The Burning Question: Why Can’t I Lose Weight? 

If there’s one thing I’m sure of, it’s that losing weight isn’t easy.

You may think you’ve done everything right, from exercising regularly to logging how many calories you eat in a day. However, during my time as a fitness trainer, I’ve seen people make the same mistakes over and over again. Many of these mistakes seem small or harmless, but in reality they often keep people from achieving the results they’ve dreamed about.

Here are a few mistakes to avoid so you can quit asking yourself this daunting question and finally lose weight.

You Refuse to Give Up Your “One Thing”

So, you’ve found a balanced diet plan. That’s great—if you actually stick to it. And when I say stick to it, I mean really stick to it.

A lot of times, I see people trying to lose weight but they refuse to give up that “one thing.” They’ll say, “I’ll diet, but I won’t give up [insert ‘one thing’ here].” That one thing could be alcohol, peanut butter, coffee creamer, etc. It could also be binge eating, overeating, or eating late at night.

Your “one thing” doesn’t just have to be related to your diet plan. Maybe you say you don’t have time to exercise on a certain day, but you still binge-watch five episodes of your favorite TV show every night. That binge-watching session could be your “one thing.”

What if I told you that one thing you’re not willing to give up is also the one thing holding you back from achieving your weight loss goal?

So, think to yourself, what’s one area where I need better discipline or self-control? Whatever your answer is, that’s probably your “one thing.” Then, consider what action steps you can take today to overcome and practice better discipline and self-control in that area.

You’re Not Spreading Your Calories Throughout the Day

Another mistake I often see people make is not eating all day and then eating all their calories in the evening.

You may think that by skipping meals and starving yourself throughout the day, you’ll make real strides in your weight loss efforts. However, these deprivation tactics might actually hinder weight loss progress. In fact, when you avoid eating throughout the day, your body’s protective mechanisms may kick in, causing you to crave high-calorie foods and over-eat.

An analogy that I typically use is to imagine that your metabolism is a fire. You can’t dump twenty logs onto a fire at once and expect them all to burn off. Just like this fire, you can’t expect to eat more calories in one sitting and expect to burn fat, even if your calorie intake is right before or after your workout.

However, if you put just a few logs onto the fire at a time, they will continue to burn throughout the day. So, by eating fewer calories in more increments during the day, you will eat fewer calories and burn more fat.

You’re Still Eating Fast Food & Going Out to Eat Regularly

I get it. Fast food is more convenient than meal prepping or cooking every night.

But you’re lying to yourself if you tell yourself it’s okay to eat fast food or trust the calorie counts when you go out to eat. How do you know they’re really accurate? You don’t know that Starbucks didn’t add extra sugar to your latte or if the baked potato had extra butter melted into it.

We’re lying to ourselves if we log what we eat when we go out to eat, because we didn’t make it ourselves.

Now, I’m not saying that you always have to miss out when all of your coworkers are going out to lunch, your friends are going out to dinner, or you want to go out to celebrate a special occasion with family. You need to treat yourself every now and then—but just some of the time.

Limit how often you let yourself go through the McDonald’s drive-thru or go out to eat. Instead, save it for special occasions, not when you’re feeling too lazy to cook your dinner or prep your lunch.

Your Exercise Habits Aren’t Intense Enough

A lot of people don’t want to hear this, but taking a walk around the block is not a workout.

If you want to lose weight and see real results, you must incorporate high-impact workouts like burpees, line drills, and strength training into your exercise routine. These workouts are the most effective and will burn the most calories. 

Remember: the harder you work, the bigger the benefits you will reap.

At this point, you might be wondering where to start when it comes to exercising for weight loss and where to find a workout program you actually enjoy that burns body fat and builds muscle mass.

The answer is to find an exercise routine that you will continue. Workout classes are a great place to start because you’ll be able to try many different styles of classes. Once you find a class and instructor you enjoy, you’ll keep showing up, and then you’ll see those results!