Why Can’t I Lose Weight?

Being a personal trainer I hear this all the time, “why can’t I lose weight?”. I have had clients come to me who have read every diet book, been to a number of trainers and have even been to weight loss hypnotism but still can keep the weight off.

So why can’t they lose the weight?

Let’s take a look at a couple of case studies of two typical people that I have come across in the gym over the years. The first one Susan and the second Debra.

Susan is desperate to lose weight; she has been struggling with her weight ever since she was a teenager. She has read every diet book there is, she gets very motivated every now and then and jumps full steam into the most popular diet and exercise class of the moment that all her friends have told her about. But as soon as she doesn’t instantly lose weight she gets discouraged. After working out hard and eating right for two weeks she only loses 2 pounds. She feels like it’s just not working for her. Everyone else is dropping weight quickly. She thinks she is doing something wrong so she gives up and has a binge night out and gains the 2 pounds that she worked so hard to lose over the past two weeks.

On the other hand, Debra wants to lose some weight and realizes that she has not been taking care of herself like she used to. She has been very busy with work and the kids and has put on about 20 pounds over the last 5 years. In light of this, she hires a personal trainer and works out with him at the gym two days a week, walks outside on her off days and follows a healthy all natural diet. But after two weeks of training she does not lose any weight but she does not get discouraged. She says to herself “I’m feeling better even though I haven’t had any weight loss yet”. She does not panic and give up. She knows that if she sticks to the program the weight will eventually come off and she is appreciating how much better she feels living a more active healthy lifestyle.

The big question is, which one are you? Are you Susan or Debra?

If you are a Susan you have to realize that losing a pound a week is great. It’s 10 times better then gaining a pound a week and 100 times healthier. If you lose one half a pound a week for one year you will be 25 pounds lighter by your next birthday. Losing weight and exercising is a life long pursuit. Slow and steady progress is the key to success with occasional setbacks.

What I recommend to anyone who thinks like Susan and gives up on every program they try that does not give them instant and dramatic results is, hang in there. Pick a diet, aerobic and muscle-building program that you can stick with for a year or more. There will be some weeks when you won’t lose any weight while other weeks when you will. There will be days when you over eat and wake up 2 pounds heavier but don’t quit. That 2-pound weight gain is not real; its water weight from most likely eating salty processed foods. What you have to do is get right back on the program and the 2-pounds or more, will come back off. The secret to losing weight and staying in top shape is consistency. You can’t give up if you have a non-weight loss week or a binging night out resulting in some water weight gain the next day. You have to stick with the program.

Naturally, there are quite a number of good diet and fitness programs on the market. However, I want it to be as easy as possible for you to get started by giving you a couple of my favorite program recommendations. When it comes to muscle building I like Visual Impact for Women and Visual Impact for Men. These two programs will make you firm while not bulking you up. When it comes to diet my favorite program is Eat Stop Eating. I write about it all the time on this blog; it involves a form of intermittent fasting that I think is one of the easiest ways to lose weight.

I hope this post makes you realize that anyone and everyone can be in control of their weight. No one should ever say to them selves “I can’t lose weight?”.

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Best – Mike Cola

About Mike Cola

Mike Cola has well over 50,000 hours of hands-on personal training experience. He started his own personal training studio in1989, Mike Cola Fitness, which is located in New York.Connect with Mike @ Google+

18 Responses to “Why Can’t I Lose Weight?”

  1. For sure weight loss and even muscle growth is a long term event … most people do give up but even worse I think after a year nothing has changed and they keep on doing the same thing!

  2. Weight loss is not a bad task to accomplish ! People just need to start eating better and move as we did 30-40 years ago, technology is screwing us over !!

  3. Consistency is everything, I believe, if you want to meet your goal in losing weight and staying healthy. You just need to define clearly what you want and how you know yourself well enough to know what could help you get there. For one, to not get bored and be “stagnant” with your health program is a good motivation.

  4. I totally agree, it’s about building a new lifestyle by incorporating the kind of habits that fit the lean version of you that you intend to be.

    It’s a process of learning how to be your new choice, and though it takes a bit longer than the latest crash diet fix it’s worth it; you get to keep the new yo forever.


  5. I know a lot of people who get discouraged way too easily. We all want those instant results, which aren’t going to happen. It’s really unfortunate sometimes, because all people really need to do is stick with it and really understand that it takes time and a whole lot of persistence to lose weight the healthy way.

  6. It is very much true that people have too high expectations when they start exercising in that they want to see instant results. This is evident when the new memberships at gyms are sky high at the beginning of January every year and the places are packed out then by end of February you’ll notice the attendance has dropped off.

    Lack of results can be a combination of things such as not eating right, spending too long in the gym as longer durations do not equate to better results instead there is risk of burnout and injury.

    The answers lie in shorter but more intense workouts – ie no more than 45 minutes in gym. Mix weight training exercises with cardio with cardio after weights. Instead of doing a 45 minute of slow jog cardio which is a waste of time instead to 6-7 minutes of fster paced running high incline running that’ll be painful but you’ll most definitely burn more fat – it’s worked for me trust me!
    Also don’t do the same exercises on each visit to your gym as you get bored and boredom as we all know leads to loss of motivation.
    Summary:Shorter more intense and varied workouts, more frequent attendance and eating natural foods little and often – DON’T STARVE YOURSELF TO LOSE WEIGHT!

  7. Great article! Instant gratification is huge with us, and I believe it’s one of the primary reasons people avoid working out. It’s like the Marshmallow Experiment, done by Walter Mischel. People don’t see much instant gratification when it comes to health and fitness, but in the long-run, it’s completely worth it.

  8. Great article, Mike!

    I’ve certainly been both a Debra and a Susan, starting out with insane expectations and slowly realizing that if I just did what thin, fit people did, it might work for me!
    And what thin, fit people do it not diet. They exercise a lot and eat nutritionally dense, healthful, delicious food, with the occasional treat thrown in–but they don’t go on starvation, grapefruit, or 500-calorie-per-day diets!
    Thats what the kicker was for me. I used to despair how thin people I knew ate so much more freely than I could (I was always on a diet) so why were they thin? That’s when I realized that I needed a life change, not a diet! And the tables turned. Now exercise and a healthy lifestyle are my #1 priority–no matter what.

  9. Exactly, I know a lot of people who get discouraged way too easily. We all want those instant results, which aren’t going to happen. It’s really unfortunate sometimes, because all people really need to do is stick with it!

    Discipline is the main problem

  10. Losing weight has always been my problem. No matter how I tried to exercise and eat healthy my weight doesn’t go down. I agree discipline is really important. I can relate with Debra.

  11. I know how its tough to lose pounds, its like you really have to have a self discipline so that you can moderate your food intake. Plus, you need to exercise everyday so you’ll burn all the calories that you eat.

  12. I usually complement HIIT training with my diet. I find it works best for me this way.

  13. my coach and fitness trainer sent me your blog link and i like it a lot. early last year i was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease and could not lose weight to save my life. I now have things under control but I owe it all to people like you who think outside of the box to help people out. Great blog!

  14. Mike,
    Unfortunately, there are a lot of Susans out there and we have to realize that just like it takes a person some time to learn a new language, it will take time to learn to eat right and exercise. It is a lifestyle, not a fad. Most people seek to lose weight for the wrong reason. For example, they have a vacation coming up, or they will be getting married in 6 months, or they want to get back in the dating scene. Seeking to lose weight for a pre-determined goal is setting yourself up for failure because once the goal is accomplish, all motivation drops like a rock. And if the goal cannot be attained, all motivation drops also! It’s a strategy that’s dead on arrival! Folks need to realize that they are exercising primarily to stay healthy, prolong their lives and minimize their healthcare cost when they get older! That’s my two cents
    Peace – Kodjo

  15. I think your advice to choose something you can stick with for more than a year is excellent. People jump on the latest quick fix thinking it’s the answer to their prayers. Being and staying healthy is a lifestyle not a passing fad. Weight loss will follow.

  16. When we gain weight we increase both the mass and number of fat cells in white adipose tissue. When we slim down, the numbers rarely decrease but rather only the mass inside the cells. Which leaves fat gaining potential high.
    A good trick is using green tea due to its ECGC content that tricks the body into killing small fat cells. 😉

  17. Losing extra calories from your body is not a one day episode you need to do frequent workouts.Be persistent even when the going is tough.

  18. I think one of the most challenging aspects of health & fitness program is the food plan. I was doing a lot of research on excuses and it seems that a lot of individuals really let their excuses get in the way of really breaking free of their old habits. They have everything going for them, but there food seems to suffer, especially if their network of friends or significant other is not supportive or sabotages their food intake. I have seen this in a lot of couples who are obese and one is trying to lose weight and get healthy, but the other one still cooks like they are feeding 10 people. Great post and thanks for the insight.