5 Reasons Why You Can Lose Weight But Not Keep It Off (and how to make your next diet your last diet)

Let’s take a look at the Five most common reasons why 95% of people who lose weight can’t keep it off.  Then I’ll give you a simple little formula to use, so that next time you lose weight it stays off.

Do Any Diets Work

Do Any Diets Work?

Firstly, congratulations are in order because you’ve nailed the hard part.
You know how to lose weight!

Whatever you’ve been doing to lose the weight, it’s working. You keep losing weight after all.

And don’t be fooled into thinking that you’re a failure for putting weight back on. The very fact that 19 out of every twenty people who lose weight, put it back on indicates our dieting culture is at fault, not the dieters.

But did you know that people who lose significant weight and then regain it, so called Yo-Yo dieting are at higher risk of Coronary Heart Disease, high blood pressure, type two diabetes and obviously further long term weight gain?

So it’s imperative that we master the other half of the weight loss puzzle;

Keeping it off!

Maybe if we approached dieting in a different way we would see better success rates.

The 5 Reasons You Regain Weight After Losing It

 Reason One; You Don’t Have A Specific Diet Goal, Or A Plan To Achieve It.

By far the biggest reason for regaining the weight you’ve lost is, not having a specific goal, and a plan to reach that goal.

For instance:-


Do you know your ideal healthy weight? This is the weight where you will statistically be your healthiest.

It’s the weight you should be aiming to get down to. (Find your ideal healthy weight by downloading my Ideal weight chart here)

Do you know how long it will take to reach that weight?

The average weight loss is (1lb – 2lbs per week) or (0.5kg – 1kg).

(subtract your ideal weight in pounds from your present weight in pounds and that will be the number of weeks to reach your goal weight when losing 1lb per week. Divide that by 2 to get the number of weeks it will take when losing 2lbs per week).

See The Future before You Start

Having a realistic idea of how long it will take can help prepare your mind and set the right expectations so you don’t lose heart.

Can you visualise a future when you’ve reached your goal weight?
What do you eat?
What are your activity levels?
Who do you mix with?
How do you spend your leisure time?
How much alcohol do you drink?

The fact is, these things need considering and planning for. Because if you do the same things after your next diet that you’ve always done, you’ll get the same results you’ve always got.

Reason Two; You Choose The Wrong Diet

You Choose The Wrong Diet

I conducted a survey a few years back of my readers and coaching clients, asking them about the success rates they’d had on past diets. Surprisingly, almost everyone had lost weight on every diet they had been on.
The problem was most of those diets only lasted a short time, ranging from a few days to a couple of months. Only a handful lasted up to six months.

The Crash Diet

A crash diet, where you lose a lot of weight very quickly (more than 3lbs/1.5kg a week) is not relying on fat loss for its results. What’s happening is the calorie restriction is so great that your muscles very quickly become depleted of energy (glycogen).

Burning Carbs

For every 100g of glycogen stored in the muscles up to 400g of water are stored with it. So if you burn off 100g of glycogen (400 Calories). You could be 500g lighter including the water, (that’s over 1lb). Note, you haven’t lost any fat yet.

The problem is; evolution has programmed us to replace those glycogen stores as soon as we eat, this is where cravings come from. These carbs are the essential energy we need for Fight or Flight, and there’s no way around that.

So after burning off 100g carbs, the next 100g of carbs you eat goes straight to your muscles and liver, along with its accompanying 400g of water. 

You’re back to square one!

That’s assuming you can limit your self induced craving for carbs to 100g.

There’s also a double whammy, in that, when glycogen stores are depleted, you feel like you have no energy. So you’re less inclined to be active, resulting in less calories burned each day.

Your Metabolic Rate

Now your daily metabolic expenditure is reduced. 

And it gets worse, if this lack of activity continues your muscles will begin to waste. 

Use it or lose it!

Lowering your base metabolic rate (you now need less calories per day than you used to) and are more likely to gain weight in the future.

Burning Fat

Contrast this with burning off 100g of fat (900 Calories), you’re only 100g lighter, but you have no evolutionary cravings to replace it. 

It’s gone forever, unless you overeat in general or eat too much of the types of food your liver can’t handle, and has to store as fat.

A realistic amount of fat to lose in a week is 1 – 2 lbs or 0.5 – 1kg, that’s 3500 – 7000 Calories.

The Yo Yo Diet

Knowing this, it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where;

You begin a crash diet on Monday. 

By Friday night you’ve lost 3lbs. The problem is you’re exhausted after working all week with no energy and now you’re craving carbs.

Around 7pm, 2 hours after having your salad and 3rd protein shake of the day, your resolve finally cracks.

You snapped at your friend on the phone, where normally you would have been diplomatic and bitten your tongue.

Feeling sorry for yourself you order the deep pan pizza you’ve been craving all week and open a bottle of wine.

In the morning you get weighed, your 4lbs heavier than yesterday a pound more than when you started. Your diet’s finished. 

What’s the point! You call your friend to make up and arrange a night out on the town.
You promise yourself you’ll start that diet again next month.

Reason Three; You Have Unrealistic Expectations


As we can see from the above example, if your expectations are unrealistic for what can be achieved on a diet, you’ll soon give up, no matter how much willpower you begin with.

By having a specific goal and a realistic plan you will be able to choose the diet that meets your expectations.

Reason Four; You Don’t Realise The Importance Of Exercise.

Regular daily exercise and activity are essential to achieving the permanent weight loss that so many of us desire. Not merely for its calorie burning properties, but for its many other  benefits. 

The Benefits Of Daily Exercise

The Benefits Of Daily Exercise

It improves circulation, aids digestion, reduces anxiety and depression, and it helps prevent all the diseases we know are related to being overweight. Exercise helps maintain our lean body mass (muscles and bones) that in turn maintains our metabolic rate and our ability to burn calories.

Above all, regular daily exercise gives us a feeling of well-being, this gives us energy and the mental fortitude to cope with the challenges we will inevitably face on our weight loss journey.

We know that choosing the right diet will have an effect on our chances of success in losing weight and keeping it off. 

Likewise, doing the right kind and amount of exercise will do the same.

So what is the right kind of exercise to lose weight?

I’ve got a whole article on exercise for weight loss coming soon (all the what to do and how to do it)

But for now, here’s the most important thing you need to know.

You need to exercise daily, for the reasons mentioned above.

The type of exercise you need to do is; Cardiovascular or CV, sometimes called Aerobic or Endurance Exercise.

The Exercise Police

You’ll hear a lot of controversy about this subject, people saying CV is no good and you need to do strength training (weights). Or High Intensity Intervals (HIT). Please don’t believe this hype, these people usually have something to sell, a program or supplement.

There’s not much money to be made if the best thing you can do at this stage is get out for a brisk walk every day, is there?

I’m not saying that resistance training and intervals aren’t valid forms of exercise, they are and they can contribute to weight loss, but only as a compliment to your aerobic exercise, not instead of. Now they would only serve as a distraction until a daily routine of 30 – 60 minutes of aerobic exercise is established.

When it really comes down to making a choice; The best exercise for weight loss and health is The Exercise You Do. Not the exercise you read about.

And the best time to start is NOW!

Reason Five. The Last Reason You Regain The Weight You’ve Lost Is: Your Environment.

Environment, that’s places, and people.


The Reason You Regain The Weight They’ve Lost Is: Your Environment.

If you live in an inner city high-rise with restricted access to green spaces, it’s going to be harder to get out and enjoy your daily walk.

If healthy fresh produce isn’t available locally, it’s going to be difficult to get the healthy high fibre diet needed to have long term maintenance of your weight loss.

If you commute two hours each way to work, finding time to acquire and prepare real nutritious food is going to be challenging.


If you socialise with your friends in a hiking group, weight loss is going to be easier than if you only meet your friends in the pub.

Having a partner who only eats take out meals will make it harder for you to make the best food choices to meet your goal.

While none of these things should be show stoppers, it’s essential that you have a plan to make the best use of your environment and try to associate with people who will support you in your goal and distance those who would drain your resolve or sabotage your efforts.


Losing weight isn’t your problem. It never was. 

All diets work, and it’s your willingness to shoot for the long term instead of opting for the quick fix that will determine your ultimate success.

You can do it, I’ll even help you (see COACHING in the menu above).

Below is your step by step formula to weight loss success:

  1. Set your goal and make a plan, include your ideal weight;
    Visualise yourself at that weight.
    What do slim, healthy people like you eat? What exercise do they do? What do they do if they have a bad day?
  1. Establish eating that way and doing that exercise before you go on a diet to lose weight.
    This will be your Maintenance Plan
  2. Now choose your weight loss diet, be realistic about how long you can stay on it (2 weeks, 4 weeks etc.)
  3. Diet for the planned time while maintaining your exercise then return to your Maintenance Plan for 2 – 4 weeks.
  4. Repeat steps 3. and 4. until you reach your ideal weight.


 Will you get straight back on the weight loss horse?

It can take time to master your environment and get the right supportive people around you, in that time you’ll inevitably have slip ups, bad days. 

Accept them as part of your journey, they don’t mean you failed.
In step 1. plan how you will deal with the scales going the wrong way once in a while. Will you get straight back on the horse?

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