Over ten thousand women, each and every single day, type the phrase “how to lose weight” into an internet search engine. When they press enter, they are greeted with approximately 189million pages of information on the subject. When searching “how to lose weight”, every conceivable avenue of weight loss has been explored, every diet has been evaluated, every pill or supplement has been tested and the calorie content and nutritional value of every meal has been explored.
Surely then, “how to lose weight” shouldn’t be an issue right? With all this information at our fingertips, we should be living in a society where every person on the planet is slim, shouldn’t we?
Well, we’re not, and here are the top 5 reasons why you can’t lose weight (and keep it off):
Nearly all “diets” out there, whether it is Atkins, Paleo, 5:2, VLCD, South Beach, Vegan, Gluten-Free – the list is almost endless, all have the same thing in common; They are based on the main principle that, if you cut out a certain type of food, or limit your intake of it, you will lose weight.
Great! So if we only eat protein, or don’t consume sugar, or just survive on juice, or eat what we want for 5 days then starve for two, or limit ourselves to 800 calories a day, or don’t eat meat, or only eat gluten-free (etc. etc.), then we will lose weight. Job done then, sorted, thanks internet.
Well, no, the job isn’t “done” and the answer to all of our prayers has not been given. If it had, obesity wouldn’t be the problem it is today. By cutting out certain food and following one of these “diets”, after a while one of two things happen: You either get bored and “cheat”, giving up totally on your diet and putting the weight back on – or you lose the weight you wanted to lose, go back to eating what you used to eat, and hey, guess what? Yup, you put the weight back on. In fact, if you are reading this the chances are you have tried one of these popular diets, and know exactly what we are talking about.
This is why “diets” do not work long-term. Most people cannot sustain a diet for a long period of time where they are constantly depriving themselves of food they rather enjoy. They slowly slip back to how they were eating before, or even worse, fall off their “diet” in a big way and end up feasting on everything they had missed in the weeks they went without. Does this sound familiar at all?
“Diets” therefore, are not the answer to long-term weight loss for the vast majority of people.
Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight: #2 – You don’t understand the “Science”
How does your body actually lose weight? Do you know exactly how your body uses fat? The reason we ask those questions, is because the majority people don’t know the answer. For those of you who don’t actually understand the process, here is how it works;
When you are not eating, your body is not absorbing food. However, your body is always using energy even when you are sleeping. So, if you’re not absorbing food, this energy must come from internal stores. These come in the form of complex carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Your bodies’ main source of energy is glucose, which it uses as fuel first. After the Glucose, the body then goes on to break down fat cells which release fatty acids into the bloodstream. It is these fatty acids which are then used for energy. Your weight is determined by the rate at which you store energy from the food that you eat, and the rate at which you use that energy. Remember, that as your body breaks down fat, the number of fat cells remains the same; each fat cell simply gets smaller.
This should go some way to giving an idea of exactly how the process of losing fat goes. Without this knowledge, a person is blind to the most effective way to lose the fat they want to get rid of, and is therefore susceptible to all manner of rubbish that is written surrounding weight loss.
Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight: #3 – Your focus is on “losing weight”
Honestly, we would absolutely love the term “lose weight” to be abolished. There are so many better ways to phrase it and the term is totally misleading – here’s an example…
On the right is a picture of the Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I am sure you will agree that he is a stunning specimen of the male body if ever there was one. Dwayne is listed on various websites as being 6ft 5in tall, 42 years old and weighing around 260lbs. According to the Health Status website, what this means is he is more than 70lbs overweight!
Dwayne Johnson doesn’t need to lose weight obviously, however it does prove the point that you can be heavier than what is thought of as a healthy weight, and still look amazing. This, as far as we are concerned, is where our focus should lie. Not on “losing weight”, but “getting healthy”.
To “lose weight” is a short term goal; “getting healthy” is a long-term way of life. “Losing weight” conjures up images of stick-thin celebrities or supermodels that hardly eat. When we think of the term “getting healthy”, we think of fitness, vitality and a desire for life.
Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight: #4 – You’re confused
It’s hardly surprising you’re confused to be honest, with all the contrasting stories there are on weight loss and what is the best way to go about it. One day we are told potatoes are good, the next day we are told they are bad, but then the day after that some scientist says they are a good source of protein and therefore potatoes are good again.
That’s just the conflicting information there is on food, there are other conflicting stories on the best exercise to lose weight, which supplements will help you shed pounds and whether this new “miracle” pill that is raspberry ketones work. By the way, just in case you were wondering, raspberry ketones don’t make you lose weight and they aren’t a “miracle”, despite what Dr. Oz says.
Weight loss though, should not be confusing, it is not rocket science and we have always known how to lose weight and what the most effective method is. Brace yourselves, because this is going to blow your mind…
To lose weight, you need to consume less calories than you burn.
That’s it. There is no mystery surrounding it. If you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight, which leads us nicely into reason 5….
Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight: #5 – You don’t exercise (enough)
“But, I don’t want to exercise and you said diets don’t work long term”, I hear some of you say. Well, get used to the way that person looks staring back at you in the full length mirror, because the best case scenario is, that is how you will be staying.
If you eat the same as you always have, and don’t engage in some sort of cardiovascular exercise in order to create a calorie deficit, you are going to struggle to lose weight.
Burning calories does not have to mean going to the gym every morning or training for a marathon though. If we look at how many calories are burned doing just 30 minutes of exercise, you can clearly see just how huge the benefits are. The below is based on a 30 year old woman who weighs around 140 pounds:
Exercise (30 minutes) Calories Burned (approx.)
Pilates Beginner 120
Walking 4 mph 170
Cycling / cycling 14-16 mph 340
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) 400-500
Let’s say this woman had a balanced diet and ate around 1800 calories a day which kept her weight stable at 140 pounds. If she was around 5’5” she is only slightly overweight according to medical websites. However, she is getting married in 12 weeks and would like to look her all-time best, so wants to drop 10 pounds.
If she went cycling for 30 minutes 4 times a week, she would burn around 1350 calories a week. In 12 weeks therefore, she would create a 16200 calorie deficit. If 1lb of fat is equal to roughly 3500 calories; she would lose around 4-5lb in fat. However, she would most likely lose the same amount in water weight too, which will mean an almost 10lb loss.
That’s a 10lb loss in weight, in 12 weeks WITHOUT altering her diet in any way! All she did was go on a 7-8 mile bike ride 4 times a week. When broken down like that, exercise doesn’t seem such a big thing to do does it? If all you have to do is ride a bicycle 4 times a week to lose 10 pounds, that seems like a great idea doesn’t it?
Using This Information
If you have come to this site and wondered why we don’t review diets like Atkins or Paleo, now you can see why. There is just no point to reviewing something that for the vast majority of people is not a long-term solution. Unless a program has both diet information AND a fitness regime to accompany it, we really have no interest in reviewing it. To do so would be like reviewing only half of a story, without knowing the second half or ending of it was terrible.
Of all the “diets” out there, the only one we can actually say is of any quality is the Mediterranean Diet. It has all the vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and carbohydrates in it that make up a healthy, balanced diet. It has a little of everything in it and will suit almost anyone, unless they don’t like fish! The health benefits of it are huge and have been medically proven to extend life expectancy, something Atkins, Paleo and the like can only wish for.
If you didn’t know before, you now know a little about the science of fat loss and how the body uses certain elements for fuel. You also know that a simple shift in focus away from “losing weight” to “getting healthy” will work wonders. You do not need a set of scales in your bathroom to know whether you are too fat or too thin, you need a mirror!
Hopefully, you will also be a little less confused about weight loss than you were before. Some of the myths we have uncovered in research for this site have been astounding. A favourite of ours is how a big serving of butter in your coffee each morning helps “boost metabolism” which enables you to “more effectively” lose weight. No kidding, you’re essentially having a large cup of coffee flavoured laxative each breakfast – it makes you poop!
It seems half the world right now is searching for a miracle pill that enables us to eat what we want and stay thin. If you take only one thing away from this blog post then let it be this: That “miracle pill” doesn’t exist. Any claim that it does will only make you lighter in your purse, not on the scales. The raspberry ketone craze has made millions in the last 2 years but sales recently have fallen through the floor. Why? Because they don’t work, that’s why. People have been conned out of millions of dollars before it was proved though. The next time a miracle pill or quick-fix solution comes along that guarantees weight loss, ask yourself these questions; Has Weightwatchers, Jenny Craig, Slimfast and Lighter-Life gone bankrupt? and have gym memberships suddenly fallen at a massive rate? If the answer to either is no, then that miracle cure for weight loss might not be half as good as it makes itself out to be.
If you didn’t know before that when it comes to your diet that your food is only half the story, we hope you know now. Considering both exercise and diet is the only way forward to a happy, healthy life. Get both of these key elements right and in 12 weeks you will look in the mirror and hardly notice the person staring back at you.
It is on the 5 key factors in this article that we review each diet and fitness plan. Visual Impact for Women and The Venus Factor got perfect scores because they cover all of these key 5 areas in depth. They both have great detail on your diet, the science behind how the plan works, the myths surrounding the subject and have great fitness regimes which can be done at home. Visual Impact even has details on how to build a home gym on a shoestring budget! Most importantly though, their focus is on how you look and on being healthy, not how much you weigh.
The worst program we have reiewed so far is the 3 week diet. That got low marks not because it wasn’t effective, we have no doubt you will lose weight following it, starvation tends to do that to a person! It got a low score simply because it only covered 1 out of the 5 areas we score upon – and what it did cover was awful advice!
On closing, if you are looking for the most effective way to lose weight, we hope you will now look at all 5 key points we have raised, rather than just a “Lose 10lbs in a Week” headline like so many “diets” seem to claim. Our recommended top rated programs will all help you lose weight safely and in a healthy way – but that is only half the story. What they will help you accomplish is much more valuable than losing weight; they will help you to live a happier, healthier life and have you looking and feeling better than ever.