Why Am I Not Losing Weight: 11 Reasons You’re Failing To Lose Fat

Oh no… here it comes again. “I’m eating less, eating healthier and working out more. I’ve done everything right, but it’s still not working for me. Why am I not losing weight???

I hear it so often that it’s beginning to haunt my dreams. Tons of people who are consistently failing to lose weight despite telling me that they’re doing everything right. What the hell? How can this be?

I’ll tell you how. In fact, to help you solve this problem once and for all, I’m going to give you a list of 11 possible reasons for why you’re not losing weight. Ready? Let’s do this…

1. You’re Eating Too Many Calories.

Here’s how it works, folks. Everything we do burns calories, and everything we consume (minus obvious stuff like water) contains calories.

Now, if the amount of calories being consumed is consistently greater than the amount of calories being burned, we gain weight. This is known as a caloric surplus, and it forces the body to store these left over calories in some form for later use. That form is most often body fat.

The good news however is that the opposite of this scenario has the opposite result. Meaning, if the amount of calories being consumed is consistently less than the amount of calories being burned, we lose weight. This is known as a caloric deficit, and it forces the body to burn some alternative fuel source for energy instead. That source is most often body fat.

What I’ve just described is the scientifically proven and always true energy balance equation commonly summed up as Calories In vs Calories Out.

So if you’re not losing weight… you’re simply eating too many calories and no deficit is present.

2. No, Seriously… You’re Eating Too Many Calories.

Maybe you accidentally skipped over #1. It’s cool. I skim articles all the time, too. So just in case you missed it, here’s your chance to go back up and read the first item on this list. It’s kinda important.


What, you thought I was joking? I’m not. The reason you’re not losing weight is because you eat too much. That’s it. A caloric deficit is the one big requirement here, and you simply don’t have one.

4. I Know You Were Hoping For Other Reasons, But There Aren’t Any.

Sorry to disappoint you, but there’s no big secret being hidden from you or any little tip that you’ve somehow missed. You’re just not creating the required caloric deficit. Simple as that.

5. Too Many Carbs After 7PM Is Causing… Nope… It’s Still Calories.

Hi. Above all else, weight control and body composition really do revolve around calories. Eat more of them and you gain weight, eat less of them and you lose weight. Taaadaaa!

And yes, I know you’ve probably heard otherwise. I get that you’ve probably seen some person claim that the key to weight loss is everything from carbs, to fat, to avoiding certain food groups, to eating 6 small meals per day, to not eating after a certain time at night, to only eating healthy “clean” foods or magical superfoods, and on and on and on.

That’s all bullshit.

Truth is, the key to weight loss (and weight gain) is and always will be calories. Anyone who disagrees is an idiot who should be ignored. And the product they are likely trying to sell should be avoided, too.

So while a lot of this other stuff definitely matters in terms of overall health and still definitely plays an important role in helping you improve your body, it’s always a distant second to calories when it comes to weight loss or a lack thereof.

More about this here: The Truth About Fat Loss

6. “But I’m NOT Eating Too Many Calories, I Swear!” Yes, You Are.

I know, I know. You’re counting calories and eating healthy and you know for sure that you’re eating the right amount that you need to eat in order to lose weight. Yet, you’re somehow still not losing weight.

Well, guess what? You’re wrong.


If there’s one thing damn near every nutritionist and diet professional can agree on, it’s that people trying to lose weight almost ALWAYS underestimate how many calories they are actually eating. It happens all the time, and various weight loss studies prove it.

Some people underestimate the quantity of food they consume (like thinking you ate 1 serving when you really ate 3 or 4), while others underestimate the amount of calories it contained (like thinking a meal was 500 calories when it was really 1000). Some underestimate both.

Mistakes And Under-Reporting

In fact, many people just screw up during the serving size measuring process and take significantly more than they think they’re taking. Leigh Peel shows a few examples of this right here.

Many other people just think there are certain “free” foods they can eat and not count… like fruits and vegetables for example. As if the calories they contain are magic calories that somehow don’t matter? Funny stuff. In reality, they matter just like any other calories matter, and they can add up pretty quick. Count them. Count everything.

And don’t forget the people who eat “tiny” amounts of something here and there and assume it’s so insignificant that they don’t even need to bother counting it. Guess what? The calories from that sort of thing adds up pretty quick, too.

Once again, this is all stuff that is seen over and over again, and it commonly ends up accounting for hundreds or sometimes even thousands of accidental “I-didn’t-even-realize-it” calories.

I actually show a typical real world example of this kind of thing right here.

Hell, many people just flat out lie about how much they are truly eating. Why? Because they’re apparently too embarrassed to admit what they eat (even to themselves), yet not too embarrassed to be and stay fat as a result.

You’re Unknowingly Getting It Wrong Somewhere

Now I’m not accusing you of being an underestimater, or a bad measurer, or a liar, or someone who’s just bad at counting. I’m just telling you the facts.

And the fact is, weight loss always happens when a caloric deficit is present. So if you claim to consistently be eating the right amount of calories yet still aren’t losing weight, then you’re simply not in a caloric deficit and had to have screwed something up somewhere.

7. “But I’m Burning Tons Of Calories, I Swear!” No, You’re Not.

I know, I know. You’re exercising like crazy and burning tons and tons of calories through cardio and weight training and are therefore in the caloric deficit you need to be in for weight loss to occur. Yet, for some unknown reason, you’re still not losing weight.

What could it possibly be? Oh, I know… the fact that infinite real world examples and various studies also prove that people trying to lose weight almost ALWAYS overestimate calories burned.

Yup, in addition to underestimating the calories we consume, we also overestimate the calories we burn. How’s that for a recipe for disaster?

So you know the “tons” of calories you assumed you’ve burned doing cardio? Yeah, that didn’t actually happen. Based on all of the research I’ve seen, an average person doing a typical form of cardio at a typical intensity will burn around 7-10 calories per minute on average.

Think about that the next time you assume 30 minutes on the treadmill is going to have some super significant calorie burning effect. It won’t.

Not to mention, another big problem with overestimating calories burned is that it gives people the false mindset of “Oh, I was on the elliptical for 25 minutes today, so I can surely afford to eat this extra 1000 calories now… right?”

They then proceed to cancel out whatever small amount of calories they burned (and then some), and then wonder why they’re not losing weight despite “working out all the time.” HA!

8. You MIGHT Be Gaining Some Other Form Of “Weight”

Okay, you got me… there’s an exception to some of the statements being made in this article, and there is a legitimate reason for why you might not be losing weight besides a lack of a caloric deficit.

What is it, you ask? Well, it could be that you ARE in that required caloric deficit and you ARE losing fat, but you happen to be gaining something else that is counterbalancing your weight.

See, even though we often use these words interchangeably, there’s a difference between weight loss and fat loss. Fat loss is always fat. Weight loss however can be fat, muscle, water, glycogen, poop or all of the above. And since most people only monitor their fat loss by monitoring their weight on the scale, your true progress can be temporarily hidden (this is extra true for women on a monthly basis).

This is why it’s a good idea to do more than just weigh yourself. For example, take measurements, take pictures, and get your body fat percentage measured.

Of course, the difference between “weight loss” and “fat loss” doesn’t change the calories in vs calories out equation. Nor does it change the fact that a caloric deficit is still the one and only requirement here. It just means that it’s possible to lose fat while gaining something else, and it can make it seem as though you haven’t lost any.

This is a topic I cover here: Why Am I Gaining Weight? 12 Causes Of Unexplained Weight Gain

BUT… you must keep in mind that this scenario is just a short term thing at best. Meaning, if week after week is passing and you’re still not losing any weight, it’s HIGHLY unlikely that you just so happen to be simultaneously gaining some other form of weight (like muscle) this consistently.

Instead, it’s MUCH more likely that you’re just eating too many calories, not creating a caloric deficit, and are just not losing any fat, period.

I cover this weight loss plateau myth in detail here: Muscle Weighs More Than Fat?

Speaking of which…

9. The Dreaded Weight Loss Plateau…

Were you previously losing weight, but then it just stopped? If so, you’ve hit the dreaded weight loss plateau and that can only mean one thing: you’re still eating too many calories. Let me explain…

A weight loss plateau is what happens when the caloric deficit you successfully created has ceased to exist. There’s a few reasons for why this happens and why it’s so common, but it would honestly take its own article to fully explain (don’t worry, it’s on my to-do list).

But the gist of it is simple… calories in vs calories out still remains true, it’s just that your specific numbers in that equation have changed as a result of the weight loss you’ve already experienced.

This is partially because being in a deficit causes your metabolic rate to slow down a bit over time (a process known as “adaptive thermogenesis”), but it’s mostly just because you’ve already lost weight… so the calorie intake that worked when you were 250lbs doesn’t work the same now that you’re 200lbs.

And this is all just another way of saying that you’re eating too many calories for your new current weight and the required caloric deficit no longer exists. Eat a little less (or burn a little more) and you’ll magically break that plateau.

10. “Starvation Mode”

Ah yes, the always entertaining starvation mode. This is one of those subjects that’s going to need WAY more than a quick mention in an article to properly cover. Hell, it’s going to need a full article of its own just to define what it actually is and isn’t.

Most people using this term have no clue.

Fortunately, I’ve recently written that article and I highly suggest checking it out (after finishing this one, of course): Starvation Mode: Is It a Myth or Is It Real?

For now, allow me to briefly summarize the two most relevant points I make in that article.

First, the people who think they aren’t losing weight because they are “in starvation mode” are wrong. Instead, they are just failing to lose weight due to one of the reasons we already covered (e.g. you’re eating too many calories).

In this case, “starvation mode” is just one of the many silly things people throw out there as their excuse for failing to create a caloric deficit. Happens all the time. The solution of course is to fix your diet and training program, actually stick to it, and make sure the one and only thing you need to be doing (creating a caloric deficit) is actually being done.

The second point is that the definition of “starvation mode” most people have in their head is wrong and nothing more than a myth. So the idea that not eating enough is preventing you from losing any weight or even causing you to gain weight is just pure bullshit.

However, there are certain aspects of “starvation mode” that are real, but they are better described as the “starvation response.” For example, your metabolic rate does slow down when you’re losing weight (due to a combination of adaptive thermogenesis and the fact that you weigh less than you used to).

And yes, the more excessively low your calorie intake is (and/or the more excessively high your output is), the more significant this “slow down” will be.

But the thing is, this “slow down” will never actually be significant enough to STOP or PREVENT weight loss from happening or somehow CAUSE weight gain. That’s a myth.

The truth is, there is no such thing as “not losing weight because you’re eating too little.” No matter how little you’re eating, you’ll always lose weight if a deficit is present.

So then what about that girl who claims to be “eating 800 calories per day and still isn’t losing weight?” Simple… she’s wrong. In reality, she’s miscalculating, underestimating and/or under-reporting her calorie intake and is consuming more than the 800 or whatever calories she claims to be. (Or, eating 800 calories most days is causing her to binge like crazy on other days, thus creating a wonderful scenario where she’s starving herself with very low calories some days, and then binge eating very high calories on others. In the end, the ‘binge calories’ beat the ‘starvation calories’ and no deficit exists.)

Like I said, it happens all the time. Take someone claiming to be eating very little and not losing weight. Lock them in a room and closely monitor/weigh/measure their food intake for them, and they will magically lose weight just fine. Studies like this have been done. Turns out they weren’t eating as little as they thought.

That’s the ironic thing about the concept of “starvation mode.” Certain parts of it are real (like your metabolic rate slowing down), but they’re either nowhere near as significant as people think (like that same metabolic slow down) or they’re just not what people think, period (“I skipped breakfast today… I’m probably already in starvation mode and burning muscle while gaining fat!!!”).

Which is just a long way of saying that the people who claim it’s their reason for not losing weight are incorrect. Instead, they’re just eating too many calories. Surprise surprise.

11. Legitimate (But Rare) Medical Issues.

I know we’d all like to believe that we’re failing to lose weight because some mysterious outside factor is screwing up our results. The thing is, it’s almost NEVER the case.

That’s why I find the “it’s my thyroid” thought so damn funny. In reality, you’re just not creating the caloric deficit that is required for weight loss to take place. Seriously, if your thyroid was capable of laughter, it would be laughing at you for trying to use it as an excuse for eating and exercising like a dumbass.

However, for the sake of being as complete as possible, I do want to mention that SOME people truly do have problems with their thyroid and/or other legit medical issues that can affect their ability to lose weight. Blood work is the only way to know for sure.

However, while this is real and it does happen, it’s probably not happening to you. You’re just eating too many calories.

And even in the cases when it IS happening to you, the reason for the lack of weight loss is still just a lack of a caloric deficit. The solution here however is less about eating less calories and more about solving the underlying health issue that’s preventing your body from burning as many calories as it should be.

The Big Point… Just In Case You Missed It

If you’re not losing weight, there’s likely a thousand different possible aspects of your diet and workout you might consider as the culprit. And of those thousand, you’d be wasting your time and energy giving a crap about 999 of them.

Instead, the true culprit is calories and the fact that you’re either eating too many of them or not burning enough of them. Even if you think you are… you’re just not.

If you were, you’d be losing weight.

So before you start focusing on the hilarious garbage, meaningless nonsense, and countless myth-based excuses that most people tend to focus on as possible reasons for why they’re not losing weight, step back for a second and take a closer look at exactly how many calories you’re eating and exactly how many calories you’re burning.

100% of the time, that’s where your problem (and solution) will be found.

A HUGE Update…

After an entire year of writing, I have finally released my program: Superior Fat Loss.

In it, I break down every single cause of weight loss plateaus (not just the common causes, but the less common causes as well) and show you exactly why they happen, exactly what causes them, and exactly what you need to do to easily get back to losing fat again.

I also show you all of the diet, workout and lifestyle adjustments you need to make to reach your goals while minimizing metabolic slowdown, losing fat without losing muscle, continuing to eat the foods you love, avoiding annoying diet rules and restrictions, and so much more. You can learn all about it right here: Superior Fat Loss

336 thoughts on “Why Am I Not Losing Weight: 11 Reasons You’re Failing To Lose Fat”

  1. Is it possible to me more muscle than fat? I am a 20 year old female that is 5’2 and weight to much i am currently at 166, some days its 162, some days it 164. overall my appearance look proportionate ( with some area that need toning up), but could the number I am seeing be all fat or part fat and muscle?

    • Are you asking if part of your total body weight is muscle rather than just being fat? Um, yes. It’s also part bone, water, blood, organs and a bunch of other stuff.

  2. Kiss..keep it simple stuipd! Love it. Love ur article. Lol so me. very very well written! Thank you thank you!!!

  3. I would have probably written the exact same thing a year ago. My wife is in her 40s and has been on an 800 calorie diet for a month. She counts every single calorie. Even individual carrots. She started on 1200 calories and dropped to 800 when 1200 didn’t work. She runs 3 miles every other day on the treadmill and on those days, she eats 1000 calories. I have gone through her food with her and watched her and seen her struggle.

    The fact is, she is not losing weight. In fact, on an 800 calorie diet, she has gained about 4 pounds. I say about because her weight fluctuates every day, like everyone’s does so that is the average. She is now heavier than she ever has been in her life (150, 5’7″, 42 years old)

    As I said, I would have written the same thing before. At the start, I was sure it was water weight or something. But her caliper measurements have gone up as well.

    Can her metabolism slow to such a low level that on an 800 calorie diet she can be gaining weight? Where is the weight coming from? I’m guessing it has to be water binding to something because nothing else makes sense.

    I am at a loss to explain it myself. I have read online that other people have seen weight loss stalled on low calorie diets. Why? No idea.

    I read the comment from a guy who said his weight loss was stalled on a really low calorie diet. That seems to be reality. I don’t understand it but on really low calorie diets, maybe compounded by age or hormones or.. again, no idea. But it seems to happen, like it or not.

    • No, no, no, no and no.

      First, have your wife go to a doctor and get everything checked out, blood tests, thyroid, etc. etc. etc.

      If everything comes back normal, she is simply eating more calories than she thinks. There is literally no other possibility.

  4. I have been calorie counting for 4 weeks now. I am using myfitnesspal app which I absolutely LOVE! I have been losing weight, but in my transition of cravings and low energy, I decided to do a little research to make sure calorie counting would continue to be effective (I would hate to miss out on that cheesecake for no reason at all). I came across this article, and I absolutely love it! It is very validating and keeps me moving forward! I am paranoid about under-estimating, so I tend to error the other way (which I think is part of my energy issue).

    Thanks for the encouragement! Here’s to more counting! Can’t wait til next summer to see what size I am wearing!!

    • Glad it helped!

      Also keep in mind that as long as you make those cheesecake calories fit in with what your overall calorie intake needs to be, you can certainly eat some cheesecake.

  5. Is it safe to lose 2 lbs/week just by cutting calories? I calculated what I’ve been consuming and what I need to consume in order to lose 2 lbs/week and it is 1,000 calories per day(147 lb, 5’6 woman in 20s).

  6. One last thing about my previous question- Most of my calories come from alcohol, about 1,000/day on average (I live in a big brewery city) and I plan to cut out all alcohol for two months and see what happens. That and keep calories to 1,000 /day and be realistic about serving sizes and calorie counting. I should notice a loss of that 2 lbs/week without any added exercise, right?

  7. I just posted a link to this article on Facebook after running into most of these arguments on a friend’s thread. THANK YOU! Tough medicine, hard for people to hear. From now on I’m going to stop debating people, post this link, and drop the mic.

      • Update – just hit 200 (200.2 actually) – lost 23 pounds in 11 weeks or so.

        One thing that seems to cause a lot of problems with counting calories is margin of error. Everything is an estimate: BMI, BMR, TDEE, etc. If you factor the error margins in, that’s a wide range! The calculator at WebMD won’t give me a daily calorie recommendation below 1500, and yet I am losing weight at 1200. I’m fairly accurate on my intake, and we walk 3.5 miles a day in an hour, so this just means that my particular metabolism and all other factors requires 1200 to lose weight at this rate. The facts on the ground don’t add up to what the calculators suggest for me, so screw them!

        Using your calculator page, I get the following:

        Method #1 – 200*14=2800 maintenance calories – -1000 to lose 2 lbs/week=1800 – and yet I plateaued a week ago at 1400 calories…

        Method #2 – Maintenance = 2093 – 1000 = 1093 for max weight loss (I used the ‘sedentary’ option since I find activity levels in calculators add extra error)

        [NOTE: I’ve been using the 500 cal/lb X 2 = 2 lbs /week advice, not your 20% advice]

        So 1200 is theoretically low, but that’s what is working now.

        Just for kicks, I made my food and fitness entries on MyFitnessPal public, so you can see if I’m missing something somewhere…


        • That’s why all of the calculators and estimates and examples and guesses in the world are great, but the only thing that TRULY matters is what’s actually happening to your body. If it’s doing what it should be doing, cool. If not, it’s the only confirmation you need that something needs to be adjusted.

          And damn fine progress! Pretty much best case scenario numbers right there.

  8. So, if someone stupidly did a 5 day water fast and lost 7ish lbs, and followed the 5 day fast with a week of eating only 600 calories (if anything, they overestimated how much they were eating by counting 1 carrot as 35 cals, etc.)… the 3 lbs weight gain would be water weight, right?

    *hides face*

    I think I know the answer already.

    As someone with disordered eating AND hypothyroidism, thanks for the common sense article. I think I may even be less strict on my diet for now on and just let the weight come off as slowly as it needs to and not worry so much about it anymore.

    • That weight would be water, glycogen, maybe poop from a build up of #2 while stupidly doing a water fast, and just the weight of finally having some food in your stomach (even though 600 calories worth of food is still unacceptably low).

  9. Okay, so I am 21, 5ft 5, 120 pounds, and my goal weight is 111 pounds (the lowest possible weight at which I can have a healthy BMI). I have had an underactive thyroid since I was 15, which caused me to gain some weight. I was 130 pounds when I started dieting four years ago, and my diet didn’t produce any results until I was eating under 800 calories a day and swimming for an hour four times a week. I got down to 111 (and managed to stay there on a 1200 calorie diet), but gained ten pounds during freshman year of college (although some was muscle because I’ve been doing strength training). Since then, I’ve been having an unbelievably difficult time getting rid of those ten pounds despite being on a 1200 calorie diet and exercising regularly (I don’t want to go lower because I’ve had irregular periods since my caloric intake went below 800)

    Do you have any advice on how I can lose these last 10 pounds? Should I just start saving up for lipo at this point?

  10. Normally I would 100% agree with you, as I have been exercising and eat a healthy diet for 4 years.

    However, all of a sudden, each day that would pass, I would gain a pound. Seriously limiting my diet even more than before to 1000 calories (I don’t snack, I count EVERYTHING, and only drink water) while exercising by running 7-8K a day didn’t do anything. I kept gaining. For four months. Each day a pound. At first I thought it was water weight, but it just kept going up and now I’m 35 pounds more than I was before, and if I don’t run 10k a day I gain weight eating 1/4 what I used to eat before with no exercise to maintain my weight. If I don’t exercise and eat just a sandwich that day I’m up a pound on the scale.

    Went to doctor, I am 100% healthy and she is confounded since everything has been tracked and there’s no explanation.

    Point is, as I am a super active person, it’s not always the calories, as anyone who knows me knows that I don’t snack and literally monitor everything. I have no idea what’s wrong with me. If I eat less than what I am eating now of a literal 1000 calories, I wouldn’t be alive given how active I am.

    The funny thing is when I normally diet and exercise like I’m doing now and as you mentioned above, the fat melts off me since I love exercise and healthy conscious eating.

    Like I said above though, it happened to me out of the blue one day eating the same as I always have, moving the same as I always had, yet for some reason my body decided to pack on 35 pounds. It makes no sense to me that it would happen all of a sudden. No problem with thyroid, no water retention, nothing. Doctor is keeping a close eye on situation cause makes no sense.

  11. Excuse me? I’ve been eating 1000 calories a day for 5 weeks and haven’t lost any weight. Am I eating too many calories? Is 1000 really that much?

  12. What’s your understanding of the whoosh effect because I’m a little confused? If your fat cells can be replaced with water after losing fat, then how do we lose that water and how long does it take?

  13. Pregnancy should affect the “calories out” side of the equation, correct? I have been tracking calories in/out for over a year and am still doing so during pregnancy. My net calories has not changed, yet I have gained 9 pounds during the 6 months I have been pregnant. If I am now using up more calories due to the baby, why the increase in weight?

  14. I’ve always found this works for me, but how do you explain those skinny people that eat high fat/calorie foods all day, rarely work out, and never gain weight?

    Also, do you think heart rate monitors are an accurate way of deciding calories out?

    • Some people burn more calories than others due to activity level and genetic factors (especially something called NEAT… non-exercise activity thermogenesis), and some appear to eat a lot of junk but when you actually add up their calorie totals for the day (or maybe their average daily calorie intake for the week) it’s actually less than you might assume. Or a little of both.

      But basically, everyone gains weight in a surplus and everyone loses weight in a deficit. Some just require more or less calories to be in those scenarios.

      Do you mean something like FitBit? If so, they can be an okay starting point.

      • It’s a Polar heart rate monitor with a band that goes around your chest that sends information to a watch. You enter height, weight, gender and age in the watch for accuracy, and it does the calculation of calories burned based on heart rate.

  15. Hi! Your article makes me pretty sad actually. I eat only fruit, veggies nuts, cheese from raw milk, milk and youghurt skimmed, eggs and fish… No processed foods, no sweets, no junk. I’m actually allergic to smthing in processed foods. I excercise daily for 30min + 15-60 min yoga also daily. I do not think my lifestyle can get ‘healthier’ than this when working full time! Yet, according to your postulate, to lose further weight I have to either starve or do more sports (which I’d love to but I also go to work). It’s just makes me feel sad and cheated. Everyone says “eat healthy and exercise and you’ll loose weight!” In reality they are bullshitting us – the truth is “torture yourself by starving and excercizing till you feel like dying and yes, you’ll lose weight”. No, thanks, not for me.

    • Um, no.

      First, the “eat healthy and exercise and you’ll lose weight” is in fact bullshit. It’s much easier to overeat junk food, sure. But it’s still extremely easy to overeat “healthy” food. People do it all the time. That’s why “eating healthy” doesn’t cause fat loss. It’s not the quality of the food that does it… it’s the total quantity (calories) of it all.

      And you’re welcome to go on thinking “torture yourself by starving and exercising till you feel like dying and yes, you’ll lose weight” but in reality it’s nothing like that at all. It just takes eating slightly less than you usually do. As long as you do that, no exercise is even needed at all (though I’d always recommend weight training… cardio is purely optional and I almost never do any).

  16. I am a 60 year old male. I started dieting July 15th, I was 220 lbs and wanted to lose 40 lbs, on Aug. 20th I was down to 196 lbs but since then I’m stuck at that weight, I keep my calorie intake at 1000 to 1200 a day and I walk 5 miles everyday. Why did I stop losing weight?

  17. This is NOT true for everyone.
    I eat less than 1000 calories a day. I have had people follow me to make sure of this. Everything that passes my lips is recorded now for over a year. I am gaining weight and have had every medical test there is…. I work-out. I don’s eat sweets I don’t like them, I am a vegetarian and eat only salad for lunch and dinner, once a week fish. I eat greek yogurt for breakfast. I don’t drink soda or juice – only water.

      • Actually I am eating a lot less than I thought. I thought I was eating 1200 calories, turns out I am only eating 800-900 a day. And on days I work out my net calories are about 300. So I need an explanation. I AM NOT eating more than I think I am. The Doctor even had a nurse friend follow me for 2 days to prove it. I am truly looking for an answer.

        • There is none. You either have a medical issue of some sort (possibly thyroid related) or you’re wrong. That’s it. There is literally nothing else.

          So feel free to find another doctor (ideally a specialist) and get a second opinion. If things come back normal, feel free to get a third opinion. If things still come back normal… you’re eating more than you think.

      • After 4 years of 900 calories every day, every exercise class and personal trainer I could try I am trying the Dr Oz rapid weight loss plan. I am eating MORE calories and I have finally lost a few pounds. So your calorie idea is not always true.

  18. I am 6’4 and 260 pounds. My blood pressure is great according to my doctor , as well as my blood levels. I’ve been on and off working out at weeks at a time, however this time I’ve been serious on sticking to going to the gym 6 days a week. I’m halfway thru week 2 and I haven’t moved at all… I’ve been doing 30 mins of elliptical cardio which burns around 550-600 cals. And lifting for about 40 more minutes. I eat about 2000-2500 cals a day(honestly), keeping my fat intake around <60% dv(based on 2000 calorie diet). I want to burn fat while toning or gaining muscle. I am reaping the benefits of lifting but my weight isn't moving. Am I being Impatient about losing weight? Or am I doing something wrong?

    • BTW to add I have a 40″ waist size and 47″ chest span. A good amount of the fat i need to lose is located in my thighs and butt(which I feel is odd and embarrassing for a male). I figured elliptical training would address this

  19. Yes, absolutely agree …however! I do have Hashimoto Thyroiditis which is under control now so what you say applies. My only concern is that this condition, which definitely had a huge impact on my ability to lose weight before being diagnosed, can take years to be picked up. In my case about ten years! The ‘have the blood test done’ solution isn’t as simple as it sounds and hypothyroidism is I believe more common than you suggest. And, if like me you had practically zilch thyroxine, any diet, calorie counting would result in much reduced ability to lose. It’s a very frustrating disorder to get diagnosed, is my main point. Otherwise great advice!

  20. Hi,I just wanted to say that this article made me laugh so hard,because it actually describes all the excuses and myths I’ve been believing.

    And actually when I counted my calories intake it was way more than I thought, And I totally agree with everything you mentioned.

    Thank you for such a great article and wake up call.

  21. Can chronic sleep deprivation affect weight loss? I have a child with special needs who wakes multiple times in the night, and therefore so do I. I’ve been trying to lose weight and limiting myself to 1400 calories per day (meticulously measured and recorded in a food diary) which should mean I lose about a pound a week, but I’m losing half that if at all some weeks. I’m chronically exhausted and I read somewhere that not sleeping can impact weight loss. In your opinion is there any truth to this or is it just more nonsense?

    • Yup, there is a good bit of research showing that sleep deprivation has negative effects on the hormones that regulate hunger. So less sleep = more hunger = eating more than you should be.

  22. While I appreciate the article and do believe that many people make excuses about why they have weight, I have to share that because of that sort of advice, my thyroid issue went undiagnosed for years. And guess what happened when my thyroid was regulated? I dropped 26 pounds! I didn’t change a thing in terms of calories or exercise. I did the same thing with a regulated thyroid gland. Oh, and that is NOT a rare thing. It is extremely common. I’m an advocate now for having women get their thyroid tested and not from a doctor who only looks at TSH (it’s not enough–symptoms must be treated!) I’d say half of them also mentioned having low thyroid symptoms or mentioned they are receiving thyroid hormone replacement. Also, other hormones must be in balance for weight to be regulated. To the author: Please be careful with your casual, non-medical advice. That sort of advice cost me years of feeling sick and being obese!

    • You did see the part where I specifically mentioned thyroid issues, right? And that you should see a doctor/get a blood test/etc. if you feel this may be the cause?

      And while I most definitely realize that issues like yours are 100% real and occur plenty of times (and I am genuinely happy to hear you got it under control and lost 26lbs as a result), it’s still considered rare. I mean, out of the literally millions of people on the planet who are trying and failing to lose weight, the vast majority will have no issues whatsoever with their thyroid.

  23. I’m an old fart (68) and 5′ 8″ and over the past 5 years began creeping up toward 210 lbs (from 190) which was enough to motivate me to join the gym. I didn’t change my calorie intake that much (I know, I know – but….) and have added (or subtracted I guess) 500 plus calories a day burned to my schedule. As best I can figure my calorie intake is pretty damn close to 1800 give or take a beer or two once in a while (literally maybe a couple a week), but that’s no different from before I joined the gym.

    Even given that I don’t get to workout 7 days a week, I am getting in 5 pretty regularly, and 6 where possible.

    So far after 10 – 12 weeks of really working at it (plus having a trainer give me 3 different routines which are quite a test) I have only lost maybe 5 lbs.

    I’ve gone over as honestly (no, really) as I can both what I eat and what I burn, and just can’t figure why the weight loss is so slow. I suppose it could be muscle mass, and that ratio has improved a little. I’ve always agreed with your equation for weight loss but getting a little frustrated that it’s not happening. With burning as many as 3,000 new calories a week, for 10 – 12 weeks, I’d have expected to drop at least 15 lbs. Not 5.

    Trainer is recommending switching to more cardio. I have no problem with whatever will work, but would you recommend a different workout, (as I said, I already have 3 routines which are fun to get through), or reduce the 1800 calorie intake?


    • Assuming you’re accurately tracking your weight (this is sometimes a key step that some people screw up and it skews their progress quite a bit) and there are no outside factors at play (e.g. thyroid related, etc.), then you’re just in less of a deficit than you think you are. Also keep in mind that 5lbs lost in 10 weeks isn’t really THAT bad.

      Could it be a little faster? Sure. But, it’s still decent progress.

  24. Thank you! I stumbled across this article, and I so desperately needed to hear it a couple weeks ago when I started accurately tracking my calorie intake. I’ve dropped 4lbs in 2 weeks by being diligent and honest with my intake. I’ve still got a long ways to go (~30lbs), but knowledge is power, and I’m looking forward to watching my waist whittle away now that I’ve stopped lying to myself.

  25. So what you’re saying is, If I eat 1,300 calories a day, I should burn 1,400 of them in order to lose weight?

    • Nope. I’m saying if your body naturally burns 2000 calories per day to keep you alive and functioning (plus exercise), you need to consume less than 2000 calories to be in a deficit and cause fat loss.

  26. This is hilarious but so true. I’ve been going to a personal trainer three times a week and a spin class and working out like never before and falling a macro diet. Iv been eari jg healthy but haven’t been weighing and possibly picking a bit at my boyfriends treats and wondering why iv lost 2.4kg in four weeks. I shall purchase scales tomoro and not eat outwith the diet.

    As an aside iv been giving conflicting advice by two pt’s. My current one has given me 1200 calorie per day goal and my old one says that was too low to begin with and should start at 1800 then lower it to 1200 as weight loss progresses and never go below that? What would you advise?

    • Start high, give it a couple of weeks and see what happens. If you’re losing fat, keep eating that amount. If not, reduce it slightly, wait another couple of weeks and see what happens then.

  27. Seriously this is straight forward and to the point. I am so sick of the sites that beat around the bush trying to make everything sound like it is just Cuddly cats and cute puppies.
    I do not eat regularly. Most people do the breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don’t, I do dinner and that is it. Come to find out after looking up something you said due to the time I eat is causing me to gain weight, also what I eat is so full of Calories it is truly sad. So losing weight has been hard. I exercise, not regularly of course due to three kids running around all day. But going up and down stairs, in and out doors feels like a total workout (even though I know it isn’t).
    But back on topic, thanks for post this for people to read and thanks for educating people on what can cause issues in the weight loss department. Last but not least, thanks for not being full of hot air, and getting right to the point.

  28. What is your input on sleep, I know your right on the calories, I work night shift full time 10p-10a , have children and work out 5 days a week, i try to wake my self up and eat in the day but then i get too tired. Also its hard to keep track of calories for the day when my days are all broken up. Any Suggestions?……. The last two years ive lost 50lbs by changing eating and exercising, then weight loss just stopped, no change in habits and with same schedule……. great article by the way

    • You want to try to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night (or in your case, a day). For most people, that range is ideal.

      As for your diet, it’s really no different than anyone else’s situation except that you’re just doing your eating during the opposite half of the day.

  29. I came across your article when I was trying to find out -duh- why I wasn’t losing weight. At first, I thought, well this isn’t helpful AT ALL, and I was on the cusp of getting all het up and defensive. I watched that video you linked about portion sizes. (I was still annoyed) But I thought about that, and I thought about my food log(s). (still annoyed). And later that night, I walked into the kitchen and had my “a-ha” moment.

    On the counter was a tin of pumpkin seed brittle. I thought about all the times in the last 2 weeks that I have broken off a piece (or 2, or 3) and didn’t log it because I was on autopilot. I also thought about the other little things I put in my mouth over the last few days that I also didn’t log because it was inconvenient at the time, and then forgot about, or was just plain not paying attention.

    So, yesterday was the first test, I logged everything! And if I didn’t know what size, I made my best guess and then added a 1/2 serving to it, just to make sure. Yeah, so then, I was all proud of myself, and then I thought-what about the condiments I used? F*ck me! I just added like 300 calories to my diary!

    Thank you for an eye-opening article. I wanted to deny it, but in the end…you were right. 😉 I’ll send you an update in a week or so.

  30. That was what I needed to hear. I have been using a calorie tracker on my phone, most days I am under by a 100 or so but I do not budge in my weight loss…..but maybe the portions I am eating are bigger than I think they are or I am forgetting to track things. I am going to really watch this week and see what happens.

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