Dr Susan Baxter
Why Can't I Lose Weight? 7 Awkward Reasons And How To Solve Them
Updated: Feb 28
Losing weight can be a big task that requires time, patience, and dedication to the process. If you’re putting in a huge amount of work but not seeing the weight loss results you want, there may be some specific reasons your weight is not going down.
If you’re asking, “Why Can’t I Lose Weight?” then keep reading to find 7 awkward reasons and how to solve them
1. You’re Losing Fat But Not Weight
If you’re working hard at the gym and keeping track of all your calories but haven’t seen the scale go down in the past week or two, then it may be that you’re losing fat, but your actual weight is staying static.
Fat loss and weight loss are two different things, and your scale is likely only showing you your weight. Several factors can keep your weight high, but your fat keeps dropping off, such as water retention, hormonal changes, muscle gain, and slow digestion.
If you’re losing a lot of weight quickly, your body can often get stuck at a certain weight for a few weeks as you go through body recomposition. The weight is likely from water and will drop down once your body is ready.
If the weight stays static or goes up for longer than 3-4 weeks, you may need to look at some of the other issues listed below. But remember to check how you look, is your weight staying the same but you look better, and your clothes fit better?
You can also try: Add more fiber to your diet, drink more water, limit salt, and wait a few weeks.
2. You’re Eating More Than You Think
If you’re trying to lose weight without tracking exactly what you’re eating, this can be a significant issue for you.
Without tracking everything that you consume then, it’s impossible to know how much you’re eating, and often you forget about snacks you’ve had throughout the day or don’t include those snacks.
Tracking your food isn’t always fun, but if you have a specific goal that you want to achieve, then it’s well worth tracking food for a short time until you hit that goal.
Try keeping a food diary that keeps track of everything you eat and drink, whether it’s the main meal or just a snack. You can then check to see how many calories you’re consuming each day, and you may be surprised how high it is, especially when you factor in any small snacks. Here’s a healthy eating guide that could help you out.
3. You Miscalculated Your Calorie Limits
Many generic diets and food calculations are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, which doesn’t consider differences in people’s bodies, including how big or small you are.
You have a certain amount of energy that your body requires each day to function, which can be taken from the food you eat or the fat stored in your body. You can also increase how much energy is required by increasing your muscle mass and activities throughout the day, such as walking, cleaning, or anything that involves movement.
If you’re basing your diet on an incorrect calorie amount, you may be overconsuming calories. You can use a calorie calculator online to estimate how many calories you should consume each day.
Slowly lower your calories to that value and keep track of your weight for one week to see if it goes down. If your weight goes down, you now have a new calorie limit, but if there is no movement on your weight for one week, try lowering your calorie intake by 100 and check again.
You can also increase your daily activity to increase your energy requirements. This can be as simple as a 30-minute walk, going to the gym, or spending more time cleaning the house.
4. You’re Not Being Consistent
The reality is that daily calories are not as important as your overall calorie intake for a week, month, or long term.
If you’re being fantastic with your diet and calorie intake for 5-6 days a week, but then binge eat a huge amount on the weekend, the work you’ve done throughout the week was for nothing.
It’s better to stay consistent with a slightly higher amount of food throughout the week than if you were to extreme diet five days a week and then overeat on the weekend.
Keep track of what you eat daily, but also what you’re doing for the entire week so that you can be consistent and form better habits. For example, if your calorie intake is 2,000 calories per day, it’s 14,000 per week, so make sure you don’t go over the weekly total too often.
If you overeat one day, eat a little less for the next week rather than give up.
5. You’re Drinking Soda or Juice
Almost everything you consume has calories in, that includes what you drink. So from a calorie and weight loss perspective, it doesn’t matter if you’re eating a donut or drinking a class of healthy orange juice.
Don’t drink your calories; it’s one of the top reasons people don’t lose weight. This is because they either underestimate how many calories are in the drink, don’t realize drinks have calories, or assume healthy drinks negate the calories in them.
Include the calories from your drinks in your daily calorie count, or don’t drink anything with calories in. The best option is to drink water, which has many other benefits, including better skin. If you really need to drink something other than water, pick zero or low-calorie drinks; even diet soda is better than orange juice for calories.
6. You’re Not Getting Quality Sleep
Quality sleep has a significant impact on your weight loss for several reasons. Sleep is when your body can heal itself, especially after you’ve been to the gym and worked out. Sleep is when your muscles will grow, which is a core component to healthy weight loss.
Lack of quality sleep also similarly affects your brain as being drunk. Your decision-making ability is hindered, leading to overeating, poor food choices, and even forgetting that you ate certain foods.
Your lack of sleep can make you crave certain high-calorie carbohydrate-dense foods that you usually wouldn’t eat, especially during a weight loss diet.
Try to improve your sleep quality and get enough sleep every night. It’s tough to make up for lost sleep as the week goes on. Make sure your room is dark, there is limited noise, and you’re not too hot or cold. Check out this blog to know how sleep affects your gains.
You may also find that eating too close to bed can cause problems due to feeling too full and hot, but so can eating too early in the day, and your mind is thinking about food when it’s trying to sleep. Find the right time to eat each day that makes you the most comfortable and able to sleep.
7. Your Expectations Are Too High
When you start on your weight loss journey, you often have big expectations about how much weight you should be losing. These expectations can be met when you first start losing weight because cleaning up the food you eat and exercising can result in a lot of water weight being lost, which shows enormous weight loss at the start.
As you progress and have less water weight to lose, it comes down to the fat you can lose, which is a slower process. It’s much more challenging to lose weight the longer you’ve been doing it and how low you want your body fat to be.
Once you’ve lost your water weight and depending on how much fat you actually have to lose, you should set your expectations to no more than 0.5 - 1 kg per week, and if you’re on the smaller side already, you should be looking at the lower end of the weight loss spectrum.
If you’re losing 1-2 kg per month, that’s a fantastic result that you can be proud of.
Conclusion On Your Weight Loss Issues
Your weight loss is a journey and not a race, so make sure you stay consistent with your diet and exercise. Keep track of what you eat daily and weekly and how much weight you’ve lost throughout the entire month and not just on a day-to-day basis.
Review how many calories you’re eating a day when you find your weight staying at a certain level for longer than a month. Consider lowering calories slowly, but ensure your calories aren’t too low for too long, as this can also cause your body to hold onto weight due to fear.
Share with us your experience! Message us here. You can also reach out on our Facebook and Instagram.