7 Signs You'll Fail at Weight Loss


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  44 comments   :  69,718 Views

That headline got your attention, didn't it? Not to worry, SparkPeople hasn't changed our attitude about healthy living and weight loss. But what we have done, for the first time ever, is compile and publish the very best advice, tips and tricks from our "Success Stories"--more than 100 members who've lost weight and kept it off using SparkPeople.com to accomplish their goals. These members know that how you start to lose weight is the most important indicator of long-term weight loss. They shared their struggles and successes so that you can learn from their experiences and remove the guesswork from weight loss.

We compared their success against people who gave up on weight loss within the first two weeks. And you know what? We found quite a few red flags that determined--from Day 1--whether someone would succeed or fail.

Here are our top 7 signs that you'll give up on weight loss--and how to reverse your fate if you have any of these demotivating habits.

1. You think of this as a "diet." Diets don’t work. You want to lose weight for the short-term but never think about maintenance, so you never bother changing the habits that led to your weight gain in the first place. The weight slowly (or quickly) creeps back on as you revert to old habits.

2. You're not motivated. Give me a reason--any reason--why you want to lose weight. People who have a goal in mind, who have a reason or a motivation to lose weight, are more likely to actually lose weight.

3. You're skipping breakfast. There's a reason why it's called the most important meal of the day. And if your idea of weight loss involved skipping meals, especially this one, you're more likely to fail.

4. You're skimping on sleep. Lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain, carbohydrate cravings, and all-around crankiness. If you're not getting enough sleep, it's harder to find the energy to exercise and eat right, and you fall back into old, unhealthy habits.

5. You're not eating three meals a day. As with forgoing breakfast, skipping meals or eating just once or twice a day can have a negative impact on your metabolism and weight loss efforts. The longer you wait to eat, the hungrier you'll be, and the more likely you are to overeat or reach for foods that won't aid your weight-loss efforts.

6. You're spending hours in the gym. There's a reason why the couch to 5K programs are popular, but few people do a couch to marathon program. You have to start slow. Spending hours in the gym after being inactive for a long time leads to burnout and injury. You're setting yourself up to fail if you're focusing on marathon cardio sessions to burn off all the calories you've eaten.

7. You deny yourself every food you deem "bad." Repeat after me: No food is good or bad. Eating one cookie or slice of pizza did not lead to your weight gain; it will not derail your efforts to get healthier. The trouble comes when you can't stop after one, but that's where The Spark Solution comes in.

Are you guilty of any of these bad habits? Don't worry--there's hope for you! Read through the 8 Habits to Ensure Lasting Weight-Loss Success, and learn more about these helpful hints in The Spark Solution, our award-winning book that is now available in paperback at an everyday low price!

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
NEXT ENTRY >   Where to Go for Every Health Problem


  • LADI49
    Very informative. I certainty agree. I have found myself in some of those situation. For instance beginning my change and spending too much time at the gym, only to stop going after two months. But today I have an entire different outlook. This for me will be a life long change so i'm making small steps and feeling good. - 2/15/2017   8:45:56 AM
  • 43
    I agree with everything except the "no food is good or bad" concept. It just won't work for me. Low calorie nutrient rich foods are obviously a better choice than pizza. But some people can make room for that in their daily calories and be fine. When I eat a little bit of junk food, I can easily get sucked into an all out binge. Even if I just have a small portion of cake or something at a restaurant, later on cravings will drive me bonkers, and I'll turn into a ravenous beast, gorging on whatever I can, even healthy stuff in my pantry, but huge portions that really add up. Avoiding trigger foods keeps me sane. So, to me, there really ARE bad foods. I bet a few binge eaters out there know what I mean. - 1/23/2017   3:51:26 PM
    Thank you for this. The title did get my attention and I know I need help, so I clicked on it the instant I saw it. I've lost 70# and with having motivation to do it, I lost it because I didn't have a wanting to change for life. I need to feel it for life!! - 12/15/2016   12:16:34 PM
  • 41
    Good advice, but life has a way of getting in the way......even the best of intentions can hit a snag......that's just the way it goes. Even people who did well and posted here earlier, may have gone off the deep end by now. It's easy to lose, doing the healthier eating forever is the hardest challenge !! - 12/15/2016   5:52:09 AM
  • 40
    I have found eating when I'm hungry is enough for me. I used to believe in breakfast, lunch and dinner. Not necessary. I get the calories needed in eating maybe a late breakfast and combining lunch and dinner. And I have had no problems with wanting to eat something from hunger. Also I believe that little bit of sugar or dessert brings on binges (at least for me) So I don't indulge in either, even unsweetened or aspartame based. I just avoid it completely, and I am doing just fine.
    And it is a lifestyle change, never a diet. - 6/23/2016   3:07:22 PM
  • 39
    Probably Why I keep failing my diet. I think this has good advice - 6/22/2016   12:22:22 PM
    This is an excellent list, but the first one hits it on the head for most in my opinion. People immediately deem it to be necessary in changing everything they do as far as what they consume on a daily basis, and see it as the way they ought to be eating forever (complete restriction, or failure is the consequence no matter if it is only a day, or even three in a row. Besides the other factors one needed to start this life style change discipline is as important to achieving a healthy mind/body change in attitude. - 6/20/2016   8:55:45 PM
  • 37
    These are real facts. Diets do not give people a lasting result. Weight loss is more effective if there are few changes in someone's lifestyle.It is true that you also need to attach a purpose to our weight loss goal as this will be our driving force whenever you find it hard to continue.

    Great post, quite informative. - 4/29/2016   12:03:17 AM
    Food for thought! - 12/28/2015   7:05:04 PM
    I think most of these are spot on, but I really don't think that motivation matters. For me, it was just developing healthy habits and sticking to them, whether I felt like it or not. I took my eye off the goal and just focussed on the behaviours. Sometimes you start off with lots of motivation and have a set goal, but these can actually get in the way of success if you are an all or nothing thinker. I also allowed and expected myself to fail from time to time. Taking the guilt and perfectionism away has allowed me to get back on track much quicker and has allowed me to persevere rather than give up altogether. I am losing weight SLOWLY, but it has been pain free and from a place of self-nurturing rather than self-control. - 7/15/2015   12:23:37 PM
  • 34
    Ouch is right! I'm guilty of it in my own way. - 1/31/2015   3:52:47 PM
  • 33
    I tried a 21 day no junk food challenge and I did soooo well with it but at day 24, I decided to treat myself for my sister's birthday and had soda and cake and since then I have been craving those things. I liked it better when I just continued the no junk food challenge. The sad part is, I'm not even really a sweets eater but since that day, that is all I have been craving!!! I mean I am still not eating the junk food or drinking the sodas but it has been a bigger challenge for me since I am now craving them. - 1/31/2015   12:41:21 PM
  • 32
    I hit 3 of these (ouch!) so I guess that is why I yo-yo so much with my weight even here on sparkpeople. I need to focus on correcting these three areas to turn short term progress into long term success. - 6/3/2014   9:53:41 PM
  • 31
    I fail a lot. but i keep getting back up, even though i don't get anywhere.
    I think I need to be put in a locked room. can't eat unless someone brings me the food.. seriously!! - 5/26/2014   8:06:10 AM
  • MMFM240
    Great advice. - 5/25/2014   7:47:36 PM
    Considering the meaning of Breakfast its not really possible to skip it considering its breaking the fasting from the night. So by that thought the first meal you eat is technically breakfast. It would just be smarter to eat this meal in the morning after you wake up for the day. - 5/25/2014   2:49:18 PM
  • 28
    Interesting. I believe I agree with this...skipping breakfast, not getting enough sleep are two big ones for me. - 5/25/2014   12:33:25 PM
  • LILAC1311
    I agree with most of this. I discovered SP about a year ago, and did well with your help. Then my computer crashed, and so did I! I tried to get started again back in the fall, but failed. I hope to be more successful this time. I think I'm finally getting the idea that a 'diet' isn't the answer. . . A change of lifestyle is! Thanks SP! - 1/1/2014   7:16:03 AM
    Can't do it alone? Hmm, I did unless you count my dog that walks with me. SP? well I did a lot of reading here, and I used the tools, but I put in the actual 'work' myself.
    Good article though! - 9/17/2013   5:04:22 PM
  • 25
    Great article, BUT.... "Stay Motivated" and "Don't burn out" are too general. If people knew how to do those things, they wouldn't be trying to lose weight.... again. How about "Keep reminding yourself of the reasons you wanted to lose weight in the first place", and "Stick with it, even when you feel like quitting."? - 9/17/2013   4:06:56 PM
  • 24
    This is very empowering! Thanks! - 9/17/2013   2:53:24 PM
  • 23
    I so agree with this article. For me it is definitely a lifestyle change so I know I can not live on a "diet". But a healthy lifestyle definitely works!!!! - 9/17/2013   11:00:43 AM
    Good article, but I cannot agree with number 7. The 80/20 rule works really well for some people, but not for others, including myself. If I allow myself sugary treats I spiral and can't stop eating them. Therefore they are off limits for me, which has helped me maintain a 15 pound weight loss. Everyone has to find their own way of doing things, sometimes its 80/20, sometimes its all or nothing. To say its wrong to eliminate some foods is too broad a statement in my opinion. - 9/17/2013   10:02:20 AM
    LOVECHEETAS...I would like to be your buddy/partner. I sent you a message.
    Yes.... this is a great article. I can definitely relate to it!!! - 9/16/2013   7:59:59 PM
    The First For Women article is what "Sparked" my interest! I'm so happy to have signed up. I love this site... - 9/16/2013   6:13:00 PM
  • 19
    Yes!!! - 9/16/2013   4:58:03 PM
  • 18
    This is a great article and after two years of being active with SP I can tell you the life style change is what makes you successful and is not only at the way you see yourself or how much you weight but it changes your entire life. - 9/16/2013   3:41:15 PM
    Great article SP. - 9/16/2013   3:25:58 PM
  • 16
    yes, really great! - 9/16/2013   3:24:36 PM
    Great article!!! - 9/16/2013   3:08:44 PM
    This could have been written by me and my habits/yo-yo dieting. LOVECHEETAHS YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Concentrate on your groups and the ppl there. I like to read their comments and find they are having the same stuff going on as I do. - 9/16/2013   2:27:55 PM
    I may be doing this by myself, but I am not alone. I go to the gym by myself to take fitness classes, but I talk to the people in the class. This helps me to meet other people and create a group I want to meet every time I go to class. This is also true for the ladies I work with. We may not be watching what we eat at the same times, but we try to encourage each other be to better. - 9/16/2013   1:44:57 PM
    I'm guilty of nr. 4 and 7. - 9/16/2013   1:37:15 PM
  • 11
    This was a great article. I am failing to lose and several of these points hit home. The one point that sticks out to me is "you can't do it alone." Well it seems I have to. I have tried several times to get a "buddy/partner" and each time they bail on me. I am very seriously thinking of deleting my SparkPeople account as it is not doing me any good. - 9/16/2013   1:01:25 PM
  • 10
    Great article!!! - 9/16/2013   12:26:45 PM
  • 9
    I know that I am guilty of trying to exercise away every calorie. I went really overboard in the last couple months on interval training as my only source of cardio and not only have I not lost any weight, I've noticed that I am tired a lot more than I was before I even started back on my exercise plan. Getting regular exercise is really important for my whole health (mind, body, and spirit) but over-doing it doesn't help anything. Balance, balance, balance!! - 9/16/2013   12:19:10 PM
  • 8
    When I hear someone start with a laundry list of Can'ts and follow it up with a laundry list of Won'ts, I know they're not in the mindset to really change.
    - 9/16/2013   12:05:28 PM
  • CR_EDWARDS_2015
    This is a great article! - 9/16/2013   12:01:02 PM
  • 6
    Great article! And I love the 8 habits of successful dieters at the end - what not do do followed by easy to follow advice to do it the right way! Well done! - 9/16/2013   11:30:44 AM
    I was following the first set of rules when I started this site the first time and I wasn't very committed. I am following the second set this time and I had lost 14 pounds. I have gained a lot of it back because I got off track with exercise and food, but I'm back on the healthy train! - 9/16/2013   10:59:41 AM
  • 4
    Great article, and very true in my experience!
    The biggest one concerns completely cutting out food items. I find myself getting resentful towards my body if I deny myself too much of the foods I love. It is much better for me to have the occasional "splurge" - for instance, getting a regular-sized candy bar at the gas station every few weeks keeps me from wanting to buy the bulk bag at Sam's and tear in to it! - 9/16/2013   8:40:54 AM
  • AMP1970
    What a great reminder of the true focus of this journey that I am on. It is a life change not a diet. Thank you. - 9/16/2013   7:44:29 AM
  • 2
    Great article! I will add one more, which was instrumental in my successful weight loss this time although I failed so many times before:

    Guilt is your enemy. If you mess up one day, it doesn't mean you've failed, it only means you've hit the pause button for a short while and will continue making the right choices whenever possible. Guilt and stressing about food are the worst enemies of a healthy lifestyle. - 9/16/2013   4:58:18 AM
  • 1
    I cried reading this!!!!!!!!

    It's so true, this is for life not to please others or a short term goal! I'm motivated to stay on track. Thank you! - 9/16/2013   4:17:49 AM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


x Lose 10 Pounds by June 9! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.