9 Possible Reasons You’re Wondering ‘Why Can’t I Lose Weight?’

You’ve been doing all the things you thought you needed to do to lose weight, yet you haven’t lost and ounce. Maybe you’re staying the same weight – maybe you keep gaining.

“Why can’t I lose weight?” is the question rattling through your mind every time you stand on the scale.

Why You’re Not Losing Weight

problematic woman

There could be a million reasons (seriously) why you’re not losing weight.

For one thing, everyone loses weight differently – men and women lose weight differently and gain it differently, as well.

Most importantly, you also need to think about the fact that you probably didn’t put this weight on overnight. So, you can’t expect it just to disappear overnight, either.

If you’re stepping on the scale on a daily basis, you’re not going to see that much of a fluctuation in your weight from day-to-day. Even worse, you may see changes you don’t like, for various reasons. If you’re confused as to why that weight isn’t coming off, here are some of the things that might be why you’re always asking yourself, “Why can’t I lose weight?”

1. Sneaky Calories

Sneaky Calories

Perhaps, you’re getting excess calories even when you think you’re eating healthfully. It’s quite possible. Some medical professionals will say that calories don’t matter and that you don’t need to count them if you’re making smart food choices. However, no matter how you swing it, 3,500 calories still equals a pound of weight.

If you’re snacking, eating too large of portions, filling up on anything to drink that isn’t water, or eating out a lot, you’re probably getting far more calories than you need.

You’re also likely getting more fats and proteins too. And while protein is great for building muscle and other cells in your body, too much protein converts to glucose. That’s right — even the leanest chicken can turn to sugar in your body.  That’s not doing your weight loss diet any good.

2. Too Much Sugar


Sticking with the theme of what you’re eating – too much sugar in your diet could be keeping you fat. As humans, we have a habit of becoming addicted to so many things. If you’re craving sweets, you might have a sugar addiction.

Luckily, there are plenty of articles online about freeing yourself from sugar addictions. Swap out your refined sugar snacks for things that have natural sugars, like berries.

3. Improper Snacking


Speaking of sugar – what are you snacking on? If the foods in your snack “cupboard” are all salt and sugar filled, you’re definitely going to be struggling to lose weight.

You see, much sugar means too much insulin. Insulin is the hormone your body produces to store all those excess calories away for later in the form of fat. While this is great if you’re living off the land, we don’t need to store excess fat for famines like we used to.

So, even if you’re eating less or eating fewer calories, if most of them are from sugar, your body will store them as fat instead of using them for energy.

A couple good swaps to make are fruit for refined sugar sweets and air-popped popcorn with a light dusting of sea salt when you want salty snacks. Pickles make a great salty snack alternative as well. Or forgo sugar and salt altogether and snack on high protein foods that don’t come with a release of excess insulin but keep you satisfied until your next real meal.

4. Stress Effect

stressed man

Stress could be hindering your weight loss. Stress has the ability to release cortisol in your body, which can make you crave the foods that will put more fat around your waist. It can also interfere with your ability to lose weight when you’re on a diet.

This “stress hormone” seems to affect women more than men.

You can find ways to unwind that will help you fight off the effects of cortisol. Practice meditation and do yoga – these are two of the best things you can do. Best of all, both can be used in other ways during your weight loss journey.

Yoga is a great way to get fit and build lean muscle, while you can find guided meditations that will help you get in the right mindset for successful weight loss.

5. Muscle Building

The answer to 'Why can't I lose weight?' could be that you're building muscle.

While one pound of fat is still fat, the same could be said of one pound of muscle. You see, you could be gaining more muscle, which will make it appear as though you’re not losing any weight when you step on the scale.

This is particularly true if you’re keeping to a high protein diet or doing weight resistance exercise during your workout. If you’ve been working at putting on muscle as well as losing weight, you might not see the scale move as much as you’d hoped.

Muscle is better for your body than fat, so don’t fret over this. If you’re doing all the right things — working out on a regular basis, dropping bad habits, and eating properly — you’re on the right path.

Best of all, you’ll start to see a difference first in how your clothes look and fit on your body. So, when you launch a weight loss program, it’s a good idea to track your measurements as well as your weight on the scale.

6. You’re Not Exercising

Woman sleeping

You won’t lose weight — not permanently and not effectively — on diet alone.

And only working out without eating a healthy diet won’t give you the successful weight loss you want, either. You need to eat right and work out on a regular basis.

Make time for physical activity of some sort every day for at least twenty minutes a day. Put in some cardio a couple of times a week. And make sure to switch things up, so you don’t hit a plateau.

Even more important, do take a day off if your muscles are sore from exercising, especially if you lift weights or use resistance exercises. You see, your muscles need time to recover and grow stronger and denser after a tough workout. Pushing them will just result in injury and set you back further.

7. You Need to Increase Your Workout/Change It Up

woman doing push ups

If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, it either means you’re at your body’s ideal weight, or it’s time to make some changes. First of all, make sure you’re not at your body’s happiest weight.

Don’t measure by the bathroom scale or against some fantasy number. Instead, determine your optimal bodyfat percentage by your age and gender.

Then, find out what your bodyfat percentage is by using a few calculations. As we noted above, muscle mass can make your weight higher, even if you don’t have much bodyfat.

If you still don’t like the numbers, you could make a few dietary changes. But you definitely need to change up your workout routine.

Don’t just walk or run every day. Take a day out for weight training. Try yoga once a week. And don’t you ever underestimate the power of a good cardio dance workout.

8. Sleep Schedule

If you don't know Why can't I lose weight?' make sure that you're getting enough sleep for your body to repair itself every night.

Sleep does your body good, so you need to make sure you’re getting enough of it. Your body actually continues burning calories during sleep. Your body does most of its self-repair when you’re asleep, which uses a lot of calories. Plus, it gives you the energy to get through the day and that workout routine.

A lack of sleep can increase stress in your life too, so avoid excess cortisol and get a good night’s sleep.

9. Too Impatient

Instead of wondering 'Why can't I lose weight?' Think about whether or not you're giving yourself enough time to meet your goals.

You might actually be on the right path to weight loss — It might just be that you’re not giving yourself enough time for actual results to happen. Set a goal weight with a reasonable amount of time to hit it. Think of losing a healthy 1.5 pounds a week as a jumping point.

Don’t stand on the scale every day. This is another sign of impatience. Worst of all, it can make you feel worse. And if you’re an emotional eater, you may be more tempted to cheat a bit if you feel your efforts aren’t worth it.

Also, make sure when you do weigh in you do it at the same time of day — as your weight can fluctuate throughout the day. It can also fluctuate due to hormonal fluctuations, so give yourself a weight pass during those days of the month when you tend to retain water.

Things to Do to Help You Lose More Weight

Aside from having a scheduled workout routine and eating the right foods, there are some other things you can consider doing that will help aid you in your weight loss, even when you feel like you’re not winning.

First, you need the right mindset – you need to expect success and work toward it.

1. Keep a Journal

wring in a Journal

Start with a fitness diary. Find a place, like an app or a notebook, where you can keep track of your dietary intake and your workouts. You can also log calories eaten, or calories burned. What’s important is that you track what’s important to your particular program.

After all, If you’re not tracking your progress, there’s no way to tell if you’re actually making any.

By keeping a weight loss journal, you’ll be able to pinpoint areas where you need work. For example, you can identify whether you’re snacking too late at night or skipping your cardio workout more than you should.

2. Get a Workout Buddy

Workout Buddy

Having someone else that’s trying to lose weight in your corner can help you stay accountable. You can both check up on one another. Also, you can work out together. After all, sometimes walking or jogging is more fun with a partner. It doesn’t even feel like work.

And you can challenge one another as well.

Your workout buddy doesn’t have to have the same exact weight loss goals for you — they just need to have your well being in mind.

Some days, it can be hard to motivate yourself. Get someone in your corner that will step up when you’re slumping.

3. Get Professional Help

You can get help from a professional for weight loss in several ways. Here are some of your options –

Get a Trainer

Join a gym and hire a personal trainer to help you pinpoint your trouble areas.

Talk to Your Doctor 

If you’re really struggling and your weight is causing you problems, talk to your doctor about options such as medications or surgery that can help. In fact, you should ask your doctor to rule out any medical reason for your weight gain before you even start a diet and exercise program. Often, weight gain or the inability to lose weight is the result of an underlying health problem affecting your metabolism.

Try a Weight Loss Plan

With companies like Weight Watchers, you can get general weight loss tips and meal tips that will help you get on the track to weight loss. Don’t count them out, but do some shopping around before you pay any money.

Hire a Life Coach

There’s nobody more qualified than a life coach to help you get your life on track, weight and all. They can help motivate and inspire you to be the person you want to be.

4. Consider the Possibilities

couple relaxing on the beach

Take some time to think of what you’ll do with your life once you’ve gotten to your goal weight. Maybe you’re going on vacation, and you want to feel comfortable in a bathing suit again. Maybe you just want the energy to chase your grandchildren around the yard.

Most importantly, if you focus on the positive aspects of losing that weight, it may be all the motivation you need to workout more and eat healthier.

Don’t Just Wonder ‘Why Can’t I Lose Weight?’

Instead of asking, “Why can’t I lose weight?” ask yourself why you’re not pushing yourself harder. Or maybe you’re pushing too hard.

It’s not just sheer willpower that will help you meet your goals; you’ll need to make smart choices and have patience, too.

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