9 Reasons You Might Not Be Losing Weight

Failure to lose weight

Are you frustrated with your whole weight loss efforts? Do you stand on the scale, watch the number pop up, sigh, and throw up your hands saying, “It’s no use. No matter what I do, I cannot seem to lose weight.”

If you feel like this, you are certainly not alone. I had so many mornings of frustration when I stood on the scale hoping against hope that the needle would have nudged down even a bit. But sadly, morning after morning, week after week, and even month after month – nothing happened.

All that did happen was that I got more and more frustrated with my weight loss efforts and eventually gave up. I’d sigh to myself that I just couldn’t lose weight, no matter what I did.

Although there are medical conditions that make weight loss extremely difficult, medications that cause weight gain, and times of your life where losing weight is harder than others, it is possible for most people to lose weight successfully.

If you feel as though nothing you are doing is working, take a look at these 9 things to think about and decide whether any of them apply to your situation.

1. You Are Not Giving It Your All

This is a touchy subject, but there is a chance you are not losing weight because you are not really trying as hard as you can. You may find yourself slipping into a convenience store for a bag of chips or having an extra spoonful of frozen yogurt when no one is looking. You might also be avoiding exercise, justifying a lack of physical activity, or just be in denial.

2. You Are Too Scale Focused

Now, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know that I am an advocate of weighing yourself daily. However, just focusing on the number on the scale can cause frustration, especially if you are regularly working out and building muscle. Instead of only using the scale to define success, use your body measurements, how you feel physically, your ability to exercise, and your increased awareness of the importance of a clean, healthy diet.

3. You Are Already at a Healthy Weight

If you are at a healthy weight, meaning you are neither obese nor overweight, you may not really need to lose anymore weight. It can be very frustrating to fight to lose the last 5 pounds. Analyze whether you need to lose any more weight or not and if you don’t really need to lose anymore, switch your focus to increasing your level of physical fitness and eating a healthier diet.

4. You Aren’t Eating Enough

Don’t starve yourself to lose weight. Even though it may seem counterintuitive, you have to eat to lose weight! I rarely went under 1,500 calories when I was successfully dieting. Monitor your calorie intake for a few days and make sure you are eating enough to sustain your body and your weight loss.

5. You Are Believing Food Labels

Some food labels are helpful and some are incredibly misleading. Don’t just believe that a food that has the word “healthy” on the label actually is. Read the ingredient list and pay attention to the calories and nutrients in the food. A food that says “fat-free” is not necessarily a healthy food for weight loss. It still has calories, sugar, and often a host of chemical additives you do not need.

6. You Avoid Healthy Fats

I’m a proponent of watching your fat intake, but not a proponent of no fat. Your body needs healthy fats in the right amount. Don’t be afraid of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

7. You Are Not Getting Enough Sleep

I did a post about the importance of sleep a few weeks ago, but suffice it to say that not getting enough sleep can negatively affect your weight loss efforts.

8. You Are Not Being Honest About Your Food Intake

It’s really easy to do. What is? Not be completely honest with yourself about how many calories you are eating and where those calories are coming from. Only you know if you are playing with the numbers or “forgetting” about that candy bar you snitched from your child’s candy bag. I’d encourage you to write down everything you’ve been eating for at least a week and analyze the healthfulness of your diet and how your caloric intake might be affecting your weight.

9. You Are Eating Your Exercise Calories

It is very tempting to give yourself permission to have a little more to eat because you exercised, but that strategy can backfire and result in you not losing weight. Why? Because you likely burn fewer calories through your exercise than you think unless you are running long distances or spending hours in the gym. If you walk for 30 minutes, you probably burn about 200 calories, which isn’t a whole lot.

I know that this weight loss process is not easy. Believe me, I do. But with concerted effort, a lot of honesty within yourself, and a willingness to go the extra mile for your own good, you can succeed. I know you can.

Have you ever been able to pinpoint what was causing your weight loss efforts to fail? Diane

17 thoughts on “9 Reasons You Might Not Be Losing Weight

  1. PlumPetals says:

    Great article Diane. My main setback is grazing on foods even if they’re ‘harmless’ – eg nuts. I need to stay vigilant all the time. as soon as I’m not, I suffer the consequences.

  2. Kyra says:

    I’m one of those people who has been on both sides. I’ve been unable to lose weight because my body freaked out (it was real, went to multiple dr’s and so on) and I’ve been in denial when I could as well. There is a huge difference between the two, and the first is very rare. I agree with every one of your tips. 🙂

  3. Tracy L says:

    Wow, for me, it’s not points 3,4,5,6, or 7. So that leaves not getting serious, eating too much and obsessing over the scale. That is my truth. I’m a writer and I’m interviewing people who’ve lost weight and kept it off this week (people local to my area so couldn’t include you Diane!). It is so inspiring to hear their stories. I’m noticing something they all have in common: each of them focused on doing exercise they enjoy instead of forcing themselves to do things they don’t like. They are also patient with the weight loss. I think I get impatient and give up. Need to think long term and learn to stick with it day in and day out!

  4. Karen J says:

    In my case, I was not losing weight because of the inflammation that was caused by eating gluten, a protein my body was having trouble digesting. Since giving up gluten, I have lost 28 pounds. I had kept off a 30 pound weight loss for 20 years and then all of a sudden started gaining uncontrollably. I put it all back on in just 18 months! After eating healthy and exercising for three years, I finally saw a nutritionist who diagnosed me as gluten intolerant. If all the right things are not working, I would suggest giving up gluten for a while to see if it makes a difference. I also eat a low glycemic diet which I believe has also helped.

  5. Lisa says:

    I am always shocked when someone tells me they are on a diet and are eating 1200 calories or less. Or they saw a dietitian who told them to eat 1200 calories a day. Not only is that NOT enough food, it’s setting yourself up for failure. We will all hit plateaus in our weight loss journey and already starting out at a bordering-on-starving amount of food, there’s no room to reduce the calories.

    For me, I went from 4000+ calories a day to 2000. As my weight loss continued and then stalled in plateaus, I reduced my daily intake by 100 calories or so. My goal was to get down to 1500 calories a day (which I never got to because it wasn’t enough food for my activity level). On average I was around 1800 a day and that worked for me!

  6. Tommy says:

    I think you’ve pinpoint all the important points Diane. These are some very common and important reasons why people aren’t losing weight like they want to. I think Point #7 about getting enough sleep is critical. Most of us burn our candles on both ends and forget that sleep is crucial for our body to recover. It’s actually quite simple: less sleep makes more stress on your body and mind. Not to be guilty of sleeping too much, but the top athletes sleep over 12 hours a day to feel rested and recover.

  7. Hope K says:

    I think all your points are spot-on, Diane. I, however, do not weigh myself every day — I find it frustrating and discouraging — but I know a lot of people do.

    I think it’s very important, when you are stuck, to diligently record every bite of food and sip you drink. I did this for about a week or two, but then I didn’t have to do it anymore because I knew what I was doing.

    The thing that has knocked me off my weight loss plan more than once is the dreaded plateau. However, now I know to wait it out. Patience is important. It takes time to lose the weight, but it is so worth it.

  8. quix says:

    I have big problems with 8 and 9. I just ran 13 miles, I should be able to eat whatever I want, right? Well, to a point. One high calorie carby meal after a long hard workout is actually great, but as the hours pass, your consumption should go back to normal. I *know* this, but its not always easy to put into practice with real world plans.

  9. Janis says:

    Regarding #9, I wonder sometimes whether or not the manufacturers of all of those exercise machines and little gadgets that are supposedly measuring how many calories you burn aren’t doing the same thing with them that the clothing manufacturers do — inflating their numbers, only in the other direction. People do fall for that; they really do buy the same pair of pants or shirt more often if a smaller number is on the tag. It wouldn’t surprise me if the calorie burning measurements-in-airquotes aren’t inflated. There is no other reason for people to think that getting on a stairstepper for half an hour gave them a 900 Calorie burn. That’s almost a ten mile run!

    I wonder the same thing about bathroom scales, too. Mine shows a certain number, and to be honest, I think it’s about four pounds too low. I’ve always measured slightly lower on people’s home scales than on the one’s with the sliding weights at doctor’s offices. I only ever try to keep it stable as an arbitrary measurement that I take every morning, but I don’t take it as gospel for exactly what I weigh.

    There is just too much money to be made on these devices for them to not be dishonestly tweaked in order to be made more appealing. If I owned an exercise machine company and had zero sense of ethics, you can bet it’s what I’d do, and from seeing how vanity sizing has caught on, it’s even more plausible. If I figured this out, you can bet that some six-figure marketing executive somewhere has already figured it out.

    The only foolproof Calorie-burning and food intake measuring device we have is our own bodies.

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