Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

photo of a scale with the title "Why Can't I Lose Weight?"

Three years ago I lost over 25 pounds.  I have mostly kept it off since then (gain a little, lose a little).  Through the whole experience, I have been very grateful to have the support of my friends on Sparkpeople.

A couple of years ago I  started leading a group on Sparkpeople.  Part of my role as leader is giving pep talks and being a cheerleader for those who need it.  Many people get frustrated when they don’t reach their goals as quickly as they would like.  My mantra  is this:

"It's not all about the destination. It's about the journey." Click To Tweet

In other words, how you got where you are, how you are going to get where you want to be, and what you learn along the way.

Every once in awhile,  I get an email from a team member who is going in the wrong direction.

Help!! Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

Mind you, I’m not  a medical professional, but in the five years I’ve been on  this weight loss journey, I’ve learned a lot.  Below are five reasons you might not be losing weight, along with some suggestions.

  1.  You’re taking in too many calories.
    I know this seems obvious, but the truth is, you need to eat smart in order to lose weight.  That means you need to watch not just your calories, but how much nutrition you are getting for the punch.  Those pork skins may taste great but what are you getting by eating them except for fat, salt and empty calories?  Start by tracking the food you eat (in a spreadsheet, notebook, or whatever).  I mean every single morsel you put in your mouth (drinks count too).  You might be surprised at how many calories are in that latte or even the loaded salad or baked potato!!  See if there are any places you can make a small change.  Even 100 calorie loss per day can  add up!!
  2.  You’re not getting enough exercise
    I think most of us know this, but we have excuses for why we can’t exercise.  Even with doctor’s restrictions there are still some exercises you can do (many people with health issues start with chair exercises).  I have complained as my hours at work increased that I didn’t have enough time or was too tired to exercise. Finally, I started taking  my walking shoes to work and walking on my lunch hour.  It is making a big difference!!
  3.  You have an undiagnosed health condition
    There are several health conditions and prescription drugs that can  cause weight gain.  Make sure to get checked out by a doctor to rule out any of these if you are struggling.
  4. You are under extreme  stress
    According to WebMD, When life’s demands get too intense, our bodies go into survival mode. Cortisol, the “stress hormone,” is secreted, which causes an increase in appetite. The increased appetite can lead to eating more calories, which leads to well, you know.
  5. You’re not ready to make the commitment
    Weight loss can’t be the “dieting” of 20+ years ago.  In order for it to work, you have to understand that you’re making  a commitment to a healthy lifestyle change.  If you’re not ready to make that commitment, then it will be hard to get the results you want (and keep them).

I have had four out of the five of these problems at one point or another in my weight loss journey.  I notice every time I lose some more weight I need to adjust my exercise and calorie intake all over again.  Every time I face a life challenge,  I need to adjust.  And  sometimes, I just need to adjust my expectations.  Don’t  forget:

"It's not all about the destination. It's about the journey." Click To Tweet

 Have you ever struggled to lose weight?  How did you break that plateau?

10 thoughts on “Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

  1. One of my biggest issues is my morning coffee. It’s loaded with calories! I have cut it back to one cup a day but it still feels like a losing battle some days. During the summer I was good about taking the boys to the park and walking while they rode their bikes but with them back in school I’ve slacked. I really need to get back into the habit!

  2. I had problems most of my life. I joined Weight Watchers in my 20ies and that was the answer for me. I lost 50 lbs and kept it off until I got sick and medications totally messed with my metabolism. Now another medication has killed my appetite so it keeps me thin.

  3. I still struggle to lose weight – I gained about 15-20 lbs in the past year. I have a stomach issue called Crohns, so I can’t eat most dairy and other things. For me it’s definitely making the time to work out that is the issue, along with eating healthier.

  4. I have struggled to lose weight and I actually know it’s my fault. All you said above is true. I actually reduced the amount of food intake but I drink A LOT of coffee and coffee-related drinks and I’m not ready to give those up. When I am ready, I would probably drop weight like crazy!

  5. I never struggled with my weight until having my kids. Before that, I could easily lose 10 pounds if I wanted. Now it seems like the pounds just creep on!! The whole “calorie intake” watching is what my doctor kept telling me until he realized my liver was defunct, causing my metabolism to slow down.

  6. Stress is a big one. Especially when there are unreleased emotional issues at bay. Sometimes getting some therapy can help in a round about way with weight loss. Great post!

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