Why You Don't Lose Weight

02 January, 2021
Have you ever wondered why you don't lose weight despite eating healthy and exercising? Although you may not know it, weight loss is the sum of several factors. Discover some common mistakes in this article.

After several months of dieting, you may wonder why you don’t lose weight. Despite basing your diet on healthy foods and even doing physical exercise, some people just don’t manage to shed those extra pounds.

The problem is that weight loss is a complex process that’s achievable only through the sum of several factors. For that reason, besides diet and exercise, you need to correct certain mistakes that may be getting in your way when it comes to losing weight.

Reasons why you don’t lose weight

A woman sitting on the floor throwing her hands in the air, with a paper bag full of produce next to her.


1. Eat too little

Do you eat only vegetables with a grilled steak? Do you eat only fruit for dinner? Although it is contradictory, reducing caloric intake too much and following a very strict diet could cause your metabolism to slow down and enter “economy mode”. In other words, you’ll spend fewer calories than we should, making it increasingly difficult to lose weight.

Also, you will go hungry and be more likely to binge. This isn’t healthy and you won’t be able to maintain it over time. Therefore, to know your energetic requirements, you should see a dietician or nutritionist, who has the knowledge to guide you.

A woman eating a small portion of lettuce.
Eating too little isn’t the best alternative for losing weight. Although it seems to work at first, later it leads to increased anxiety and binge eating.

2. Going overboard on the weekends

Are you careful about what you eat during the week, but on the weekends, let yourself go? There’s no use going on a very strict diet from Monday to Friday if, at the end of the week, you’re going to undo it all.

The best thing to do is maintain a constant diet throughout the week, although from time to time you can give yourself a little treat. It’s also important to think about eating a healthy and conscious diet, rather than telling yourself “I’m on a diet”.

Read also: Do Fruits Prevent Weight Loss?

3. You don’t lose weight because you’re eating too fast

One of the reasons why you don’t manage to lose weight is because you’re eating too fast. Your brain doesn’t reach the feeling of satiety and, therefore, you ingest more than you should.

Eating with the TV on or while looking at your cell phone can also influence you since we often don’t realize what we’re eating.

We recommend eating for at least 20 minutes and leaving all electronic devices off or out of your reach. Be aware of what you’re eating. Eating along with family or friends can help you in this process.

Read: I Can’t Stop Eating: Causes and What To Do

4. Removing carbohydrates may be why you don’t lose weight

Completely eliminating bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, or legumes from the diet is a common mistake. Giving up all carbohydrates can produce more anxiety and cause your body to ask for more sugar. So, you skip having pasta for lunch, but then end up eating cookies, chocolate, and other sweets as an afternoon snack.

Therefore, it’s important not to exclude any macronutrients, but rather reduce your total intake.

To do this, it’s very useful to use the plate method following the Harvard plate. This consists of half a plate of vegetables and fruits, a quarter of a plate of proteins (meat, fish, egg, dairy, vegetables), and the remaining quarter of a plate of carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, potato). Of course, you should always prioritize whole grains.

A variety of carbohydrate sources.
Eliminating all sources of carbohydrates in the diet turns out to be a mistake when the goal is to lose weight.

5. Errors regarding physical exercise

It’s just as wrong not to do any physical activity as it is to do too much and not enough variety. Don’t overestimate your caloric expenditure. Walking 20 minutes a day isn’t enough to lose weight–you’ll need to walk for at least an hour. Or, if you want to lose weight faster, exercise in a way that burns more calories.

Another common mistake is eating whatever you want, thinking that you can just burn it off later by doing exercise. This method isn’t helpful at all, as your weight will be stagnant.

But what happens if you reduce your calorie intake and do the right amount and kinds of physical exercise, and you still don’t lose weight? In that case, you may be gaining muscle and water weight, because when you increase your muscle mass, you retain more water. But remember: The important thing is to decrease your percentage of body fat.

The solution is to adapt physical exercise to your body’s needs without overdoing it and also allowing your body to rest.

We recommend: Swimming: A Whole Body Workout

6. Not getting enough sleep and being stressed out may be why you don’t lose weight

For some years now, we’ve known that the quantity and quality of sleep are directly related to the propensity to gain weight. A study published in Scientific Reports, suggests that lack of sleep causes a change in brain activity that pushes us to eat more fat.

Poor sleep also increases stress, and with it, cortisol levels. Scientist Spendlove warns:

“Cortisol is secreted by the suprarenal glands in response to stress. Having high levels of this hormone can cause high blood sugar levels, which will lead to weight gain.”

Are you still asking yourself why you don’t lose weight?

If so, check your routines and make sure you’re not making any of the mistakes we’ve mentioned. If so, try to correct them as soon as possible so that it doesn’t interfere with your weight loss plan or your overall health. And remember that a dietician or nutritionist should always supervise your diet.

  • Fang, Z., Spaeth, A. M., Ma, N., Zhu, S., Hu, S., Goel, N., … & Rao, H. (2015). Altered salience network connectivity predicts macronutrient intake after sleep deprivation. Scientific reports5, 8215.
  • Johnstone, A. (2015). Fasting for weight loss: an effective strategy or latest dieting trend?. International Journal of Obesity39(5), 727.
  • Schoeller, D. A., & Buchholz, A. C. (2005). Energetics of obesity and weight control: does diet composition matter?. Journal of the American Dietetic Association105(5), 24-28.
  • Swift DL, Johannsen NM, Lavie CJ, Earnest CP, Church TS. The role of exercise and physical activity in weight loss and maintenance. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2014;56(4):441–447.