You’re not alone if you’re feeling hopeless about weight loss. It’s so common to feel this way if you’re struggling to lose weight. You might be on your last few pounds and can’t get them off or you may have 100 pounds to lose and don’t know where to start.
What to do if you’re struggling to lose weight
If you’re feeling hopeless about weight loss, there are a few questions to ask yourself to find out why you’re struggling mentally and physically with losing weight.
Check in with yourself about the following things if weight loss feels hopeless to you:
- Do you enjoy your diet or does it feel difficult to follow every day?
- Do you have negative beliefs about weight loss?
- Is your exercise plan something you like doing or dread?
- Do you have any health conditions that could be affecting your weight loss?
This post contains affiliate links. See my disclosure here.
What can cause inability to lose weight
1. Diet (It’s not what you think)
Your diet plays a huge part in whether you lose weight or not, but probably not in the way you think. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably tried tons of fad diets, maybe succeeded at one or two and failed miserably at all the others.
Even the ones you succeeded at most likely ended in you regaining the weight you lost and maybe even a few extra pounds.
Do you know why?…
It’s not because the diet quit working. It’s because you never enjoyed eating that way in the first place.
You probably felt deprived of all the delicious food that you wanted to eat which made you lack willpower and led to moments of weakness that made you feel like a failure for not being perfect.
For some reason we associate dieting and losing weight with pain and suffering.
We believe we have to follow this super strict diet in order to lose weight. The thing is that the diet is not something that we can realistically stick to for the rest of our lives.
If you can’t stick to it forever, then how can you expect to keep the weight off?
It only makes sense that once you go off of the diet and back to your old ways of eating, the weight comes back on leaving you feeling hopeless and depressed, like you’re a failure and full of shame and guilt.
This makes me so sad because it doesn’t have to be this way, but it’s what we believe is the ONLY way to losing weight.
I believed it for over 30 years before I figured out that I didn’t have to suffer to lose weight.
Choose a diet that you actually like.
I know. It sounds crazy.
Here’s the thing…
If you’re spending every day writing food down, counting calories, counting carbs, eating food that you don’t like, starving, or anything else that makes you miserable, stop doing it right now.
If your diet doesn’t allow you to eat your favorite foods on occasion and leaves you with cravings, it’s the wrong diet.
If it feels like a struggle to make it through each day because you’re hungry, it’s the wrong diet.
If you have to meal prep and you hate it, it’s the wrong diet.
You are not on this planet to suffer. You get to enjoy your life. Every single part of it.
Some struggles in life make us stronger, but dieting isn’t one of them.
You don’t need another fad diet.
There are thousands of diets out there and most all of them are focused on deprivation of some sort.
You need a diet that will give you lasting permanent weight loss so you don’t end up gaining the weight back.
That’s why I decided to make up my own diet. It’s actually a mashup of two diets. It works for me and I literally don’t feel hungry, worry about what I’m going to eat, spend my day counting calories or carbs, or dread each day that I have to eat this way.
I follow a shake plan because I absolutely hate figuring out what to eat for breakfast and lunch. I’m busy and I can’t be bothered to spend time making breakfast and lunch for myself. Plus I have a sweet tooth so the shakes curb my sugar cravings and I really like the taste of them.
The second part of my diet is a whole food plant based diet. This is how I eat for my snacks and dinner. I follow this program because it’s easy and super healthy. I enjoy the meals and know that I’m fueling my body with nutrients I need and the recipes are simple and easy.
I also allow myself coffee with plant based cream and sugar on the weekends because it’s something I love. Drinking it on the weekends is my compromise so I avoid the extra calories during the week but don’t deprive myself of it totally.
And I love a good piece of vegan chocolate every now and then. So I allow myself that on occasion as one of my snacks.
So far I’ve lost 32 pounds by following my own “diet plan’.
Will this same diet work for you? It will if you feel the same way as I do about eating, but chances are you like different foods and have a different lifestyle.
Your personal diet plan may include one component of mine and something else in addition. Or it may be completely different all together.
What can you do to eat healthy but in a way that you actually enjoy that works for your life?
Are there two or three diets that you can put together to make something that allows you happiness?
What are your favorite foods that you want to be able to eat occasionally? Fit those in somewhere.
We put all our faith in someone else telling us what we can and can’t eat. Have a little faith in yourself and that you actually know what’s best for you.
2. Your Beliefs About Weight Loss
Can your mind stop you from losing weight?
What do you believe about weight loss?
You might think it’s hard, you have to be perfect at it, it’s a struggle, it’s unachievable, it’s overwhelming, it’s confusing, it’s painful, it doesn’t work. The list could go on and on.
I challenge you to look into yourself and really notice what you think about losing weight.
Once you’ve done that, think about where these ideas about weight loss came from.
Who told you those things?
Who demonstrated those things in your life?
How did seeing and hearing these things change the way you view weight loss and yourself?
I grew up with a mom who struggled to lose weight my whole life. I watched her follow fad diet after fad diet. She lost and gained weight over and over.
I bet you can guess what I believed about losing weight.
By the age of 9, I was going to Weight Watchers meetings with my mom and following the program.
My mom used to tell me to suck in my stomach when I was in my dance costume for dance class and recitals. Not only did this make me think I was fat, but also ruined my self-confidence.
I don’t blame my mom. She was just trying to help me avoid the struggles she went through with her weight, but in reality she caused me to have the exact same problems with my weight as she did.
Do you have any experiences from childhood that changed the way you think about yourself, your weight and losing weight?
These things could be causing you to hold yourself back from losing weight.
You have to train your brain to lose weight and overcome these old negative thoughts about yourself and losing weight.
My FREE YOUR FAT workbook helps you work through all of these limiting beliefs that keep you from losing weight by uncovering the things that are so deeply ingrained in your subconscious you don’t even realize they’re there.
Just like with diet, your exercise plan should be something you enjoy doing.
People tend to set themselves up for failure with exercise because they feel they have to do a certain thing in order to get results.
You won’t get any results if you hate doing the exercise so much that you don’t ever do it.
If you don’t like formal exercise, do something as simple as walking.
If you’re overweight and out of shape, don’t try to take on a strict exercise regimen. Do something simple that isn’t painful and work your way up little by little.
Start really small if you need to. You can commit to doing 3 squats a day. As it becomes easier to do, add a few more.
Or do some type of exercise during the commercials when you’re watching tv. Do 10 squats every time there’ s a commercial break.
Find little ways to sneak exercise in that don’t feel difficult.
There are lots of fun ways to burn calories. If you like to dance, that’s a great way to get exercise. Dance around your living room or play a dancing game if you have a gaming system or find a YouTube video that teaches you how to dance.
Do something you like and you’ll have much more success losing weight because you’ll actually want to do it.
If you’re dreading your workouts, you’re doing the wrong things.
I know this sounds simple and silly, but it’s the truth.
Be honest with yourself about why you don’t have the motivation to workout. It’s most likely because you don’t enjoy the type of exercise that you feel like you have to do.
That’s just another of those old beliefs that needs to get the boot.
4. Health Conditions
There are some chronic health conditions that make losing weight more difficult.
If you have one or more of these, don’t lose hope though. I’ve managed to lose weight with untreated hypothyroidism, interstitial cystitis, and recurring UTIs.
When I found out I had hypothyroidism, I thought I was doomed to never be able to lose weight again. I got on medication and was hopeful that the weight would just start falling off, but much to my dismay, it didn’t.
I continued to gain weight on thyroid medication. I tried synthetic thyroid meds and natural ones and none of them seemed to do anything for me. I decided it wasn’t worth it for me to take a prescription that wasn’t doing a single thing for me. So I stopped. I’m not recommending that for anyone. That’s for you and your doctor to figure out. Just telling my story.
I still struggled with my weight for years after that. Once I figured out a way to eat that worked for my body and lifestyle, the weight started coming off regardless of the health issues I faced.
I don’t want to list out the health conditions that make it difficult to lose weight because if you have one, you probably already know. But I also strongly believe in the power of the mind.
Once you get the belief in your head that a health condition makes it hard to lose weight, that becomes your truth.
If you have a health condition and that belief about weight loss, just know that anything is possible. Don’t listen to what other people say about it. You can lose weight no matter what obstacles you are facing.
How To Not Get Discouraged When Losing Weight
If you’re overweight and feeling hopeless, saying to yourself “weight loss is hopeless for me”, or back above your starting weight and feeling hopeless, don’t despair. I have a few things you can try to stop feeling discouraged when you’re trying to lose weight.
Besides following a diet that you enjoy and doing exercise that you like that we talked about above, you can also try:
Using positive affirmations can help get your mind in the right place when you feel bad about gaining weight, feel like it takes forever to lose weight, or feel like trying to lose weight is pointless.
There is a key to using positive affirmations that is very important though…
You have to be able to believe them. If you try to tell yourself something that you don’t believe is possible, your mind is going to tell you it’s not true.
Here’s an example:
Let’s say you’re thinking “I’m depressed because I’m fat”.
If you try to make a positive affirmation like “I’m so happy and grateful now that I’m a size 5”, your mind is going to tell you that’s not true.
However if you use an affirmation like “I’m so happy and grateful that I’m making changes every day toward reaching my goal weight”, you can actually believe that if you are making changes and trying to lose weight.
As you move through the process of using positive affirmations and training your brain to lose weight, new affirmations will begin to be believable to you. You can gradually add new ones and things will improve more and more.
Scripting is a fun way to keep yourself positive and away from getting discouraged when you’re on a weight loss journey.
The main idea though is that you write down exactly how you want to look, feel and act when you reach your goal weight. But you write it as if it’s already happened.
You have to get really specific about every little detail of how your life is different, how you look, how you feel, how you act, how people act toward you, etc.
You can script every day and add new details that you didn’t think of before or you can script once and then read it each day.
How To Lose Weight When Nothing Works
When you’re trying to lose weight and it feels like nothing is working, it can make you feel hopeless, discouraged, and disappointed.
I know you’re tired of failing at losing weight and you feel like trying to lose weight is pointless.
But please don’t give up. Giving up on losing weight is not the answer.
Sometimes you need to put a little less focus on it to actually start losing weight.
I know that sounds counterproductive, but it’s actually not.
If you feel like you’re struggling to lose weight, stop struggling.
Find a diet that you like that doesn’t feel like a struggle.
Find an exercise that you like that’s fun.
And just do those things.
You won’t feel like you’re struggling because it will just become your lifestyle. It will be a healthy lifestyle that works FOR YOU and therefore doesn’t feel difficult.
The reason you feel like you’re struggling is because you don’t like what you’re doing to lose weight. Make it work for you instead of you trying to fit into this cookie cutter mold that someone else created.
Take back your power and give yourself permission to do what feels good. Allow yourself to enjoy your life instead of making everything so difficult.
Life gets to be easy and fun.
Losing weight gets to be easy and fun. (If you had a negative thought when you read that, you need to work on your mindset.)