10 Reasons Why It's So Hard to Lose Weight

Time to Commit

Female jogger drinking water
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If you pay attention to the weight loss industry, you've been told over and over how easy it is to lose weight—just take this pill, follow that diet, or buy this piece of equipment, and everything will melt away in a flash. In fact, we spend billions of dollars each year on weight loss products and services and yet we're still overweight.

If you struggle with weight loss, as most of us do, you've figured out just how hard it is to lose weight.

  The question is, why is it so hard and is there anything you can do about it?

There's no shortcut to weight loss, but you can make the process easier with a few simple changes.

Complex Problems, Simple Solutions

The idea behind weight loss is simple: Burn more calories than you eat. This can be accomplished by changing just a few things in our diets—replacing soda with water, for example, or getting rid of processed foods.

We can increase weight loss results by adding at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Sounds simple but, if it were that simple, why can't we do it consistently?

There are a number of factors that contribute to weight gain that you already know. But it's not just about finding time to exercise or choosing the salad over the burger. It's about a genuine commitment to making healthy decisions every day regardless of what's happening in your life.

If you're not ready to make some changes, losing weight will be hard.

Here are 10 things you'll need to look at in order to get yourself on a healthy track.

1. Your Attitude

If you're only on a health kick to lose weight or look a certain way, it will be hard to lose weight permanently. Why? Because, what happens if you don't see results quickly enough? You give up.

Weight loss is a great goal, but unless you have something else to motivate you, what's to keep you going if the scale doesn't budge?

It takes time to lose weight. How will you motivate yourself in the meantime? One way is to find more reasons to be healthy. Remind yourself of all the benefits of exercise—having more energy, feeling good about yourself, getting a better night's sleep, just to name a few.

Keep an exercise journal and write down every single success, whether you're losing weight or not. What you think about yourself and exercise is the key to staying committed. No one wants to do something they see as miserable, so think of how you can turn it around and look at exercise in a different way.

2. Your Workouts

If you don't workout consistently enough, it's hard to lose weight. Yes, it's possible to lose weight through diet alone, but you'll likely hit a plateau at some point.

You don't need to spend hours in the gym; you only need to set up a reasonable workout schedule that you can follow each week. It's not about killing yourself with workouts—it's about finding something you like and that you'll continue with for the long-term.

That means getting rid of activities you hate and building a program around what you enjoy, even if it doesn't exactly follow the exercise guidelines.

You have to be willing to be more active on a regular basis—not just for a week here and there.

If you're confused about setting up a program, find out where to start

3. Your Diet

Changing the way you eat is another thing you have to commit to for long-lasting weight loss. That means working to replace unhealthy foods with healthier choices and do that most of the time.

Some ideas to help include:

For permanent weight loss, you need to pay attention to what you eat and make good choices more often than not.

Maybe a structured diet eventually ends, but healthy eating never stops. In other words, there will never be a time when you're done eating healthy, at least not if you want lasting weight loss.

You might feel you're sacrificing the good stuff (pizza, fast food, etc.) and your life won't be fun if you can't have those foods. However, you can still enjoy your favorite foods, just not every day.

It really comes down to being willing to take an honest look at your diet and, even if you just change one thing at a time, figuring out how you can reduce the calories you're eating.

You have to be ready to stop giving your body the most convenient thing available and, instead, spend time planning what and when you'll eat. That's what it takes to make real, lasting changes. 

4. Your Lifestyle

If you want a healthy life, you have to be willing to change how you live. It doesn't mean changing everything overnight, but simply being open to new ways of doing things. Some things you might need to change for a healthy life are:

  • Daily routines. You may need to get up earlier to prepare your lunch or squeeze in a workout, use your lunch hour for exercise, or go for a walk after work instead of watching TV. Exercising on a daily basis changes your entire day, so sitting down with your schedule to see where those changes need to happen is your first step in establishing an exercise habit.
  • How you spend your time. You might need to set new rules for yourself limiting how much TV you watch or how long you sit at the computer. You'll need to pay attention to how you spend your time and where you're out of balance, so you can add more movement.
  • Your pantry. No matter how committed you are, having something unhealthy in front of your face is only going to make things harder. You have to set up your surroundings so they support your goals rather than sabotage them.
  • Your schedule. If you're not willing to sit down and change the way you live each day to include exercise, time to prepare meals, and time to nurture yourself with sleep, it's hard to lose weight. People use a busy schedule as an excuse not to be healthy. Could you be doing that too? If you're not ready to take responsibility for the schedule you've created, it will be hard to lose weight.

5. Your Surroundings

Sometimes, you can't control the things around you. At work, you may be surrounded by temptations—donuts, vending machines, coworkers bringing junk food and the like. That's just one thing you have to deal with, but what about your home?

Surround yourself with things that will support you in your efforts to get healthy. That might mean spending some money on home workout equipmentsetting up a corner of the house for your gear, or commandeering the TV a few nights a week to do an exercise video.

Set up an environment that encourages those healthy choices and reminds you of them. Sometimes, just walking into your kitchen and seeing a bowl of fresh fruit may be enough to remind you of what you're trying to accomplish.

Similarly, walking in and seeing a bag of chips may do the opposite. Consider cleaning out your kitchen of things that tempt you. If it's not there, you won't eat it. 

6. Your Support System

While getting healthy may be something you're doing on your own, it's a big help to have a support system.

At the very least, family members and friends who understand what you're doing and are either willing to participate or help. If you have a spouse who wants to continue eating the kinds of foods that tempt you, you need a plan to deal with that, so you can still reach your goals and keep your relationship together.

Try to surround yourself with people who support what you're doing and avoid those people (like that co-worker who always offers you a donut even though you refuse on a daily basis) who don't. A workout buddy is also an excellent idea for support. Learn more about how to get weight loss support from friends and family.

7. Your Mental Health

If you have other reasons for being overweight, maybe past hurts that you've used food to deal withdepression, or other problems, it's hard to lose weight.

For many of us, food is a comfort and something we've relied on all of our lives to help us deal with emotional problems. If that's the case for you, pinpointing those behaviors and what drives them is important for becoming aware of what you're doing and why. A counselor can help you with this or learn more about emotional eating and how you might be doing it without realizing it. Be willing to learn why you make the choices you make and to confront them.

8. Your Goals

If you've set impossible goals, you are guaranteed to fail. Weight loss becomes hard to achieve if you feel like a constant failure. No one is going to feel very motivated if he or she feels like a failure all the time.

If that's how your weight loss experience is, it's no wonder you keep quitting. The key is to set reasonable goals. So what is reasonable? That's going to be different for each person depending on your genetics, eating habits, exercise, and metabolism, to name a few. You're better off setting a long-term goal, like losing weight or competing in a race. Then focus your attention on daily or weekly goals. Your weekly goal might be to get in three cardio workouts, minimum. Pick things you know you'll achieve so you're always successful. It can be as small as you like, as long as it's reachable.

9. Your Flexibility

You hear a lot about lifestyle changes, but it's daily choices that really test you. What happens if you have to work late and you can't get to the gym? Or what if you get stuck in traffic and miss your fitness class? Any number of things can happen in a day that may throw you off track.

The trick is to be flexible. It helps if you're always prepared. Keep workout shoes in the car, so you can stop off at the park for a quick walk. Keep some food handy, so if you get stuck in traffic, you get a snack in before your workout. Often people skip workouts because something comes up and they simply aren't ready for it or they aren't willing to give themselves other options. For example, if you can't do 45 minutes, give yourself permission to do what you can, even if it's 10 minutes? Something is always better than nothing.

10. Your Willingness to Fail

You will not be perfect every day. If you're a perfectionist, this is a frustrating concept to accept, but we can't control every aspect of life.

On the good days, you'll eat all your fruits and veggies, say no to that pizza, and do your workout even though you're tired. On the bad days, you'll wake up late, forget to bring your lunch, have an extra piece of cake at your friend's birthday party, or skip your workout.

The bad days will happen if you're a human being. The trick is to never give up, even when you mess up. Work on overcoming your fear of failure and remember that you're not a loser just because you make some mistakes. You're simply a person trying his or her best to make good decisions.