Skip Nav
Calorie Breakdowns
The Shocking Amount of Calories You'll Save Giving Up These 10 Foods For Lent
Healthy Eating Tips
The New Superfood You Need to Try
Healthy Recipes
A Mardi Gras Menu That's Only Slightly Indulgent

Four Reasons Your Diet Isn't Working

Why Your Diet Isn’t Working

We are pumped to share one of our fave stories from Prevention here on FitSugar!


By Tula Karras, Prevention
Can't drop those extra pounds? These surprising explanations can help you reach your goals.

You've spent the last seven days putting in your best effort to lose a pound or two. But your weekly check-in with the scale reveals (again) that you can't get your weight loss mojo in motion. The good news is that the problem probably isn't your willpower. You may be making common mistakes that even inveterate dieters fall prey to. These are seven surprising reasons your weight-loss plan isn't working. Get the facts and get back on track.

1. You aren't eating enough.
You may need to bump up your calories to stoke your metabolism. When you dip below about 1,200 calories per day, not only are you not eating enough to get all your nutrients, but your body slows its metabolism in order to hold onto precious calories, says Christine Gerbstadt, MD, RD, and author of The Doctor's Detox Diet. Also, if you skip meals to lose weight, your body could lose its ability to feel full. Blame evolution, which has designed our bodies to resist famine and not the buffet table. For example, if you skip breakfast, the body assumes food is scarce. You need a morning meal to let your body know it's OK to burn calories. "Within one hour of waking, you should consume a 350- to 500-calorie breakfast, with 10 to 15 grams of protein and fiber to stoke the metabolic fire," says Dr. Gerbstadt.

How to Kick Your Sugar Cravings

More reason the scale isn't budging after the break.

2. You slurp diet drinks.
Research suggests that diet drinks may backfire: the taste of something sweet without the calories can cause your body to hold onto calories as fat. In a 2011 study, diet-soda drinkers had a 178 percent greater increase in waist circumference over 10 years, compared with non-diet-soda drinkers. "Artificial sweeteners can actually raise your insulin levels and lower your blood sugar, which may stimulate hunger and move existing calories into storage in your fat cells," says Sharon P. Fowler, MPH, one of the study's coauthors. Plus, fake sweeteners may not quell a craving like real sugar can, because sugar triggers a longer dopamine release. So even after downing two Diet Cokes, you may still want the candy bar.

Dangerous Risks of Diet Drinks

3. You’ve eliminated wine.
New research from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that women who drank one to two glasses of wine daily gained less weight over 13 years, compared with those who did not drink alcohol — eight pounds vs. 5.5 pounds, to be exact.

Lose Weight Like a Biggest Loser

4. Your diet isn’t digitally enhanced.
You may already know that writing down what you eat helps you automatically reduce your calorie intake, simply by making you aware of each bite. But did you know that using a digitized program or application with positive feedback can help you lose even more? A new study from the University of Pittsburgh finds that people who monitored their diet and exercise with a digital device that provided daily feedback lost more weight and stuck with their diet longer than those who used paper and pen. Not only that, but the high-tech group increased their fruit and veggie intake more than paper users. And you don't have to log in daily or even weekly to benefit: one study found that dieters who recorded meals online just once a month were three times more likely to keep off pounds over two years, compared with those who did so less frequently.

More Reasons Your Diet’s Not Working

Image Source: Thinkstock
Around The Web
5 Healthy (and Tasty) Food Substitutions
Chewing Helps With Weight Loss
Top 10 Highest-Calorie Beers (and the 10 Lowest!)
Funny Quotes About Pizza and Weight Loss

POPSUGAR, the #1 independent media and technology company for women. Where more than 75 million women go for original, inspirational content that feeds their passions and interests.

Join The Conversation
sher666 sher666 3 years
Great article but I have just followed a 31 day fat loss diet and it worked I lost just under 2 stones take a peep www.feelgreataboutu.com  it really worked for me with no stupid exercise regimes just normal day to day eating
happy115 happy115 3 years
Basically I think...the reason of me not being able to lose my pounds is simply lacking of persistence! My motivation level just drop  after a few days of hard-work. keep crave for snacks...i'm being a couch potato even at work!!! I just bought the Quick Trim Extreme Burn which says burning 8000 calories here http://1losebellyfatdiet.com/...Too desperate too lose weight for my summer beach holiday...I want the BIKINIs!!!
Mindy1986 Mindy1986 3 years
Eat when your hungry. Plain and simple. If your tummy is not growling, you shouldn't be eating. Eat clean natural foods: vegetables, fruits, olive oil, nuts. When you exercise focus on intensity NOT duration. And cardio is not the answer. High intensity interval training is.
HappyKate HappyKate 3 years
I have a really hard time eating all my calories in a day! I just get full and I'm not hungry. I tend to eat really healthy and low fat and I just cannot seem to regularly get enough calories. It is rather frustrating because I am trying to lose weight and I'm sure this doesn't help. I also work out at least 5 days a week. Any suggestions because I am stuck!
Golden32 Golden32 3 years
For the part about not eating enough, it would be helpful to know how many calories you should be adding if you are exercising a lot to avoid going into starvation mode. For instance my daily calorie base is 1200, but I can easily go do a 1500 calorie workout. I use My Fitness Pal and it uses a net formula saying I should eat as many calories as I burned in addition to my daily base. I don't doubt I should eat more than 1200 on days with good workouts but 2700 is way too high. Anyone know what a better balance might be?
Latest Fitness
X