top of page

20 Reasons Diet & Exercise Can Stop Working

20 Reasons Diet & Exercise can Stop Working

Ways to View This Blog:

1. Video 2. TL;DR 3. Read On...

As you get older, losing weight can get more difficult. The things you used to do to stay in shape don’t have the same impact as before. If anything, you may just feel more sore and banged up when you exercise.

Meanwhile, the foods you could eat when you were younger now affect you in ways they never did before. Weight gain seems to be an inevitable consequence of having your favorite meals and yummy treats — even if you ARE careful about what you eat most of the time.

It’s almost like diet and exercise don’t even work for you anymore.

Is that what’s happening, or is there something else going on?

What’s REALLY Going On?

You’ll be surprised to see that almost ALL the reasons diet and exercise stop working still come back to diet and exercise in the end. In other words, the solution is almost NEVER something unrelated to either how you eat (diet), how you move (exercise), or both.

For example…

The first time I ever started exercising, I stuck with it for a good 2-3 months and saw little to no change in my body. It was frustrating, to say the least.

I didn’t abandon the journey completely, but I did start looking for alternative answers.

I carried a bag to work every day with a dozen different powders, pills, and protein shakes to see if supplements helped. (They didn’t.)

I also got super into the science of “body types” and thought maybe there was something “wrong” with my body that I had to account for if I wanted results. (There wasn’t.)

No matter what I tried, nothing seemed to move the needle in a significant way until I came to this realization:

Diet and exercise ALWAYS work if you do it right — I was just making all kinds of mistakes and was completely unaware of it.

Where We All Go Wrong

Unless you have an actual disease or condition that requires medical attention (in which case, please consult a real doctor), the problem isn’t your age, hormones, genetics, or anything that requires some science-y “jumpstart” to get the effects of diet and exercise.

Don’t get me wrong, those things can and do complicate matters, but there’s something bigger at play.

And look — I get it — no one wants to spend months (or even years) working on diet and exercise only for the end result to be that you look and feel exactly the same (or worse!) as when you first started.

If you put in the work, you SHOULD get the reward!

If that’s not happening — if it feels like diet and exercise really aren’t getting the job done for you — the real problem is likely a combination of at least a couple things on this list…

1. You’re eating too much.

For weight loss specifically, this is the ONLY reason you wouldn’t get results.

There are lots of things that contribute to overeating — and the practical solution is almost never to simply “eat less” — but it’s a crucial starting point to understand that if you aren’t losing weight, all roads lead back to this.

2. You DON’T eat enough.

This sounds like the opposite of what I said above, but it’s not.

If you don’t eat big enough meals, or don’t eat often enough, it makes you more likely to binge, snack, or just subconsciously overdo it at another time. In other words, it’s a common root source of overeating.

3. You don’t eat enough protein.

You may not realize how much protein you SHOULD eat (more on that here). Or you might not know what good sources of protein are (e.g. it’s NOT peanut butter or any type of nut, seed, or bean).

Either way, this means you likely aren’t getting filled up (ultimately causing you to overeat). Plus, the lack of protein makes weight loss less healthy, so you may actually look and feel worse in the end regardless.

4. You don’t eat enough veggies.

Most weight loss diets emphasize NOT eating certain foods, but it’s likely you already aren’t getting enough nutrients to feel your best (and reach your goals). Eating even less food can mean even less nutrients, making matters worse.

Eating more veggies, on the other hand, helps your body function how you want it to more than you could possibly understand until you’ve experienced it (and start to see your goals realized).

5. You eat too many highly-processed foods.

Besides the health risks associated with a diet of highly-processed foods, it’s also a big problem when cutting calories to lose weight.

The more processed a food is, the less filling it is, the more calories it tends to have (which means you have to eat even less of something that’s already not filling), and the more likely you are to hate life and sabotage your results — even subconsciously.

6. You don’t sleep enough.

Less than 7-9 hours of sleep increases your risk of chronic disease, it makes you eat more calories, and it causes you to lose a lot LESS fat and a lot MORE muscle and bone mass (i.e. you’ll look and feel worse even if you lose weight).

If you think you can get by on less sleep, it’s much more likely that you’ve grown accustomed to being sleep deprived and don’t realize how different your life could be if you got more (but it still has to be high-quality sleep).

7. Your diet & exercise routines aren’t compatible.

If you ONLY work on diet, or ONLY exercise, you may not get results at all, or it’ll be less healthy (so you don’t look or feel as good) and short-lived (so you can continue to work hard but the results stop coming).

But even if you work on both, if they aren’t designed to work TOGETHER toward the same goal, you still may not get the results you want no matter how much effort you put into it.

8. Your program isn’t realistic for your lifestyle.

It doesn’t matter how “perfect” a program is or how well it worked for someone else. If it isn’t realistic for you to be consistent with it, it won’t work.

Of course, you have to be honest about what’s realistic (e.g. a working mom of 3 kids who hates exercise shouldn’t do daily, hour-long workouts). It WILL take some small changes to get the results you want, but it’s NOT necessary, or effective, to become something you’re not.

9. You change programs too often.

Even if you consistently work on diet and exercise all the time, if it’s constantly a new diet, a new workout program, a new trainer or coach, or even just a new strategy… the most likely outcome is that you never look or feel any better than you do now.

Actual healthy habits for eating better and being more active aren’t things you do for a couple weeks — or even a couple months. It’s the same principles applied consistently for the rest of your life.

10. You do the same thing all the time.

Even though you DO have to work on the same principles forever, you can’t literally do the exact same workouts and have the exact same meals forever.

The habits you’re building come in steps — and there will always be another step to take. If you don’t know how to challenge yourself further or adapt when you hit a plateau, you’ll be stuck on the same step and should NOT expect change.

(This is one of the main ways we can help you, by the way. If you never want to get “stuck” again, apply for our coaching here.)

11. You don’t track enough.

Not tracking what you eat or how you exercise is a common and BIG mistake.

We have a whole blog on what to track if you want to lose weight (hint: it doesn’t require counting calories or weighing food). But whatever you do track, keep up with it even when you don’t want to (like when you overeat on the weekends) or you run the risk of sabotaging yourself with no way to truly know how.

12. You don’t do strength training.

Any exercise is good exercise, but it’s not all effective for the reasons you want. Strength exercise is what you should prioritize because it can check a lot of boxes in a short workout just a couple times a week.

The mistake is to only do something that’s more of a one-trick pony. For example, jogging (or really any type of cardio) is good for you, but it can become counter-productive (getting you hurt or causing you to lose healthy muscle tissue) if you do it WITHOUT strength training.

13. You don’t lift heavy enough.

By “heavy,” I don’t mean you have to lift hundreds of pounds. You just need to lift however much weight is challenging enough to actually stimulate change in your body (unless you don’t want to change, obviously).

For example, you can stop at 10 squats if you feel like you could only do 12, but if you stop at 10 squats and you could have done 20… use more weight next time. (It won’t make you big and bulky, as you can read about here.)

14. You push yourself too hard in every workout.

A common mistake is thinking that the tougher the workout, the more effective it is. Not only is that wrong, it can be the opposite.

Your body needs to recover from exercise to get results (to look & feel BETTER).

If you always take your body to the limits, it may only be able to recover to its baseline (to look & feel the SAME), or it may not be able to fully recover and will slowly decline (to look & feel WORSE).

15. You choose the wrong lifts.

Both men and women tend to hyper-focus on certain areas of the body (chest, booty, abs, etc.) which leads to inefficient workouts.

If your life isn’t centered around exercise — if you have kids, you’re busy, and just want a “normal” life — you need to spend your limited exercise time focusing on best-bang-for-your-buck exercises that hit your full body as efficiently as possible.

16. Your weekends throw everything off track.

Most people eat more and move less Friday through Sunday. It’s not impossible to have extra freedom on weekends and still lose weight, but it’s VERY easy to sabotage 4 days of even the most strict routine with 3 days of unbridled indulgence.

The key is to find the balance that gives you the freedom you want while still helping you reach your goals (see how I lost weight without dieting on the weekends).

17. You aren’t active enough.

Even if you work out regularly, if that’s the only thing you do to stay active, you’ll have a much more difficult time reaching your goals.

Being inactive most of the day will make you disproportionately hungry while forcing you to eat less at the same time. In other words, even if you eat pretty well, weight loss will either be impossible or you’ll feel awful doing it.

18. Your kitchen is set up for failure.

Take a look at your fridge, pantry, cupboards, etc. If the foods you have on hand don’t give you the nutrients you need to actually feel better and have more energy, it’ll be hard to consistently make good choices.

That doesn’t mean you need some complicated meal planning system, either. You can make slightly better decisions on a lot of those items without taking any extra time at all. (Especially if you have simple strategies for eating more balanced meals, which we can teach you. Apply for our coaching here.)

19. You take advice from the wrong people.

Whether it’s well-meaning friends on facebook…

Super fit athletes, celebrities, or models…

Or even young personal trainers and coaches who LOVE diet & exercise and don’t have kids or much “adulting” experience…

Any specific plan they tell you to follow, if they haven’t spent time asking you questions about your exercise history, injury history, food preferences, lifestyle, or specific goals and the things you struggle with to reach those goals…

Even if it’s a “good” plan, it likely won’t be good for YOU.

20. You’re doing it on your own.

Diet & exercise always work. But you have to know what you’re doing or it WILL get to a point where the specific things that DID work just don’t work anymore.

The only way to know what you’re doing is either by trying and failing for years, hoping you eventually get it right…

Or you get help from someone like us who will guarantee your results — even if you feel like diet and exercise DON’T work for you anymore. Apply for our coaching here.


All 20 of the reasons diet & exercise can stop working boil down to…

1. Overeating (you just don’t realize it)

2. Lack of nutrients (aka imbalanced meals)

3. Lack of strength training (or not doing it well)

4. An inactive lifestyle (even if you do work out)

…plus a lack of realistic strategies that support those 4 things.

The truth is, diet & exercise ALWAYS work IF those strategies are in place. We guarantee it (or your money back). Apply for our coaching here.


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Category
Follow Us
  • Facebook - Black Circle
  • Instagram - Black Circle
bottom of page