctor may be in order.

Another top reason why you cannot lose weight is because of an underlying health condition (for a list of condition that affect weight loss see the post “Healthy Conditions that Cause Weight Gain“). If you have insulin resistance, for example, regular low calories diets may not be the answer for you. Instead, you want to follow an Insulin Resistance Diet that is higher in fats and proteins and lower in carbohydrates. A doctor can advise you on a diet plan that is right for you and your particular medical situation.

You may also fail on a diet because you believe that all you need is willpower. This is a huge myth that has sunk many diets, including mine many times. Willpower will get you through a day, week, or maybe a month, but that is about it. If you are determined, that is great, but that is not all that you need for a successful diet. You have to have a plan in place that works when your willpower is slipping. Don’t rely on something that is just not meant to last and go with what works in the long run (see the post “Improving Weight Loss Motivation” for some great tips).

If you have tried and failed to lose weight many times, think about what went wrong. Did you follow a fad diet that promised weight loss that is simply not possible or healthy? Do you fail when confronted with certain situations? Are you hungry all of the time and that leads to problems? All of these things should be considered. Take some time to find a diet plan that fits your life, not one that you have to adjust your life to do. That can make all of the difference.

Finally, one of the top reasons you cannot lose weight is that you don’t have a weight management plan for when you are finished dieting. You can not simply change the way that you eat, lose weight, and then go back to your old eating and lifestyle choices. If you do that, you are going to gain the weight back and then some if you are not careful. A good diet means a lifestyle change that you stay with for the rest of your life. If you go on a temporary diet, you are going to fail in the long run. This is the biggest mistake I’ve made when dieting and I think it is a common one – thinking that a diet is a short-term thing. Once you reach your weight loss goal, don’t think your work is over. Instead, continue to follow whatever diet and exercise routine you have been successful with and adjust your calorie intake accordingly.

4 comments to Top Reasons Why You Cannot Lose Weight

  • Luc Reid

    Great post. I particularly like your points about having a weight loss plan and knowing what you’re consuming on a daily basis (I do this with a calorie log, though the kind of “exchanges” approach that some systems use seems to work, too).

    By the way, when you say “lower your calorie consumption by 500 calories a day” I just wanted to point out that I think you’re saying lower it one time, not lower it 500 points the first day, then 500 more the next day, etc. You probably already know this, but eating 500 calories less a day is just about exactly what a person would need to do to lose a pound a week.

    About not relying too long on willpower, I have to say that depends on how you want to use willpower. People often seem to think of it as an innate force that you either have or you don’t, and that you can’t change. Fortunately, based on psychological research in recent years, it turns out that willpower is something that can be both bolstered in the short term and improved over time. That’s the subject of my blog, — the short version here is that I definitely agree that just trying to power through and depend on never losing your enthusiasm, but that on the other hand it’s possible to strengthen your willpower and use it to greater effect, and that’s well worth doing.

    Luc Reid

  • thank you, this one help me alot.

  • Luc – Thank you for your thoughtful feedback. Yes, I was referring to lowering your diet by 500 calories each day so that in one week (7 days) you eat 3500 fewer calories, which is the golden number for theoretically losing one pound of body fat. I have visited your website and find it inspiring for all aspects of life. Bolstering and improving willpower is very helpful for everyone, but is very useful when trying to lose weight too. Great recommendations. Thank you.

  • Luc Reid

    Thanks! I really appreciate the feedback. If you happen to have any suggestions for the site, will you let me know?

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