14 Common Reasons Why You Can’t Lose Weight

Christian Coulson
Updated: June 24, 2020
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Did you hear about the hungry clock?

It went back four seconds. 

You finally made the decision to lose weight and get healthier, however, after a few weeks of hard work, you notice that you haven’t really lost any weight.

You then start to think that something is wrong with your body and consider giving up.

A piece of advice? Don’t give up. Chances are your body is working perfectly.

There are a variety of things that can affect your weight, and that’s what I’ll cover in this article, here are 14 common reasons why you can’t lose weight.

1. You’re Eating a Lot of Healthy But High-Calorie Foods

If you’re eating lots of healthy foods but still gaining weight, it might be because you’re eating too much of them.

While foods like nuts, olive oil, avocados, and salmon are very nutritious, they’re also a bit high in calories, so be careful with how much of those foods you’re eating.

You may also want to keep an eye out for foods labeled as “healthy,” but actually have lots of added sugars.

I suggest you read the nutrition labels of the foods before buying them.

2. You’re Drinking Your Calories

Drinking their calories is one of the most overlook reasons people can’t lose weight.

Drinking fruit juices, sodas, and other sugary drinks are an easy way to get extra calories and gain weight.

Not only do these drinks contain lots of calories and added sugars, but they’re also not filling at all, which will leave you feeling hungry in a matter of seconds and increase your cravings.

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3. You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

Studies (1) have shown that people who drink water consume about 194 fewer calories each day than those who drink sodas or juice.

This other study (2) showed that subjects who drank water before eating lost 44% more weight than those who didn’t drink anything before meals over the course of 12 weeks.

Aim to get 1 glass of water every 2 hours or carry a gallon jug with you to remind you to drink enough water.

Don’t worry about being “that person” at work, carry your jug with pride because your health is important.

You’ll be the one laughing when they are 50 and wrinkly, and your skin is glowing in awesomeness.

I personally love this jug, as it has a large opening so you can stick your hand in and clean it well.

Here’s how drinking more water can help you lose weight.

4. You Set Unrealistic Goals

Girl covering her face disappointed at her weight loss efforts.

Another one of the common reasons people can’t lose weight is setting unrealistic goals.

Most people want the fastest and best results they can get with the least amount of effort. Unfortunately, life doesn’t work this way, and weight loss is no exception.

This kind of thinking and expectation quickly ends up in disappointment and depression. This is one of the reasons many people give up so quickly.

Weight loss can, and it’s often a long process, but it is definitely worth it.

So instead of going for FAD diets that promise quick results, but leave your metabolism in a bad spot and lead to rapid weight regain, focus on an approach that will be sustainable in the long-term.

5. You’re Lying to Yourself

Another mistake people make is that they think they’re exercising and dieting so hard when they really aren’t.

You may think that you’re going to the gym, but all you do when you get there is chatting with others.

You may think you’re eating healthy foods but don’t take into account those “little” snacks that often are the reason why you end up gaining weight.

These “little” snacks often add up in calories.

Even low-carbs snacks can be detrimental if over-consumed.

So try to be realistic and honest with yourself about what you are and aren’t doing. The only person you’re hurting is yourself.

6. You’re Eating Too Much Processed Carbs and Sugar

Processed carbs and sugar tend to digest very quickly and spike your blood sugar and insulin levels.

This will cause you to get hungry within a few minutes and lead to overeating.

Instead, focus on complex carbs like green veggies, sweet potatoes, rolled oats, beans, and legumes.

7. You’re Adding Too Much Oil and Sauces To Your Foods

Many people take for granted oils and sauces, however, it’s important to remember that 1 gram of fat has 9 calories.

To put it into perspective, 1 tablespoon of olive oil has 120 calories!

Many people measure how much they’re eating by volume of food. And since a tablespoon of oil looks very “small,” they tend to think it doesn’t have many calories, but it does. 

So be mindful when putting oils and sauces in your foods.

Spray oils, such as PAM, can also add up in calories, even if they say they have zero calories.

The truth is, companies can label their products as “zero calories” or “calorie-free” as long as they have less than 5 calories.

8. You Think “Cheat Day” Means “All You Can Eat”

I actually love it when people add “cheat days” to their weight loss programs. It helps them be more flexible and enjoy the process a little more.

It also helps them build a better relationship with food, which is crucial for long-term success.

The issue comes, however, when you don’t control your portions, having a flexible day doesn’t mean that you should eat as much as you want.

Having a lot of pizza, burgers, fries, and donuts in one day can cancel out all the hard work you put during the week.

So be mindful about your portions, have some of the foods you enjoy without going overboard.

9. Your Metabolism Slowed

Your metabolism slowing is a normal part of weight loss. This is often referred to as metabolic adaptations.

When losing weight, your metabolism reduces how much energy you use and slows the rate of weight loss as a method of survival.

Your body doesn’t know that you’re losing weight to be healthier, it just sees that you’re eating less than normal so it starts using less energy so you don’t starve to death.

It also becomes more efficient at extracting calories from foods so you can be getting more calories from the same foods.

That’s why it’s important to add diet breaks and days where you eat a little more calories (cheat days), so your body doesn’t stay in a constant calorie deficit.

If you have a slow metabolism, you can check out this article I wrote about how to boost it.

10. You’re Not Getting Enough Sleep

Studies (3, 4) show that sleep deprivation and low-quality sleep are linked to obesity.

Lab studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to changes in your hormones that favor an increase in calorie consumption and decreased energy expenditure, which can lead to weight gain.

So consider creating a night-time routine and aim to get between 7 to 10 hours of sleep each day.

11. You’re Not Eating Enough Fiber

Not eating enough fiber is another one of the most common reasons why people can’t lose weight.

Fiber is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system and making sure that you absorb and get all the nutrients from the foods you eat.

It is also digested slowly so it will help you stay full for longer, which will reduce the chances of you snacking and gaining some weight.

High-fiber foods include vegetables like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and green beans.

12. You’re Not Eating Enough Protein

Just like fiber, protein is also digested slowly.

Not only that, but it also boosts your metabolism because of its high thermic effect – the energy needed for digesting and absorbing nutrients.

Basically, your body burns more calories trying to digest and process protein than it does by trying to digest carbs and fats.

13. You’re Not Exercising

Staying active will not only help you burn some extra calories, but will also keep your heart, lungs, bones, and brain healthy.

You can start by working out 2 or 3 times a week for about 30-45 minutes and slowly adding more days.

My advice would be to add some resistance training as it will help you build muscle mass, which is important for keeping a fast metabolism and not ending up flappy when losing weight.

If you’d like to explore more, here’s how to prevent losing muscle during weight loss.

Some women worry about getting bulky if they lift weight, however, that’s very unlikely to happen easily.

Here’s a very good piece about why women should lift weights and why it won’t make them bulky.

14. You’re Not Being Positive

Every morning, consider taking a quick look in the mirror and telling yourself that you’re capable of losing weight and promise to work hard.

Here are a few tips on how to plan a great morning routine.

Your positive affirmations must come with faith and emotion, merely repeating positive words won’t be of much help if you don’t believe it.

You have the power to make your thoughts become a reality, there’s power in repetition, don’t take it for granted.

Every great achievement was first a thought in the mind of someone who believed they could make it a reality.

There are, however, some mindsets you must avoid if you want to lose weight.

What To Do Instead

I know it can be discouraging to want to lose weight and not see the scale moving. But I want to tell you that you can do it and you will do it if you commit to it.

Instead of getting desperate, try to slow down and take some time to think and analyze what you’re doing, be honest with yourself and recognize the aspects and habits that need to change in order for you to successfully lose weight.

If you keep doing the same things, you’ll keep getting the same results. I know change can be scary, but you’ve got this, champ!

I hope you loved this article about 14 common reasons why you can’t lose weight.

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