How Come I Can't Lose Weight? 20 Reasons

So your diet is not working? Don't worry, I know this problem, and I will help you as much as I can. Here is a list with what I find are the most frequent problems when you can't lose weight.

Also check out my other posts since they will tell you what the best diet is, in my opinion. You don't need to analyze what's wrong with your diet if your diet is the wrong one to begin with!

#1 Your diet is stalling

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This is what can happen in different ways. Either you are losing less weight than before, or you are not seeming to lose weight at all.

It happens when you go too far with your diet, mostly by not eating anything at all or just very little. Sometimes, it just happens because your body has gotten used to the diet and will save energy. The metabolism rate is low.

The solution: Totally change your diet. Change the meals you use, eat differently. If you ate very little food from small plates, now try eating a lot of food in volume, but with little energy, like huge salads made up of green leaves and carrots. Your stomach will be "crowded", but you won't gain weight from it.

Just try to mix things up so your body will be surprised. It's a fresh new start and a reboot of the diet.

#2 You are following rules, but they are the wrong ones

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Are you someone who counts calories or who believes that, to lose fat, you must eat no fat?

Maybe you have fallen for the wrong approach then. I also believed the same things, so I am not smarter than you. I only found out later that the reasons for weight loss are different.

First of all: Calories are not a reliable way of knowing how you lose weight. They are obsolete. Why? Because one calory made up of protein is used less efficiently as one calory of fat. And one calory of fat is also less efficiently used as one calory of sugar. Check this out: Does Calorie Counting Work - No! And I'll Tell You Why!

That means that you could eat a lot of calories in protein and fat - and you'd think it would be bad for your diet. But in the end, you might be fooled.

Consider this: If someone had to choose between walnuts containing 300 calories, and donuts containing 300 calories, which would be better for his diet? I think you know that walnuts would be far better. This is common sense. But then why should we close our eyes and only count calories?

The other thing: Fat. It is not bad by itself. And fat does not go straight from the food onto your hips. Fat only gets really bad in combination with sugar. You don't get fat if you only eat nuts. But nuts covered in chocolate sauce, that's a clear way of getting fat.

The solution of your problem: Consider carbohydrates (carbs, sugars) your main enemy. In this blog, everything is about low carb and no carb. Do you want to start an easy diet that does not even require exercise unless you want to? Lose Weight Without Exercising.

#3 You consume too little protein

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Perhaps you already know what not to eat. It's one of the first things you care about. But what you may have forgotten is that it's also important to know what you must eat at all costs! Protein is really, really important. It is the building material for muscles, the brain, even the little enzymes who reduce fat. Your body needs protein constantly to change the shape of your body.

What you should do: Drink protein shakes, eat fish, meat, eggs, soy beans. Also combine them. It makes protein more effective, which you can also read here: Combine Protein Sources For Weight Loss.

#4 Too much checking your weight, too much controlling every move!

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Do you step on the scale every other day to monitor your success or failure?

It puts you under a lot of pressure. You are judging too fast and too grimly how your diet is turning out. This can become a chock block for your diet as frustration kicks in.

If you want a reliable answer to how your weight changes, check your weight only once a week. You see, you can weigh a lot more after eating or drinking, and sometimes, you don't need to go to the bathroom as often as on other days.

My personal rule: I only measure my weight on sundays, after sleeping in and going to the bathroom. When I'm done, I check my weight with only my underwear on. I write down the results and forget about the scale for an entire week.

Also check: The best time to weigh yourself.

#5 You are eating too frequently

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Maybe because of cravings, you need to eat every once in a while. Do you eat more often than every 3 hours? It's advisable to only eat every 4 to 5 hours, actually. When the blood sugar level is constant and low, your body knows that it has to access body fat... because no new sugar is pouring in.

This rule is as simple as it sounds and the base core of a low carb diet. Give the body very little sugar, show the body that it should not depend on sugar, and just allow the body to get rid of body fat by burning it!

#6 Stress, pressure and psychological reasons

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I had to fight with this problem a lot. You have this problem if you can identify with one of these thoughts:

  • I am going to defeat my body
  • My body is going to listen to my orders
  • I am going to triumph over my body
  • I decide to lose weight, and my body has to follow

I am not saying that it's wrong to be strong-willed. The only thing that's wrong is when you feel that you and your body are separate entities fighting over a diet.

You and your body, that's the same thing. Mind and spirit form whatever you are. So your body has to be a part of your diet.

Give your body something to enjoy. There is some really nice low-carb food out there. My personal favorite is tomatoes and mozarella cheese with many herbs and some olive oil. It comes straight from the oven and tastes yummy.

When you feel a craving, instead of making it a fight of will, give in to the craving in a less destructive way.

For example: You are craving for chocolate. Give your body something sweet like pineapple, mango or strawberries. Just a few bites will ease the pain.

Make weight loss something enjoyable.

Also worth reading: The difference between hunger and cravings and also weaning off sugar.

#7 You eat right before you sleep

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One of the main forces in weight loss is a little thing called Human Growth Hormone (HGH). HGH is activated in sleep and requires several things to work. One of them is that you have a low blood sugar level.

If you eat right before you sleep, your body is still working on food that is potentially loaded with sugars. You should not eat less than 2 hours before sleep, and if you don't eat for longer than that, it's even better. Even not eating 4 hours before you sleep can be a good thing.

As long as you are not suffering from stomach pain, you are okay. Keep in mind that losing weight in your sleep is the most effective thing you can do.

Here is some very easy weight loss method: How to lose weight in your sleep.

#8 You are not sleeping enough, or you sleep the wrong way

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Again let's talk about HGH. You need a lot of sleep for it to work, 8 hours is a good number.

Another thing: You need darkness, total darkness. Light coming in from a window will decrease the effectiveness of HGH.

Especially in the summer months, days are longer. Make the room pitch black and your sleep will be much better.

#9 You are cheating yourself 

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You are not registering everything you eat. The little cookies on your table, the chocolate drink, the glass of milk in between, the candy bar you found, the piece of cake at work because it was somebody's birthday.

Make sure you know what you are eating. If you sin, at least acknowledge that this is the reason why your weight loss is slowing down. It's not a big shame if it happens sometimes, but at least be aware of the reasons to avoid frustration.

#10 You are overeating

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You perhaps eat healthy foods now, or maybe not, but perhaps you are eating too much at a time. It can happen when you discover that you like different foods, but maybe now it's too much. check again what you eat and see how it affects your body.

#11 You fall into little traps

You are eating things of which you don't realize what they mean. For example, you eat salad that you love because of the yoghurt sauce. This sauce may have a high amount of sugar you are not aware of. Don't fall for these little traps. Eat what you know and what you know is okay.

One common trap: To believe that fruits are always good. So check the post asking: Do bananas make you fat?

#12 You are eating from big plates and preparing big meals

Does it ever happen that you think you have had enough to eat but it takes a few more bites to finish your plate? This can add up to some unnecessary pounds you are still carrying around if it happens several times a week.

Solution: Make smaller meals. Some ingredients, while cooking, increase in size. You accidentally make more than you need. Get used to smaller portions, use smaller plates, and you'll soon get the idea what is enough.

#13 You are eating well but drinking badly

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You drink soft drinks or juices? These are both sugar traps. Even though juice and coke are far apart in terms of health, they are quite equal in terms of sugar level. Get rid of them. Drink water and protein shakes (the latter counts as a meal and not as something to drink).
As an alternative, you have plenty of tea products to choose from. And an occassional cup of coffee is also good for you.

#14 Other people are interfering with your diet

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Maybe you have to cook for other people who are not on a diet, or other people who are not on a diet are cooking for you. You are trying to make your personal diet work, but someone is spoiling things. Either they are eating the most delicious meal in front of you, or they are offering you food because they thought you were hungry.

Solution: Make clear that you are on a diet and that you are strict about it. Tell them: "I am going to take care of my own food, and you are going to be responsible for your own food, too". Also make sure you don't set this straight in the wrong moment - for example when someone just finished cooking a meal and spent 2 hours in the kitchen just for you!

#15 You are drinking too little

Many people recommend 2 average sized bottles of water per day. There are three problems: First of all, most people don't drink enough. If you knew how much you drank, you'd be surprised that it's often too little.
Then the second problem is, people have different sizes, different weight, so there is no standard amount of water that is right for every person.
And the third problem is: We usually only drink when it's too late. When we're thirsty. It's an emergency sign of the body that already tells us that we are drinking far too little.

Solution: Make an attempt to drink more than what's recommended on a daily basis. A good way of keeping track is to fill bottles with water every day and keep them near you. Drink them over the day and remind yourself of the water in case you notice that you are drinking too little.

If you need to visit the bathroom a lot, it means that it's working.

#16 You are torturing yourself

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If you suffer during a diet, you are going a little too far. Psychological problems will occur, one of them being the terrifying desire to just eat the hell out of everything you see. You might give in at some point and, out of frustration, eat a lot of chocolate.

Make sure you never suffer during a diet. A good diet is a smooth change of life, something that you feel improves your life and could go on forever because of how deliberating it is.

The best way, in my opinion, to make sure you are not suffering is to always look forward to a certain meal that you are going to eat. Maybe not today, and maybe not so soon, but at least next week. Or, if your diet allows vegetables, there are certainly tasty meals to make. As long as your diet has its highlights in terms of great meals, you can always tell yourself: "At least I can eat this fantastic meal".

If you can't lose weight because you are constantly binge eating (or feel tempted to do so), then you must read this: Overcoming Binge Eating.

#17 Your thyroid is underperforming

The thyroid gland is an important part of your body that releases hormones. These hormones regulate your metabolism. If your thyroid is not working well, you need to assist it.

To make sure your thyroid is doing well, you need protein combined with iodine. Protein is in fish, meat, eggs, soy beans and generally in dairy products. Iodine can also be found in fish and other foods. But my personal favorite is sea grass. Once in a while, I eat a slice of sea grass, which can be found in asian shops.

Then, lastly, you need selenium. It can be found in coconuts, fish and brazil nuts.

If you feel tired a lot or you think your unsatisfying weight loss may have to do with thyroid problems, read my tips on How To Improve Your Thyroid Function.

#18 Your weekday and weekend behaviour is too different

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Sometimes your diet works well on weekdays - you are very busy with work or a daily list of chores. So you only get to eat little. But then, on the weekend, could it be that you eat more because you spend more time near the fridge?

If this is the problem, you must work against it. Drink more water when your stomach feels empty, and rely on low carb foods. Sometimes, it may even help to eat something that fills your stomach. I sometimes eat fish or even unsugared popcorn. It's amazing how little it takes for you to feel full.

#19 You are not eating the good fats

Some fats are good for you. They exist in fish, nuts and olive oil, to name the most important. Don't go without avocados just because you heard they contain a lot of fat. These fats actually help your body fight the bad fat. If you like salads, sprinkle some healthy fats over them.

#20 Your body is missing out on vitamins and minerals

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Sometimes, even the lack of a single component of essential structures can make a big difference for the worse. You need iron, magnesium, vitamin C, vitamin B, vitamin D, vitamin E and so on and so forth. This is the reason why you should go for a versatile diet.

To not even risk anything here, eat different vegetables and, once in a while, fruits. It's the best way to make sure nothing is missing. You can use supplements too, because nowadays, vegetables only have a low amount of vitamins and minerals compared to centuries ago.


There is one last tip I can give you to wrap things up. As you see, many reasons may be responsible for your weight loss being stuck. If you are tired of all these variables, then you can just simplify your diet. Eat few meals, make these meals rich in nutrients, drink a lot of water, and just keep it that simple. No further exceptions, no compromises, no snacks.
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