The real reason you’re not losing weight

posted on April 17, 2019

So you’ve tried everything to lose weight, right? You’ve tried dieting, gymming, wearing a waist trainer corset thing, wrapping your body in cling film, popping fat burners, drinking detox tea.




I hear this SO MUCH both on and offline – as a Personal Trainer, I can’t ignore that this is still one of the biggest questions being asked of me regardless of the huge shift toward body positivity and embracing all shapes and sizes. (NOTE: Personally, I don’t think that we should feel awkward or shy away from the weight loss conversation despite it being labelled as toxic. If you want to lose weight, that’s fine. If you’re happy at the weight that you are, that’s also fine. So long as you’re healthy and happy at your weight then that’s all that matters).


Usually the most frustrated people are those who have been through all of the fads and finally are in a place where they understand energy balance, and that weight loss simply comes down to being in a calorie deficit, consistently.


“If it’s that simple, then how come I’m in an energy deficit every day but STILL not losing weight!?”


There are several reasons for this, and they’re really annoying.

1. You’re not in an energy deficit. It’s actually difficult to accurately track our bodies energy intake and expenditure. For one, there are hidden calories everywhere – often you’re eating more than you think you are. Cooking oils for instance can easily add up loads of extra calories into your day if not tracked. But moreover, the ability to live in a deficit comes down to our personalities and lifestyles. Some people generally find it easier to eat in a calorie deficit because they find it easier to say no to free high calorie food, or their job requries them to be more active. Others find it more difficult because they may be travelling in a car all day with limited time to eat, so need something quick and easy to eat on the road like a McDonalds for example. There are loads of factors to consider here.


2. You’re only tracking Monday-Friday. The weekend still counts, even if you eat in a calorie deficit every day for your lunch at work, if you overeat at the weekend, your total calories for that week are potentially going to be more than you burned. Try looking at the bigger picture – tracking weekly energy intake and expenditure rather than daily can be a great way to see overall trends in your activity.


3. You’re focussing on the wrong things. The majority of questions asked around losing weight really, REALLY don’t matter. Questions such as;

  • “Do I need to be supplementing protein?”
  • “Are sumo squats or deadlifts better?”
  • “Will BCAA’s help me?”

The bottom line is, if you’re not losing weight despite your efforts, it’s because of a major discrepancy somewhere in your perceived energy intake or energy expenditure (going back to point 1). If you’re doing sumo squats and drinking BCAA’s is neither here nor there (despite what Instagram may suggest.. cue the Women’s Best sponsored athlete drinking BCAA’s whilst sumo squatting onto the camera).


An inability to lose weight MAY be due to an underlying medical condition, but more likely due to lifestyle factors as discussed above.


These points were perhaps not the answer you were looking for. It’d be so much easier to read something like “you need to cut out fruit”, or “you need to eat half a lemon soaked in apple cider vinegar every day”. As much as you may like them to be true, myths like this are really not helpful. No, a combination of the above 3 reasons is most likely the reason why you’ve not seen any progress.