The secrets of an unhealthy body shape

the secrets of an unhealthy body
the secrets of an unhealthy body

"Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently" - Henry Ford


Weight loss resistance is one of the most common things. The inability to exercise or diet is sometimes very discouraging. It might even make you very unhappy and stress. But hopefully after so many positive thoughts as a new resolution we are totally into exercising, dieting or both with all our enthusiasm hoping to reach our goals if possible in a short period of time. If that is the case, congratulations! you passed the most difficult part, which really is STARTING AND GETTING ACTIVE. But is not all flowers in the garden. Sometimes something might not be working the way we want it to be ....


omg! what happened to me? i tried hard to lose weight but I see no results :S


Often, losing weight simply is not fair. In many cases, you push yourself and dedicate time but you have nothing to show for all the effort and attention you have put into your weight loss resolution. What is next?


This article is meant to look at the most common reasons why people might fail at their weight loss resolution. It came to my mind a few reasons after some brainstorming running sessions while making reminders notes with my best friend. Throughout reading out this article you might see an image of yourself and hopefully it could help you to break the endless cycle of weight loss resistance.


1. "Too many calories in, little burning out" vs "gaining other forms of weight"

too many calories in, little calories out
too many calories in, little calories out

Eating too many calories

This how it works. Everything we do burns calories, and everything we eat or drink (except some liquids like water or coffee or tea (with no sugar added) contains calories. Now, if the amount of calories being consumed is greater than the amount of calories being burned, we all gain weight. This is like math, it is never wrong unless we are doing some wrong calculations. This is called "caloric surplus" forcing the body to store, usually as body fat, these left over calories ideally for a later use. The good news for us is that the opposite also holds true. In other words, if the amount of calories being consumed is less than the amount of calories being burned, we all lose weight. This is called "caloric deficit", forcing the body to burn most often the accumulated body fat. This is scientifically described as energy balance (Calories In vs Calories Out). In summary, this means that if you are really not losing weight, you are simply most likely eating too many calories and in consequence producing no calorie deficit and subsequently probably gaining weight instead. One more thing.... start reading calorie labels stuck to foods and drinks! Reading food labels to make the right choices will help you to stay healthy. You will be surprised how many calories you can cut by making the right choices by simply reading calorie labels.

Watch your drinks

It can be that it is not only the food you eat what is breaking your balanced calorie intake, you should also watch what you drink. For example, if you read the calorie label of a normal coke you will should read ~ 160 kcal per can. A coke zero however has by definition 0 kcal per can which can greatly positively impact your calorie intake. Not to mention if you take more than one coke can per day. Also watch the so called fruit drinks [+INFO] because most of them can be more health threatening than beneficial. Even though drinking a minimum amount of 1.9 litters of water a day is highly recommended and beneficial [+INFO], one trick for fast weight loss is to eliminate drinks during your meals. Drinks mix up with food increasing the food volume and being digested like you have eaten bigger portions. Furthermore, drinking too much water during meals can interfere with the natural levels of bile and acid in the stomach, slowing digestion. A good practice would be to have some water drink or cold tea (no sugar added) ~30 minutes before lunch or dinner. Not during meals. Then allow another ~30 minutes gap after meals before you drink again. You might notice quite a weight change in your weighing scale very quickly though this weight loss most likely will happen only during the first few weeks. Later on your body will be adapted and the "few pounds under" due to water reduction during meals will remain a constant as long as you keep this practice overtime. If this sounds tough for you to do it and you feel you still need a drink during meals try to substitute it for half a glass of red wine what has been recently found not only beneficial for health but as a powerful calorie burner.

Emotional eating

Eating is really enjoyable, but when food is used as a mechanism during times of stress or sadness, it can turn to be really unhealthy. If you are an emotional eater, dealing with the emotions that feed your compulsive eating is the most important. Observing your thoughts and emotions, instead of mistaking yourself for them, allows you to break the cycle of emotional eating and will help you to start making more rational choices. One trick you can practice regularly is to eat something healthy like a fruit or veggie whenever you feel hungry and you want to control your weight. In fact a good practice would be to eat some fruits or veggies 10-20 minutes before any big meal. This will satisfy you in the meantime and lessen your hunger level, likely resulting in less calorie intake during your meal.


You are eating too fast

Many people eat too fast and they take in too many calories before they realize they have eaten enough. It might take around 5-15 mins (7 minutes in average) from the time you start eating for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Slow pace eating allows enough time to trigger the signal from your brain that you are already full and feeling full will translate into eating less. You can try this simple exercise, whenever you feel still hungry after eating a normal meals portion try to give yourself some time (~7mins) before you eat something else. Most likely your feeling of being hungry will be gone by then and you will obviously eat less calories. Slow down your eating speed and give time between meals.


Food underestimation

Perhaps the reason could be that you are underestimating how many calories you are actually eating. Various weight loss studies proved it. Some people underestimate the quantity of food they consume (like thinking you ate 1 serving when you really ate 2, 3 or 4), while others underestimate the amount of calories it contained (like thinking a meal was 500 calories when it was really 1000). Some underestimate both. Mistakes and under reporting make many people to underestimate the serving size and eat significantly more than they thought they were eating. Many other people think that there are certain foods they can unlimitedly eat and it is not counting calories like fruits and vegetables for example. But unfortunately you should also count them because everything counts even if some foods are just little calorie like a low fat yogurt. Actually this underestimating issue happens over and over again, and it might even end up not accounting for hundreds or even thousands of "I did not realize calories". So if you claim to consistently be eating the right amount of calories and still you are not losing any weight at all, then you are simply not producing any caloric deficit in your body and most likely you have done something wrong up there. If you want to avoid this miscalculations we recommend you to follow our free program for the right calorie counting.


Exercise overestimation

Another problem you accidentally may have had is actually the opposite problem, overestimating the calories you have burned. For example, you may assume that you have burned “tons” of calories doing some cardio workout but that did not actually happened. Studies show that an average person doing a typical cardio at a typical intensity will burn on average around 7-10 calories per minute. So think about that the next time you assume that 30 minutes of a slow pace walk represent some huge calorie burning because might be really not that much. You can use our exercise energy consumption tool or our free program to calculate the right amount of calorie burned by doing some of the most common exercises.


Mind-reward relaxation

Another big problem with overestimating calories burned is that it gives people a false impression. "Cool! I was doing a hard workout for 25 minutes today, so I can surely afford to eat this extra 1000 calories". Now wonder why you are not losing weight despite you are "working out hard" all the time, eh!!! If you really want to lose weight after a workout eat like you did not do any workout at all.


Making many exceptions

Many of us sometimes simply eat too much specially in some special occasions such as holiday, business traveling or family events. It is really not looking good, might even look like a bit paranoic if we try to avoid eating a lot sometimes, specially in those once a year special occasions. It is very normal and we all should join those special occasions sometimes. However, it is a common mistake to allow ourselves to happen over and over again, doing nothing and use this occasions as an excuse not to lose weight. The solution for this is really simple.. "do compensate". If one day for whatever reason you eat too much, try the next day to compensate with an extra workout or eating a bit less of calories in order to compensate the day before. If you do compensation always, you will never ever give room for any weight gain in your body. Furthermore, getting used to eating a lot even might not change your stomach size for sure will contribute to wrong reset your "appetite lipostat". However, eating less will help you to preset your appetite (easier to be satisfied) to feeling not as hungry and it may be easier to stick to your eating weight loss plan.


Gaining some other form of weight?

There is an exception to some of the statements made above and this is ... you are creating in fact the required caloric deficit and you are actually losing fat, but you might be gaining some other form of weight that is producing some sort of unbalancing in your weight loss plan. The reason is that there is differences between losing weight, losing fat, and losing or gaining muscle. Fat loss is always fat loss but weight loss however can be fat loss, muscle loss, water loss.... or even all of the above together. And since most people only monitor their fat loss by monitoring their weight loss on the scale, it might happen that you are really making progress but it is temporarily hidden because you are gaining something else (this is even more true for women once a month). This is why it is a good idea to do more than just monitoring your weight loss in a regular basis. You can also take other measures such as body fat%, muscle%, water% and take pictures once in a while to monitor your progress. In summary, this means that it is possible to lose fat while gaining something else and it might look like you have actually lost nothing. The good thing is that if this is the case it should be just a temporary situation. So if not losing any weight again and again, weeks after weeks, it is much more likely that again ... you are just eating too many calories, not really creating any caloric deficit, and you are just not losing any fat or gaining muscle, you are just gaining weight. 

2. Setting the wrong goals

Wrong weight goals, no achievements
Wrong weight loss goals, no achievements

No written goals

Having a clear vision of what your weight loss or fitness goals are is crucial for your success, but many people give up because they expect results to take long time and dedication. If this is the case, you can overcome this non-action state by setting up realistic and short-term goals that please both your available time and weight loss or fitness needs. Interestingly, studies show that people who have bothered to write down their weight loss or fitness resolutions are more likely to succeed. The moment you write your goals, you are starting to put your mind in an "action mode" to do whatever it takes to make what you have written a reality. So if you want to guarantee success, you can start by writing down a fitness plan or weight loss plan today!

Weight loss just stopped

Were you previously losing weight but suddenly stopped? If so, this probably means that you "hit the weight loss plateau" and again most likely you are eating too many calories. A weight loss plateau is what happens when the caloric deficit you created has suddenly stopped to exist. There are multiple reasons why this might be happening but the "Calories In vs Calories Out" still holds true. It is just that the specific numbers in that equation have changed as a result of the weight loss you were already experiencing. This is in part because a calorie deficit causes your metabolic rate to slow down a bit over time (known as “adaptive thermogenesis”), but it is mostly because you have already lost some weight… In other words, the calorie intake that worked for you when you were 250 lbs does not work any more now that you are 200 lbs. And this is just another way of saying that you are eating too many calories for your new current weight and the required caloric deficit no longer exists. Set new goals. Eat a little less or burn out a little more and you will most likely break this weight loss plateau.... [+INFO]

the safe body weight
the safe body weight

Too near the normal BMI line

It is probably a common unknown "issue" from many fitness trainers, dieticians and even doctors to try to preset people's "ideal weight" near by "the normal BMI line" (see attached graphic; X-axis presents weight in kilograms and Y-axis represents time in years). This is a bit "risky". First, because we are not giving enough time to really "preset the ideal weight"... read more; and second because we will be so close to the "overweight BMI line" that is really easy to go back on weight again in a really short period of time. The uniqueness of our online training method is to preset people's ideal weight within what we call the "SAFE LINE" and most important to keep it over a long period of time (see graphic). By doing so any potential temporary weight gain for example because of any family event, holiday, business trip, sickness, injury or any other temporary extra caloric situation it will never translate into an overweight body since we are keeping our body weight by definition within a SAFE LINE. Furthermore, working within the SAFE LINE will also prevent you from suffering any potential future underweight episode. This is what make Virtual Personal Trainer unique since no method has been reported like this before. [+INFO]

3. Lipostat short-term calibration

quitters never win
quitters never win

"good things come to those who wait" - The lipostat theory


You are too easy to quit

I see many people with tons of workout DVDs, weight loss products and diet books that promise a "5 mins abs workout" or "a fantastic diet" will do the job for you. Most likely the moment you stop believing in these programs because you think it is not really working you will gain all your weight back again. You should know already that there are no quick fixes or magic pills you can buy and do really nothing on your own. Simply, most likely you did not give your diet plan enough time to work out. If you feel that you can not make any progress for all the time and effort you put into losing weight, maybe it is time for you to just focus on one particular program and give away all of yourself to it. Instead of changing programs all the time, once you feel it is not working out for you, try to stick to it at least for a few weeks or months better. Not only you should maintain the program but actually follow it in depth. Stick to it all the way and make sure you do not skip any step or detail. This will most likely increase your chance of succeeding in your weight loss efforts. Do never quit! .. Be constant!

The wrong "preset weight" calibration

You are probably approaching weight loss in terms of diets only instead of a lifestyle change. If there is a lesson I learnt it is that a well designed long-term weight loss plan can only take place if you change your lifestyle instead of your diet. In summary, losing weight is just one of the many things you should be aiming for when you change your lifestyle. Weight loss is probably the most obvious and reward part but there are many elements and many consequences to lifestyle change. In addition to changes in your weight, a lifestyle change also impacts the way you think, the way you involve your emotions under certain situations, the way you look at yourself, the way you behave, and the way you see yourself in this world in the present and future. If you have been putting lots of work in your weight loss plan but can not see any progress, try to switch to a lifestyle changing better. Change what you eat, your daily schedule, your attitude.... you might even try to meet new friends with the same lifestyle goals. Be ready for the new you, and most important, these changes should be for long-term and never change according to your daily mood. The good thing is that the longer you manage to keep the new you philosophy ongoing, the bigger your chance to make it permanent because of the physical and psychological dependencies you will create due to the obvious health benefits you will get out of it. Weight loss should be always long-term and permanent if you approach it from a lifestyle perspective.... Read more

4. Negative thoughts

block negative thinking
block negative thinking

You hate yourself

You can not heal a body you hate. Unconscious negative thoughts about yourself like for example that "you are not worthy" or whatever negative thoughts you may have it is just a lie. If these false beliefs are not addressed on time, even if you have the body you always wanted to have, it is a matter of time that you will fail. Stop the false beliefs.

Food punishments

Do yourself a favor and do not allow any starvation and fad diets. Your body's weight is a result of a variety of physiological factors that need to be contented always with healthy food. Your body needs the right nutrients to function properly. Change your perspective and food habits. Instead of thinking of how you can avoid your body from certain foods as a punishment for a potential weight gain, start seeing your food as a delicious natural medicine. For example, instead of thinking that carrots are not as yummy as a delicious cheese cake, think more positive, think that eating tons of carrots will never make you sick while eating tons of cakes most like will do, and for our purpose most importantly eating tons of carrots will never make you fat and on top the feeling of food satisfaction will also remain longer. In fact healthy food is really like a medicine because our body can not function properly without the correct nutrients such as vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, oligoelements etc etc.


Making weight loss the ultimate goal

Losing weight is not equivalent to getting healthy. Cancer and arsenic will make you lose weight but you will also be sick. You have to stop seeing weight gain as a cause and start seeing it as a symptom of something else going on in your body and your mind. You have to get healthy to lose weight, not to lose weight to get healthy. Weight loss should be a natural product of being more healthy. If you get healthy, you will also accidentally look more great.


Not totally focused

You probably did not remind yourself to focus on the body you wish to achieve If you keep things easy or vague and you just tell yourself daily that you only want to lose weight. This might not be enough. Your mind will often stick to a plan of action and take all the necessary actions if your goals are clear enough. One of the best ways to be focused is to write down our plan as we mentioned before and also to have a picture of the ideal model body you want to achieve and focus on it daily. For example, cut out or crop the face, abs or chest of the model you want to be, subscribe to the "best body" tv or online channels or start following in a regular basis some weight loss or fitness blogs or websites such as Virtual Personal Trainer. This is certainly a great way to stay motivated and focus in order to get in the best shape you can be in your life. The key is to have a "model of success" you want to be and train your mind with it. The more you focus, the more likely you will achieve your "ideal shape".


Invading yourself with negative thoughts

You need to block out all the negative thoughts. Focus on achievements instead. Reprogram yourself by consciously thinking over and over again that you will lose the weight you want to lose. There are many difficulties to weight loss. However, the good news is that most of these complications are only in your mind and then you can give lots of control to these negative thoughts that keep you away from the ideal body weight you want. Start by thinking positive.

5. Exercises that might blow your calorie burn

you are doing it wrong
you are doing it wrong
Cheating exercises

Sometimes you put all the time and effort, do diet, show up at the gym or do some home workout ... but why the scale numbers are not changing? Chances are but maybe poor exercise or bad workout habits are the ones hiding your precious burned calories. Fitness experts reveal the most common ways people cheat at their workouts without even realizing it, and do offer ways to kick those saboteurs to the curb. This is not the purpose of this article though but you can read more here.

Too much anaerobic

Aerobic exercise (lower intensity training: jogging, running, cardio) increases your endurance and cardiac health while anaerobic exercise (higher intensity training: weight training, calisthenic) will help you to burn a bit less fat than with aerobic but it will also help you gain lean muscle mass. Perhaps you should try to concentrate more on aerobic exercising or better if you do a combination of aerobic and anaerobic. This online trainer promotes both types of exercises... Read more

Too long workouts

Introducing short bouts of vigorous activity can speed up weight loss and also cut your workout time by a half or more. Researchers found that People who alternated just 8 seconds of high-intensity exercise with 12 seconds of low-intensity activity for 20 minutes, 3 times a week, slimmed down faster than steady-paced exercisers who worked out twice as long. Those who did intervals lost up to 16 pounds, shrunk their bellies by 12% and their thighs by 15%, and gained, on average, 1½ pounds of metabolism-revving muscle in 4 months without dieting! Start by going faster both at your aerobic and anaerobic exercises.... Read more

Click here for a full guide on vegan bodybuilding

6. Potential Medical Issues

hiding some medical issues?
hiding some medical issues?

Many times people think they have done everything right and still can not lose any weight. Some other people make excuses such as “I have a thyroid problem” to justify that they are just not creating the caloric deficit that is required for a sustainable weight loss. However, some people truly do have problems with their thyroid or other medical issues that can affect their ability to lose weight. It could be that some hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue, gut conditions, thyroid dysfunctions or toxicity issues avoid the most dedicated person from losing any weight. Going to a specialist and investigating the causes of this weight loss resistance will give people the answers they need to know and ideally all necessary solutions. However, while this is real and it is happening to some people, it is probably not happening to you. Perhaps, you are just eating too many calories. And even in the cases when it might be happening to you, one of the reasons for the lack of weight loss it might still be a lack of a caloric deficit. In this case, the solution is less about eating less calories and more about solving the underlying health issue that is preventing your body from burning as many calories as it should be burning.

Do you want to be part of an experimental health program? 

We encourage you to test what has been discussed on this blog by yourself and let us know about your experience, your progress and achievements in the comments section belowThe results of these experimental program will be presented at international conferences and hopefully published in high impact medical and scientist journals. Your involvement and interaction as well as your contribution is important for us since the information and voluntary donations you provide will be further used for adapting, modifying and improving our programs.


Important notice 

Virtual Personal Trainer's approach is recommended for healthy adults only. This site is not intended for use by minors or individuals with any type of health condition. Such individuals are specifically advised to seek professional medical advice prior to initiating any fitness or nutrition effort or program.

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