Despite your best efforts, are you confused about why you aren’t losing weight? Although I’ve referred to it as losing weight, the number on the scale is not important. What matters is what your tape measure says, and how your clothes fit. Here are 20 reasons why you may not be achieving the results you had hoped for:

1. You’re eating too much fruit

Although eating fruit as a snack is a much better option than reaching for a bag of crisps, the sugar in fruit (like all carbohydrates) gets broken down into glucose, and excess glucose in your body is stored as fat.

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I’m not saying that you should cut out fruit because it’s a great way to get much needed vitamins and there’s no reason why you should stop eating fruit, just don’t go overboard. Just because it’s healthy that doesn’t give you a license to cram as much fruit as possible in your diet.

2. You aren’t getting enough sleep

We are all guilty of this; in modern society sleep is often overlooked, but it is essential to energise your body. There have even been research journals claiming that the biggest spike in fat burning hormones occur during deep sleep. I can’t comment on the accuracy of this as I don’t fancy spending years doing the research myself, but your body does function better when you’ve had a decent amount of sleep.

3. You’re not eating enough fat

Yes, you read that correctly, and no, I haven’t lost my mind. Fat is often seen as ‘the devil’ but good fats are vital for your heart; fats found in foods such as fish, nuts, eggs and avocados. The consumption of healthy fats increases energy and prompts the body to burn stored fat for fuel. So don’t freak out about adding some delicious good fats to your diet.

4. Your alcohol consumption is high

We all have different preferences for our alcohol intake, but if yours is regularly high then it could be sabotaging your weight loss. Your body can’t store alcohol, so it metabolizes it immediately. This may sound great, but while your body is focusing on processing the alcohol, your metabolism won’t be working as efficiently on other foods that you’ve eaten, like breaking down carbohydrates and fat.

5. You’re just relying on exercise

It’s a common misconception that if you exercise then it makes it acceptable for you to eat more treats. Sadly this isn’t true (oh, how I wish it was). Many people ‘reward’ themselves for going out for a run or going to the gym by eating an extra slice of cake, for example. Exercising is great for burning calories and building muscle, but if you increase you regularly treat yourself with chocolate or crisps, etc just because you’ve ‘earned it’ then you aren’t going to see any improvement in your body.

6. You aren’t being consistent

We all have good intentions when starting a new workout and healthy eating regime, but many of us let it slip from time to time. Nobody is perfect, I am yet to meet anyone who has never skipped the gym for a day or completely given up all treats (including myself). But if you are repeatedly finding yourself falling off the wagon then this could be a big factor in why you aren’t losing weight.

Once you’ve been exercising regularly for a while your body will actually adapt and accept the new routine, so you will find that you begin to crave exercise, and will be much less likely to skip workouts.

7. You’re a fan of ‘diet’ foods

These foods fool many people, simply because they have the word ‘diet’ in their name. Some diet foods contain MSG (monosodium glutamate), which is a chemical that causes insulin levels to rise, resulting in your body storing fat. This could mean that consuming diet foods may actually cause you to gain weight.

Diet foods may often be low in calories, but they are usually high in artificial sugars and bad fats. It’s better to stick with clean eating so you know what you’re consuming.

8. You’ve kept your “fat clothes”

If you have already managed to drop a dress size, then one of the worst things you can do is to keep your “fat clothes”. By holding on to them, you are effectively allowing yourself to gain that weight back, because deep down you know that those clothes will always be there. Get rid of them; donate them to charity, and once they are out of your life you will feel more inclined to keep the weight off because you won’t have those clothes to easily fall back in to. It’s also a great excuse to go clothes shopping for your new size!

9. You eat without thinking

These days it’s so easy to find yourself eating your meals while watching TV or checking your phone but this could actually be harming your weight loss goals. When your mind is occupied on something else, you often don’t even realise what you are eating. We’ve all done this at the cinema for example; you’re watching a film, and before you know it you’ve scoffed the whole box of popcorn. I’ve done it too, you’re not alone.

Eat your meals at the table away from any technology that could distract you. Focus on what you are eating, and enjoy it. This way you will feel much more satisfied, simply because you are actually aware that you’re eating.

10. You don’t allow yourself a treat day

Whether you have a treat day (I don’t like the term ‘cheat day’), or allow yourself one small daily treat, this is a vital part of weight loss. You may think it’s crazy to allow yourself to eat ‘bad’ foods while trying to lose weight, but if you don’t do this, then you will find that one day you crave everything so badly that you basically scoff far more than you would’ve felt comfortable with.

Allowing yourself small regular treats is a great way to stay focused without depriving yourself. It’s also a good way to stay on track as you won’t feel like you’ve fallen off the wagon if you actually plan to have some cake, for example.

11. People around you aren’t on the same healthy path

It can be difficult to follow a clean eating diet if those around you aren’t doing the same. Nobody is expecting you to force your family to change their eating habits but just letting them know that you’ll need support on this journey can really make a difference.

It’s really hard to focus on eating healthy if everyone else in your house is gorging on treats, but it is possible. Just stay focused and remember why you are on this path, and ask for support.

12. You don’t drink enough water

Water is the best thing to drink for hydration and (you guessed it) weight loss. Water does actually fill you up, so even just having a glass before a meal could help you to not eat too much. The recommended daily intake of fluid is around 2 litres a day but personally I drink far more because I get thirsty all of the time. Cold water has even been found to speed up the metabolism…do you really need any more reasons to drink it!?

13. You’re a fan of fad diets

Fad diets are terrible for weight loss. Although you may lose weight initially (which is often just water retention leaving the body), it will all pile back on when the diet finishes. It’s easy to fall for the adverts of before and after pictures but it’s unlikely you’ll actually see those results and fad diets are rarely ever safe. I don’t know of any that I would consider safe. See my recent article on why you should ditch the fad diets.

The best diet is to adopt a clean and healthy eating lifestyle that is sustainable, not something with an end date. I should also note that by saying the word diet, I mean the diet that you regularly eat, not as in going on a diet.

14. You’re expecting too much too soon

Weight loss takes time; despite the unrealistic claims from many fad diets and some exercise equipment companies, there is not a quick fix. You need to exercise regularly and eat healthy, and you will see improvements. This may not happen for a number of weeks/months, but it will happen.

Don’t expect miracles; don’t be upset if you measure yourself after one week and don’t see a difference because it takes time. Don’t get disheartened because, once you start to see results it will be one of the best feelings ever. Keep going, and remember that you get out of this what you put in.