Many people have tried to lose weight or embark on a weight loss program, only to find the process mightily hard. Invariably, these are the people who knowingly or unknowingly work against their goal by doing things they should not be doing.
What are these things? What are the main reasons why some fail to lose weight?
Here are the top 20 reasons why people are unsuccessful at losing weight. If you are doing one or more of these things, make amends immediately to reach your weight loss goals.
Not Keeping Track Of What You Are Putting On Your Plates
Not having a clue of what and how much you are eating is the surest way to fail in your weight loss efforts, and this fact is backed by researchers.
According to studies, dieters who maintain a food diary consistently lose more weight than individuals who do not maintain any such record.
You Are Not Doing Resistance Training
Studies have shown that lifting weights helps one to burn more calories. More importantly, it ensures you build and preserve muscle mass.
In one study, researchers classified dieters into 3 groups: cardio and weight training, cardio, and no-exercise. Each group shed 21 pounds, but the first group (that is, the group that did weight training) lost more fat than the participants of the other two groups.
If you want to lose weight without losing muscle mass, do resistance training a few times a week.
Not Eating Enough Protein
For weight-loss enthusiasts, protein is the most important nutrient, and for good reasons.
Gram for gram, protein promotes more satiety (feeling of fullness) than carbohydrates. What this means is that when you eat a protein-rich meal, you do not feel hungry for a longer time than had you eaten a carb-rich meal. Increasing your protein intake will likely allow you to eat fewer calories in a day.
So how much protein is recommended for those trying to lose weight?
Experts believe that 30% of our daily calories intake should come from protein. If you are on a 2000-calorie diet, you should eat 150g of protein every day. Calculate your recommended protein intake by multiplying your daily calorie intake by 0.075.
Protein-rich foods include eggs, almonds, chicken breast, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, broccoli, milk, lean beef, tuna, and lentils.
Your Diet Does Not Include Whole Foods
Food quantity is important—but so is food quality. Both go hand in hand. Leave out one and you will fail to achieve your desired weight loss result.
Whole foods are more filling than processed foods. They also offer better nutritional value and do not contain added preservatives. As far as possible, try to eat whole foods whenever you can.
Consuming More Calories Than You Should
Many people are unable to lose weight because of a simple reason: they are consuming more calories than they should.
True as this statement is, it is equally true that the majority of dieters believe they are eating significantly less number of calories than they actually are.
If your weight has not budged even after your strong efforts, you should carefully monitor your foods and track the total number of calories you are consuming. You do not need to do this all the time; tracking for a few days every few months is sufficient.
There are several online calorie calculators or calorie counting applications or websites that you can use for this purpose.
Sugary drinks should be completely off your list if you want to eat healthily. They not only contain a lot of calories, but they are also ‘empty’ calories. Calories consumed through sugared drinks are not registered by the brain in the same way as calories consumed from solid foods.
A person will not feel satiated after consuming a calorie-rich sugar drink, and so your body will not compensate the calories gained from it by eating less in the following meals. As a result, your daily calorie intake increases.
All this is true for soda-based drinks as well as many so-called healthy beverages that have high sugar content. In fact, fruit juice when drank in large amounts also poses the same problem. Instead of drinking fruit juice, eat whole fruits which are much healthier.
Not Doing Enough Cardio
The most effective exercise combination for someone wanting to lose weight is cardio and resistance training.
For inexplicable reasons, cardio has received a lot of flak in recent years, but the fact remains that no other exercise is as effective as cardio in burning fat, promoting good heart health and improving our overall health.
The only problem is that the weight loss from cardio may also be due to a loss of muscle mass. To preserve muscle mass, experts recommend a mix of cardio and resistance training, which keeps your muscle mass intact but promotes fat burning and fat loss in your body.
Binge eating is not the same as overeating, which is something we all do once in a while. Binge eating is eating unusually large amounts of food in a short time and feeling powerless to stop the eating spree.
Many dieters struggle with binge eating, and unsurprisingly they are the ones who find it extremely tough to lose weight. Depending on the quantity of the food, a single binge eating spree can make you lose all the gains achieved through a week of conscientious dieting.
While binging on junk food is bad, gorging indiscriminately on healthy foods like nut butters, cheese, dark chocolate, etc., has the same effect as binging on junk food. All foods, healthy or not, contain calories. If you eat in huge quantities, your daily calorie count will increase significantly which ultimately gets stored as fats in your body.
Not Getting Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep can lead to a slew of health problems including weight gain. In fact, according to studies, poor sleep is a major risk factor for obesity. Children who sleep poorly have an 89 percent greater risk of becoming obese and poor sleepers among adults are 55 percent more likely to be obese.
Not Drinking Enough Water
There are three ways you can use water to lose weight. One, drink 1 to 1.5 liters of water daily for a few weeks every few months. According to a study involving overweight people, those who drank this much quantity of water for a few weeks showed a significant reduction in their body fat, waist circumference, BMI, and weight.
Two, drink water 30 minutes before meals. Doing so results in an average reduction of eating as much as 70 calories less per meal.
Three, replace sugary drinks with water. If plain water does not sound exciting, add some lemon to it. Lemons contain a lot of pectins which reduces food cravings.
Too Much Alcohol
Alcohol and weight loss do not go hand in hand, but this too does not mean that you have to shun alcohol completely if you are on a weight-loss mission.
Alcohol in moderate amounts is never an issue. Too much of it, however, can increase your calorie count substantially, as alcohol itself contains approximately 7 calories per gram!
Also choose spirits, such as vodka, over sugary alcoholic beverages. The latter are packed with calories due to its sugar content. However, choosing spirits and mixing it with a calorie beverage will negate any advantage of fewer calories that spirits give. You should mix spirits with a non-calorie beverage instead such as carbonated water or zero-calorie green tea for example.
Underlying Medical Conditions
Certain health conditions, including sleep apnea, polycystic syndrome, and hypothyroidism, can make it to difficult to lose weight. Certain medications too can have a similar effect. Consult your physician in case you think either applies to you.
Not Eating Mindfully
Mindful eating is a powerful weight loss tool, according to many experts. Studies back this claim too.
Mindful eating involves eating slowly, without distraction, enjoying each and every bite, and paying attention to natural signals telling that you have eaten enough.
Studies show that weight loss enthusiasts who eat mindfully lose more weight and indulge in binge eating less frequently than those who do not.
Mindful eating is really simple, and there is no reason why you should not adopt it. How to start eating mindfully:
- Get rid of all distractions when you sit to eat
- Eat slowly and thoroughly chew each and every bite
- When the first sensation of satiety comes, stop eating and take a few sips of water
Using Credit Cards To Pay For Groceries
At first glance, it appears absurd to link failure at weight loss with how you pay for your groceries. But is it really so?
A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research has revealed that people who pay for their groceries through credit cards buy more unhealthy, calorie-rich foods than those who pay in cash. The plausible reason behind this behavior is that those who use their credit card do not immediately feel the financial impact of their impulse buying, and that is why they give in to the temptation more easily.
Sitting For Hours At Work
If your work involves sitting all day, make it a point to get up and stretch a little and if possible, walk a few steps every hour.
According to a study, sitting for hours stalls the production of a fat-inhibiting enzyme known as lipase. By standing and stretching a little every hour, you can increase your metabolism by approximately 13 percent.
Stress is not good for your mental and physical health. It can also lead to weight gain or prevent you from losing weight.
Exercising and eating healthy may not be enough to induce weight loss if you are unable to manage stress in your life properly.
According to several studies, people who are continuously stressed have higher levels of cortisol. Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone” and actually helps us tackle real stressful situations better. However, chronically high level of cortisol increases hunger as well as cravings for calorie-rich foods, making it more difficult for you to lose weight.
Try meditation or yoga if you are finding it difficult to manage stress in your life.
For some reasons, many people believe that eating many small meals a day is the way to eating healthy. However, studies have shown that having smaller meals does not offer any advantage over eating fewer meals.
On the contrary, eating many meals a day can easily lead to consumption of excess calories which in turn will work against you. If you are having many small frequent meals, you may want to stick to having fewer, regular meals each day.
You can also try intermittent fasting, especially if you have hit a plateau (defined as a stage where a person stops losing any more weight in spite of doing everything that until now helped in losing weight). Intermittent fasting involves fasting for one full day once or twice per week or fasting for 16 hours every day.
However, if you are a diabetic or have any other health condition, you should consult your doctor first.
Overeating Healthy Foods
Many foods are healthy but rich in calories. Examples include nuts, olive oil, dark chocolate, whole-wheat pasta, and avocados. Eating too much of such foods will cause your daily calorie count to increase.
Not Consuming Enough Vegetables
Experts recommend 5 to 7 servings of vegetables and fruits a day. However, if you want to lose weight, you should aim for more.
Dieters who eat a lot of plant-based foods lose more weight and are able to keep excess fats off more easily. This should not be surprising at all. Plant-based foods offer us a range of healthy nutrients but contain fewer calories. Plus, they are super rich in fiber, which keeps us full longer.
Focusing Too Much Or Only On Dieting
In the long term, diets seldom work. In fact, some studies point to the opposite: people who follow a demanding diet program gain more weight than they lose over time.
Eat healthy, but try not to adopt a dieting mindset. Make becoming a healthier, happier person your goal, and let weight loss happen naturally as a side effect of positive dietary and lifestyle changes that have adopted.