10 Reasons Your Weight Loss Plan May Not Be Working

You had enough of being unhealthy, so you made the monumental decision to get yourself fit. You’ve been training, going to a gym, running, doing classes or whatever your exercise choice is, yet you are feeling frustrated that you aren’t seeing the progress you had anticipated. What could be the culprit behind your stubborn fat’s refusal to leave your body? Actually, there are quite a few potential answers to that question, and your answer may also be a combination of multiple ones.


1-You aren’t eating enough to keep your body out of shutdown mode.  It seems logical that lowering your caloric intake could help you lose weight, right? Not so fast. If you allow your daily nutritional intake to drop below 1,200 calories, for most of us, your body will just shut down it’s fat burning, as it desires to save the little energy supply it has.

2-You aren’t working quite as hard as you think. In general terms, it takes burning about 3,500 calories more than you take it to eliminate one pound of body fat. If you are exercising three times each week, for 45 minutes per session, and you are burning 400 calories per workout, the most you could expect to lose is about a pound every 3 weeks or so, assuming your nutritional intake is balanced to the rest of your activity, and there is no excess in that respect.


3-Your metabolism hasn’t adjusted from previous abuse by fad/extreme diets. Every time you go on any food plan that isn’t based on sufficient volume and quality of nutritional intake, you can set your metabolism back to a defensive type mode, and  it will take a period of time with a healthy nutritional plan to adjust back to normal.

4-You aren’t including resistance training in your exercise prescriptions. While cardio exercise can burn some calories, the benefit ends almost as soon as the exercise stops. Resistance training, such as weight lifting, can cause your metabolism to be elevated for up to 36 hours, post workout, so the benefit continues long after the exercise ends.

5-Your food plan still includes items that can impact your fitness more that just by the calories they contain. Foods with sugar can cause your glycemic index to spike, causing increased insulin production, which can make your body resistant to burning fat stores. Higher that usual sodium intake can cause you to retain fluid. One gallon of retained water can raise your body weight over 7 pounds

6-You aren’t eating often enough. Our bodies still bear the genetic evidence of our ancestors, who were hunters and gatherers, and did not have readily available food options. Therefore, when we go a period of time without food intake, our bodies go into a sort of storage mode, conserving energy reserves because there is no assurance that resupply is soon happening.

7-Walking is your exercise plan. Prepare to be offended, but here goes. Walking is an activity, not an exercise. Is it better than doing nothing? Absolutely. Will it get you fit in a reasonable amount of time? If you have much distance between where you are now and where you want to be, the answer is no. For the average adult, an hour of walking burns about 250-300 calories. That means you will need to walk every day, for 12-15 days, to lose a single pound, assuming you have your food plan dialed in. In addition, you will get almost no heart benefit from such a low intensity exercise. The long and short of it is this; You need to sweat and get your heart rate elevated to become more fit. Period.

8-You have eliminated carbs from your diet.  You need a balance of nutritional intake from protein, carbs and fat to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Carb depletion diets often result in only temporary weight loss, that returns with maybe even some additional pounds as soon as the low carb plan is abandoned. They also can produce lower energy levels, as well as causing your metabolism to deviate from is designed function.

9-You think you are eating healthier than you really are. Choose from the “healthy” menu section at a restaurant? Have a salad for lunch? Maybe you had a tuna on whole wheat from Subway. Those
sound healthy, right? Many items on restaurant “healthy” menus have over 1,000 grams of sodium, and may have more fat than the food has naturally. One restaurant has a broccoli option (sounds healthy) but it has 7 grams of fat. Broccoli, in nature, has zero fat, so the added butter in preparation that makes it taste so good comes with a healthy price. That tuna on whole wheat? Could have over 120 grams of fat and 1,000 calories, not to mention tons of sodium. Salads can be great, but not if there are a lot of low nutritional ingredients added in. Meats, dressings, fruits, cheese, nuts and other hidden culprits can take the nutritional value down to a very unhealthy level.

10-You aren’t drinking enough water. Water makes you feel full, helping curb some of the desire for unhealthy snacks and foods. Hydration is a vital part of any fitness plan, and it helps your kidneys stay healthy long term as well.

If you are a female and your progress has been slower than expected, after a reasonable time commitment, your answer may lie in hormones. If you feel you are not seeing the progress you should, and none of the above seem to be the potential reason, check with your M.D. In addition, too little sleep, too much stress, diet soft drinks and medical issues can also create a logjam in losing those unwanted pounds. Educate yourself, evaluate your food and exercise plans honestly, and you will likely get your progress on track.

Jim Harris