Trying hard and not losing weight? It’s estimated that 45 million Americans go on diets each year. With nearly two-thirds of Americans still overweight or obese, it’s safe to say the majority of diets aren’t working. I have worked with countless individuals with weight loss goals and have found that many of the issues separating failure from success are the same. If you’re trying to lose weight without success, check out the list below to see if you’re making a critical mistake.

You’re Eating Too Much

If you’re not losing weight (and truly need to), you’re eating too many calories. Period. In other words, if you want to lose weight you must be eating less calories than you’re burning per day to create a caloric deficit. We could talk all day about the various weight loss diets and fitness programs that friend you know followed, but at the end of the day if they lost weight it was because a caloric deficit was created. Period.

You’re Not Eating Enough, at Times

“Wait, what? But you just said… ” Yes, but give me a minute. You cannot trick your body. It’s smarter than you. If you want to lose weight you need to work with your body to give it what it needs to achieve what you want. We know that eating too much can pack on the unwanted pounds. We have developed such a negative association between eating and losing weight that for many of us the concept of eating more to lose weight is unimaginable.

Your body will always fight to maintain homeostasis and will burn whatever tissue is needed to maintain its energy levels. Unfortunately for your body, fat is much more efficient for providing energy than muscle tissue and as a result when energy is low muscle is burned. You must make sure you are providing your body with enough calories to maintain muscle mass and to fuel your workouts.

If you’re only chasing a caloric deficit through under-eating you’re going to reach “metabolic adaptation”. In other words, if you’re constantly underfed, your metabolism will drop in order to preserve energy. When this happens, the only way to achieve a caloric deficit is to eat less. When you eat less, you create metabolic adaptation. When you create metabolic adaptation, the only way to achieve a caloric deficit is to eat even less. See where I’m going with this? This vicious cycle is why people eventually give up.

You’re Not Moving Enough

How active are you, really? If the hour you spend at the gym 3 days a week is really it for you in terms of activity then you’re not really doing much. If weight loss is the goal and you’re eating as you should be then you need to get moving. For most people this doesn’t mean you should add multiple high intensity workouts to your day but rather some low intensity, steady state cardio several days a week paired with an increase in Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT). NEAT is basically the calories you burn daily that aren’t basal metabolic rate or exercise. It’s things like standing, cooking, cleaning, etc. By increasing the calories you burn you can achieve a caloric deficit without extreme dieting and starvation.

You’re Moving Too Much

Basically the same as not eating enough, if you’re doing too much work compared to what you are eating then your body is going to freak out on you. Again, the body is constantly fighting to survive in homeostasis and will always win. If you are working out far above your daily caloric intake the induced stress will cause a lowering of your metabolism to survive.

You Don’t Have A Plan

Making sure you’re eating and moving enough, but not too much is a lot of work and easy to mess up. If you NEED to lose weight than you MUST find a plan that works for you. The right plan is one that is safe, doable, and obviously, one that works. There are a lot of different names for diets out there but none of them are going to work if you don’t follow it.

Losing weight that will stay off is a serious goal. If you’re committed to the task at hand it is paramount that you avoid the aforementioned mistakes that could stand in your way. Make sure that you’re not eating too much, but are eating enough. Make sure you are active, but don’t workout more than you have fueled for. Take the time to find a plan that works for you. If you need help, let me know!  A new year is approaching. Don’t let another year go by without reaching your weight loss goals!