30 reasons for not losing weight when dieting and exercising

Sunday 28th April 2024

So what are the reasons for not losing weight when dieting and exercising?

Anything worth doing is not always going to be easy. Some people are blessed with high metabolism and never seem to gain an ounce even with a unhealthy diet. My experience on the other hand was the complete opposite. In the beginning of my weight loss journey no matter what I did, I found it difficult to lose weight at the level I wanted let alone continue to do it.

However, losing weight actually can be easier than you think if you treat it as a lifestyle choice and have a system in place. In addition, its important to take into consideration the habits that may be hindering your progress.

Below are some 30 reasons for not losing weight when dieting and exercising:

Gaining muscle

fat cells vs muscle cells

It is a mistake to think that muscle weighs more than fat. In fact this is a little deceptive. The weight of muscle and fat is actually the same. However, what is different is the density. This just means that muscle takes up less space space than fat.

Therefore, you can fit more muscle into a compact space than you can fat. With more dense muscle compactness taking up your body you will inevitably weigh more. Furthermore, muscle eats up more fat than fat itself does, even while doing zero exercise.

This is why your body can be consuming more calories with muscle than it would without having gained that extra muscle mass. Consequently, your weight may be the same but your dress/shirt size will be getting smaller. Odd combination eh?…Guess that is science for you.

Losing track of what you are eating

Being a natural binge eater, I find binge eating is a common issue among people wanting to lose weight. There is a tendency to snack on the wrong foods and not keep track of what you are actually consuming. You do not need to have a pen and paper every time you eat something but having a idea of what actually is going into your body is a must.

If you are obsessive over keeping track of all calories then utilising a fitness app might be the best way forward. A fitness app allows you to input the foods you eat throughout the day allowing you to keep track of your daily calorie intake.

Remember losing weight just like gaining muscle is about finding a system and habitual way of doing things that you try and stick with every day. Building and instilling habit and discipline in your life is a must….this leads me on to my next point.

Not motivated enough

Being motivated all the time is a MYTH. We all have peaks and troughs of motivational periods. They go up and down. However, its very important we know how to leverage ourselves so that when we feel a lack of motivation we ignite the energy to continue at something.

Your family, partner, physical and mental health are all good reasons to stick at something even when it gets hard. Understand your “why.” Only you will know your own leverage points.

Not drinking enough water

Believe it or not drinking more water does have a minimising effect on weight gain. For example, in a article published by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition data was retrieved from studies from 4 educational databases. The study revealed that  participants who increased water consumption over 3-12 months with a weight loss program lost more weight than they would of done if they had taken just the program alone.

This most likely down to the reason that water can fill up the stomach and make your mind think that it is full, thus reducing your appetite.  For example, the University of Birmingham conducted a 12 week study into the effects of water pre-loading before a meal. They found that The water preloading group lost −1.3 kg more than the comparison group that did not pre-drink water.

Its important to mention that the participants were middle aged. Nonetheless, it still shows the weight loss and health benefits of drinking plenty of water.

Here are some of the benefits of drinking water:

Water benefits:

  • Water can act as hunger suppressant
  • Water plays a CRUCIAL role in detoxing the body and ridding itself of toxins that have built up
  • Keeps immune system healthy
  • Prevents cramps
  • Maintains body fluid regulation

Too many distractions

We live in a world full of distractions. When you walk into the supermarket you automatically start to feel hungry with all the food around you. Maybe I can add some ice cream to my shopping basket. I’m feeling hungry now what about some crisps? You start adding more unhealthy food to your shopping basket and kick your weight loss goals in the balls.

I certainly have this issue when going on a diet. Its difficult to stay focused when you mind constantly wonders from one thing to the next. Here is the GOLDEN TIP that has helped me:

Make a habitual choice to decide what meal you will consume before actually eating it. This relates to all kinds of food decisions. Once you mind is already made up you don’t have time to let distractions creep in. Procrastination creates distractions which in turn leads to no action.

Research shows that we are most likely to maintain something when we make it a habit.

My action point for you is to write down a healthy meal for every day and then switch your brain off and don’t think about eating anything else at all. Replace unhealthy snacks with healthy snacks and keep the healthy snacks close by to prevent any unhealthy distractions taking over.

I know this sounds like common sense but so many people set themselves up for failure because they have inadequately removed the distractions from their life. The person who has to walk down 3 flights of stairs to use the treadmill is less likely to exercise over the person who has the treadmill right in their living room.

Consequently, make your mind up before making any eating decisions, have meals planned in advance and avoid any weight gaining activities at all cost.

Have not mastered Discipline

YES I KNOW!…We all hate the word discipline. For most people discipline has very negative connotations associated with pain, hard work and doing something you hate.

Most people start a goal and give up within a week or a couple of days because they have not truly mastered the art of discipline. 

The more disciplined you become the easier life gets. You have control!

There is no better feeling than being in control of you life and of your habits and actions. It makes you feel strong, empowered, purposeful and happy. The mind is the key to unlocking everything and if you can control your mind anything is possible.

Not exercising properly

Yes, any kind of exercise is a start in the right direction. Exercise makes your heart stronger, makes you feel good, and increases your metabolism. However, its important that you understand the type of exercise you are undertaking and the intensity in which you are doing it at.

For example, cardio is a great way to lose weight. Its the first thing people think of as a natural fat burner. Nonetheless, cardio on its own is just scraping the surface of an effective exercise program. What is more effective is combining cardio with weight training.

This will condition the body to burn fat and build lean muscle at the same time. As mentioned earlier in this post, the more muscle definition your body has the more fat you will shed. A good tip is to do drop sets going to failure on each set with no rest in between.

Combine this type of weight training with an effective cardio your body will be forced to shed weight.

Drinks contain calories too

Ok I understand! We all freaking hate having to obsess over what we consume into our bodies. Its tiring, its annoying, and you feel demoralised looking at every food nutritional label out there. However, you don’t have to obsess over everything, its just important to know what to look for and what not to.

When it comes to drinks, they also contain calories. For example fruit and juice drinks may look like the real deal. They may say that they have vitamins but these vitamins can be mixed with sugar, water, and flavourings which in turn would be doing your body no good.

For example, even fruit/juice drinks which say ‘reduced sugar’ still contain sugar so its always worth looking at that good old nutritional label at the back.

Not allowing cheat days

Cheat days?…Isn’t your goal to lose weight not to cheat and waste the effort you put in?-you ask

Despite the naysayers, incorporating cheat days into your calendar may actually help you lose more weight long term. This is because it helps reduce the increased cravings you get when you have abstained from your regular, less healthy foods for a long time.

Tips for cheat days:

  • Try to leave about 5 days between your cheat days
  • Do not go crazy and start binging on your cheat day
  •  Do NOT consume sugar on your cheat days or at the very least minimise your sugar intake as much as possible. It is possible to decrease all sugar cravings over time

Have not found adequate replacements to certain foods

I think one of the things that stops people from going the distance on this weight-loss journey is that they get bored of their diets and start slipping back to their old eating habits again. There is a healthy and tasty options to all types of food out there believe it or not, even sugar. Knowing where to look is the hard part.

For example, craving a huge chocolate bar (don’t even think about it..) can be replaced with smoothies, stevia, dark chocolate, and fruit. Although I recommend removing sugar from your life completely if you feel the utmost urge for sugar its best you have a go to food that acts as healthier alternative.

In relation to carb heavy foods like potato, white rice, and white bread. These can all be replaced with sweet potato, brown rice, gluten free or brown bread, quinoa and couscous. Simples.

Dieting is stressful!…..relax

We all know that too much stress can be damaging to the human mind and body. Coritisol is a steroid hormone that is released in response to any kind flight or fight situation we experience.  In other words, cortisol is released when we experience stress.

In relation to weight loss, science proves that high cortisol levels can cause us to eat more after a stressful experience. For example, one study looked at the impact of stress induced cortisol on our appetite. It tested a group of woman to a stress environment and a control environment.

The study revealed that those who were exposed to the stressful environment ate more than when they were exposed to the control environment. This is down to the sudden spike in glucose which instead of fuelling our cells, remains in our bloodstream. With this altered system, our bodies react by sending more craving signals to the brain.

Not enough sleep

Sleep is one of the most important components  to a healthy mind and body.

  • Sleep recharges the batteries of the mind,
  • Sleep releases important hormones,
  • Reduces stress and inflammation
  • Improves metabolism
  • reduces risk of heart disease

In summary, sleep is vital for keeping our mind and body in balance and operating at optimum level.

In relation to weight loss, studies have proven that sleep can help reduce weight. Alternatively, lack of sleep had the complete opposite affect.

No self love

I’m glad that curvy is now the modern definition of attractive in modern society. The Kim Kardashians, Kelly brooks, Holly Willoughby’s of the world have brought having bit of dangerous curves back in fashion. I’m also glad that not every man wants to look like Jay Cutler.

There is always something you can be proud about no matter how small it is. I think as humans our mind focuses too much on the negatives and forget the positives things as well. The things that make us who we are.

Adjust slight little things, whether thats a slight change to your diet, workout, or effort and monitor the results over time. Be patient and remember to be grateful for what you do have. Self love and positivity are sills that are just as important.

My advice is to wake up every morning and say something out loud or in your head that you love about yourself. However, you HAVE to say it with conviction, rolling and elongating those vowels even if you have to fake it.

Chasing Fad Diets

A common mistake most people make is to go on a continuos cycle of diets, picking one diet after another only to give up after each one and realise they are ineffective or that they don’t have the energy to try them.

I can guarantee there were 100’s of new diets that came out this year and 100’s more that will come out next year. Whose heard of the south beach diet? What about the cambridge diet?..

I know I certainly have not but these are just a few of the gazilions of new diets that came out last year. You know your in a billion pound industry when money hungry punters spend their money while the smug diet publiser’s gleam their white pearlers.

Do you know the Atkins diet came back this year for round number 2 with a slight twist. Like a Harry Potter 2 to get grab some new fans.

I say this again and a gain there is only one rule in weight loss and that is calorie deficit. If you nail that word into you head, base your diet around it and eat nourishing clean foods you will lose weight.

Unfortunate side effects of pills 

Steroids, anti-depressants, and birth loss pills can all cause your body to gain weight. For example, the steroid Prednisone causes weight re-distribution around the body and can also cause spikes in appetite which in turn can cause significant weight gain.

Medical Condition 

Certain medical conditions can cause weight gain. For example, having a under-active thyroid can result in weight gain due to the bodies inefficiency to produce the correct hormones that help control metabolism.

The Thyroid is a gland that is located right under the neck. Symptoms of an underactive thyroid include:

  • Dry skin and hair
  • Sadness – low energy levels
  • Muscle Aches
  • exhaustion
  • constipation
  • Loss of libido

The only way to get tested for a thyroid problem is to have a blood test where the doctor will measure your hormone levels.

Not Setting Unrealistic Goals

Believe it or not setting unrealistic goals could be the difference you need to surpass your weight loss targets.

The psychology here is that dreaming big inspires more velocity, greater strength of mind, and more hunger to reach a desired outcome. If you fail you at least notice a substantial difference in the distance that you have come from start to end.

For example, a study was conducted by the University of Nottingham into setting targets when it came to weight loss. The study found that participants who set themselves unrealistic targets ended up losing twice as much!

The Mind is a powerful factor in any kind of undertaking. Maybe instead of working on your body its time to give more attention to your mind and what you think is humanly possible.

Bad Lifestyle

This sounds obvious but to change your habits you have to change your lifestyle. Diets come and go but what doesn’t change is your lifestyle.

Most people shoot themselves in the foot before they even start because they have a bad lifestyle to begin with. Old habits consume them. They hold on to junk food and bad sleeping patterns. Gym workouts happen sporadically and sometimes not at all.

Start small and take away the things you don’t need in your life and work from there. Make weight loss a temporary thing but a lifestyle choice. Focus on nourishing your body and reap the benefits of a happier healthier self.


Although studies are mixed on this subject with most suggesting that light drinking has no effect on weight, it is still important to understand how alcohol can affect the body.

Thinking about drinking that beer or sipping some wine on a Friday night..think again. Wine and beer are calorie heavy drinks. Not only are they calorie heavy but your gut easily absorbs alcohol and readily breaks it down into ready to use energy.

Alcohol is calorie dense – 1 gram of alcohol has around twice as many calories as a gram of carbohydrate or protein.

Consequently, a majority of the alcohol you consume is instantly turned into energy. This energy needs to be used us otherwise it sits their as surplus energy. If it doesn’t get used up it leads it gets stored as fat hence the term “beer belly.”

If you feel like alcoholic beverage its best to stick to spirits over a heavy beer. If your having wine make sure it doesn’t become a habitual thing. Once every occasion is fine but with moderation.

Not enough protein consumption

Protein is one of the most important nutrients when it comes to losing weight. Subsequently, it is important you have your adequate share of protein when exercising and trying to lose weight.

Protein builds and maintains muscle mass

Protein is a must have when you are cutting down you body weight and want to hold on to lean muscle while shedding fat.

Protein slows digestion

Not only does protein help build muscle but it also keeps hunger at bay by making you feel fuller for longer. By slowing down digestion the cravings for more food go down.

Protein help fuel fat burning

Another benefit of protein is that it helps to burn fat by its high thermic effect. For example, when you digest food, the digestion process requires the burning of calories. Since protein requires  more calories than other foods to digest, a positive side effect will be that as you consume protein you will also be burning calories.

Here is a list of benefits of protein:

  • Slows down digestion
  • Builds muscle
  • Utilises calories for digestion

does eating too much protein make you fat

Tips to keep note of that protein does not always have to be consumed in the form of red meat like beef. Try keeping it to lean proteins like chicken and fish.

Low fat greek yogurt, black beans, nuts, tofu, quinoa are all rich sources of protein. Limit your carbs and increase your proteins for the meals you have. Combine this with workout in the gym and your good to go.

Spending too much Energy on “Dieting”

Dieting is setup for failure as your’e only doing it for a set time until you stop and revert back to your old ways of doing things. No wonder why a majority of people who lose weight through a strict diet lose weight initially only to gain it back later on.

In a way this kind of relates back to my earlier point on the fact that you need to make lifestyle changes that become habitual and well engrained into your psyche. These habitual changes do not need to be extreme and de-motivating.

I used to try calorie restricted diets for yonks and months on end only to suddenly go back on a binge eating frenzy. It was a vicious cycle of feeling strong urges to binge and then after binging, feeling so guilty I had to totally wipe out calories again. Don’t get me wrong I lost weight, however, I also like to live a little…who doesn’t?  Yikes!

Honestly, its about finding systems that work and not ones that are unsustainable. I would recommend giving yourself a energy sustaining amount of calories, focus on your weight and cardio training and eat healthily with moderate portions. You may not lose it at the rate you would like but its important for your mental health and well being that you gradually make weight loss not just a “extra task” anymore but something you do naturally.

8 Reasons You’re Not Losing Fat in a Calorie Deficit

Woman only!….are you on your menopause?

Menopausal weight gain is not uncommon. The hormones are kicking in and body is preparing itself for fertility. Ovaries, babies, Hunks, Fruits and lilies and luuv. You get the deal. The loss of estrogen onset by menopause means a decrease in muscle mass. Loss of muscle means less fat gets burned considering muscles burn and store less calories than fat.

menopause and weight gain in stomach

The solution here is simply just to continue on with a healthy calorie deficient diet and exercise program. As a bare minimum you should be doing some form of cardio activity whether that be a 20 minute walk or gym session.

Comparing Yourself To Others

This reason may sound silly but is still important in achieving any sort of goal whether that be weight loss to saving more money. It is common for people to lose motivation and any form of will power if they constantly compare themselves to others.

Those size zero fitness models that were the “in” thing during the 90’s are very unattractive now. Even so, the fitness models or celebrities you see in click bait news articles are nothing to go by. Social media is everywhere and it can be a unhealthy addiction that clouds your mind and saps your focus.

Don’t ever compare yourself to others. Stay focused on your own journey and leave footprints behind

Your focus is to not waste and expend mental energy on others but to focus on becoming the best version of yourself. That means becoming a better person than you were yesterday. Feel good about yourself and celebrate your progress even if it that progress is minimal by your standards.
Your strength of mind comes from your ability to focus on yourself and not on others!

Too busy to lose weight, Overwhelmed??

Feeling overwhelmed is a really common feeling for all people. You could work at a job, have kids to look after or just feel there is too much information to absorb that you paralyse yourself.

The best solution here is to break things down and take them one step at a time. Research shows that its simply impossible to focus on two things at the same time. Rather your brain is switching between tasks which expend energy and can lead to lack of motivation or discipline.

Break your goals down into actionable steps that you aim to complete no matter what. Hold yourself accountable. For example, set yourself a mini goal to limit sugar to a certain amount each week. Break it down even further to say what you will not buy or what you will not eat.

For example, “I will not buy any beverages that contain sugar.”

Another mini goal could be: “I will exercise twice this week in the evening on Tuesday and Thursday.” Notice how the goal is action orientated and is specific?

IF your overcomplicating things remember this one rule. Calorie deficit. If you achieve a calorie deficit you lose weight. Fact.

  • Calorie deficit
  • Clean healthy diet
  • Cardio + weights
  • Write down your goals each day and meditate on them so they stay with you

All the steps above are patterns and habits that can be engrained in your system. Once there engrained the power and control is unreal. You will feel stronger and more in control than you have ever done. The key here is building a systematic way of thinking and doing that is engrained into you and will lead to progress over time.

You don’t eat breakfast

As you probably know by now breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast not only gives you more energy to be productive throughout the day but it also helps improve cognitive performance and lose weight. Lose weight you say?…Yes, you heard correctly.

Studies show that those that have a high protein breakfast are less likely to crave food through out the day and binge. You should aim to have a high protein breakfast to make the fat burning effect all the more sweeter. As we discussed earlier, protein is great for losing weight considering it reduces cravings and provides a metabolism boost.


You’re low on willpower.

Will Power. One of humans  greatest emotions. As the old saying goes”will power is like a muscle. The more you use it the stronger it gets.” I whole heartedly believe in this statement. However, its easy to say you need more will power without knowing how to get it.

Will power for me is essentially having the personal strength to do something even though you don’t want to. Most people associate will power with negative connotations. For example, will power causes you to be unhappy, robotic, and not in the present moment. These things could not be farther from the truth.

You see with mastering the will your life will more present, more happy and more spontaneous than you could ever imagine. The fact your not in control of your will means your susceptible to doubts, fear, lack of action and strength which bring about helplessness, apathy, and weakness.

We tend to live in a society of instant gratification where we want instant results and pleasure. However, it is always the pain that builds us into fulfilled beings. Accept that sometimes

If you master your will not only can you master weight loss but you will be more in control of your life. That is something so powerful words can’t even describe.

Here are some quick tips for mastering your will:

  • Spend just 2-5 min just listening to those awkward feelings and energies throughout your body. Take deep breaths into your muscles to relax your mind and body.
  • Be constantly aware of your thoughts and catch them as they seek to kill your will. Once you are aware of your thoughts that trigger certain emotions and feelings you can seek to replace them.
  • Replace them with strong thoughts and feelings of success. Hold on to those as long as you can!
  • Break down everything into mini goals and assess your progress on weeks end.
  • Assess your workout intensity. If you are fatigued then there is no need to workout.

Not Patient Enough

“Patience is a virtue.” Give weight loss time. Just because you saw on TV a remarkable body transformation in 2 weeks does not mean that it is going to happen to you. Have faith in yourself and stick to your plan.

Be aware that once you find a rhythm and are consistent with your lifestyle changes you will gradually start to notice a difference to how you look and feel. So keep the faith!

You Don’t Actually Need to Lose Weight

Believe it or not there are people out there that don’t actually need to lose weight. I used to know a friend who was anorexic and would  force herself to throw up every time she got home from work. I could not help but feel sorry for her and what she was doing to health.

Remember, Kim Kardashian and Holly Willoughby vanished the notion that stick thin is attractive. In fact it is quite the opposite. Its freaking horrible!.So stop obsessing and just be happy for once?? If its Men your worried about, believe it or not there are men who love thick girls.

Gone are the days of “does my ass look big in this?” and thank god. Realise your beauty and work on enhancing your assets rather than taking them away.

 You Don’t Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the state of being aware of ones surroundings, thoughts, feelings, and instincts. Most people don’t control there minds. There minds are a rudderless ship with no direction or focus. Ask yourself…who is controlling your mind?…Because most often its not yourself but your impulses and random thoughts.

This sounds like a silly reason but its still so very important. Remember to be mindful of what you do, feel and also what you eat. There is such a thing called mindful eating. The science behind mindful eating is to be totally absorbed by the present moment.

There is no thinking of the past or future but only the present and the sensations and feelings pulsating through your body. The Logic behind mindful eating is that cravings and impulses can be controlled by simply not attaching any emotions to the thoughts running through you brain. Consequently, sudden urges of hunger are simply light waves of thoughts passing in and out your mind with no effect on your actions.

I mean look at the buddhist monks who are able to burn themselves alive and mahatma Ghandhi who all used forms of mindfulness and deep understanding of their minds to control their habits and actions.

Some simple tips are:

  • Stop before you eat a meal and ask yourself. Why are you eating?…maybe your tired, restless, stressed, bored, or just plain hungry. Asking yourself “why ” draws you in to your inner thoughts and feelings and makes you more aware of why you are actually doing something
  • When eating, feel the flavours, textures, density, and wholesome goodness of the foods your eating.
  • When you feel hungry brew up some green tea. A sudden urge can be down to the habitual pattern of snacking that has been built over time. So you may not actually be hungry but just used to the feeling of eating something. We have all been in the situation where we have craved something only to find we are not hungry.


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