Why isn’t your weight loss plan working?

woman covering her eyes
Simon Long

Simon Long

Simon is a highly experienced personal trainer and behavioural psychology expert
View My LinkedIn Profile

Okay! So you’ve decided it’s time to lose weight and get fit. You’ve made the choice to change your behaviours. You’ve got a plan in place. Yet you aren’t losing weight! Why!?!

Why do weight loss plans not work?

There are a number of reasons you’re weight loss plan may not be effective. Working out what these are is essential, as it allows you to work out what you need to change. Luckily, there are a finite number of reasons a plan isn’t getting results, and they fall into two categories.

The first is problems with the behaviour itself, or in other words if you find you do the behaviour consistently but aren’t getting results, then the behaviour is ineffective. The second group of problems refer to applying the behaviour. In essence this means the behaviour would work if you applied it, but you struggle to get it done. 

So what’s causing your plan’s lack of results? Well let’s have a run through all of the reasons now!

Ineffective behaviour Issue 1:  The behaviour itself is ineffective for the goal

It is possible that the behaviour you have chosen simply isn’t effective for the goals you have. For instance you may be using one of the “weight-loss coffees” that are prevalent on the market. But in fact these coffees aren’t effective for weight loss (science says no I’m afraid). And so if this was your sole approach to weight loss, you’re probably finding the weight isn’t moving.

To know if you’ve got an ineffective behaviour look at your adherence. If you’ve been sticking to the plan really well, but weight isn’t coming off, then you’ve got an ineffective behaviour.

Ineffective behaviour Issue 2: Behaviour isn’t at a high enough level to make a difference

The second reason a behaviour may be ineffective is because technically it should work for weight loss, but you’ve applied it at too low of a level to have any effect. For instance you may have decided to use a lower calorie intake to drop fat, but in reality you’ve just halved the amount of ketchup you put on your fries. Yes, a reduced calorie intake is a must for weight loss, but at the level you’ve set it, there would be little to no effect.

Ineffective behaviour Issue 3: Canceling out benefits

The final reason a behaviour may be ineffective is when you cancel out the behaviour in another area of your life. If we take the ketchup example above, lets say you realise the error of your ways and cut out the fries all together. But as a reward for doing so you begin to eat a bag of two of crisps per day. And so your total calorie intake doesn’t change. 

This issue is common with exercise, where people begin to train a few times a week, but then subconsciously they become less active in their day to day lives. So keep an eye out for this issue in your routine!

These three issues are why you can often become frustrated when you’ve made positive changes in your life. Because even with all the effort, nothing seems to have changed. But don’t despair, because when you address the issues outlined above, you can greatly improve your rate of success.

Next we’ll have a look at the behaviour application issues you may be facing.

Behaviour application issue 1:  Forgetting

Reminders work best in the form of cues. So get your workout kit next to te front door each evening, or have a fork on your briefcase so that you don’t forget your healthy lunch. Little changes like these to your environment can work wonders for getting behaviours going. 

Behaviour application issue 2: Conscious avoidance

Another issue with applying behaviours is consciously avoiding them. This is common when the new behaviour is a means to an end, but not something you enjoy. For instance you may be joining your friend at a football match to get more active. But because you feel that you don’t have any skills you keep avoiding the session, so that you can avoid making a fool of yourself. 

If this is the case, then you need to change the behaviour. Always remember, for new behaviours, especially if you want to continue those behaviours over the long term, you have to enjoy them. Enjoyment is a key cornerstone of motivation! 

Behaviour application issue 3: Desired activity conflict

Sometimes you will avoid a behaviour not because you don’t enjoy it, but because it conflicts with something else you enjoy, for instance planning your workouts at the same time as your favourite TV program. 

In this case the solution is simple. Simply change when you will do the new behaviour so the conflict no longer exists. Simple!

Behaviour application issue 4: Too many or too large lifestyle changes

Category four of the behaviour application issues is overloading yourselves with too many lifestyle changes, or attempting lifestyle changes that are too large. Remember you have a finite amount of attention and motivation that you can dedicate to behaviour change. So don’t make it too difficult for yourself! It will always be better to focus on nailing one or two smaller changes, and then moving on once you have them as habits.

Behaviour application issue 5: Your effort is lacking


The final category is when your effort is lacking. This could be caused by one of the earlier reasons, such as not enjoying the behaviour. But often we don’t even consider our effort, looking to external reasons of why we don’t follow our behaviours. This is called passive reasoning, whilst looking into your effort is called active reasoning. To help you work out which you fall into, I’ve made a video, which you can find on my Facebook, or in my Blog.

And so there we go! If you find your behaviours aren’t working, run through these different reasons to discover where the problem is. This should make correcting the issue far easier! But of course, if you still find yourself struggling, then do feel free to write a comment or shoot me a message and I’ll advise.


Of course if you’d like even more clever tips to make your life change easier, then please do make sure you Like my Body Development Centre Facebook page! I also have a Youtube channel where you can see all of my quick tip videos, and of course everything is also available in the blog!

Additionally I upload even more tips on my Body Vision Facebook page and Youtube channel. And if you were looking for a free to use mobile application to make applying your behaviour change easier, then please check out the Body Vision website to see what I’ve provided for you. If you would like to download the application then you can get it on your Android and Apple device now!

And if you’d like to learn more about my journey to lean, then check out my Journey to Becoming a Personal Trainer page. I also offer Personal Training in Leicester, as well as Sports Massage in Leicester. So please feel free to contact me if you would like to book your free no obligation consultation.

And if you’re looking for some amazing hair to go with your new rocking body, then please do check out my wife’s hairdressing page Here Come The Blondes. She can be found on Facebook and Instagram

Beyond that though, thank you for your time today, take care, and I’ll see you next time!

Best wishes,