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Fat Loss, General Health

Why is it Such a Struggle to Lose Weight?

By Joe Talarico on May 6, 2024 9:00:00 AM
6 Minutes Reading Time


There are a host of factors that can play into why it may feel like a struggle to lose weight. Maybe you feel like you’ve tried everything and it hasn’t worked. What I’d like to go through today are some reasons you may feel your success is hindered, and how to overcome them.


I think the most important thing to note is that every person’s body is different. Some of us can eat a TON of calories and never gain weight, while the rest of us feel like they stare at a brownie and gain 10 pounds. Knowing what body type you have allows you to gain perspective on what's realistic and how to approach your goals when losing weight.

For example, while yes, it may be easier for your skinny friend to seemingly eat all the food in the world and never gain weight, those same people tend to struggle to put on muscle mass and vice versa. Those who might put on size and strength easily, may find it harder to cut the weight. Just remember the grass will always seem greener if you are comparing yourself to people who have a completely different body than yours. Instead, if anything, find someone who has your general height, weight, and physique. While you can’t mimic exactly what they did, it will definitely take you a lot farther to learn what they needed to do to lose weight, as their journey will most likely be the most similar to yours.

Extreme vs Moderation

With individual variance, comes knowing your personality. I find generally people are the all or nothing approach, or can work in moderation. It’s vital you understand which you are because it will help determine how to approach your diet. For example, I don’t have addictive tendencies and do really well with moderation. Knowing that, I find I can track calories and understand my “caloric budget” which allows me to add in more savory foods and desserts so long as I hit my protein and macro intake. My colleague who is more all or nothing, absolutely hates that method. They tell me tracking macros and trying to incorporate snacks in moderation just results in them binging on that food. They simply need to just keep snacks and sweets completely away.

This can help determine the success of your diet. If you find you are like me, then why deprive yourself of still enjoying the more processed foods you love if you know you can control your appetite? If you need more defined lines, why force yourself to be tempted because someone said you had to track?


The above two points lead into sustainability. One of the biggest things I tell my clients when starting their journey is do what you can see yourself doing 6 months from now. If your goal is to be 20 pounds lighter and KEEP it off, it’s going to require you to live a different lifestyle that allows you to stay 20 pounds lighter. You can’t expect to drop all the weight and go back to the way things were before. It’s a lifestyle change. If you don’t have a reason beyond just losing weight when starting your fitness journey, you risk running into a host of mental health and self-image issues. Incorporating one habit at a time makes the shift easier.

Resistance Training

Most people think dieting, and assume they can just cardio their way to leanness. In theory, yes. It burns more calories per minute than lifting, however looking good is so much more than just dropping weight. I am guessing you don’t want to just be skinny, but look toned and muscular. That requires you to have muscle underneath the fat that you want to shed. The only way to get that muscle is by incorporating strength training into your routine. The best part is, it takes less time than you think. Just 2-3 days a week of resistance training will add on the muscle you want so that you are beach ready, or looking amazing at your wedding.

Cardio Slows Your Metabolism

The other point to note with doing exclusively cardio is your body is built for survival. If you are in a deficit of calories, and doing crazy amounts of cardio, your body doesn’t know you want to look good. It just knows you need to survive and right now aren’t providing enough calories to keep weight on. As a result, your body gets MORE efficient and burns LESS calories over time with each cardio session. Not only that, it’ll prioritize burning muscle over fat. Fat is an energy source. Your body doesn’t want to burn it off if it doesn’t have to. Muscle on the other hand is calorically expensive. Unless you are lifting 2-3 times a week and giving it a reason to stay on, your body prefers to burn muscle over fat when in a deficit.

Behavior Changes

Focus on building habits over checking the scale. By focusing on incorporating new habits each week or month, you are creating a lifestyle you can slowly adapt to over time versus just wanting to shed pounds off the scale. Also keep in mind, if you're new to lifting the scale may not move. This is because you are in this optimal space where you are burning fat and growing muscle at the same time.

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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