Weight Loss Science

7 Reasons Ladies Struggle To Lose Weight (and what to do about it!)

In Weight Loss by Rachel Smith

Being gym owners, we see people attending the gym all the time without getting results.  Some are dedicated to their training and get minor results (if any), and some get discouraged after a short time and discontinue coming because they haven’t seen any definite results.  If only they would ask us for help, we could tell them some of these things which have had incredible results with the ones that have taken on our 21 day challenge!

Below are 7 common reasons that people fail to lose weight (and what you can do about it!)

1. Doing the wrong type of exercise

If you are doing 7x 1 hour walks per week and not losing weight, or even if you are slogging out 7x 1 hour jogs on the treadmill per week, you are doing the wrong type of exercise to lose weight.  Strength training alone also isn’t the best type of exercise for weight loss.  The NUMBER ONE form of exercise for healthy weight loss, backed by science, is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).  You want to do large exercises that bring up the heart rate and make you sweat and breathe fast.  Give yourself a short rest between exercises and start back up again!  It doesn’t take a lot of volume of exercise with this type of training to get great results – only 30-45 minutes 3-5x weekly is fine!  With these exercises it is all about the personal effort and exertion that goes into the work, rather than specific results.  As long as you are working hard, you will get great results!

2.  Doing the wrong amount of exercise

If you are under or over exercising, you will not continue to see results from your training.  There IS a sweet spot and more is not always better!  Too much and your body will try to hold onto energy to store for the exercise it expects you to be doing the next day so it will gain weight (also too much exercise increases inflammation and decreases recovery time which will make you gain weight).  Conversely, without enough exercise your body’s hormones will not function optimally to keep you lean and ready to be active.  Your blood sugar levels will fluctuate due to lack of energy expenditure, leading to weight gain and inflammation.
Aim for 3-5x weekly, 30-45 minute workouts (depending on intensity but HIIT is the most effective form of exercise!)

3. Eating the wrong foods (and drinking the wrong drinks)

Don’t follow the food pyramid – you want to be eating meals with a healthy mix of protein, fat, vegetables and starchy carbohydrates.  Forget the low fat fads, and don’t touch the hydrogenated vegetable oils – science shows that saturated fats are indeed healthy for your body when they come from a natural, healthy source.  That means Butter, Coconut oil, Olive oil and Animal fats are IN, and margarine and canola oil are OUT!
The same goes for artificial sweeteners (950 etc).  Ditch them, along with artificial flavour enhancers (MSG – 621) and preservatives (221 and related numbers).  Stevia (960) is OK!
Of course, don’t eat or drink more than 1/2 teaspoon of sugar at a time.

AND…. try going off wheat/gluten!  Wheat is a food that a lot of people don’t deal with well medically.  It causes blood sugar and insulin spikes and causes inflammation in a lot of people.  If you haven’t tried a wheat elimination and are confused as to why you are unable to lose weight, you absolutely have to try it!

4. Health condition

Thyroid inactivity, poor sleep, infections, digestive troubles and high stress levels can all be health conditions which can make it difficult to lose weight.  Frequently these things are contributed to by high levels of inflammation.  Wheat/gluten consumption is often a contributing factor to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which can be a cause of hypothyroidism, or another common dietary inflammatory food is dairy.  If you suspect that you have a dairy intolerance you should either get yourself medically tested or trial a dairy elimination for at least 21 days.  Dairy issues can stem from two main areas: either a lactose (sugar) intolerance or casein (protein) antibodies.  If your problem is lactose you should be OK with butter, yoghurt and hard cheeses.  If it is casein the only dairy you should consume is ghee, which is clarified butter (pure butterfat).

5.  Medications

Some medications cause weight gain and while many of those are necessary, many are also unnecessary to take in the long term.  Some of them become unnecessary when the other dietary factors that are causing the problem are addressed.  While there isn’t necessarily a lot that can be done about taking medications, some things can help.  For example, if depressed, exercise has an antidepressant effect, as can removing gluten/casein from the diet if those are a causative factor in your individual case.
Don’t go off medications without consulting your doctor!

6. Lack of sleep

Without enough sleep your body will not function optimally, slowing down your metabolism and making your hormones go haywire.  Lack of volume and quality of sleep is very stressful on the body, causing increased inflammation, and as a result, weight gain.  Make a date with your bed at the same time each night and stick to it!

7. No need to lose weight

Just in case you think you need to lose weight but don’t, it’s worth taking body fat percentage figures and seeing how you measure up in terms of health.  The best health measure is the Waist to Hip ratio, followed by body fat percentage, and then the Body Mass Index.  Be critical with the results that you get from these measures and if you aren’t sure of the best way to interpret them, ask a friend or your doctor!

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About the Author

Rachel Smith


Rachel completed her Bachelor of Physiotherapy from the University of South Australia in 2006 and left private practise to open BodySmith Fitness with her husband, Matt Smith, in 2014. Rachel was awarded her Black Belt and Diploma from the Japan Karate Association in 2012. Rachel spent 6 years in competitive Olympic Weightlifting and in 2006 was ranked 7th in Australia in her class. Rachel spent 10 years in Gymnastics growing up, which set her up to springboard into her other pursuits. 😉 Rachel has extensively researched Health and Nutrition and this is her passion; to help people in their Fitness journey.