6 Reasons Why Your Weight Loss Attempts Are Not Working

6 Reasons Why Your Weight Loss Attempts Are Not Working

Fitness influencers would have you believe that losing weight is easy, a simple matter calories in versus calories out. But in real life, you’ll find it incredibly difficult to shed pounds and keep them off. The truth is that the vast majority of people who lose weight do not keep it off for more than a year. For most people, the weight eventually comes back in a phenomenon known as “cycling with weights.” And no, it has nothing to do with “falling off the wagon.”

Your weight does not determine your health, so if you find weight loss a frustrating and fruitless endeavor, you have our permission to give it up and focus on other aspects of your wellness. But if you’re committed to weight loss as a goal, there are some pitfalls you can avoid to help improve your chances of success. Here’s what no do.

Read more: Why you should ditch your diet and what to do

A short-term attitude

Everything on this list is a bit of a hard truth, but that’s often the hardest thing to accept (and change). If you approach weight loss with a short-term attitude, you may end up nowhere except on the yo-yo diet train.

Without a long-term approach to weight loss, you can lose 10 pounds or more in two weeks and then suffer a rebound when you discover the regimen wasn’t working for you. This is all too common when people embark on strict diets such as keto or paleoor fad diets that promise rapid weight loss. In fact, for most people, a well-balanced diet that includes all food groups and even some treats work better in the long run.

Part of successful, sustainable weight loss—that is, losing weight and keeping it off forever—is understanding that fad diets, excessive exercise, and “detoxes” don’t usually work. They only last as long as your willpower lasts, and I’m willing to bet it’s no more than two weeks to a couple of months.

There are no quick fixes, miracle cures or magic pills when it comes to weight loss, despite what the wellness industry might have you believe: losing weight requires dedication to a plan that supports long-term healthy habits.

The general recommendation for weight loss is a rate of 1 to 2 pounds per week, although initial weight loss may exceed that of very overweight people and then slow down to the amount suggested 1 to 2 pounds per week. Studies have shown that it is an effective way to lose weight without losing too much water or lean tissue, and to avoid rebound.

Read more: The best adjustable dumbbells for 2022


Overcoming an all-or-nothing mentality promotes long-term weight loss.

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An all or nothing mentality

Many people who struggle with a short-term attitude also struggle with an all-or-nothing mentality. I myself started my health and fitness journey with this mindset. I cut out everything (literally everything!) processed foods: no breadno pasta, no milk, no cheese, definitely no individually wrapped snacks. It basically consisted of chicken, vegetables and berries.

That was great until it wasn’t, and I ended up making a CVS run for all the chocolate and goldfish I could get my hands on. Then, since I had “ruined” my diet, I would eat as much as I could physically handle, because “why not? I already messed it up.”

Then, of course, I would feel bad about the snacks I ate and go back to my overly restrictive regimen the next day. This is one destructive cycle to be there, but it’s something I see all the time with personal training clients. An all-or-nothing mentality can keep you in a perpetual cycle of lose-win-lose, not to mention food shame and guilt.

This all-or-nothing concept also applies to fitness: if you’ve been The most effective workouts to get in shape in the shortest possible time left and right, but don’t feel fitter or stronger, you might be doing too much. Toning it down might be the answer, counterintuitively improving your fitness (and playing the long game).

Young women in the fitness community laughing after a workout outdoors

A supportive community, IRL or online, can keep you motivated to lose weight and stay in shape.

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A poor support system

Supportive friends, family, and significant others are critical to successful weight loss. If you asked me to name the most common reason for not following a healthy diet from my past personal training clients, I would say stigma.

That is correct. As silly as it sounds, people really scoff at eating healthy, especially in regions where food is an integral part of the culture. Growing up in South Louisiana near New Orleans, I experienced this very often when I decided I was making changes to my diet.

At family gatherings and social outings, I would get comments like, “Is that all you’re eating?” or, “Are you really not going to eat any dessert?” or, loaded with sarcasm, “next time we’ll have a salad snack.”

It’s no fun being teased or teased, especially about things you care about (like your health!), so it can be very easy to fall into the trap of eating — and drinking — for the sake of your social life . That’s why a solid support system is key to long-term weight loss. Without it, the journey can feel lonely and intimidating.

If you currently feel like you lack a support system, try having open conversations with your friends, family, and partner about it. You can make it clear that they don’t have to change their eating habits if they don’t want to, but that your health means a lot to you and you’d appreciate it if they didn’t make fun of or minimize your efforts. .

If an IRL support system doesn’t work, turn to online communities that promote both health and body positivity. I love Flex and Flow on Instagram, Health at Every Size, and the intuitive eating community. These communities emphasize health without emphasizing weight, which is helpful because when you focus on health outcomes, you’ll reach your happy weight easily. Reddit also has a great forum (/r/loseit) where you’ll find lots of real-life weight loss stories.

african american man running outside with cityscape background

Exercise is important to an overall healthy lifestyle, but it’s difficult to lose weight through exercise alone.

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The exercise of thought conquers all

If you’re attuned to the wellness industry, you’ll know the saying, “Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym.” Even if your goals don’t include a shredded stomach, the adage is still relevant. You just can’t out-exercise a poor diet.

Exercise should definitely be part of your overall weight loss approach because it’s proven to aid weight loss (not to mention its long list of other health benefits), but it’s hard to lose weight through exercise alone. Many people overestimate the number of calories they can burn from their workouts; it’s probably a lot less than you think.

For example, a 154-pound man will burn less than 450 calories during an intense hour-long weightlifting workout. You can easily cancel this effort if you don’t pay any attention to your diet. The exact number of calories you burn during exercise depends on many factors, including your current weight, the intensity of the activity, the duration of the workout, your age, and your body composition.

Also, focusing only on exercise can lead to a destructive cycle of extra exercise to burn calories you think you shouldn’t have eaten. Or you might end up feeling like you need to “earn” your calories through exercise. Either way, taking this approach can lead to a strained relationship with food and exercise, as well as stagnant weight loss.

There are exceptions to every rule. Some people, like those who have been putting on for years muscle too much, you can eat a lot of calorie-dense foods and not gain weight, but even if you can eat whatever you want and lose or maintain weight, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you.

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, lean protein, and some whole grains will serve you best in terms of sustainable weight loss and health. Combined with a constant exercise routineyou will experience sustained weight loss and weight maintenance once you reach your goal weight.

stressed woman sleeping at desk

Chronic stress and sleep deprivation can hinder weight loss progress.

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Sleep, stress and work

Losing weight will be much more difficult if you are chronically stressed, with lack of sleep or overworked. This scenario may sound familiar:

  • you wake up motivated and ready to seize the day. You have plans for an after-work interval run and your healthy and ready dinner is waiting for you in the fridge.
  • After a few hours a day, your lack of sleep catches up with you. You arrive in the afternoon coffee.
  • By the time work is done, you’re too exhausted to make that run. You decide to skip it.
  • You’re tired and maybe a little stressed or in a bad mood, so you skip the healthy dinner and go for comfort food instead.

That’s fine if it happens once in a while (everyone deserves a lazy evening now and then), but weight loss will seem impossible if it happens all the time.

The truth is, nutrition and exercise are just two components of a healthy life which can lead to weight loss. While important, too much focus on nutrition and exercise can cause you to overlook other factors that are just as important: to sleep and stress management.

weight loss supplements

Supplements don’t work unless you do.

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Depending on the supplements

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this fat burner supplement in your medicine cabinet won’t do the job for you. While certain supplements can help you reach your weight loss goals, you have to work to make your supplements work.

For example, incorporating a daily protein shake in the morning can help you feel fuller throughout the day, which can help keep cravings at bay. Increasing your protein intake can also help you build muscle, which helps body recomposition.

Some weight loss supplements have some evidence to back them up, but no supplement is proven to be the method anyone wants to take: eat fewer calories than you burn.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as medical or health advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified health care provider with any questions you have about a medical condition or health goals.

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