Can’t Lose Weight No Matter What? 5 Steps To Take Now

can't lose weight no matter what

We know what it’s like to feel like you can’t lose weight no matter what you do. To have tried seven different diets, including the ones that have worked for your friends, the ones that have cut out your favorite foods, and the ones that have asked you to give up carbohydrates altogether, yet, to have nothing to show for it.

Feeling like you can’t lose weight no matter what can be a suffocating, isolating, and hopeless place to find yourself in, but we’re here to assure you that you can lose weight, you just may need to reassess your attitude and approach to see the results you desire. 

Here are five steps to take now if you feel like you can’t lose weight no matter what. 


Step 1: Get clear about where you are right now.

If you’re feeling like you can’t lose weight no matter what, you need to make it a priority right now to honestly ask yourself the following question: 

Where are you right now in your sustainable weight loss journey?

One of the biggest mistakes we can make when pursuing a goal is not being honest (or aware) about where we are in the present moment because we so desperately long to be in the future already experiencing our goal.

But this is problematic because it prevents the top priorities from coming to the surface when it comes to aligning the appropriate action steps toward goal attainment.

Consider this: if you and I have a weight-loss goal of 50 pounds and I’ve yet to lose a single pound and you have already lost 35 pounds, do you think our approaches should be the same?

Absolutely not.

We’re at two completely different points in our journey and this is reflected in our self-talk, thought patterns, belief systems, and habits.

Learning how to build a foundation of healthy eating habits should be my first priority before even focusing on weight loss where your current priority may be working to identify and overcome your fear of sustained success or another limiting belief. 

Take the time to conduct an honest audit of your current position on your sustainable weight-loss journey:

  1. What does your self-talk sound like?
  2. How would you describe your current mindset and outlook toward weight loss?
  3. What productive and counterproductive habits are in place?
  4. What emotions do you need to better manage to promote consistency in your actions?
  5. Who’s in your corner? Do you have a Community or support network in place?

Step 2: Identify what you’re really seeking when you can’t lose weight no matter what

(hint: it’s more than a lower number on the scale)

You may want to lose weight, but I guarantee you it’s not your primary reason for working so hard to see a lower number on the scale.

We’re emotional beings and all goal pursuits we embark on can be distilled down to the same thing: a feeling (or collection of feelings) that we want to pursue.

I’ve asked thousands of women “what do you really want to feel” after pushing their weight-centric goal aside and the most common responses I hear include the following adjectives:

  • Confident
  • In control
  • At peace
  • Happy
  • Strong
  • Energetic

Yes, you may have a desire to lose weight, but behind that scale-based goal is an emotional state you’re seeking to experience because it’s not currently present. When you get clear on exactly what emotions you’re seeking you can better align your actions and accelerate your path to get there. 

For more information on helping you bring clarity to the feelings you’re desired that are masked behind a scale-based goal, check out our recent article, “What Is Happy Weight and How Much Weight Is Healthy To Lose In A Month.”

Step 3: Identify what has worked in the past and double down on it.

Although you may feel like you currently can’t lose weight no matter what, you’ve likely lost weight in the past with relative success.

So, ask yourself: what worked and went well during your past successful efforts?

I’d bet there are a handful of thoughts, habits, and steps you took that directly contributed to your success. 

For instance, did you commit to a minimum of three workouts per week, two meal prep sessions per week, or plan your day ahead of time the night before? Or, perhaps, you surrounded yourself with like-minded people chasing a similar goal, asked for help, or sought a coach to guide and support you on your journey.

Success leaves clues.

Reflect on your past success and aim to extract at least three impactful actions or items present that contributed to success the last time you lost weight and rededicate your focus there. 

Pro Tip: Identify the one habit, that if you removed all other habits or had the worst of days (or weeks) and this habit still got done, you’d still move one percent closer to your goal. This is known as a keystone habit.

A keystone habit is a singular action that has a significant impact on the desired outcome and is absolutely essential to helping to achieve that outcome. Without this particular habit, you wouldn’t achieve your desired outcome. It’s the one habit that is responsible for generating the most progress toward a goal.

Step 4: Identify what did NOT work in the past.

Similar to understanding what did work well during past successful diets, it’s important you understand what did not work well so you can avoid making the same mistake twice. 

Remember: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

What did not work well the last time you attempted to lose weight? Consider a few of these common examples:

  • Tried to follow a restrictive meal plan
  • Attempted to remove an entire food group or severely limit a macronutrient
  • Took on an unsustainable approach to exercise (specifically cardio)
  • You didn’t enjoy eating the way a diet app, coach, or plan asked you to
  • Your approach felt short-term from day one
  • Your approach wasn’t unique to you
  • The diet was overly complex with too many food rules

To lose weight, you must build a foundation of healthy eating habits that are rooted in individualization, simplicity, and moderation because this collectively fosters sustainability. 

If this is something you need to revisit and learn how to do, we break it down in detail in “The Significant Sustainable Weight-Loss Formula.” Click here to open a new tab and read next. 

Step 5: When you can’t lose weight no matter what, trust yourself and start small.

If you’ve followed the action steps I’ve shared thus far in order, you’re now clear about the following:

  • Where you are now
  • What feelings you’re specifically chasing
  • What’s worked well in the past
  • What has not worked well

Next up: trust yourself.

You know what to do.

From a young age, you were taught a basic understanding of the difference between healthy food choices and not-so-healthy food choices, as well as the difference between moderation and what we like to call “eating like an asshole.

Yes, you may benefit from and feel the need for further education, added accountability, and coaching in some form, but the truth is you know what to do and can make fantastic progress by trusting that.

To make this process easier, start small.

I mean incredibly small.

By focusing on a single action step or habit, such as committing to not hitting the snooze button when your alarm goes off, drinking 20 ounces of water upon waking, or mastering a nutritious and filling breakfast you’ll quickly begin to build positive momentum, which will fuel consistency. 

Furthermore, you’ll build confidence in yourself, because you’ll begin to follow through on action steps you told yourself you would (because they’re super tiny and digestible!). This confidence will further fuel consistency, and given the byproduct will be a trend toward more positive feelings, you’ll feel confident (and desire to) focusing on adding another tiny action step in due time.

Consider one of the following action steps to commit to that will directly impact how you feel:

  • Drinking 20 ounces of water upon waking
  • Eating four handfuls of vegetables per day
  • Reading 10 pages of a non-fiction book daily
  • Saying one kind thing about yourself when you look in the mirror while preparing to brush your teeth
  • Meditate or practice box breathing for one minute each morning*
  • Write down a weight-loss affirmation

*Box breathing is a breathing technique designed to slow your breathing and promote a deep state of relaxation, calm, and clarity. It can heighten alertness, mitigate stress, and improve your mood in as little as a minute. This is something I include multiple times throughout my day. 

Each of these action steps will positively contribute to the feelings you’re aspiring to feel on a regular basis and also happen to be in alignment with promoting improved health and you feeling your best.

Pick one and take action!

Your Next Steps

Feeling like you can’t lose weight no matter what isn’t an end state. It’s a temporary feeling quickly alleviated by taking action.

This article detailed five steps to take if you feel like you can’t lose weight no matter what. Take the time to implement them and we guarantee you’ll start to not only lose weight, but most importantly, feel better and see sustainable success.

Sustainable weight loss is a skill, or, rather a collection of many learnable skills. When you’re ready to gain further proficiency – and eventual mastery – in these skills, then The 5% Fundamentals Course and Community is the perfect next step for you.

the five percent fundamental program

The 5% Fundamentals Program is a three-month introductory crash course experience to my signature Significant Sustainable Weight-Loss Formula that focuses on providing you with the why behind essential pre, during, and post-diet changes to help guarantee sustainable weight loss. 

This program and coaching experience will teach you the most important information and strategies you need to build a foundation of healthy eating habits that empower you to best prepare for a successful diet, to execute a successful diet that delivers significant weight loss while feeling easy (yes, you read that right), and to maintain your hard-earned results without sacrificing your social life. 

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Paul Salter

Paul Salter is a Registered Dietitian and Founder of The 5% Way. Since 2013, Paul has worked one-on-one with nearly 1,500 men and women, helping them to collectively lose tens of thousands of pounds of body fat and keep it off for good. He’s also published nearly 1,000 articles, two books, and 175 podcast episodes (and counting) on all things related to our five core elements of sustainable weight loss.

The Maintain My Weight Loss After A Diet Blueprint

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