Unfortunately, losing weight is not that easy!
These days, weight loss is probably the most heavily debated topic – and for good reason. With so many diets, ‘miracle’ treatments and personalized workout programs, how can we ever know what works for us? Losing weight can feel like a losing battle. The internet is filled with before-and-after photos of people’s successful weight loss journey, which only demotivates you even more.
Maybe you’ve lost some weight and just can’t get rid of those few extra pounds left. Maybe you’ve tried every diet, pill and program out there and still don’t have the results you want. I hear you. Contrary to what the perfect social media world might show you, many people are facing the exact same problems as you – and there are a few common reasons that prevent us all from losing weight. The more we know, the more we can understand how to overcome them and reach our weight loss goals, right?
For example, did you know that you may have already lost some weight without even realizing it? I’ll explain it, along with 20 other common reasons why you can’t lose weight, right away…
Reason #1: You may have already lost some weight
Seems impossible, right? Here’s the deal: once you’ve been on a weight loss plan for a while, your body may start stagnating in terms of weight. This means that you’re not gaining but you’re not losing any pounds either. However, this doesn’t mean you’re not losing extra body fat!
The distribution of your body weight is continuously changing. For example, many women can lose fat and retain more water – so even though the scale shows no difference, you have less extra fat than before! The same works if your weight loss plan includes physical exercise. Maybe you are losing fat, but its weight is replaced by muscle and fiber, which is great.
What you can do: Aside from the scale, check your waist circumference and body fat percentage monthly, as they’ll show you how you’re really losing weight.
Reason #2: You’re not getting enough protein
I’ve seen many people cutting off protein from their diet as they think it’ll make them gain weight. Here’s some good news: you don’t have to give up on your delicious breakfast eggs to shed the unwanted pounds! In fact, protein is an essential macronutrient for your body and cutting it off will only make you feel miserable – both physically and emotionally.
What truly matters is how you get your protein: is it through French fries or a chicken salad? Is it healthy pasta or a quick McCombo? Sure, junk food contains protein as well, but it also brings plenty of added sugars and artificial ingredients which can make you gain weight instantly. As long as you choose your protein sources wisely, though, there’s no need to cut this nutrient from your diet!
Reason #3: You’re getting ‘too many’ calories
Most of the people I’ve met are obsessing over counting calories and staying within a certain calorie range daily. Truth be told, this is neither helpful nor healthy! If calories are the only thing you’re counting, you might end up gaining more weight instead of losing it. Why?
Well, let’s imagine you set a goal of eating 2,000 calories a day. You could either get them by eating your favorite pizza or three meals filled with nutrients. See the difference? Counting calories may be helpful to a point, but what truly matters is what those calories give your body: are they overloaded with sugar or trans fats? Are they filled with protein, vitamins and minerals?
When you start paying attention to what you’re eating, you may start seeing some real positive results. Our post right here explains the danger of eating empty calories and how you can avoid them starting right now.
Reason #4: You’re binge eating
Starting a diet can be a life-changing event for most people, especially if you’re used to stress-eating or night snacks. These guilty little pleasures are in fact linked to your emotional state. Many people who go on a diet continue to pursue binge-eating using the healthy foods their diet allows.
However, even eating more healthy foods than our body needs can lead to weight gain! I mean, just because nuts, cheese and dark chocolate are very healthy, consuming them excessively still gives you more calories (counted as sugar or fats) than you require. Stopping emotional eating can sometimes be the biggest challenge of a weight loss plan.
Reason #5: You’re still consuming sugary drinks
Generally, going on a diet involves giving up on commercial drinks overloaded with sugar (Pepsi, I’m looking at you too!). This change (which might be major for many) can make people turn to alternatives they believe are healthier. From vitamin water to fresh fruit juice, these options definitely give you a higher nutrient intake.
Unfortunately, though, many of them have almost the same amount of sugars as Coke! How can you avoid this habit? Simply replace these sugary beverages with plain water, homemade smoothies or shakes. We have plenty of sugar-free recipes that are surprisingly delicious in our Shake it Up! Series right here. If you do want to get a store-bought drink, though, read the label thoroughly to check the sugar content per serving.
Reason #6: You’re not getting enough sleep
Recently, more and more studies proved that there’s a powerful link between our sleep and weight. If you’re not getting the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep per night, you probably already experience its negative effects. However, many people are still sleeping a lot and feeling miserable – why?
Because your sleep quality matters just as much as the quantity. What’s worse, this study published by the Sleep Research Society proved that both adults and children with poor sleep have a 55% higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Depending on other factors, the risk can increase up to 89%.
Reason #7: You think foods high in fat are bad
Sadly, the theory suggesting that consuming fat means gaining unwanted pounds is still dangerously popular. Not only are fatty foods good for your health, but they’re also essential to meet your nutritional needs daily!
Much like protein, though, fat can come from many sources – and some of them can indeed do more harm than good (think fast-food or processed meals). However, low-fat diets are proven to be ineffective and damaging in the long run. For example, these diets have been associated with increased insulin resistance, which increases your risk of heart disease in time.
Reason #8: You think ‘low’ sweeteners are healthy
Have you ever heard of non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS)? This term refers to all sweeteners which contain very few nutrients; you’ll often see them advertised in products as low carb, low calorie or sugar-free. Many people opt for non-nutritive sweeteners simply because they think these ingredients are healthier than sugar.
Unfortunately, they can be equally unhealthy in the long run for weight gain and diseases. According to this study from the journal Nutrients, non-nutritive sweeteners can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes by deregulating blood sugar levels (much like sugar does). Although research is still ongoing, the wisest decision to lose weight is to consume both sugar and non-nutritive sweeteners in moderation.
Reason #9: You’re avoiding healthy foods
When they go on a diet, many people start avoiding certain foods thinking they’re unhealthy, when in fact they could be excellent sources of nutrients. One of the most common examples are plain white potatoes! You’d be surprised by how many people start avoiding potatoes once they go on a diet – or you may be one of them as well.
Sure, eating French fries filled with salt and oil makes you gain weight, In fact, eating white potatoes frequently can increase your weight gain risk regardless of how you cook them – but so does any other food! White potatoes are an affordable and accessible source of vitamin C, fiber and potassium.
As a plus, there are countless ways to serve them, many of which include other healthy ingredients as well! The healthiest ways to enjoy potatoes are if you bake or roast them. If you have an air fryer, nutritionists suggest it’s also a good option that helps you get that French fry texture.
Reason #10: You only eat diet foods
Over the past few years, ‘diet’ foods have taken over the grocery store shelves – and why wouldn’t they? After all, eating something low in calories that still tastes great seems like the ideal scenario, right? Sadly, the food industry hasn’t evolved that much – and diet foods may seem healthy when in fact they’re anything but. Why?
Since those foods are low in calories, manufacturers must find other ways to trick the consumers’ taste buds. Most of the times, they’re adding sugar and salt; as a result, many ‘diet’ foods end up having more sugar or artificial flavors than their non-diet alternatives!
Specialists recommend sticking to small portions of full-fat foods such as yogurt or cheese. The same theory applies to peanut butter – organic options that contain fat are much more nutritious than low-fat ones! Storing your peanut butter right is crucial to preserve its properties.
Reason #11: You’re not drinking water
Choosing the right foods and quantities to eat is essential for a successful weight loss journey. However, weight loss means so much more than the foods we eat! In fact, some of the simplest habits can have a huge positive impact – like drinking water has.
During this weight loss study from the journal Obesity, a group of participants drank 17 ounces (half a liter) of water 30 minutes before each meal. After the 12-week trial period, the group who drank water lost 44% more weight than those who didn’t! Isn’t that insane?
Reason #12: You’re always distracted
How many of us are enjoying our meals while watching a movie or scrolling on our smartphones? Although this practice may seem part of our culture, it can be extremely destructive for your weight loss plan.
Simple as it may seem, eating is a very complex process that requires your full attention and your five senses. Your digestive system must send cues to your brain when it’s full so you know when to stop – but this ability is inhibited by TV screens and other preoccupations. The result? We end up eating way more than we really need, thus compromising our diet plan.
Here are three key rules to eating right:
- Avoid any distractions (TV, work, smartphone)
- Eat slowly, paying extra attention to the texture, smell and color of your meal
- When you feel full, stop immediately and drink water
Reason #13: You’ve being too hard on yourself
Starting a weight loss plan is exciting and we’re all very motivated at first. All of these feelings may make you set some expectations, deadlines and limits that may be unrealistic. For most people, losing weight involves some serious lifestyle changes; the secret of success, in this case, is to allow yourself time to adjust to a healthier mindset and meal plan. Why?
Because what you should really aim is to achieve a healthier diet that you can actually maintain in the long run. Although starving yourself might make you lose weight faster, it’s neither healthy nor satisfying.
Reason #14: You have a medical condition
Some illnesses can make it difficult for you to lose the unwanted pounds or find a diet that matches your treatment or your lifestyle. Some of the most common medical conditions that prevent weight loss are polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), hypothyroidism and sleep apnea. Many prescription drugs can also lead to unwanted weight gain.
This is why you should ideally talk to your doctor before pursuing a weight loss plan. Discussing every detail of your life with a specialist can help you figure out the ideal solution to stay healthy and in shape! Mental conditions can also lead to weight gain or prevent you from following through with your diet.
Reason #15: You’re consuming too much alcohol
We already know that alcohol consumption can seriously damage our health in the long run; however, that extra beer or glass of wine you enjoy daily can also mess up your diet! Alcoholic beverages such as cocktails have a high sugar content and many calories, so it’s best to avoid them. Even if you stick to spirits, though, note that alcohol alone has 7 calories per gram, which is fairly high considering it isn’t nutritious at all.
Your best bet is to stick to the recommended daily intake of 1 drink for women and two drinks for men daily. Since alcohol consumption can be dangerous even in small quantities, you should know these 10 strange side effects it can give you.
Reason #16: You’re eating too many carbs
Now, we’ve already talked about the importance of adopting a diet that contains all food groups and nutrients. Sadly, though, many people still end up consuming more carbs than they need, which translates into extra fat and unwanted pounds. Eating carbs excessively is especially dangerous for people at risk for type 2 diabetes (or already diagnosed with it) since it affects blood sugar levels.
Multiple studies such as this one and this one proved that low-carb diets can help people lose up to three times more weight than the popular ‘low-fat’ diets. If you’ve already tried a low-carb diet that didn’t work, here’s the hidden reason why it may have failed and what you can do about it.
Reason #17: You’re avoiding cardio
Whether we like it or not, the truth is we can’t lose weight unless we combine a healthy diet with physical activity. Luckily, you don’t need any fancy workout program to shed unwanted pounds, especially if you’ve been living a sedentary living until now! All you need is 30 minutes of cardio daily.
What’s better, any exercise that increases your heart rate counts as cardio, from walking to jogging or cycling. Aside from preventing long-term illnesses, cardio can work wonders for burning belly fat and the visceral fat that surrounds internal organs. If you’re a beginner, there are a few essential things you should know in order to start doing cardio the right way.
Reason #18: You’re not keeping a food journal
I’ve heard many people saying that keeping journals is a kids’ game and they don’t need that in their lives. However, when it comes to their diet, simply writing down what they eat can work wonders. How?
Firstly, this practice helps you acknowledge how much and what you’re really eating during the day. Many times we end up snacking on the wrong stuff without even realizing (remember binge-eating?). Once you know how your daily eating schedule looks like, you can start making small positive changes you can adapt to easily. We want to create a healthier lifestyle in the long run, remember?
Lastly, keeping a food journal can help you figure out how many meals you really need. Some people metabolize foods faster, which means they’ll need more meals in smaller quantities distributed throughout the day.
Reason #19: You refuse to take supplements
Over the past few years, the supplement industry has evolved a lot. This means that you can find high-quality products that help you meet your nutritional goals as well as misleading treatments that ‘magically’ shed extra pounds. However, if you’re working with a specialist who recommends a certain supplement, it’s most likely beneficial to start taking it! Why?
Because no matter how healthy the foods we eat are, we may still be unable to get enough of some nutrients (including calcium or vitamin D). When our body lacks a nutrient, it may give you hunger cues in an attempt to obtain that specific nutrient; unless you get the message, you’ll just end up eating more foods you don’t really need.
Reason #20: You’re not motivated enough
Of course, we all want to lose weight – but how much do we really want to? As I was saying earlier, weight loss might involve some pretty serious lifestyle changes such as giving up on junk food, ditching alcohol or doing physical activity.
In other terms, losing weight means getting out of our comfort zone. The best way to stay motivated all the way through the process is to give weight loss a positive meaning. Most of the times, a number on the scale won’t be enough to follow through.
Maybe losing weight means staying healthy for your children or grandchildren; maybe it means having more energy to enjoy activities you haven’t done before. Maybe it means improving your self-worth like never before. These are the things that really help us get out of our comfort zone. They give us courage and that’s what we really need, so find your motivation and you’ll lose weight for good!
Need more help?
If you’ve already tried multiple weight loss programs and none of them work, you might need specialized help. Unfortunately, too many people are ashamed to ask for help, so don’t be one of them!
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