Can’t Lose Weight? 7 Reasons Your Weight Loss Plan Isn’t Working

Lisa Austin Exercise and Form, Mindset to Body, Most Recent, Nutrition Related Leave a Comment

You made the decision to get fit and lose some excess pounds. Then (hopefully) you started an exercise plan and backed that up with a nutrition program. And that was all you needed to do, right? You made the choice to eat right; to exercise three times a week…but just when you think you’re on a roll, a special occasion (and ‘celebration food’) pops up; you decided to sleep in instead of getting up to workout, or you decide to grab a pizza for dinner (with enough for leftovers the next day).

In that case, it’s clear why you wouldn’t be seeing the results you want when you get on the scale, or try on those skinny jeans. But there may be other reasons, too. You need a plan you can work successfully, and someone who will teach you what you need to know to achieve your weight loss and fitness goals. Here are seven things that may be keeping you from reaching those goals, and how to deal with them so you can start moving toward success.

7 Reasons Your Weightloss Plan isn’t Working

1. You’re eating the wrong foods.

If you’re having trouble losing weight, the first place to looks is in the kitchen. If you’re eating the wrong foods, or eating the right foods but at the wrong times, you won’t be able to lose the pounds you want to shed. 80% of any weight-loss program involves what you eat, and when you eat it. This depends largely on your body type, metabolism and goals.

Starchy carbohydrates (potatoes, brown rice and grains) should be consumed on the days you do your strength training or other rigorous exercise. On rest or active recovery days, stick to protein and veggies, and avoid the starchy foods as much as possible. Select whole foods over processed foods, and try to avoid excess breads, sugar and pre-packaged foods.

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How to eat your way to your goals

2. You’re eating too much.

Did you clean out the cupboard and the fridge of all the unhealthy items, and you’re still not losing inches? If so, look at how much food you’re eating.

In order to lose fat, your body needs to run a calorie deficit—you need to burn more calories than you consume. It helps if you find the balance of eating slowly and mindfully when you are hungry, and stopping just before you’re full (instead of waiting until you feel full, because then you will have eaten too much).

Make sure you eat proper portions during the day—ideally breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks. Eating at intervals throughout the day will ensure you don’t overeat at meal time.

Having healthy snacks on hand that you can quickly grab when you’re on the go will keep you from being tempted to stop for fast food or choose an unhealthy snack.

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Be Mindful and Get Fit Faster

3. You’re doing too much cardio.

Cardio is a necessary part of your workout routine, but doing too much cardio—or only doing cardio—can prevent weight loss. Long cardio sessions, such as staying on the elliptical for 90 minutes, or going for 10-mile runs, can eat away your lean muscle mass, which is needed to increase your metabolism in order to burn more calories.

Too much cardio exercise causes the body to become more endurance-focused, which makes it store energy in the form of fat in order to make sure it has enough fuel to keep going. It also dramatically increases your appetite, making it more likely that you’ll snack more often or overeat during meals.

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4. You aren’t lifting weights.

This goes hand-in- hand with doing too much cardio. The best way to lose weight and build lean muscle is by including some form of strength training in addition to cardio in your exercise plan.

The more muscle tone your body has, the more fat you’ll burn; for every pound of muscle you build, you burn an average of 50 additional calories each day. For those of you who do only cardio, you can simply add some interval training to the end of your regular session, then later, add in resistance training. You can use bodyweight exercises as a simple way to start, and build your routine from there.

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Lose Weight by Building Strength

5. You’re not working out intensely enough.

There’s no exact equation for working out and healthy eating. Each person is different, so it’s a case of trial and error to find what works specifically for your body.

More time spent working out doesn’t always result in a person who is more fit; the average person shouldn’t work out more than one hour a day.

Work smarter—not harder—when you workout. Do supersets to minimize downtime, increasing the rest time after the sets and keeping a steady pace during the work time. This will help achieve the ‘after-burn’ effect that keeps your metabolism working for 24-48 hours after your workout.

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How Does Intensity Matter in Your Workout?

6. You’re not taking time to recover.

Since you may experience the ‘after-burn’ for 24-48 hours after your workout, this is the recovery period when the body actually becomes stronger and rebuilds itself after the strain of resistance training.

Work different muscle groups each time so you give each group time to recover. Develop a workout that exercises different muscle groups twice each week. A good split is upper body, lower body, full body, and cardio for 30-45 minutes once or twice a week. Do nothing or just do stretches on the free days each week.

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Recovery Time – It’s What Makes Workouts Work

7. Your body is under too much stress.

If your body is under a high amount of stress, adding exercise adds more stress to the body. With this stress comes added hormones—cortisol and norepinephrine—which causes you to overeat, and thus prevents weight loss. If you’re exercising while under stress, it’s important to balance your workouts between resistance, cardio, stretching and rest. Try to reduce as much stress- inducing situations as possible—consider your work, relationships and time at home. Use relaxation techniques and activities such as yoga, meditation, reading and anything else that makes you calm and reduces stress.

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Beat Stress with Regular Exercise

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Creating total-body wellness is your best bet to achieve your weight loss and fitness goals. Deciding on exactly what those goals are, and creating a plan that you can follow successfully and without undue stress will take time, consistency, and perseverance. It’s not easy to make changes to your lifestyle, but when you start to achieve success, you’ll know it has been worthwhile, and you’ll have that reason to keep pushing forward.

If you need help figuring out a plan that works for your specific body type and circumstances, let me know. I’m always here to help.


Are you ready to let someone else do the thinking about your workout plan and tell you what you should do next? Let’s connect and see how I can help you.

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