Often people say, “No matter what I do, I can’t lose weight.” The honest truth is that everyone can drop a few pounds, so you just need to figure out where you are having a problem. Below we’ve detailed five major areas to look at if you feel like you can’t lose weight. We’ve included a solution for each problem. If you can make a few of these modifications, you might find yourself gradually losing weight. Ultimately it does come down to calories in vs. calories out.
1. You are drinking too much of the wrong things.
Drinks (alcohol, soda and specialty coffee included) contain an inordinate amount of hidden calories and may be the culprit for why you can’t lose weight. Those specialty coffees and piña coladas can have as many calories as a Big Mac. Solution – drink water, get regular coffee, and switch to a low cal alcoholic drink like vodka and seltzer. If you are having 2 glasses of wine every night, cut down to one. Have a few sober days in preparation for weekend plans that will involve drinking. If drinking helps you wind down at the end of the day, try taking a walk instead.
2. You are eating unhealthy and/or greasy food
- Your family is eating unhealthy food and you are eating leftovers from their plate. Wait, am I the only person that did that?? Instead of letting your kids order fries on the side, get fruit or cut up veggies. Clean up your family’s act to help clean up your own. Having the whole family eat the same healthy food could be a game changer.
- You are running from thing to thing and you’re starving so you get fast food. Try to prep meals over the weekend to help you out in a pinch during the week. Get a rotisserie chicken at the market and keep some bags of salad so you can throw dinner together in a few minutes. Bring healthy leftovers to work for lunch so you already have something to eat when everyone else is having pizza.
- You want what you want, when you want it, and you want a burger! You can get in a bad cycle of eating whatever you want. Make a modification and get it in a healthier way. If you want a burger, have a patty with a salad and a plain baked potato. It’s surprisingly satisfying to eat a burger without all the bad stuff. Eating unhealthy food makes you crave unhealthy food. Try to think about your overall health and make better choices. Watch a food documentary for mental reprograming to get you on track.
3. You are snacking on chips, crackers, diet snacks and candy.
- You are bored. Make more plans. If you are busy, you forget to snack and typically eat your food in meals. Keep less junk around you so it’s impossible for you to eat it.
- You’re hungry. Focus on having more substantial food at mealtime. If you eat protein with a healthy fat at a meal, you will be filled for longer. For breakfast, try yogurt with some nuts or a veggie scramble with a little avocado. Also add one extra serving of veggies to every meal. Lastly, stay hydrated with lots of water. Sometimes you think you are hungry when you are truly thirsty.
- You are having cravings. The more junk you eat, the more you will crave it, especially sugar. Junk food will give you an energy burst and then you plummet. The energy low makes you crave the energy high again. It’s a vicious cycle. Try healthy snacks like nuts, crunchy vegetables, or a little high-protein snack like tuna and a rice cake.
4. You are not getting enough exercise.
Exercise can really be the difference maker if you feel like you can’t lose weight. You burn calories, get yourself in a better mood, and keep yourself occupied. One of the best ways to age well both physically and mentally is to exercise. There is no way around this.
- You are completely out of shape and you just can’t find your way back. Take baby steps to get back into exercise. Start walking for fitness with a mile per day. It’s about 15-20 minutes depending on your speed. Add 10 minutes each week until you get to 45-60 minutes per day. You’re not lighting the world on fire but it’s easy to commit to such a small task. If you’re a pedometer type of person, get at least 2,000 steps a day and add 1,000 each week until you get to 10,000 (approximately 5 miles).
- You have inconsistent exercise patterns. Push yourself to be consistent. You know you always feel better after you work out. Every time you make plans to see a friend, go for a walk instead of lunch or coffee. Find an exercise buddy so you enjoy going to the gym. Do something to hold yourself accountable. If I don’t exercise first thing in the morning, there’s a high probability I won’t do it later in the day.
- You are exercising but you are doing the same thing all the time and you are not seeing results. First remember that you can’t out train a bad diet! Should I say that again? I know when I work out, I feel like I can eat anything and I have to be careful. Second, your body adapts, which means it burns less and less calories doing the same thing over and over. Try mixing it up. Add intervals to the exercise that you are already doing. If you walk on a treadmill, get off every 5 minutes and do a set of weights or squats, or something to challenge yourself, then get back on and keep alternating.
5. Your body is out of whack hormonally speaking.
This is last on the list because people have a tendency to want a pill to fix their problem instead of getting their nutrition on track. If you’ve started eating clean, drinking lots of water and exercising but still have a problem, go see your doctor to have your blood work done. If you have thyroid issues, are experiencing a shift in hormones due to perimenopause / menopause or something else is going on, your doctor can help you.
I made the changes listed here and lost 30 pounds over 6 months. I’ve kept it off for 3 years now. Please leave comments below if there is anything I can answer that will help you. Feeling healthy and fit will change your life. If you still feel like you can’t lose weight, you might also consider talking to a nutritionist that can help you see issues you may be missing.