Weight Loss: 7 Essential Reasons You’re Struggling

Written by: Kristy Maskell, BSc
Reviewed by: Sophie Claessens, BSc RD

If you feel like you’re doing everything “right” but not seeing results, there may be a reason. Read on to understand how your eating patterns, exercise, and sleep may be stopping you from losing weight. 

1. You’re not eating enough

Yes, you heard that right. Not eating enough can hinder weight loss. When your body is not getting enough fuel from food, it holds onto these limited calories. Research shows those who eat fewer than half of their body’s caloric needs have a significantly lower metabolism.1 

2. Changing body composition 

Going to the gym religiously, but the scale is not budging? Physical activity induces improvements in strength and muscle mass. As muscle is more dense than fat, you may find the scales stay the same. Although strength training is most likely to produce the largest increase in muscle mass, all types of physical activity can support muscle growth and may lead to weight gain.2

3. Your diet lacks fibre

Fibre is a type of carbohydrate that comes from plants. As fibre is only partially digested by your small intestine, it can keep you fuller for longer, aiding in weight loss. 3,4 It is recommended that you consume 30g/day, but on average, adults in the UK only consume 18g/day.5,6 Therefore, it is important to incorporate sources of fibre into your diet to meet this recommendation and aid in weight loss.

4. Lack of quality sleep

The recommended amount of sleep for adults is 7 to 9 hours. Lack of sleep can stimulate your appetite, make you hungrier, and increase your food intake. Ultimately, a persistent lack of sleep may lead to weight gain.7,8

5. Yo-yo dieting

Yo-yo dieting (also known as weight cycling) can put your body under a lot of stress. Your metabolism can slow down, and this may lead to weight gain further down the line. Many yo-yo diets are fad diets (diets not backed up by scientific evidence), which may put your health at risk. 

6. Unrealistic expectations 

Ditching the diet plans and opting for sustainable approaches is better for weight loss. Extreme dieting efforts are not healthy and can lead to negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviours around food and eating. When you suspect your weight-loss endeavours have taken a negative turn, it may be time to speak with a dietitian

7. Skipping meals

Skipping meals may lead you to ignore hunger cues. You may find yourself experiencing intrusive thoughts about food and choosing higher sugar or higher fat the next time you eat. 

Studies show an association between skipping meals, particularly breakfast and weight gain.9 You will also be missing out on nourishing your body with nutrients when you skip meals, and you may be more susceptible to nutrient deficiencies. 

So, how can a dietitian help with weight loss? 

Maybe you are wondering what a dietitian is. Dietitians at Fresh Approach Nutrition are specifically trained to help with a variety of conditions, including weight loss. 

If you are wanting personalised help with your weight loss, book a free discovery call to see how our specialist weight management dietitian, Rachel, can help you. 

Disclaimer: This content is purely informational and should not replace professional medical advice. Please seek advice from a qualified health professional, like us or your GP, if you are wanting evidence-based advice for weight loss. 


  1. Muller MJ, Enderie J, Pourhassan M, Braun W, Eggeling B, Lagerpusch M, Gluer CC, Kehayias JJ, Kiosz D, Bosy West-phal A. Metabolic adaptation to caloric restriction and subsequent refeeding: The Minnesota Starvation Experiment revisited. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015 Oct;102(4):807-819. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26399868
  2. Konopka AR, Harper MP. Skeletal hypertrophy after aerobic exercise training. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2014 Apr;42(2):53-61. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4523889/
  3. Wanders AJ, Van Den Borne JJGC, De Graaf C, Hulshof T, Jonathan MC, Kristensen M, Mars M, Schols HA, Feskens EJM. Effects of dietary fibre on subjective appetite, energy intake and body weight: A systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Obes Rev. 2011 Sep;12: 724–739. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21676152/
  4. Delzenne NM, Cani PD. A place for dietary fiber in the management of the metabolic syndrome. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2005 Nov;8:636–640. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16205465/
  5. SACN. Carbohydrates and health [Internet]. London: The Stationery Office; 2015 [cited 09/05/24].Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/445503/SACN_Carbohydrates_and_Health.pdf  
  6. Public Health Agency. National diet and nutrition survey [Internet]. 2020 [cited 09/05/24]. London: Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/943114/NDNS_UK_Y9-11_report.pdf
  7. Bacaro V, Balessio A, Cerolini S, Vacca M, Poggiogalle E, Lucidi F, Lombardo, C. Sleep duration and obesity in adulthood: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Res Clin Pract. 2020 Jul-Aug;14(4):301-309. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1871403X19307598#bib0080 
  8. Morselli L, Leproult R, Balbo M, Spiegel K. (2010) Role of sleep duration in the regulation of glucose metabolism and appetite. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015 Jun; 29(3):313-314. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26051292/ 
  9. Skipping breakfast is associated with overweight and obesity: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Res Clin Pract, 2020 Jan-Feb;14(1):1-8. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1871403X19305472

Fresh Approach Nutrition

Our team of registered dietitians help people in Bristol and across the UK to overcome their struggles with food and to achieve their dietary goals.

We aim to cut through the confusion of dietary advice on the internet and in the media, and to give our clients the fresh approach they need to see real results.