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Why Am I Not Losing Weight On My Diet? What Is A Healthy Diet? And, How To Build Your Own Diet Plan

“Wade I’m not losing weight and I don’t know why?” An old client of mine “Sheri” called me the other day asking for help.  Years ago we worked together and she got in top condition. Unfortunately, life had taken it’s toll.  A hectic work pace for a few years coupled with cocktail parties, late dinners…

Notepad with meal plan and apple. Diet planning.

“Wade I’m not losing weight and I don’t know why?” An old client of mine “Sheri” called me the other day asking for help.  Years ago we worked together and she got in top condition.

Unfortunately, life had taken it’s toll.  A hectic work pace for a few years coupled with cocktail parties, late dinners out to work and more than a few missed workouts and Sheri found herself 25lbs heavier than her best look.

We had lost contact at the time and she hired what ended up being a series of nutritionists & fitness coaches.  Then came the revolving door of fad diets, extreme exercise regimes and a host of cleanses, detoxes, resolutions and a lot of tears.

It’s been almost 10 years of yo-yo dieting and Sheri like many people is now really struggling to lose the weight even though she’s stuck with this new diet and exercise program without going off for months.

Her story is all too common.

Are you Frustrated with not seeing results on your healthy diet plan? Far too many people put in the time, effort, and money on diet plans and fail to come out ahead.

Whether you’ve been on your diet for 3 weeks or 3 months, if you are not seeing any progress at all, something has to change.

One of the biggest reasons that people fail to see success is first of all, because they are on a diet, not a lifestyle program. Whenever you make changes to your eating, you need to think long-term.

Is this something you can sustain for years down the road?

If it isn’t, that’s your first clue that ‘diet’ is unlikely to pay off.

The second clue is if the diet is not customized to your body. Realize that each and every person is unique.

What works for one person may work horribly for another. You simply cannot jump on the latest and ‘greatest’ diet plan and expect to see superior results.

You need to take into account your own unique metabolism, body chemistry, and preferences.

For a few more details on how all these all play a role in coming up with your diet, check out this short video where I explain the in’s and out’s of diet customization.

So what makes for good diet plans? If you’ve been asking yourself what is a healthy diet lately, it’s important that you take a few factors into account.

A truly healthy eating plan is one that looks at a number of unique factors and builds its structure around those factors. It isn’t just about calorie counting or hitting certain macro targets.

It’s about building a plan that will work for YOU.

Here are 10 factors to consider when building your diet.

Notepad with meal plan and apple.

Your Activity Level

Of all the factors to look at, your activity level will be one of the most important.

Let’s say you have two people.

  • Sara, who is 21 years old, works as a waitress part-time while attending classes for 6 hours a day and doing her workouts 4-5 times per week
  • Sandy, who is 48 years old, works at an office job, spends most of his time watching TV, and exercises for 30 minutes, twice per week

Who is going to need more calories?

Clearly Sara is because she is far more active. The more you move, the more you burn. Your diet must take this into account.

If you do not provide enough fuel for all your activities, energy slumps will happen and chances are, you’ll be binging on food before you know it.

While it’s good to create a calorie deficit while dieting to promote fat loss to take place, if you create too large of a deficit, it will backfire.

Your body is built to withstand periods of starvation as best as possible and your metabolic rate will slow right down and further fat loss will become incredibly challenging.

If a diet you are on does not take into account your activity level, it is not the diet for you.


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Your Body Type

Male Body Type Chart   Here’s a little exercise for you to do right now.

Go stand in front of a mirror wearing as little clothing as possible (strip down naked if you wish!).

Now take a good hard look at yourself.

Is your body fairly ‘up and down’ – thin, tall, and lanky?

Or, are do you have a bit more padding? Would you describe yourself more as an apple or pear shaped individual with thinner arms and legs and a wider middle?

Perhaps you have the athletic look and you have a nicely built frame that has muscle in all areas of your body.

Which best describes you?

By identifying this, you can learn a lot about the type of diet you should be on.

Your body type can be classified as an ectomorph, endomorph, or mesomorph.

Endomorphs are the pears and apples, who tend to gain weight easily. They tend to struggle with carbs and calories, converting them to fat easily. As such, a lower calorie, low carb approach tends to work best.

Mesomorphs, on the other hand, are very muscular and do very well with carbs. They tend to do best on a medium to high carb diet, that also is rich in lean proteins.

Finally, ectomorphs are the naturally thin types. They want to build muscle and gain weight, not lose it. For them, a high fat, high carb, high calorie diet is best. They need to focus on eating as many energy dense foods as possible as these are what will help them fill out their frame.

As you can see, it’s not a one-size fits all. You must determine your body type first. That is a good indication of which direction you should go with your diet.

Your Goals

Also think about your goals.

How fast do you want to gain or lose weight?

Is maintaining your strength level important?

Do you even plan to exercise?

Is physical performance a vital factor in your life?

All of these will factor into the type of diet you are using. Generally speaking, if performance and strength maintenance are key, you’ll need to use a more moderate diet approach compared to someone who just wants to get lean in a hurry.

The lower your calories go, the greater the chances are for strength and/or performance loss.

By knowing this going in, you can set your expectations accordingly.

If you want to ensure you don’t lose any muscle at all while you diet, expect to lose weight more slowly than someone who isn’t as worried about this.

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Your Reaction To Various Types Of Foods

Spaghetti Pasta

Another thing that you should be considering before you adopt any diet plan is how your body responds to various foods you eat.

Think about this for a moment here.

Imagine you just finished a very carb-dense meal. You ate a large plate of spaghetti covered with tomato sauce and had a side of garlic bread to go with it. For dessert, you had a banana split completely with some reduced fat ice cream.

How do you feel?

Are you ready to go pass out on the couch for a few hours?

Or do you feel great – like you could run a marathon?

The answer to this question will tell you some critical information: how well you deal with carbohydrates.

Some people are great carb-burners, so to speak. They eat a high carb meal and feel energized, healthy, and well.

Others, however, do not do so well. When too many carbs flood their system, they feel sluggish, tired, and simply unwell.

Those people tend to do far better running on dietary fat as a fuel source and as such, should use a diet that is more restricted in carbohydrates while being higher in total fat content.

On the contrary, the good carb burner will usually do better on a lower fat, higher carb approach.

Now, part of this can be reflected in your body type as noted above, but part of it is also related to your insulin sensitivity levels. Those who are more insulin sensitivity tend to handle carbohydrates better than those who are insulin resistant.

Insulin resistance typically increases as you get heavier and move closer to the scale of being overweight and/or suffering from pre-diabetes or diabetes, so that is one big reason why these people tend to do so well on low carb plans.

If, on the other hand, you are very athletic and lean, you’ll likely find that if you cut your carbs back too far, you start feeling miserable. For you, you need carbs to function because this is your body’s preferred source of fuel.

Recognizing this in yourself before you choose your diet plan can help you side-step major issues related to how well you feel.

Your Lifestyle And Schedule

Moving along, the next thing you need to look at is your lifestyle and schedule.

How often can you eat?

How much time do you have to prepare your meals?

How frequently do you need to attend lunch or dinner meetings or events?

All of these will also factor into the diet plan that you should be utilizing. It’s critical that you can plan your diet to your lifestyle and not the other way around.

Those who often start to feel like their diet is dictating their life are those who generally will be quick to fall off the program.

They’ll grow frustrated and will feel more restricted than ever, which just leads them to want to toss in the towel.

By analyzing your lifestyle and your needs with your diet first before choosing your diet, you can find one that will work with your day.

Again, this goes back to making sure that any nutrition plan you go in is one that you could use for life.

Sure, once you achieve your weight loss goals with your plan (if that is in fact a goal for you), you may choose to add more calories back into the plan and make some adjustments to the macronutrients, but the general concept of the plan should be something that you can remain on forever.

By viewing any nutrition plan in this manner, you can side-step those ‘quick fix’ gimmicky types of approaches that just won’t lead you to long term success no matter what you do.

If one week into your diet you simply cannot wait to come off it, that’s your first sign that that diet probably wasn’t right from the start.

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Your Ability To Cook Meals

Woman standing by the stove in the kitchen, cooking and smelling

As you search for good diet plans, you’ll also want to factor in your ability to cook meals.

Everyone is going to vary here with both their ability as well as their desire.

Perhaps you are a master chef when you want to be but you simply don’t have the time to create elaborate meals each week.

If that’s the case, it may be important that you find a program that will allow you to eat out quite frequently, using predetermined food guidelines of course to stay on track.

Or, you may want to look for a plan that offers a number of pre-made menu options. More and more food delivery programs are coming out today so you can quickly get the food dropped off right to your door.

Perhaps you are someone who really likes cooking for yourself and simply doesn’t want to give this up.

If that’s the case, it’s important that your plan allows for this. If it always requires you eat the same three or four meals every day, and you never get to experiment in the kitchen, that could make this plan one that you never want to stick with.

Don’t let yourself come to believe that just because you are not able to cook, does not mean you can’t see results with your eating plan.

That simply is not the case at all.

If you can perform very basic cooking skills, or at least are willing to learn those, there is no reason you cannot get good results with your meal plan efforts.

It all comes down to scaling your nutrition plan to include menu options that are in alignment with your abilities.

Your Need For Flexibility

The next factor to consider is your need for flexibly. How flexible do you want the plan to be?

While there are some people who have virtually the same day every day (such as an office worker), there are others who have no two days that are ever the same (such as a realtor or a doctor).

As such, these people will need completely different diet plans from each other.

Likewise, some people just simply like having more flexibility. If they feel like they are too regimented, their brain fights back and they just don’t want to have anything to do with that diet plan.

If that’s the case for you, again, choosing a more flexible diet plan will be important.

If you are a chef who loves to create, as noted above, you’ll want a plan that allows you to do so. A flexible plan that gives you the main macronutrients you need to hit and then allows you to adjust from there will likely work perfectly.

In other cases, you may want a very specific plan. You may feel as though you need a plan that will tell you what to eat and when. For you, no guesswork is important.

The more regimented the plan is, the better the chances are you will stick to it.

Each person is unique in what they prefer, so it’s vital that you take into account your preference and need for flexibly.

You can have the best plan in the world but if it’s not one you enjoy following, the chances you see good success on it will be quite low.

For some people, flexibility can really make or break their diet plan.

Your Exercise Program

Healthy lifestyle people running on country road exercising. Run Also take a good look at the exercise program you are doing as well. Are you performing intense strength training or sprinting activities?

If so, plan on consuming more carbohydrates in your meal plan by default. As the body can only run on this nutrient for a fuel source, if you aren’t eating enough carbohydrates, you aren’t going to see optimal results. Your performance will suffer and it’ll all go downhill from there.

On the flip side, if you are doing plenty of endurance work – say you are training for a half marathon, this lower intensity activity can utilize fat as a fuel source better, so you may get away just fine relying strictly on low carb, high fat meals.

If you aren’t exercising at all, this too would lend better to a much lower carbohydrate diet plan. There’s just no need to be consuming so many carbohydrates if you aren’t actively using those carbs on a regular basis.

Too many diets out there are prescribed to people without even factoring in what they are doing for exercise.

This is another sign that that diet is one that is not designed with your best interests in mind.

Exercise and nutrition should always go hand in hand.

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Your Genetic History

Extended Group Portrait Of Family Enjoying Day In Park

It can also be helpful to take a quick look at your genetic history as well. Are your parents overweight?

How about their parents?

What about your brother and/or sisters?

While genetics will only account for your tendency to gain weight (it’s your own personal choices that will really dictate whether you become overweight), it’s still something that you will want to think about it.

If diabetes runs in your family for instance, there’s a good chance that unless you take serious steps to reduce your risk, you too will suffer at some point or another.

Be smart and tailor your diet plan now to avoid this.

Just don’t ever let yourself use genetics as an escape goat. Some people will simply state that their entire family is big, therefore they are destined to be larger as well.

Not so. With enough hard work and dedication, you can outsmart genetics and maintain a healthy body weight.

Your Ability To Stick To A Plan

Finally, also think about your ability to stick to a plan. How have you fared on diets in the past?

Do you tend to carry them out or toss in the towel the first time you struggle?

This will tell you how intense and intricate the nutrition you are using should be.

Some people will simply do better on a diet that’s very relaxed with only a few guidelines to get them started.

Others, who do very well on diets, may be able to have a very specific plan telling them exactly what to eat and when. They won’t bat an eyelash at this because they can follow a plan incredibly well.

For a beginner however, this may simply be too much. It’s too many details they need to worry about and it gets them all stressed and ready to give up.

Succeeding at a diet plan is about learning yourself and how you best respond to various nutritional principles. Once you know this, you can easily plan out good diet plans that will help you for the long haul.

So there you have the most important factors to consider when selecting a diet. If you are not losing weight on your diet, it’s time that you take a good hard look at why that may be.

Often, it’s not your fault. It’s that the diet isn’t set up properly in order to promote optimal progress, you simply won’t see the success you deserve. If you pay attention to all of these factors, you can ensure any nutrition plan you do use is one that is well formulated for your own body.

Back to Sheri.

We ordered a genetic testing kit along with a hormone profile and a couple of other key tests that we use at our scientific research center.  Turns out Sheri’s genetics required her to move from a low carb diet with a high meat content to a pescatarian diet with a lot of salads, potatoes, rice and yams for carbs.

She also had to cut her workouts from 6 per week to 3 full body boosted up her probiotic intake to get her gut health and switch from reverse osmosis water to ionized water.

12 weeks later she was down 8 pounds and feeling better than every.

Sheri dropped coffee got into herbal tea and had virtually no food cravings.

Once a week she has a “whatever she wants evening” complete with guilt free desserts and a few glasses of her favorite chardonnay.

With her extra time, she’s taking a Spanish course and finally she seldom thinks about dieting, her weight, or her exercise program.

While Sheri recognizes that it will be another 6 months to a year to get her optimum weight she’s actually enjoying the process and lost the obsession.

Sheri says “it’s not about dieting or exercise even, it all comes down to eating right for your genetics and lifestyle and getting your gut health even.”  Then 10 dark years seem like a distant memory.

That’s the power of individualized coaching.

Ready to take that next step and really get more from your nutrition? You’ll want to check out our 12 week program, where I cover all the important details about health optimization.

In the second phase of this course, I’ll specifically discuss how to optimize digestion, why diets are dead and nutrition plans are in, the dirty details on which fats could destroy your health, as well as the truth about macro and micro minerals. Be sure to sign up so you can take your health to a higher level.

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1 Comment

  1. Theodore on October 5, 2017 at 6:41 pm

    I’m trying to lose weight for my upcoming wedding, I’ve seen a lot of blogs and posts on how to’s but I just can’t-do it. Reading through your article, I’ve seen that it really is frustrating when you can’t see the results or change with your body instantly and I think that is the reason why I gave up easy on a diet. Thank you! Now I know that I needed to be more focused and most especially, to be patient if I wanted to achieve my goal and the body I want. Thanks!

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