10 Common Reasons Why Dieting fails16 min estimated reading time

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10 Common Reasons Why Dieting fails


Recently you started to lose weight in good spirits, but the results are disappointing. You desperately want to lose weight but it does not work the way you want. You stay exactly at the same weight and are disappointed.

The reality is that there are a lot of reasons that you do not know about that affect the weight loss process. Read the most common reasons why weight loss is difficult and you do not get ahead.

What you will read in this article is:

  • The role hormones play when it comes to losing weight
  • The main reasons that weight loss is not always successful (despite a healthy diet)
  • Why you should not keep fooling yourself with light products
  • And much, much more ..

Reason # 1: You are losing weight without realizing it

You are loosing weight without realizing itIt has been a few weeks since you started enthusiastically.

Your diet has been adjusted and you think you’re on the right track.

Full of excitement you walk to the scale to see what the results are. But there is an unpleasant surprise waiting for you.

You stay exactly at the same weight. The panic strikes. “I want to lose weight but I can not. What is going on here?”.

You think that you do not go any progress, but in reality, your body composition is actually changing. Your body weight – especially the first weeks that you started losing weight – tend to fluctuate by a few kilos.

It depends on the food you eat and also an imbalance in your hormonal system can ensure that you retain some fluid. This, however, does NOT mean that you do not lose body fat.

When you first start exercising, you may not see any change in weight on the scale during the first weeks. But in reality, you may have already lost 1 kilo of fat and you have gained in muscle mass.

By strength training and fitness you can have gained in muscle mass and that is heavier than fat. This is especially common when you have just started exercising. And that is of course very good, because what you want is to lose body fat and not just weight.

In addition to keeping track of your body weight and waist circumference, I advise you to assess your progress on the basis of a skin fold measurement. With a skin fold measurement, you can measure your fat percentage. Do this at least once a month.

Unless you stay at exactly the same weight for more than 2 weeks, you do not have to worry about anything.


Reason # 2: Hormonal imbalance due to medication

medicationDisruption of hormones through medication can be a reason that weight loss does not work. Difficult weight loss or even a weight gain are side effects that are associated with certain medications.

Think of medication as:

  • Antidepressants
  • Birth control pill
  • Insulin injections
  • Other diabetes medications
  • Rheumatic drugs
  • Thyroid medications

They all disrupt in their own way the main hormones that affect your body weight and fat mass. Research shows that certain hormones strongly influence appetite and determine how much body fat is stored (source).

Hormones that play an important role in fat storage and fat burning are:


Insulin is the most important ‘fat storage hormone’ in the body. It ensures that fat cells store fat and prevents stored fat from being broken down.


This hormone is produced in the fat cells. The more body fat you carry with you, the more leptin is produced. People who are overweight usually have very high leptin levels (source).

  • Research shows that the leptin level in obese people is up to 4 times higher than in people with a normal weight (source).


Ghreline is also known as the ‘hunger hormone’. When your stomach is empty, the hormone ghrelin is released, which sends a signal to the hypothalamus that you have to eat.

Studies have shown that ghrelin only partially decreases in people who are overweight when they have eaten. As a result, the hypothalamus does not get a strong signal that food can be stopped, which can lead to overeating (source).

  • By eating more protein with every meal you can greatly reduce the ghrelin level and promote satiety (source).


Cortisol is best known as the ‘stress hormone’ because it is released when your body feels stressed. Like other hormones, it is vital to survive. But a chronically increased cortisol value can lead to overeating and weight gain (source).

  • Following a balanced diet, controlling stress and sleeping longer are ways to normalize your cortisol production.


Estrogen is the most important female sex hormone (men also have estrogens). Scientists have discovered that obese women have a higher estrogen content than women with a normal weight (source).

  • Eating more fiber and cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli or cauliflower) have a beneficial effect on the estrogen values (source).

The moment the body no longer has the ability to correct a hormonal imbalance by certain drugs, then weight problems can arise.

Certain medications can make weight loss a lot harder or even cause weight loss due to a disruption in the above mentioned hormones.

And not for everyone these side effects are serious enough to stop treatment. If you think about stopping treatment, always discuss this with the treating physician first.

Reason # 3: You do not have a physical challenge

no-physical movementIt is also possible that weight loss is stopped because your body is not challenged enough to burn fat and achieve muscle growth.

You also have to exercise if you want to lose weight quickly and reduce your body fat percentage (although nutrition is 80% of the story to lose weight).

Resistance training such as fitness, strength training or HIIT can help you to preserve your precious muscle mass and burn body fat (source). The maintenance of muscle mass also prevents a delayed metabolism.

  • You often see a delay in metabolism in people who lose on long-term (and extremely much kg) weight loss (source) without stimulating the body with intensive training.

By exercising you create the healthiest body ratio. This is something other than that you seem slim because you lost a lot of weight in a short time. Often it is mainly about fluid loss and there is still a lot of visceral fat (very unhealthy) present.

Visceral fat is the abdominal fat that mainly surrounds the organs and significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes (source).

Would you prefer to do another form of sports? You can!

Cardiovascular sports such as running, swimming and cycling are an effective way to improve your endurance, but unfortunately less well to burn body fat.

Reason # 4: You think you eat and drink healthy

Fruit juicesBeing aware of what you eat and drink is incredibly important if you want to lose weight.

Many people have no idea what and how much they actually eat.

Several studies show that tracking your diet greatly helps with weight loss.

Using a diary or taking pictures of meals causes people to lose more weight on average than people who do not (source, source).

Lose weight often comes to the mind of people who think that they are healthy, while in reality, they do not. My own research showed that “only 5.12% of people think they eat less healthily than an average person.” That is of course virtually impossible and just as unbelievable as 80% of American people think are smarter than average .

You may think that you eat healthy meals, while in fact, you eat all kinds of hidden sugars or according to health organizations (such as the Nutrition Center) you have to eat enormous amounts of refined carbohydrates like bread and pasta.

These foods make a lot of insulin, which ensures fat storage, while in the meantime little saturated.


Image result for eco diet banner


You actually eat really healthy when you read the labels and then buy nothing that contains sugar (except if there is minimal sugar in it), but almost nobody reads the labels.

If you want to lose weight, then of course you will not succeed if you eat too much. Even if you feel that you eat healthy and varied, you can still eat too much. Be aware that if you want to lose weight and it does not work, it can often have to do with hidden sugars and especially in drinking.

So pay more attention to the labels when you do your weekly shopping: Sugar is used almost everywhere, even if the packaging says it is super healthy.

Think for example of vitamin water or fruit juices. The fruit juices you buy in the store, and especially the cheaper ones, are often sweetened with artificial sweeteners. And if there is something that your body can not do anything with, then it is those pesky artificial sweeteners such as glucose-fructose syrup.

The worst thing is that our brains do not register the calories in these kinds of drinks as full calories, so you still have the need to eat (source).

Therefore, you should concentrate on plain water with a lemon or green tea.

Reason # 5: Slow thyroid gland

Slow thyroid glandThe thyroid gland is one of the most important hormone glands in our body. It releases hormones that are indispensable for the regulation of body cells.

The thyroid also regulates the burning speed in the body.

Thyroid problems in humans are relatively common. Approximately 12% of people will sooner or later have to deal with thyroid problems. Women are, particularly at risk. Up to eight times women are more likely to have a thyroid disorder than men.

Problems occur especially when the thyroid works too slowly or too quickly. If losing weight does not work, then this can be related to a slow thyroid gland. This is also called hypothyroidism.

Symptoms of a slow thyroid gland include:

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Moisture accumulations
  • Dejection
  • Hair loss
  • Joint complaints
  • Fertility disorders
  • Bloated feeling

The problem is that many of these complaints can also arise from other factors. This does not always immediately think of a slow thyroid gland. If you have some of the above symptoms, it may be wise to have your thyroid tested by a doctor.

A shortage of selenium or iodine can be the cause of a slow thyroid gland. A slow thyroid gland is often hereditary but well treatable. In addition to medication, you can improve this by eating more nutrition with a high content of iodine and selenium (source, source).

Think of good food sources like:

  • Fish (white fish, mussels, shrimps)
  • Nuts
  • Eggs (egg yolk)
  • Sea vegetable (seaweed)
  • Chicken
  • Avocados

Reason # 6: Too much stress

stress-dietStress for a test, stress for a job interview, stress for a first date and of course the familiar stress for an exam.

This is healthy stress: It puts your body and mind fully focused for maximum results.

But it becomes a different story if you are constantly under stress, if you are dealing with constant stress.

Stress can have a big impact on your body weight and the reason that weight loss does not work. Not only does it promote hunger attacks, but certain hormones are also produced that provide extra storage of body fat.

One of those hormones is cortisol. As you know, Cortisol is released in response to stressful situations. This hormone plays an important role in the storage of abdominal fat. This effect seems to be even stronger in obese women with excessive belly fat (source).

The overproduction of cortisol can make losing weight a difficult task.

It may seem that you have little control over stress in your life, but research shows that learning to manage stress can significantly promote weight loss (source).

So take care of moments of relaxation, alone or with the whole family. You can think of yoga, meditating, just a nice walk or a romantic evening with your partner. It does not matter if you can just relax. Only in this way will your body get the chance to recover and work optimally. Reducing stress is important if you want to lose weight successfully.

In an 8-week study of 34 overweight women, it appears that a stress management program with, among other things, breathing exercises and relaxation of the muscles is effective for losing weight. The women lost an average of 4.4 kg of body weight (source).

Reason # 7: You are focused on low-calorie food

A low-calorie diet (woman with one apple on her plate)A low-calorie diet is very popular nowadays when it comes to rapid weight loss.

With a crash diet (because that’s what it is), the daily amount of food is tuned to the number of calories that you can receive as much as possible. Because the body will eventually have a shortage of calories, you will lose weight.

But chronic eating too little is a bad idea. Up to 3 days of fasting or less food causes accelerated metabolism, but after that, it is the turning point and you start burning fewer calories. A crash diet is therefore doomed to fail, it is too little food for too long.

It is true that you lose a lot of kilos, especially in the beginning, but in the long term low calorie food can not be sustained and the lost kilos return as a boomerang backwards and again.

In the video below;

Processed Food Documentary – Processed Food vs. Nutritional Needs

With low-calorie food your body not only absorbs ridiculously low calories, but these products are often also rich in sugar. There is less fat, while the sugar content is often incredibly high.

A jar of peanut butter light contains no less than 32 grams of carbohydrates (of which 7.3 grams of sugars) per 100 grams of peanut butter.

Sugar contains fewer calories than fat, but fat saturates much more.

And let sugary products just give the least saturation.

After eating carbohydrates, your body immediately switches to sugar burning and stops burning body fat (source).

Do you feel that weight loss is standing still? Stop eating low in calories and focus on satiating protein-rich products. A high protein intake works incredibly effective to get a fuller feeling and reduce the appetite (source).

So you quickly lose belly fat with the protein rich diet.

Calories are important but is the half story if you want to lose weight successfully. For example, people who eat a handful of nuts every day, such as almonds, lose belly fat faster than people who don’t (source). Do not empty a whole bag, but pick up a handful of nuts.

Reason # 8: Too little sleep


Too little sleepA good night’s sleep is incredibly important for your health. In fact, it is just as important as healthy food and daily exercise.

Unfortunately, our brains today are very susceptible to sleep deprivation.

People sleep on average a lot less long than before and the quality of sleep is also reduced by our hectic lifestyle.

Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain. People with short sleep periods, on average, weigh more than people who get enough sleep (source). In fact, a short sleep duration is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity.

Several studies show that not enough sleep can lead to weight gain because the metabolism is reduced and the production of various hormones is started that stimulate the storage of body fat (source).

One study found that healthy adults who had 4 hours of sleep per night 5 days in a row saw a decrease of their resting metabolism by 2.6%. This was fortunately restored when they then caught up with their sleep for at least 12 hours (source).

To prevent sleep problems and to promote health, it is important that you at least aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night.

Reason # 9: You think light soft drinks are healthy

cola-lightYou would think that fewer calories will make you lose weight.

A matter of adding up what you put in your mouth, right? It is different than you think.

Light soft drinks are being touted by manufacturers as the way to quench your thirst, without getting unnecessary and empty calories.

But they forget to tell you that there are still a lot of artificial sweeteners that your body actually does not know how to handle.

Some disconcerting facts about light (and zero) soda:

  • A study of 14 years showed that light soft drinks increase the risk of type 2 diabetes by 33% if you drink one glass of light soda every day (source).
  • In another study, the daily drinking of light soft drinks was associated with a 67% higher risk of diabetes type 2 (source).

And even though artificial sweeteners in light products give the consumer a sweet taste, researchers think that the lack of calories in these products ensures that the brain is not fully rewarded.

This may be the reason that artificial sweeteners are associated with increased appetite and desire for sugary food (source).

Do not fool your body and focus on water and green tea if you want to lose weight in a healthy way. You can also add some fresh lemon juice to water for a fresh taste.

Reason # 10: You have unrealistic expectations

realistic expectationsAt the moment you start with dieting, your expectations are of course high.

After a few days, you will be on the scale, but there is no significant result yet.

Another week later there is some result, but you are disappointed, because you had expected a lot more.

Losing weight and losing body fat is a much slower process than most people think. Although it is certainly possible to lose weight in the beginning, very few people lose 1 kilogram of body fat per week.

In the beginning, it is often mainly about the loss of moisture through a reduction of carbohydrates.

Many people have unrealistic expectations of what is feasible with a healthy diet and physical activity. Do not expect visible results immediately after a few days, at least if you want to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.

This does not mean that you stand still with losing weight, but that you need the time to see results. So every day on the scale does not make any sense.

Healthy and sustainable weight loss can only be achieved by eating healthy and varied, in moderation and of course by exercising. By setting feasible targets with weight loss you remain motivated to continue. If necessary, you can hire someone to advise you in this. Think for example of a coach at the gym, or a dietitian.



Did you know that research shows that 1 in 3 just gains from a diet instead of losing weight? (source)

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