10 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight

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Today’s guest blogger is, Tony Schober, also known as “Coach Calorie.”

#1:  You Think You’re Eating Healthy

More times than not, when someone comes to me saying they’re eating healthy but they’re not losing weight – they actually aren’t eating healthy at all. Their diet is usually calorie dense and nutrient sparse.

I usually see all kinds of dressings and processed flavor enhancers. Not only that, but I usually see a meal plan of breakfast, lunch, and dinner – with 1 or 2 of the meals looking like nothing other than a snack.

Their diet is usually filled with bread, cereal, and other processed foods. Just because bread and cereal is whole grain, it doesn’t mean it’s not processed. If you can’t find it in that form in nature – it’s a processed food.

#2:  You’re Not Exercising

Many people try to lose weight, but try to do it without exercising. While it is possible to lose weight without exercising, you will make it much easier on yourself if you added in some physical activity.

Exercise creates the proper metabolic environment to allow your diet to do its job and release fatty acids. It improves hormone levels, and increases insulin sensitivity.

This all creates a synergistic effect, that combined with great nutrition and the best exercise to lose weight – should be enough to break through any weight loss plateau.

#3:  You’re Not Eating Enough Calories

Not eating enough calories? Don’t you mean eating too many calories? While eating too many calories is an obvious reason for not losing weight, eating too little is often overlooked.

People typically slash their calories to very low levels in the hope their fat loss will be quick. Unfortunately, all this does is cause your body to slow down its metabolism and hold onto the fat that it thinks it’s going to need in the future.

Your goal should be to eat as many calories as possible, but still lose weight. It’s always better to aim high at the beginning and then cut your calories if your weight isn’t budging, than it is to start too low and immediately sabotage any chance you have at weight loss.

#4:  You’re Not Being Consistent

How many times do you work out a week? How many times did you work out last week? Do those 2 numbers match? If not, you might have a problem with consistency.

While some exercise is better than no exercise, you can’t expect to make progress in the gym if you aren’t challenging yourself on a consistent basis. You need that muscle to burn fat.

Consistency is the key to your fitness success. You need to make a routine and execute it every single time.

#5:  You Keep Making Excuses

This is a touchy one for many people. They seem to have a valid reason (excuse) for just about everything. They don’t have time to workout. They already wake up a 4am. They take care of 10 kids. They have a slow thyroid. They have bad genetics. Does this sound like you?

While there can be valid reasons for your lack of progress, 90% of the time it’s because you aren’t making fitness a priority in your life. Stop coming up with excuses for why you can’t, and start making reasons for why you should.

#6:  You’re Food Pantry Contains Unhealthy Food

Why are you tempting fate? Do you like to torture yourself? Keeping unhealthy food in the house makes you 10 times (100 times?) more likely to fall off your diet. You’ve been there before – we all have.

You don’t have any food prepared, and you don’t feel like cooking. Or maybe you just can’t decide what to cook, and you’re so hungry that you can’t think straight.

What do you do? You end up reaching into your pantry for a convenience food. How do you solve this problem? If you don’t plan on eating it, don’t buy it in the first place. Still having problems with cravings, here are 5 tips to control food cravings.

#7:  You’re Being Impatient

How long did it take you to put on all that weight? Was it put on in a just a few short weeks, or was it accumulated over a lifetime? Then why do you expect to lose it all in a month? Successful weight loss takes time.

Losing 1% body fat per week (1-2 pounds) will give you a better chance of losing the weight and keeping it off long term. Crash diets are great, and with shows like The Biggest Loser, people get the idea in their head they should be losing 30 pounds every month.

Think back 6 months ago. What were you doing? Does it seem that long ago? Probably not. Now project yourself 6 months into the future. At 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week, you could have 25-50 pounds less fat – not weight. That 50 pounds of fat loss is going to look much different than 50 pounds of weight loss. Have some patience.

#8:  You Lack Motivation

You hate working out, and your dieting food just doesn’t hit the spot. You’re not losing weight, and your motivation is at an all time low. I’ve noticed that one of the biggest factors in a lack of motivation is lack of results – either now or at some point in the past.

You probably tried diet and exercise in the past, and put in a lot of hard work, but your results were nothing to write home about. So how do you keep that fire burning?

  • First, you get rid of your scale. If you’re basing your progress on weight, you’re going to be in for a big disappointment. One of the biggest motivators is seeing your hard work is actually paying off.
  • Try measuring your progress using body a fat caliper, tape measure, or by taking progress pictures. You are making progress – even if your scale is telling you otherwise. Watching those numbers go down gives you the confidence that what you’re doing is working, and motivates you to push forward.

#9:  You Aren’t Getting Enough Rest

Recovery is often one of the most overlooked aspects of a nutrition program. Many people jump head first into their weight loss program and practically beat their body down in the process.

They jump right into strenuous exercise every single day. This, on top of life’s daily stresses, is enough to stall your progress in a matter of days or weeks. If you are jumping off the couch and starting a fitness program, you need to give your body a chance to adapt to the new physical stress that’s being placed on it.

  • Start out with the gym and resistance exercise 3 times a week. Once you’ve got that down for a month, you can start looking at adding a cardio day in there.
  • After a while, you can add more cardio days. Build yourself up to it and allow enough time to recover. Your muscles are build while you rest, not while you train.
  • Nutrition, exercise, and recovery are the 3 cornerstones to a successful fitness program.

#10:  You’re Dieting Instead Of Changing Your Lifestyle

The reason you’re not losing weight, and your diet isn’t working, is because you’re dieting in the first place. Yes, we all know that diets work, but wouldn’t it be much easier if you didn’t have to diet your entire life?

What do you do when your diet is over? Are you going to be just as lost as when you started? Try this instead –

  • have a goal of being healthy, and the weight loss will follow.
  • Eat organic whole foods that are pack with vitamins, nutrients, fiber, water, protein, essential fatty acids, and low glycemic carbohydrates. Eating this way makes it very difficult to overeat. I can assure you that if you eat nothing but these foods, the fat on your body will start to disappear before you even realize what’s going on.
  • Forget the diet and focus on eating healthy.

There’s my 10 top reasons for why you’re not losing weight. How many are you guilty of?


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About the Author

Tony is a health & fitness blogger, and the founder and editor of CoachCalorie.com. Be sure to stop by the blog to read more helpful articles, like these fitness tips to help you reach your goals.

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  1. Why aren’t you losing weight? « Kickin' it with Kim | January 16, 2012
  1. alakesh says:

    Great article. For most of the people, they start exercising and eating well for a limited time. the only problem they find is the lack of motivation. If someone know how to get motivated, it’s easy to stay on track.
    tips to get motivated:
    every day prior to workout see some extreme gym motivational video.
    reward yourself. Every time you see any little progress, reward with something.
    surround yourself with like-minded people who will inspire you to push hard and stay on track.
    Good luck to all those fittest person out there. 🙂

  2. Raymond says:

    #7 and #9 are the main reasons why I’m failing again and again in my mission to lose weight. I just worked out a fitness plan yesterday. Will implement it and let you know how it goes.

    Great site by the way. It’s amazing to think how something that was written in 2012 is helping someone in 2015

    • Hi Raymond,
      Do share your fitness plan and how things go for you. I’ve learned that this weight loss thing is a process and we have to find what works best for us. Thanks for sharing!

      Glad you found this article helpful! Take care.

  3. I am a day trader and I need to sit in front of PC from more than 6 hours a day. What should I do? I have become lazy as well and need motivation. I am 20 and 70kgs of weight. I need to get it down below 65kgs in couple of months.

    • Hi Anchit,

      Thanks for stopping by! The number one thing you should do is learn how to manage your stress. I’m sure you have quite a bit of stress being a day trader. I’d recommend you do your best to fit some kind of movement/exercise in your daily routine. You don’t have to over do it, but do something that you enjoy doing. Also be mindful of your macro-nutrient (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) consumption. Example: If you are eating a higher amount of carbohydrates (examples – breads, pastas, potatoes), try reducing your servings. Why? Because carbohydrates are stored as fat after your body has used what it needs. Stress can play a factor in how this works too. Make sure you are eating healthy fats in your diet (examples – avocado, seeds, nuts, omega-3 fatty acids). All the best to you!

  4. vin says:

    Nice post! Thanks for sharing all this great info on the top reasons why most people fail to lose weight. I’ll have this serve as a reference guide to improve further.

  5. cj howard says:

    Even though this article is over a year old, it still holds so much truth. I’m finding that inconsistency in work, exercise, diet and sleep are CRITICAL for a healthy lifestyle. If you are trying to lose weight or just to maintain good health, you have to get these things under control.

  6. Kelly says:

    Great tips!

    #10 is the best. Lasting weight loss will only happen with a change in lifestyle. Learning to enjoy the taste of fresh, unprocessed food. Relishing the challenge of a heavy weights session.

    I made the change and I will never go back to the old me. The fat has fallen away and been replaced by lean muscle.

    I love my new life!

  7. Great post! I have found that what makes healthy eating, exercise, & staying motivated easy, is having the right mindset. A weight loss mindset is 90% of the game, if you want to achieve lasting success. Diet & exercise is only 10% of the solution.

    Thanks for sharing this!

    JoLynn Braley
    The F.A.T. Release Coach

  8. Laxmi says:

    Amazing! Its very hard to get motivation when we are planning to lose weight. The only way to concentrate on our goal is to eat less in more quantities. And eat only protein as your main course 😀

  9. Rebecca says:

    There used to be a lot more of me and I have to say that it was a complete lifestyle change that did it for me. Exercising more, changing what I ate and when I ate it really made all the difference.

  10. Fitness Weapons says:

    Hi Evelyn,
    #10 is probably the biggest reason why people dont lose weight. The diet thinking that it will only be a temporary change and then they dont keep the weight off. Great article!!!

  11. Erica says:

    The issue of thinking your eating healthy is so true. We’ve got to get into reading the labels on our food. Some things that seem healthy really aren’t.

  12. Lauren says:

    #4 is very important. I have plateaud for a couple months but Im not giving up. I’m increasing the intensity of my workouts, drinking green tea, and not eating 2 hrs before bed. I know I will hit my stride soon. Just gotta stick with it!

  13. Benjina says:

    Such a helpful article!! Thank you for sharing and I look forward to reading more!! 🙂

  14. ToneYourButt says:

    I think #10 is the most important, its all about lifestyle not about dieting. Without permanent changes you will go back and forth like a yo-yo forever.
    I know Ive done it!

    • Jimmy says:

      I can’t count the number of diets I went though before figuring that that out, so have to agree with you on that one.
      And a close second have to be number 6, if I have candy, chocolate and so on in the house it’s torture.!!
      I might as well take a piece of the chocolate, because if I try to eat something else I still end up eating the chocolate.

      So for me it’s a matter of allowing me a piece of chocolate once in a while, thereby taking the edge of. 😉

  15. Aschatria says:

    I would go for the psychological reasons as well as the lack of the sleep and the bad mad lifestyle.
    I don’t eat enough, on average I eat in the wrong time, different time, or even at night, but the difference is in what, how and why I eat.
    Some people eat for being hungry, some for feeling bad and some eat too much considering how much they move around per day.
    Everything need balance.

  16. Kevin says:

    This is a well put together article by Tony. I really like reasons #1 & #4. Sometimes we think we’re doing our best but in reality we’re sabotaging our own efforts. Other times, we can try real hard for a while but then totally slack off. Consistently eating “right” is the way to go!


  17. Aidy says:

    I obsess over weighing myself every morning and its the hardest habit to break yet it helps me to say focused throughout the day. Another good thing to note as well, if you aren’t drinking enough water, it could hinder weight loss as well.

  18. Susan says:

    Very complete list! I also find that when people track their progress, what they eat each day, and what activities they do they have greater weight loss success. We really only improve upon what we track. It keeps it right in front of our faces and holds us accountable.

  19. Cade Krueger says:

    These are some solid points. I would add to the “no rest” thing that people often don’t get enough sleep in dark rooms. That increases the level of cortisol, which can support fat gain.

    So Tony which of these is the toughest one for you? 🙂

    • Tony Schober says:

      Hey Cade, I’d have to admit that I have been guilty of all of these at one point or another, so I am writing from experience. However, if I had to choose only one that is the toughest for me, it would be #8 – Lacking Motivation.

      Sometimes life gets in the way (is that #5 – I’m Making Excuses?), or I just don’t want to hit the gym. Motivation is a tough one, but I always end up getting back at it.

  20. jan says:

    Hi Tony
    Weight Watchers is based on calories – but instead of you counting calories, they work out the number of points per food portion and you count points – much easier and they give you easy ways to work out proportions so that you don’t have to weigh everything. Points are worked out on fat, protein, carbs and fibre. You get a “kitty” of 49 points each week to use on top of your daily points so you can have treats – it’s an awesome program, extremely well thought out.

    #9 is a real biggie for me, I rarely get more than 6 hours sleep a night and I know that plays havoc with your hormones then. So I try to catch up with Nana naps at the weekend but sometimes get very tired and very hungry (craving sugar) if I don’t catch up on the sleep.

    I think one of the top reasons for not losing weight is because if we don’t track what we are eating, we don’t realise just how much we are eating. Tracking keeps you really honest.

    • Tony Schober says:

      Tracking is very important – especially when we first start eating healthy. Most people don’t want to count calories, but that’s putting the cart before the horse. Write down everything at the beginning – it will lay your foundation for healthy eating in the future.

  21. Great post, with some good points. One thing people overlook is NEAT which stands for non exercise activity thermogenesis and basically means all the things you do outside of your structured workouts. Working out is not enough if you lead a very sedentary lifestyle outside the gym. If you sit around all day stuffing yourself and playing video games and workout for 30 minutes, it isn’t going to do you much good.

    • Tony Schober says:

      Very true Michael. Living an active lifestyle means more than just working out. Don’t park in front of a TV or computer all day. Get out and do something.

  22. Kim says:

    This is great! I shared it on my blog today. Thank you, Tony!

  23. Ferrin says:

    Hi Tony,

    I really like this article. I don’t eat a lot in the day but it seems that I am not losing weight I have a problem with night hunger as I tend to stay up late on a daily basis and I end up reaching for convenience food. I have water retention and some sort of hormone imbalance and have been told that exercise can only help me a little. Is that true?

    • Tony Schober says:

      Hi Ferrin, it’s hard to say without knowing all your details. However, the simple fact that exercise can help should be all you need to hear to give it a try.

  24. I think the most important reasons are, inconsistent in eating habits and not changing lifestyle.

  25. Chandru says:

    A very good article. Especially consistency, food habits, exercise and rest are very important. You should take right food in right time. Healthy lifestyle will help you reduce weight.

  26. Dawn Fritsch says:

    Great Article. Number 3 and 7 are the two that I find trip people up the most. Especially 7, I always explain that it’s taken a while to put the weight on, it’s not an over night thing to take the weight off!

    Unfortunately I think that some reality shows are making this concept harder and harder to understand, they only see small takes on TV and expect it to be like that always.

    • Tony Schober says:

      I agree Dawn. Shows like The Biggest Loser make everyone think they should be losing 100 pounds in a few months. It’s good entertainment, but that’s unrealistic for most.

  27. Bryan Thompson says:

    Hi Tony, this was great. It’s often easy to forget #3. We get so consumed with burning calories that we don’t consume enough calories all together. And I’ve been guilty of #10 as well. I will get super intense and focused for a few months and then I’ll slip into easy lifestyle choices that aren’t the best. Great motivation for lasting change in 2012!

    Hi Evelyn! Hope you’re having a great week!

  28. Hi Tony

    No diet has ever led to sustainable weight loss for me. I have given up on dieting and now focus on doing what’s good for my health and wellbeing. Focusing on improving health is better than focusing on weight loss.

  29. Hi Tony,

    I enjoyed your post! It helped me get more focused on my fitness program. I’m not consistent at all when it comes to working out, but I will work harder because I know exercising is very important in being fit. I’ll try your recommendations.

    I don’t belong to a gym, but I would guess resistance exercises are pushups, stretch bands, dumb bells, etc??

    Thanks for such an informative article and putting a little fire under my butt to start moving more. You are the Coach! 😉

    Take care,


    • Tony Schober says:

      Hey Evelyn, thank you for the chance to write for your readers!

      Yes, resistance exercise could be body weight exercises like pushups or pullups, or they could be with a weight set using dumbbells or barbells.

      Glad I could help motivate you 😉

  30. I really enjoyed this info Evelyn. I don’t believe in dieting because it does not provide long term results. It is much more important to make the decision to eat healthier foods and make lifestyle changes and when you do this the weight loss will happen naturally. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Hey Shelley,

      I’m glad you enjoyed Tony’s article.

      You’re so right about making healthier food choices and lifestyle changes.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  31. April says:

    I would like to add #11: You’re not vegan. Seriously, one of the easiest & healthiest ways to maximize nutrient-dense foods in the diet and lose weight.
    Check out the 21-Day Vegan Kickstart: http://support.pcrm.org/site/PageServer?pagename=21day_vegan_kickstart

    • Tony Schober says:

      Vegetarian diets can certainly be healthy. I’ve never gone vegan before, so I cannot attest to their effectiveness. I do see plenty of healthy looking vegans though. I just love my meat too much 😉

    • Hi April,

      Thanks for sharing.

      Just increasing the amount of fruits and veggies would also help. I don’t think everyone will be vegan for weight loss, but it’s good to know that there are other options.

  32. I like how your article offers common sense with a no-nonsense approach. Now pass the dark chocolate!

  33. Octavian says:

    Hey Coach, great post. I’m guilty of scale watching. Unfortunately, I’m just too damn curious for my own good. I’m feeling great and skinny, but the scale just won’t budge. Actually, that’s not really true, but it seems to be stuck on a weight for a few weeks before finally going down. I do check my measurements and I see progress.
    I love your conclusion about what to eat in #10. That’s some great advice.

    • Tony Schober says:

      Hey Octavian, yeah, unfortunately weight loss isn’t a straight line. Sometimes your weight won’t budge for weeks even though you haven’t changed anything. Then as soon as you feel like giving up, you start losing weight again. You have to have patience!

  34. Michelle says:

    Here’s reason #11…for me. I’m eating. period.

    that’s changing though. I am signing up for Weight Watchers. It’s probably the best healthy eating “diet” I know. The best part is its free for a year at my job.

    • Sherri says:

      Hi I joined Weight Watchers as well and lost over 22 lbs, now im back at it .good luck to ya .keep me posted how ya do?

      • Michelle says:

        good for you! I weighed in and I only gained .4 ounces over the holiday. Not bad considering I pigged out.

    • Tony Schober says:

      Hi Michelle, as far as I know, Weight Watchers is based around calorie counting – right? It’s a good way to learn about the macronutrient content of foods.

      • Michelle says:

        Hi Tony-

        Nope no calorie counting. Yipppee!! It’s based on protein, fiber, carbs and fat. the points are figured out and there’s a great app to take to the supermarket to help make it a no brainer.

      • Tony Schober says:

        I see. I knew about the points, I just thought that points were somehow correlated with calories. Good to know 🙂