Not Losing Weight – Top 10 Reasons Why You’re Not

We all need and want to get into better physical shape. For the majority of us, “getting into better shape” means losing that extra weight. All the leading health experts tell us that in order to lose weight we need to eat less and workout more. But what exactly does “Eating less and Working out more” entail for the average person? We can go to the gym for hours and eat all our greens yet not even lose a pound. Eventually any person can get frustrated, blame it on a weak metabolism and then give up entirely. I feel that frustration! I used to feel the same way until I learned what I was doing wrong. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and finally lose that extra weight!

So here are the top 10 reasons I have found for why most people are not losing weight:


This may seem obvious, but unless you are tracking your calories each day you may be eating more than you think. The average female caloric intake should be between 1500-2000 calories a day depending on factors such as age, metabolism, height, and lifestyle and for a male the number jumps up to 2,500-3,000 calories a day.

Most of the meals we eat have enough calories to feed several people and that goes double for anytime we eat out. Just for your information – most restaurants now put calorie information on their websites and let me just say sometimes it is a real shocker when you find out that your favorite dish at your favorite restaurant uses up all of your allowed calories for the entire day.

For example, one of my favorite restaurants is Cheesecake Factory and anytime I go there I always get the Crusted Chicken Romano and I substitute the spaghetti for vegetables.

  • Crusted Chicken Romano: 1,610 Calories. (In this case a serving size is one breast but some places you have to be careful as they change the serving size to make the number look smaller!)
  • Side of Sautéed Spinach: 100 Calories.
  • Total of 1,710 calories. I am a guy, and still that is almost half my daily allowable caloric intake in one meal! If I didn’t substitute the spaghetti, it would’ve been well over 2,000 calories.

If you’re really serious about losing weight, you need to get serious about your eating correctly. Start by keeping a detailed food journal for one week, without changing any of your eating habits. Be as specific as possible and add up your calories for each day. You’ll be surprised how those calories can sneak in when you’re not keeping track.


Liquid calories from alcohol, smoothies, coffee with cream and sugar, sweetened juices, teas, and sodas can really deter your weight loss goals. A recent study found that a staggering 37% of most Americans’ calories came from beverages! Most beverages are loaded with sugar or fat.

When you drink beverages, you don’t compensate the calories by eating less food. Most beverages quench your thirst and do not affect hunger.

Switch from high calorie beverages to water, club soda, skim milk, and unsweetened tea. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation, and choose the light beer or less calorie laden mixers.

Here are some calorie counts for common beverages:

  • 16 oz Rockstar: 280 Calories 62g Sugar
  • 14 oz Starbucks Frappuccino: 290 Calories 46g Sugar
  • 20 oz Starbucks Venti 2% Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha: 660 Calories 22g Fat 95g Sugar
  • 12 oz Guinness Draught Beer: 126 Calories
  • 12 oz Soda: 150 Calories


Take out the “s” in fast food and it would be more fitting. This is primarily, hands down, the worst kind of food you can eat when you are trying to lose weight! Fast food is loaded with calories but very little nutrition. When we eat fast food, it spikes our insulin levels which promote fat storage. Fast food companies remove the nutrients and replace it with salt, sugar and fat to not only increase the shelf life, but to increase their profits.

Studies have shown that salt, sugar and fat together triggers the brain’s “reward” system releasing dopamine; very similar to cocaine or heroin making us slaves to our cravings.


Out of sight, out of mind, out of mouth! You have heard it before, if you are serious about losing weight it takes more than a diet; it takes a life style change. This is a life style change. Take all the junk food out of your house and throw it away. 100% of losing weight is will power and not many of us have the will power to make the correct eating decisions when we are hungry. Potato chips are a more appealing snack than hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese or raisins. So help yourself by getting rid of the junk food and loading up on the healthy foods so when you do snack, it will be a healthy snack.


Stress is a major contributor to weight gain as well as a lack of weight loss. Chronic stress can increase production of cortisol, a powerful hormone which increases appetite, weakens the immune system, releases insulin as well as promote fat storage around the abdominal region. Over long periods of time, Cortisol secretion can contribute to weight gain, Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and many other health ailments. Stress is something that we will never be able to get rid of but we all need to find ways to and reduce stress. It can be as simple as taking a few minutes a day to relax or meditate, scheduling a massage, cutting down on work hours, listening to your favorite music artist or laughing with friends. A wonderful book that I highly recommend is “Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff and its…All Small Stuff” by Richard Carlson.

TIP: Proper nutrition, Omega 3, Vitamin C and Tea can help reduce stress and block cortisol production.


The very basics of losing weight are burning more calories than you eat. The rule of thumb is – To lose one pound a week you need a caloric deficit of 3500 which equates to about 500 calories a day. You can achieve this by either eating less food or burning more calories but to maximize it you have to do both.

Many people have the misconception that the longer you are at the gym the more calories you are going to burn. It doesn’t work like that. You can be at the gym for 2 hours and barely break a sweat and burn the same amount of calories as someone who is going hard for 30 minutes.

You have to work hard if you want to change the shape of your body and if you are a beginner that does not mean you sprint as hard as you can for 30 minutes and then max out on weights. There is nothing that will break your drive faster than pushing yourself past your limits. If you want to lose weight and stay motivated, know that it is a gradual climb. A good indicator of progress is sweat. Your heart rate should be up and you should be sweating, but it should not be so high where you cannot talk. The best is a balance of medium-high intensity cardio exercise along with challenging free weight workouts.


Almost everyone reaches a weight loss plateau at some point. As your body adapts to your workouts, it gets harder and harder to lose those last few pounds. Your body is made to adapt to almost any situation and that, unfortunately, includes your work outs. Over a period of weeks or months your body becomes more efficient at working out and, therefore, doesn’t expend as many calories doing it. If you don’t change your workout routine, your progress will slow down and eventually stop.


Doing the same workouts over and over.

  • Your body needs to be challenged in order to progress, so make sure you’re changing some part of your program every 4-6 weeks. It could be something as simple as changing the order of your workout, intensity, or duration but for better results it’s best to change your entire workout.

Not eating enough calories.

  • If your body doesn’t have enough fuel to sustain your level of activity, you can actually stop losing weight. Your body needs calories, especially protein to build muscle (also burns fat) and carbohydrates for energy to get through a strenuous workout. It’s best to stick to lean protein or protein powders and slow burning carbohydrates such as vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.


  • If muscles are not given enough time to recover before another workout is repeated then the muscles progressively become smaller. For weight loss this means a gradual decline in lean tissue, thus lowering your metabolism. Solution – do not work out the same body parts on consecutive days. After a workout you need to rest those muscles for 1 to 2 days in order for them to fully recover. I would suggest not doing cardio more than 3 times a week and lifting the same body part more than 2 times a week. This allows your body plenty of time to rest.


In the recent study, Sleep Linked to Weight Gain the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that twins who slept less than 7 hours or more than 9 hours a night were more likely to gain weight than their identical twin that slept 7-8.9 hours a night.

The body repairs itself when you are resting and lack of sleep puts stress on your body. When you continually deprive your body of sleep it releases our old “friend” cortisol. Too much cortisol in the body causes the release of insulin which promotes fat storage.

Getting enough sleep is crucial if you are trying to lose weight, not just because of how it affects you physically, but mentally as well. Lack of sleep makes you cranky, confused and can even make you feel depressed or angry and all of it can eliminate your motivation to go to the gym.

Make sleep a priority by trying to get to bed at the same time each night, shooting for about 7-8 hours, if possible. Having some bedtime rituals such as a hot bath or reading a book can help you unwind before bed.


Do your food products consist of massive amounts of labels reading “Healthy”, “Lean”, “Diet”, or “Low carb”? These buzz words don’t mean anything unless we look at the bigger picture. Many of these companies will lower the sodium, reduce the carbohydrates or remove the fat in order to satisfy their legal obligation, but will turn around and load it up with sugar or other unnatural products to make it taste better so we keep feeding our addiction and consume empty calories. Also, be very wary of the “serving size”, many companies can make nutrition facts appear “healthy” by just reducing the serving size.

The best and most nutritious type of food are located on the outer walls of the grocery store in product section, meat department and dairy freezer. If you must buy processed foods you must look at the nutritional facts. Especially with frozen foods or prepared foods, be wary of: serving size, sodium content, sugar, carbohydrates, calories and calories from fat. You want to make sure that it is no more than what you would want had you prepared the meal yourself.


Break the fast, meaning you have not eaten in hours and your body is getting low on “fuel.” You need to get food in your body to get your metabolism jump started again.

Research shows that breakfast skippers weigh more than breakfast eaters. There is a misconception that skipping breakfast or any meal saves calories. In reality, most people who skip meals are so famished that they end up snacking on junk or end up binge eating.

Strive for five small meals a day. This will keep your metabolism high and your insulin levels stable so you are not tempted to binge eat or head for the nearest vending machine. Always start your day with a healthy breakfast, but be careful and choose wisely.

A healthy breakfast should contain both protein and fiber. People who start the day with a protein-rich breakfast consume 200 fewer calories a day than those who eat a carb-heavy breakfast and fiber helps you feel full longer.

Your breakfast should consist of oatmeal, lean protein like fish, eggs, chicken and fruits.

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