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7 Reasons Why You Might Not Be Losing Weight

7 Reasons Why You Might Not Be Losing Weight 960 640 Janie

Have you ever wondered why 95% of people fail long-term in their weight loss attempts? Here are some interesting reasons why this happens. And it’s not because they are just eating too much or not exercising!

Here are 7 things that might be stopping you from achieving your weight loss goals.

onesmYou have the wrong information about how to lose weight

Nutrition and exercise has become so confusing! How many calories should you eat to lose weight? Do you need to exercise like mad every day? Should you eat low fat, low carb, paleo, vegan? Should you jog, do high intensity interval training or strength train? Should you buy pre-made commercial meals to prevent overeating? No wonder so many people struggle to lose weight with so much conflicting advice!

Here is something to think about before your next weight loss program or diet: If it is a “diet” it is doomed to fail.  If you are forcing yourself to exercise it is doomed to fail. If it is something you cannot do for the rest of your life it will fail.

Despite mainstream advice weight loss is not just about how much you eat and how much you exercise, it is more to do with what you eat and how much you move along with a whole lot of other lifestyle and health factors. And whatever you do to lose weight needs to be done for the rest of your life – so you need to enjoy it! There is no point losing weight but hating your life.

At Thrive Health we help you to work out a way of eating that you love and help you find a way of moving your body that you will enjoy, that helps you achieve your goals and that is sustainable. We are qualified nutritionists, personal trainers and strength trainers.

twosmMiracle-Cure-PillYou are looking for a magic pill

In addition to the fact that there is a lot of poor advice about food and exercise for weight loss, our magazines, TVs, pharmacists and doctor’s surgeries are awash with ads for pills, shakes, machines and herbs that “guarantee” you will lose weight. Should you use meal replacement shakes or take a pill to speed up your metabolism? Should you try a vibrational band or wear a girdle to flatten your stomach? What about the new “miracle” herb or supplement you see on morning TV?

Sorry but here is some bad news: There is no magic pill. There is no quick fix. It took a while to put on the weight, it will take a while to take it off. Weight loss is complex and difficult and there is no single treatment. Every person has their own personal story and so the answer is different for every person as you will see in the rest of this article.

But… when the quick fix comes with a “guarantee” or convincing testimonials it seems logical to give it a go and so people get stuck in a loop of trying the next short-term fix, it works for a while (as long as their willpower holds out) and then they go back to normal eating and put the weight back on, or worse put even more weight on. Until the next shiny new object comes along…

threesmWeight loss is not actually your primary goal

Why do people want to lose weight? Despite the fact that being overweight is linked to many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and depression, most people do not want to lose weight for health reasons. It is an unfortunate fact that our culture has somehow linked being slim to being happy and confident, so many people want to lose weight because they believe they it will make them happier and more confident.

The problem is that the deeper underlying issues behind a lack of confidence and poor self esteem cannot be resolved via a weight loss program. These issues will always be there unless they are specifically addressed.

So many people start a weight loss program (and may even see some good results) but they get discouraged and give up because their primary goal – that of improved self confidence and happiness – seems no closer.

That is why weight loss counselling can be the key for success for these people. Separating weight loss from their primary goal allows the primary goal to be worked on independently of weight loss efforts. And ironically once a person changes their thinking patterns so that they feel better about themselves and more confident and happy (no matter their body weight or body shape) they may actually start to look after themselves better, eat more healthily and lose weight.

At Thrive Health we are qualified counsellors and can help you change your thoughts and beliefs to feel happier about yourself and so be more likely to achieve your weight loss goals.

foursmYoung depressed woman is eating big bowl of ice creams to comforBinge eating or comfort eating undermines your efforts

There are many people who eat really well 90% of the time, but then when they experience strong emotions they find themselves eating a whole block of chocolate or a tub of ice cream despite their best intentions. Strong emotions may include anxiety, stress, loneliness, boredom, anger, frustration, emptiness and depression. The emotional drivers don’t necessarily need to be negative either – many people turn to food as a reward, at times of joy, or for celebration due to childhood conditioning.

Binge eating usually results in feelings of guilt and shame and leads to the person having a period of restrictive eating to make up for the binge. This sets up a destructive cycle of dieting and binging that is extremely detrimental to hormonal and metabolic functions, making weight loss very difficult.

So therefore it is really important for these people to get to the bottom of WHY they are binge eating or comfort eating. Weight loss counselling can help these people develop coping skills to handle their emotions instead of turning to food for comfort or out of habit. This may involve learning new skills such as stress management, relaxation techniques, social skills, improved communication, problem solving or disputing belief patterns.

Weight loss counselling can help you change your relationship with food – so that you can see that food is nourishment for your body so that you can be healthy and heal – rather than it being a substance for comfort or reward.


The girl greedy eats sweet pie. Unhealthy lifestyle (bulimia) concept.

You have food addiction and/or cravings

It is no secret that food engineers design and create food to be highly palatable and addictive (once you pop, you can’t stop!), after all that is how they can make more money. Research has shown that sugar is as addictive as cocaine, and the right combination of refined fats and sugars in foods sends our feel-good hormones into a tail-spin (food scientists call this the “Bliss Point”). Is it any surprise that people are simply addicted to these highly processed calorie-laden foods that provide no nutrition for the body?

Treating food addiction is really no different than treating drug or alcohol addiction. And unless the person deals with the addiction they will likely never be able to successfully lose weight as their food of choice will always be in their thoughts no matter how much willpower they use.

What can make things even worse is that our culture generally has an attitude of “everything in moderation” and this can be a disaster for a food addict because they are constantly re-triggering their cravings. We don’t tell an alcoholic to just drink less. Sometimes a period of slowly reducing the substance to change habits can be useful, but generally a period without the addictive substance is what is needed to shut down cravings. Counselling can help a person change their habits and work through their addiction to conquer their cravings.

Cravings can also have a physiological cause – they can be caused by hormonal dysfunction and even the type of bacteria we have in our guts. Bad bacteria feed on sugar so when they outnumber good bacteria we crave sugar because that is the food source the bad bacteria want. And our gut bacteria assist with the control of our appetite hormones – so too many bad bacteria stops our appetite being naturally supressed after we eat and we stay hungry instead.

At Thrive Health we can help you create new habits, combined with healthy eating that nourishes the body and supports good gut bacteria that can help you conquer cravings.

sixsmSick Woman Lying In BedYou have underlying health issues

There is a belief that is perpetuated by many health professionals that you need to lose weight in order to be healthy, but really you have to be healthy to lose weight.

People who suffer from hormonal issues, metabolic disorders, chronic disease, autoimmune disease or gut issues among many others, do not have a well-functioning body so weight loss is usually extremely difficult without addressing the underlying health concern. Long term weight loss requires hormonal and metabolic changes that simply cannot occur if these bodily systems are not working properly. At Thrive Health we can help you with nutritional advice to assist with these health issues and can refer you to a practitioner that can delve more deeply into resolving the health issue if needed.

Chronic stress, lack of good quality sleep and a lot of sitting (even when combined with frequent exercise) are also all health issues that inhibit weight loss. Many lifestyle factors need to be addressed and we can help you implement healthy habits to combat these common lifestyle factors.

sevensmYou don’t actually need to lose any weight

We are bombarded with the images of photo-shopped men and women who look perfect on glossy magazine pages, but the truth is those beauty standards are simply not possible to attain. If they were, then the models would not have to be photo-shopped!

Many people think they “should” be a certain body weight, or their legs “should” look a certain way or their butt “should” be smaller, and this can be despite the fact that they are actually a healthy body weight and have no health issues.

These people may in fact be trying to lose weight due to poor self-esteem as opposed to a health-driven need to have less body fat and reduced disease risk. Many women in particular also suffer from body dysmorphism issues where they only see their “negative” parts rather than seeing their whole self, so counselling can help to identity these issues and help the person gain a more accurate perception of their body image.

bmiEvery individual has a body weight set point and the body strives to stay at that weight no matter what. Once you get to a body weight that your body decides is optimal for you then it is very hard to shift that set point without calorie restriction or obsessive exercise – both of which come with long-term health issues.

The other issue is that once someone has been overweight it is extremely difficult to ever be slim, and this is a reality that is not often discussed. It is certainly possible to be much healthier and feel great, but a target weight might simply be beyond the body’s ability to achieve while staying healthy.

Finally, many people embark on a weight loss program and find that their body shape changes, they feel great, their health improves, they have more energy, they fit into smaller clothes, but their body weight does not change (or even goes up). Were these people successful in their efforts? YES! But they can be disappointed because of the number on the bathroom scales. (Read more in our article on why BMI does not necessarily mean good health)

At Thrive health we can help you get perspective on what is realistic for you to achieve, and help you appreciate how far you have come, rather than letting a number control your life.

Contact us today to get started or book in for a FREE no obligation discovery session to see how we can help you achieve your weight loss and health goals and thrive.