The road to successfully losing weight can be long and challenging, and if you don’t start your journey with the right tools and mind-set, it can be very difficult to lose the weight, and more importantly, keep it off.
You’ve probably found this article because you’ve been asking yourself, “why can’t I lose weight no matter what I do?” and need some clear, to the point answers.
Fear not, this article will tell you everything you need to know about why diets fail, some of which may surprise you. It’ll also give you some invaluable advice on how to overcome these obstacles and maintain the weight loss, so that you can start your journey well informed and ready to succeed!
Why Can’t I Lose Weight? Keep reading to find out…
Reason 1: You’re looking for an easy option
Let’s get this clear straight away: There is no easy, quick fix to losing weight. To put it simply, fad diets do not work. Sure, replacing two of your meals a day with lemon water will of course make you drop the pounds quickly, but if you’re looking for long term success, you will not find it within a fad diet.
In fact, several studies have shown that fad dieting can actually lead to gaining even more weight in the future – a study conducted by researchers at the University of California found that at the very least, one-third of people who go on these diets regain even more weight than they lost in just a matter of weeks.
When you’re partaking in an extreme diet, your body lacks the important nutrients it needs to function properly. Is it worth putting your body under this type of stress to just lose a few pounds, and probably gain them back just as quickly as you lost them?
No. You need to remember that in order to be successful, weight loss isn’t a diet, but lifestyle choice. Healthy, well balanced meals with your daily recommendations of fat, protein and carbohydrates is the key to success.
Reason 2: You’re doing too much, too quickly
Another huge mistake that many people make when trying to shift the pounds is taking on too much at once. Changing your eating habits drastically overnight is not only mentally exhausting, but also damaging to your body.
You didn’t gain those twenty pounds in a week, nor are you going to lose them in a week. Remember, weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint! If you’ve totally overhauled your eating habits overnight – great – you’ve taken the first step to a healthier you. However, reducing your caloric intake drastically can make you feel hungry, groggy and irritable if you don’t ease yourself into it. And you if feel like that, there is absolutely no way you will stick to it – and will probably end up eating even more to get back to feeling normal.
We’ve suggested some tips in the past that make the 500 cal diet easier, but you should still think about how you can ease yourself into it.
It is recommended that you only cut out 200 to 300 calories a day to begin with, to allow your body to adjust to its new eating habits. Fill up on foods that are high in fibre such as wholegrains and vegetables, as these take your body longer to digest, making you feel fuller for longer.
Similarly, with exercise, start small. Doing just a few steps today is better than nothing, and it gives you a platform to build on in the future.
Reason 3: You lack motivation
You bounce of out bed on a Monday morning, determined that this is the day that you change your life forever, no excuses. You grab your nutritious green smoothie and head to your early morning spin class, but by dinnertime, you’re eating a takeaway, promising yourself that you’ll start again next Monday.
Does this scenario sound familiar to you?
This is because you’re lacking motivation. Sure, you might have a burst of it, determined this this time it’s for real, and you’re going to lose the weight once and for all. But as soon as you get hungry, your resolve goes out of the window.
Firstly, you need to keep reminding yourself of your reasons to lose weight. Find what works for you – maybe find unflattering picture of yourself, stick it on top of the biscuit tin at the office, so that when you reach for a mid morning snack, you’ll remind yourself of what those biscuits have done to you!
Another great way of keeping yourself motivated is to tell some of your supportive friends and colleagues that you are losing weight. That way, if they catch you falling off the wagon, they’ll be there to remind you of your resolution. If this type of group encouragement works for you, why not try joining a slimming club? Not only will the advice and support of people in a similar position help motivate you, but knowing that you have to go to weekly weigh-ins will probably keep you on track.
Reason 4: Failing to prepare
As the old saying goes, ‘failing to prepare is preparing to fail,’ and nothing truer has ever been said. The easiest way to fall off the wagon is by making split second choices, such a grabbing a burger for lunch instead of a salad, or putting sugar in your coffee because you need a quick boost.
The best way to overcome these poor choice habits is to not give yourself the option. If you are serious about long term weight loss, you should toss out all the junk food in your kitchen, and make sure you always prepare a healthy, homemade lunch for work. You can prepare healthy, bulk meals at the beginning of the week and freeze them – this can also be done for breakfast and dinners. This way, you know what you’re going to have for dinner, and by eliminating a choice, you know you won’t stray off track.
Another key piece of advice is to always carry healthy snacks around with you – maybe a small bag of carrots, some almond nuts or pieces of fruit. This way, you’re not tempted to dash into a store for a chocolate bar, or dive into the biscuit tin at work if you’re feeling peckish.
Reason 5: Not taking a balanced approach to weight loss
Firstly, let’s get one thing clear: You cannot outrun a bad diet. You could be sweating it out in the gym seven days a week, for two hours at a time – but if you’re swinging past a fast food joint on the way home, there is no way that you’ll lose a significant amount of weight.
Exercise is great, and is a vital role in maintaining a healthier you, but it should be used in conjunction with healthy eating to obtain optimum weight loss. Weight loss works on creating a deficit, but if you’re eating badly, there is no way you’ll have enough time – or energy – to burn off the calories to create one.
For example, it would take almost an hour of solid running to burn off a McDonalds Big Mac. However, if you were eating healthily, your exercise routine is just an added bonus to help you speed up your metabolism and tone up your muscles.
Reason 6: Not drinking enough water
Drinking water is the most effective way to boost your metabolism. When your body is dehydrated, it struggles to burn fat, and therefore can slow down your weight loss results.
Not only is water vital for your metabolism, but your body cannot tell the difference between hunger and thirst, meaning that often, if you find yourself to be hungry, chances are that you just haven’t been drinking enough water!
It is recommended that you should drink a glass of water twenty minutes before you have a meal, as this will prevent you from overeating, because you will feel fuller quicker.
Overall, you should be drinking at least two liters of water a day, to really get your metabolism going and to flush out all the toxins from the junk food you have been eating.
Bonus #1: You’re not working out long enough
While short workouts, or just increasing your general level of activity might have been fine when you started out, you may see your weight loss plateau and you need to inject longer workouts, or new ways of exercising into your routine.
Think about introducing stairs to your walks, or building up to 45 minute full body workouts and you’ll see the numbers on the scale start to drop again.
TheBestofFitness.com has a great guide to body weight exercises that you can add to your workout.
Bonus #2: You’re getting too caught up on weight loss
It may be that even though you have stopped losing weight, other indicators show that you are getting fitter and healthier and you’re not even realising it. If your weight loss has levelled out and you can’t work out why, try to look at some other metrics for a while, see the positive side of all your hard work, and come back to weight loss in a few days.
Having some other fitness and exercise metrics to look at will keep you motivated even if the scales aren’t going the way you’d like them too.
Hopefully these top 6 tips will help you on your journey to long term, successful weight loss! Remember, it is necessary that in order to lose weight safely and effectively, you must make sure that your diet and exercise regime is sustainable, and that you remember why you started this journey.