Why is it so Hard to Lose Weight? Painful Honesty About Losing Weight

by Oketch Joe · Updated April. 7. 2020

Do you hear that?

Drip, drip, drip.

That’s the sound of sweat falling from the brows of a person exercising to lose weight?

Drip, drip, drip.

Why is it so hard to lose weight?

why is it so hard to lose weight

It is common for millions of people to make resolutions to lose weight. Resolutions that usually fizzle out around the new year.

And some of you reading this have already started Googling around for weight loss program, figuring that any problem is easier to solve if you throw some money at it.

But also, as many serious people who aim at losing weight, you probably have a low tolerance for BS. So one thing you’ll find out, for instance, most weight loss programs have a failure rate of 97% over the long term.

And the question that bring evrything into persective is:

Why do so many people struggle with weight lose?

Folks spend billions of dollars on weight loss every year.

They diet. They exercise–but still, weight lose appears to be very difficult.
So one question brings everthing into perspective:

The #1 Reason Why So Many People Struggle With Weight Loss

It is not because the whole population is lazy.

It is not because people don’t have enough money to eat healthy, either.

And it is not because everyone is not counting calories enough, no.

It is because nearly everyone assume the basics and focus on minatures.

And everyone in the weight loss industry is giving you half-baked information.

You can’t even get a straightforward answer to basic questions like:

It is infuriating, but listen:

When it comes to weight loss, 99.99% of people should know only one thing:

Eat less and move more. Only elite athletes need to do more.

But instead of accepting these simple truths and work on them, people love to focus on miniatures. You’ll hear:

“Avoid carbs.”

“Don’t eat before you go to bed because fat doesn’t burn efficiently when youre sleeping.”

“If you eat mostly protein, you can lose lots of weight quickly.”

“Eating grapefruit in the morning speeds up your metabolism.”

Maybe, they’re correct, or maybe they’re not. But that’s isn’t the point. The point is people love to debate miniature. Then they end up confused, and weight loss starts to feel like swimming upstream.

The Painful Truth About Going from Fat to Thin

Why is it so hard to get from fat to thin

Let’s get this straight:

The number of people who go from fat to thin and stay there statistically round down to zero.

Every study says so. No study says otherwise. None.

None here means that 5+ years of weight loss are obscenely rare that they don’t appear in the chart. Studies can’t even find enough of such people to put in their research.

But that guy or girl exists. We all know the famous examples. However, it is a rare freak situation.

And one fact brings everything into clear perspective:

Weight loss is a caloric deficit.

Unless you have genetic disorder, ovarian cyst, thyroid problem, or any other medical-induced weight gain, you can’t fight the math. Excess calories get stored, and it is what makes people fat over time.

But you know what‘s the big problem?

Most people assume this simple fact, so they spend months or even years following a pathway that has zero chance of succeeding for long term. Eventually, they give up or start over but, again, they invest months or even years following weight-loss strategies that don`t work.

The reason?

It is not because they are dumb. It is not because they are lazy.

It is because they overlook the basics.

And if you want a fighting chance to lose weight consistentlyif you‘re looking for weight loss that will stay for 5+ years, you‘ll need to understand the concept of calories.

And it isn‘t about being a calories-counting nerd (though it isn’t wrong), instead, it is about taking the calories knowledge with you in every food you take.

It means you won’t exercise yourself to death only to undo your hard work by going for a sandwich that hides 500+ calories under the healthy-claiming package.

It means you won’t spend the rest of your life eating horrible expensive food. Instead, you’ll have the freedom to choose calories from a variety of healthy options surrounding you.

And more importantly, it means learning to get into the habit of tracking calories in and calories out to help you consciously think of the consequences of your decisions instead of making imaginary bargains every time you want a snack or want to make excuse about exercising.

Is any of this easy? Simple? Fast?

Hell no. Building a body that radiates power and vitality, can be the most difficult thing you‘ll ever do in your life.

But it is doable. Not through luck or genius way, but by learning to condition your mind in a way few people do.

Albeit of the difficulty, let`s dive deeper.

The #2 Reason Why it is so Hard to Lose Weight
Forgetting that Weight loss is Energy Deficit

Most people say calorie counting doesn’t work.

But listen:

Weight loss is a calorie deficit. And to lose weight consistently you must strike a sustainable balance.

So, while counting calories isn’t mandatory for weight loss, the concept of calories-counting is critical in creating a sustainable deficit.

For that reason, let’s break down the concept of the calorie.

A Calorie is a unit of energy.

1 pound of fat = 3500 calories

To lose 1 pound of fat, you have to build a caloric deficit of 3500.

And you can only create a calorie deficit with dieting, exercise, or both—that is if your weight gain is not medically induced.

balancing caloric intake with daily body activity is a thing to do if you find it hard to lose weight

The solution:

You need to understand your daily caloric demand.

What's Your Daily Caloric Need?

To reach your dream body shape, you have to ruthlessly eliminate anything that even suggests you`re powerless and replace it with something concrete.

You have to deliberately know your caloric demand.

And we`ll calculate the number of calories you need depending on your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE).

So, dust off your calculator, pull out your pen, and let’s stamp out the guesswork in determining the number of calories you require.

We`ll use Harris Benedict’s Equation which has two parts:

  • The first part determines the number of calories you burn daily to support both your body weight and sustain your body function when doing nothing all day, your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)
  • And the second part determines the energy you use in your daily activity.

If calculation gets your adrenaline pumping, click here to automatically execute your calculations, then skip to the Creating Calories deficit part.

The BMR Equation

Men, here’s your equation to complete:

BMR = 66.5 +(13.5 × Weight in Kgs) + (5.003 × height in cm) – (6.755 × age in years)

Women, here’s your equation:

BMR = (65.51 + (9.563 × Weight in Kgs ) + (1.850 × Height in cm) – (4.64 × Age in Years )

Now we’ve got your BMR; let’s calculate your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) based on your daily activity.

The Total Daily Energy Expenditure Equation

Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure,(TDEE) is:

BMR × 1.2 (if you’re Sedentary/ do no exercise/ do desk job)

BMR × 1.375 (If you do a Light activity/ light exercise/ sports 1-3 time a week )

BMR × 1.55 ( If you do Moderate activity, or Sports 6-7 times a week)

BMR × 1.725 (If you’re very active, (do hard exercise every day/ exercise 2 times a day.)

BMR × 2.25 If you’re Extra Active (Hard exercise 2 times a day or practice for a marathon or triathlon

How to Create a Sustainable Caloric Deficit

Now that you know the amount of energy to support your life and daily activities, let’s create a sustainable caloric deficit that gets you a consistent weight loss.

When starting, maintain a below 20% calories deficit.

The truth:

Folks ignore maintaining a sustainable calorie deficit and create a bigger deficit that they can’t maintain. Then their approach flops and they start to think weight loss is unattainable.

Therefore, for instance, if your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) = 2500 calories, the best calories would be:

80% of 2500 calories = 2000 calories

If you maintain a 20% calories deficit and simultaneously adjust it according to your weight loss progress, you`re almost guaranteed to maintain weight loss.
But to maintain such a deficit, you’ll need to choose the source of your calories correctly and adjust your lifestyle.

The #3 Reason Why it is So Hard to Lose Weight
The Thought that there is a fit-all Diet for Weight loss

animantion showing how eating right

Diet is like a cheat code for weight loss.  Select it properly, and you can transform a dull, lifeless body into a body that generates power and vitality.

What’s surprising:

No one has a silver bullet diet to lose weight.

However, some foods are super calories-dense—so calories-laden that you eat them, you immediately start to get fat.

Double cheeseburgers are darn yummy. But if you find yourself still coming up with excuses not to change what you eat, it is time you ask yourself one disturbing question:

For how long do you want to fight the heightened taste bud and olfactory sense, start eating right, and get in shape?

 Because, to lose weight, you’ll need to consume fewer calories than you spend.

And dieting goes beyond only eating fewer calories.

It isn’t about counting calories per se, it is more about changing diet to eat more healthily instead of just eating less. It is more about identifying the useless calories you’re eating and adjusting to the correct habits.

Meaning, managing portion sizes and calories you take is essential.

But the problem with the notion of a diet is that it pre-purposes what you were eating before (Let’s call that your “regiment”) was normal.  When in the real sense, it isn’t. Going to diet implies that you`re deviating from your normal regiment.

That’s not easy by no means for four reasons:

  1. Hunger is hard to overcome
  2. Fats and sugar create dependency
  3. Most probably, you’ve never learned to cook and eat healthily
  4. And it requires quite a bit of extra effort, at least at first

But don’t get fooled, going on diet is the foolhardy measure. It is the surest way to lose weight.

And here is the foolproof strategy to approach diet:

It requires you to split your calories across the three macronutrients (Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat).

Splitting Diet Across Macro Nutrients: Why is it Important?

While weight loss is a caloric deficit, restricting calories alone isn’t just enough to put off that weight for a lifetime. That is only one piece of the puzzle.

To solve the other piece of the puzzle, let’s delve deeper into the macronutrients.

1 gram carbohydrate = 4 calories

1 gram protein = 4 calories

1 gram of fat = 9 calories

Here is a followup question that brings everything into perspective:

If one gram of protein and carbohydrates have the same calories, why is protein better in weight loss?

The answer is simple.

Your body burns about 20%-30% of calories in protein during digestion, thus, for every gram, you’ll have an average of 3 calories.


Looking for a way to lose weight consistently and put it off for the long term?

You need to infuse all the three macronutrients in your nutrient.

Not for the fun of it, mind you, but because it is critical and you need to take action to make it correct.

Why Split a Diet Accros All Macro Nutrient

  1. First, Protein in your diet promotes muscle repair, recovery, and growth. More importantly,  protein fires up the consumption of energy and increases satiety.
  2. Secondly, Carbohydrate fuels you during your exercise and replenishes your muscle glycogen. What’s essential is that carbohydrate is the ONLY source of energy to the brain and red blood cells. A no-carb diet cannot be a solution to how to lose weight consistently and keep it forever.
  3. Lastly, healthy Fat nourishes your body and support hormonal functions. And even more, fat is crucial for brain operation and maintaining cell structure.
So you have to fan the flame.
And avoid the pitfall of a no-carb diet, that nearly slow everyone trying to lose weight. A no-carb diet is just a short-term. It will fail over time.
Yes, you might lose some weight, but you’ll get it all back.

The #4 Reason Why is it So Hard to Lose Weight
Assuming all Exercises are Equally the same for Weight Loss

exercise is one way How to stay motivated to lose weight

Dieting isn’t the only path to weight loss.

In fact, with dieting, you might restrict calories until you reach a point where you can’t limit any more calories, but you haven`t reached your goal body weight. That’s where exercise comes handy.

Physical exercise is an excellent weight loss supplement. Because it has two things to do with weight loss:

  1. It increases your cardiac output
  2. And it enhances muscle`s ability to extract calories and make use of nutrients from your bloodstream

Though all exercises work when you stick to them, not all exercises are similar

Some exercises burn some serious calories, while others don’t. Some get you to fatigue quickly while others you can execute for long. Some help you burn calories even when sleeping while the other only burn calories when doing them.

So the million-dollar question is:

How do you exercise to lose weight?

Aerobic Exercise: Does it Burn Some Serious Calories?

animation of a person carring aout aerobic exercise
There is a lot out there about which exercise results in realistic weight loss.
But listen:
Any exercise burns calories. But aerobic exercise is the mother to weight loss. And there are plenty of hidden reasons, that unless you take a closer look, it is hard to reap maximally from your exercises.
So let`s start from the bases:

What's Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise is a workout you do while breathing normally. You don’t hold back your breath.

It is any type of cardiovascular conditioning. A state in which your respiratory system can supply oxygen to your body part, and in turn, improves your skeletal muscle’s ability to utilize oxygen.

Building a powerful aerobic system matters a ton when exercising to lose weight. Aerobic fitness present maximal mascular strength. And it is what nearly everyone gets it wrong.


Why Aerobic Exercise? (if You Want to Lose Weight)

There are plenty of reasons:

  • First, Aerobic exercise involves large muscles which extract significant amounts of calories from your body
  • Second, it is less intense exercise allowing time for your body to extract energy from stored fats in your body. Meaning you’ll lose weight in the form of fats.
  • More importantly, training your aerobic system boosts the number of mitochondria cells in your muscles in response to the increased demand for energy by your muscle cells. In turn, your large muscles will start to vascularize to ensure an efficient supply of oxygen and nutrient. (Only then are you free to start anaerobic exercises)
  • What’s more, you can do aerobic exercise for long without getting fatigued quickly

Anaerobic Exercise: How to lose Weight Even When At Rest

On the flip side, there is anaerobic exercise.

people lifting weight to answer why is it so hard to lose weight

It is a workout you do past your normal breathing rhythm because it is pretty intense.

The exercise is excellent in that it shreds fats even while you‘re at rest.

But there is one catch.

Anaerobic exercise isn’t for anyone beginning a weight loss program or starting any exercise program.

Why Anaerobic Exercise is Unsuitable for Beginners

  • First, anaerobic exercise engages small muscle, meaning the calories it burns during the exercise is too small to encourage people to keep going. (But when fully developed it burn calories even when not exercising. We‘ll talk about that in a few minutes.)
  • Secondly, the exercise’s primary source of energy is the contracting muscle. Meaning you`ll not be burning from the stored fats–you’ll not lose weight in the form of fat loss.
  • What`s more, the exercise is pretty intense for a beginner, and you can`t do it for long. Many people get exercise even before burning a considerable amount of calories.

That`s why you`ll hear a person saying, “I’ve been going to the gym, but I havenvt lost a pound.”

Here is what usually happens:

At the gym, most people exercise in an anaerobic state. They quickly get tired and go eating, thinking that they’ve burnt a considerable amount of calories.

In the real sense, they just got fatigued but burnt a few calories. So they end up with small or no-calorie deficit to allow them to lose weight.

But listen:

There is a way that will work for nearly everyone.

Start exclusively with aerobic exercise—preferably the one that you enjoy—for the first months to build a stable aerobic capacity.

Then add several anaerobic workouts later.

It frustrates seeing people working their ass off, sweating like a fish out of water, thinking that their undeniable hard effort is going to promote weight loss.

It is sad to see people performing at high intensity for prolonged durations, without realizing they are risking to inevitably lose their ability to burn fat as a primary fuel source. The human body can’t breakdown and convert stored fat to energy quickly enough to support the activity intensity above 70% maximum heart rate.

Fortunately, you now understand the principles that govern the exercise-weight loss world. You know how to reward yourself with a consistent weight loss from exercise.

Bonus Way to Lose Weight

Gift box showing bonus for why is it so hard to lose weight

Bonus 1: Boost Your NEAT

NEAT (Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) is anything that increases your energy expenditure, (burn more calories) but isn’t exercise in particular.

For example, playing with your kids, carrying a shopping bag rather than a trolley, dancing to music rather than listening passively, taking stairs rather than lifts, and walking to your work can boost your energy expenditure. Changing your daily habit so that you move more or force your body to work a little harder, subconsciously increase your body energy expenditure and thus promote a more significant calorie deficit.

And it is easy to think that these activities can’t bring any difference.

But even if your NEAT only increase the calorie deficit with 50-100 calories a day, that is still 350 -700 calories a week and brings you closer to your desired body weight.

It is the small daily habit that adds up, saving you the need for weight loss worry.

Why Is It So Hard to Lose Weight?

Everyone thinks it is about will power. Every weight loss commercial says how easy it is to lose weight.

But the reality is:

Losing weight and keeping it off for good is difficult. In fact, it is an obscenely rare freak situation.

It is like the society wants you to be fat. The moment you start dieting, you’re immediately at war with the entire food industry. It feels like fighting your nature.

But there are no shortcuts.

As insane as it may sounds, weight loss is a caloric deficit—nothing else.

Money, time,  current responsibility, past commitment—there are a gazillion obstacles standing in your way. The idea of dealing with all those things, of overcoming them, of finally getting into a position where you can get into a body shape that you always dream about—it seems nearly impossible. Not as distant as stars, perhaps, but it would certainly be like walking on the moon.

The good news?

While overcoming obstacles isn’t easy, it is possible.

Folks crash in their path to losing weight because they think that they can lose weight fast and quit.

The problem?

Long term weight loss doesn’t work that way. If you lose weight quickly and return back to your previous lifestyle, you’re guaranteed you’ll be fat again.

The truth is:

You can’t think your way out of crappy life. The only way is to construct a weight loss path that works. Bit by bit, you’ll become a different person, a better body, someone capable of crushing every challenge that stands before you.

Now it is Your Turn

Now I’d like to turn it over to you.

Why is weight loss so hard from your perspective?

Is it that many overlook the basics and pay more attention to miniatures?

Or weight loss is just a mystery, permanently incurable?

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below.

9 thoughts on “Why is it so Hard to Lose Weight? Painful Honesty About Weight Loss”

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