This article is far from providing everything you need to achieve your desired fat loss but it will hopefully encourage self evaluation and help you avoid the most common mistakes people make. 

As much as I would like to simplify matters, in some cases your lack of progress in losing fat may be due to other complicated factors.

In matters of success, always remember that any chosen strategy toward your goal should be in keeping with your lifestyle to ensure it is sustainable in the long term.

Lincoln Hilton

Lincoln’s progress after completing a 14 week online training transformation and losing over 10kg of fat.

1: Not having a strong reason

This could be you if:

  • You tend to give up after a few days/weeks of sticking to the plan.
  • “I am lacking motivation” is your first go to excuse when you talk about your goals.
  • You lose sight of what you are trying to achieve quickly.
  • You do it to please other people. 

A strong reason, that comes from within is the most powerful tool you can find for fat loss. Because making the start on your training and nutrition program is easier than the next step, which is sustaining the change. For this, you will need to remind yourself why you started in the first place.

My best advice:  Write it down before you even start and re-read it when motivation dwindles. For more mindset tips check: 8 things to live by in Fitness. 

2: Overeating

This could be you if:

  • You can’t seem to lose weight or body fat, despite improving your exercising habits.
  • You rarely have the feeling of satiety and  never seem to know when to stop eating.
  • Take-aways make up for most of your food intake.
  • You snack between meals and have a tendency to swallow your food, without chewing.
  • You are an emotional eater and eat large amounts of food when you feel sad or bored.

If you recognise yourself in one or more of these statements, it could mean that you are eating too much. Strategies such as chewing your food more and eating more vegetables and protein will help you reduce your food intake by improving satiety levels. 

Logging everything you eat via a food logging app such as Myfitnesspal or on paper is the best way to be more aware of your food intake. 

3: Lack of Training

This could be you if:

  • Your body fat and weight remain high despite making a conscious effort to eat less.
  • You spend most of your day sitting  in a chair and would consider your lifestyle as sedentary.
  • You look at your phone in between sets when training.
  • The simple act of walking up the stairs leaves you out of breath.
  • You consider taking the dog out for a walk as a ‘form of exercise’.

In this case, the factor preventing you from reaching further progress could be that you are not exercising enough.  No generalisations can be made here, but if you have been training twice a week for the last 6 months, you might need to do more to burst through a fat loss plateau.

Training more frequently, more intensely, and choosing compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and lunges could be a good start. 

4: Dehydration

Water intake to lose fat

This could be you if:

  • You experience joint pain and generally lack muscle flexibility.
  • You could easily confuse your pee with apple juice.
  • Dry is the first word that comes to mind when you think about your skin and mouth.
  • You experience constipation.

Are you drinking enough water? This is one of the most frequent limiting factors I encounter as a trainer. One method of estimating your necessary fluid intake when wanting to achieve fat loss can be done via your bodyweight: ingest 30-40 ml of water per day for every kilogram of bodyweight.

Is water not tasting good enough for you? Mix it with some lemon or any concentrated fruit juice (sugar free squash/cordial) providing that you mix it in moderation.


5: Under eating and/or overtraining 

Overtraining and fat loss


This could be you if:

  • You feel tired and sluggish.
  • You crave foods and stimulants such as sugar and caffeine.
  • Dieting, is the best way to describe your life.
  • ‘Carbs’ is synonymous with ‘enemy’ for you.
  • You often feel cold.
  • You get ill often and can’t seem to recover adequately.

Ok… this one is a bit tricky. Because if you do struggle with fat loss, chances are, 90% of the time, the first 4 reasons displayed in this article will help you lose more fat. However I think it is still important to mention it especially if you are a woman who has been dieting for a long time. Let me explain. 

The human body (in particular, the female body) will always find ways to resist change. Which is part of a deep rooted survival mechanism called homeostasis. For instance, when it comes to under eating for long period of time, we know that certain hormones such as the thyroid hormone, can be down regulated. In other words the amount of energy our body expends, can be lowered. 

Strategies such as carb cycling and calorie cycling (eating a greater amount of carbohydrate rich food, and increasing your calorie intake on your training days or around your menstrual cycle) are great strategies to prevent your body from burning less. 

3 Comments on “Fat loss: 5 reasons why you are not losing fat

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