What is it so hard for women to lose weight

Insights from a clinical Hypnotherapist & weight loss specialist

May 2022. 10-MINUTE READ

This blog post is dedicated to and written for every woman who has struggled with weight.


Why is it so hard for women to lose weight?

You could literally Google that question and get thousands of different results. In fact, it could be why you’ve landed on this page in the first place.

If so Hi …

But how do you know what the right answer is for you and why is it so bloody hard to lose weight, some women struggle their whole life! For 30, 40 or 50 plus years!!

That is such a long time to have NEVER found answers. Clearly, all the methods of weight loss out there DO NOT work.

So, let’s just throw out everything you’ve heard all your life out the window and wipe the slate clean, because after 10 plus years, thousands of clients and 10’s of thousands of session hours, I would know pretty much after 10 mins of speaking with you exactly what you need in order to solve your puzzle and it isn’t ever a new diet.

Further to this…

In this post, I’m going to share what I’ve learnt about weight loss over the last 10 or so years, the real reasons why it’s so hard to lose weight and what you can do about it.

Plus, further on in the post, I’m going to answer some common weight-loss questions so you don’t have to go through the 50 million answers on Google, but after reading my insights you probably will not need to.

The truth about Weight Loss

The fact is there can be so many different reasons why you are struggling to lose weight and I’ll get to some of them in this post, but for now, I’m going to start with the insights I gained as a weight loss hypnotherapist after over 10-years of helping women with just one laser-focused mission – weight loss.

Disclaimer: I exclude from my post any medical reasons why weight loss or gain is a struggle because I’m not your doctor or a doctor. You should always consult your doctor before making any changes. Also, this information is of general nature and does not consider your personal situation.

The key to your Puzzle

That’s the key right, your personal situation. There are so many reasons why people are the size and shape they are, for example:

  • DNA,
  • Environment,
  • Gene expression,
  • Gut health etc…

Therefore, no one solution is for everyone, and your solution needs to be bespoke, you just need to know where to look to apply the right solution. 

So, when you try what Karen down the roads swears by, and it didn’t work for you, blaming you is pointless but also doing it in the first place is pointless.

The solutions need to be tailored to you, but the reasons why you’re struggling with weight in the first place, surprisingly aren’t as unique.

Do you want to know a secret?

There are patterns among women who struggle with weight, eating habits or have uncontrollable urges or habits.

Let’s get into the most common patterns and the most difficult challenges around weight loss and hopefully, this will give you some clues on where to start looking for yourself.

Oh, I also want to talk about why some people lose weight and not others and everything in between like why we self-sabotage, overeat binge, eat junk food or unhealthy eating habits etc.

So, if you have questions, I got all your answers and if I’ve missed anything contact me and ask, I will personally answer you and maybe add your question to this post.

Weight loss is never about diet and exercise

I’ve spoken to thousands of women about their weight loss struggles and all the issues they are unable to manage on their own. Interestingly women tend to come to me as their last resort after they’ve tried everything else and nothing worked long term, or if it did work it was a miserable existence, not sustainable, so they quit and back comes all the weight and then some…I imagine you can relate, yeah?

The reason why nothing worked was that they were working on the wrong thing.

Your weight is not about the right food, diet and exercise.


Let me explain…

This is me winning a Hypnotherapist award many moons ago.

When I first started as a hypnotherapist, I was a generalist, meaning I would treat all different kinds of issues. Because of this, I started noticing patterns in what people were saying, the presenting issues may have been different, anxiety, depression, fears, phobias, and weight loss but they were all experiencing similar things and similar reasons why.

Weight loss is not about lack of willpower…

…I quickly discovered that weight loss wasn’t ever about food or the right diet or willpower.

It was always about why, more specifically the unconscious and underlying why we do what we do, believe what we believe. Our habits, behaviours and why we have them in the first place.

The most common reason you fail…

The most common reason why women can’t lose weight or stick to it or change those habits and behaviours around food is that they are focused on ‘fixing’ food and exercise instead of why they are making the choices in the first place, consciously and but mostly unconsciously.

“Cake is not the enemy nor is it the thing you must give up to reach a weight loss goal.”

-Jodi Clarke

Some people try their whole life to solve the puzzle of weight loss and never do. But it’s not your fault.

We have been fed lies all this time about weight loss, mainly because it’s a billion-dollar industry, they don’t want you to lose weight forever. They know what I know, they have millions and millions of dollars to spend on research. But their products are made for you to buy!

Let me address some lies….

BMI – Body Mass Index

This ridiculous measurement was created in the 1800s by Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet. BMI was created as a simple measurement of the general population for government statistics purposes. It was never meant to be used on an individual level. The study even mentions this, because of variations, like height, size, bone mass, muscle mass etc. Not to mention I read somewhere that the chart was originally based on a man for both men and women.

BUT every fricken doctor has the BMI chart on their wall.

Basic BMI chart
This image from Body Labs is a scan of women with the same BMI. And they look roughly the same height.
Image source https://healthtravelguide.com/

Then there is this image from Health Travel Guide showing women with the same BMI and different heights.

Eat less move more garbage.

Please stop saying this, or listening to it, it drives me to drink!!

What you eat matters! Sure, we need to not smash the ceiling of calories v what we burn every single day or go under for that matter either.

But how the hell are you supposed to measure this rubbish. My fitness pal every crumb and monitor every single burnt calorie?

What about water? Hormones? Things like PCOS? Effects of Medication. How is all this factored in?

Let alone how do you know what your BMR is? Every single day? How much under your Energy expenditure should you go to remain healthy?

Oh, and when you exercise more your energy needs go up, therefore, you need to eat more…

This is a crazy nightmare that you quite frankly don’t need.

I find it encourages people to undereat their BMR, which in turn does sometimes long-term damage that some people never recover from.

Think biggest loser competition; the disgusting and humiliating show that takes people through this exact model with pretty much all of the contestants putting the weight back on and then some.

You see, your body is so very clever, it will adjust itself down.

What a women’s metabolic health Doctor says…

This was explained to me by a local metabolism specialist, I’m not a doctor, this is just me explaining in layman’s terms what the Doctor told me about how our metabolism works.

Think of BMR as your engine and food as the fuel.  Imagine your body needs about 1500 calories a day just to function, heart, lungs, organs, digestion, poop, wee wee’s etc.

If you use less fuel, like a 1200 calorie diet, for example, after time, the body will say hey, looks like we don’t need 1500 calories anymore, we only need 1200 calories.  But it’s too late, you’ve stopped your diet, you’ve hit your goal so now you stack it all back on, fast.

So, you go back to 1200 calories, but it doesn’t work as it did before, because 1200 is your new BMR.

So, to lose weight you need to eat less.  It’s one big, massive race to zero!

In all my 10 years I have not put anyone on a diet, restricted any food, banned food, nor have we counted calories! But women have lost anywhere from 1-2 kilos off a smaller frame up to 45 kilos in a larger body!

Put down the calorie-restricted diet and back away slowly… do NOT make eye contact.

Image source: Wikipedia

One of my favourite “shits me to death” weight loss tips

The No fat low-fat diet was created by Ancel Keys, an American physiologist who studied the influence of diet on health. from his now arguably flawed 7 countries study.

The man has some serious qualifications and put in the hard graft but his science was flawed and when his peers had a looksy they let him know.

There has been some sciencey type drama and fisty cuffs over the study. Word on the street is Key’s cherry-picked the data to suit himself, his study and his agenda. Apparently, he was just someone who talked louder than everyone else and convinced who he needed to for fame and legacy. Keys also was a big promotor of the BMI and SUGAR!

*Insert eye roll and big groan* I’ll leave you to make up your mind…

But in fairness Key’s also said the BMI wasn’t meant to be used for induvial measurements so I will give him some brownie points.

This low-fat diet single handily, I believe is the reason why some women in their 50s, 60s and 70s struggle to budge their weight despite eating well and moving regularly.

We grew up in a no-fat world, but our body needs fat to function. Again, I’m no doctor but I can defiantly see a pattern here in this age group.

I think low fat has a similar effect that restrictive diets do on BMR but again, I don’t have the scientific background or resources to create a study. I’m just telling you what I see with client after client that grew up on low-fat.

 Rant over… Let’s get back to the why

The common reason why weight-loss programs don’t work

As I said earlier, the most common reason why you can’t lose weight and keep it off is there is an underlying reason why you behave the way you do around food and with yourself.

You’ve been trying to eat less cake, or not binge eat or stick to not eating bread etc.

If weight loss is a real issue for you, and it’s impacting your life and quality of life, what you need to look at is why you are grabbing the snack at night when you’re not hungry or drinking that extra glass of wine that you said you weren’t going to have.

Your reason why needs to be healed not the snacking or food choices.

But instead, we work on binge eating and we work on overeating, and we work on eating habits and eating healthier and restrictive diets and all these things that are never going to work long term.

Short term they may, but they’re never going to work long term because the WHY is still under there bubbling up, waiting to come out again.

For example

If you have a deep wound and you put a band-aid over that wound but there’s no healing mechanism for the wound, the band-aid is not going to help. The wound is going to remain there, constantly being knocked and ripped open again, over, and over until it crusts over and leaves a big ugly scar.

But if you did the work to heal the wound, cared for the wound, gave it what it needed, healed it, you may still see a little bit of the scar when you’re done but it reminds you of how far you’ve come, that you can manage anything that comes your way and teaches you how to care for your next wound and help the next wound to be maybe just superficial and not cut so deep.

What creates the wound?

The wound or the underlying current, or the reason why we do what we do, mostly comes from things we’ve learned or experienced in childhood.

We call them childhood wounds. You may say… “oh but I have great parents”. I would say to them even people who had parents with the best intentions are still going to have childhood wounds.

Because the child’s brain is underdeveloped and the child is egocentric, it feels like everything good, bad, or indifferent is about them.

Can you Relate…

Say you have a parent that may have worked long hours because they had to keep a roof over your head, food on the table or a fun holiday every year.

Your parents not neglecting you on purpose, but the child is egocentric right and feels like the parent doesn’t want to be around them, feels abandonment, feels rejected.

You may grow up with abandonment wounds, being co-dependent, feeling left out, hate being alone or neglect wounds, low self-worth, struggle to say no, fear of being vulnerable and may comfort or self soothe yourself with food.

Maybe your unhealthy eating habits around food were created for example from when those times that you were sad your mum might cheer you up with the lolly or cake or food, so you got your child’s brain learns to Self soothe with food.

Now, remember, these are examples, they may not be everybody’s reason.

Maybe it’s a deeper trauma?

Also, many clients I see as weight loss hypnotherapist has experienced trauma as a child. Neglect, abuse, abandonment, violence, addicted parents, emotionally unavailable parents or critical.

Trauma is a huge issue when it comes to the weight loss struggle because the developed unhealthy habits and behaviours can be there for protection and the mind won’t let it go until it knows it is safe, this can cause self-sabotage. Just when you make some progress you stop taking action, or binge or do something to undo your efforts.

You may use food as a comfort or to hide or fill a void. You may also develop anxiety, depression, fears or phobias or all sorts of different ways of your mind coping or trying to keep you safe.

If food habits and behaviours are connected to what you’ve experienced as a child you might find seemingly little things that people may say or do can trigger behaviours, you may feel like you have no control over. That can be really scary for some people to experience.

The seemingly uncontrollable behaviours around food feel like you can never stop and then it has this pullover you, this control over you.

But I want you to know that you definitely can change these habits and behaviours. It does take work, sometimes a lot of work, but can you see that an understanding of why it’s happening in the first place is a very first place to start?

What you should eat to lose weight and keep it off

Very rarely do I come across somebody these days that doesn’t know how to eat healthily. I don’t need to tell my clients what to eat and what not to eat, they already know and would know their bodies and likes more than I ever would.

They’ve been on and off diets their whole life they know what’s good for them. They know what nutrition they need; they know what they have to eat and when and how, I don’t need to tell them.  But if they do need guidance then I suggest whole foods. A simple rule of thumb of what to eat: the least number of hands that touch it the better.

Unless you have a very specific health issue, allergy, or food that y’all food sensitivities or you’re not sure if you have an issue then seek out a professional.

But apart from that, you don’t need anyone to tell you what to eat and I really don’t believe that we need any weight loss programs that tell people what to eat and what specific exercise they need to do to lose weight. If you want to be fitter sure, but to lose weight, just stop, no.

What exercise should I do to lose weight and keep it off?

I don’t believe that we should be exercising to lose weight. When we get to our goal weight, then what? We don’t exercise anymore. Or you force yourself to exercise to lose weight, but you hate exercise so give up or you can’t exercise because of health… then what? You’re a failure? Your hopeless and have no willpower?

Instead, I believe we should be exercising or what I prefer to call it, “moving the body”, to feel good, well I think we should be exercising because our body likes it, I think we should be exercising because it makes us feel strong and gives us the life where we can do more or whatever you want to feel when you move your body.

The more we push the narrative that people need to eat less and move more to lose weight the more damage we do to people who actually struggling with this.

Is food your safety net?

Imagine that someone has trauma and is using food as a safety net. It’s their way of coping, feeling safe, and all they hear is eat less and move more or don’t have that bread! That bread may be a comfort to them, it may be the only thing that is helping them cope with a traumatic childhood.

We simplify the answer to all their weight problems as just walking around the block more, imagine how frustrating that is to someone that this simple thing is so hard.

The secret to no-exercise weight loss

If you focus on what you like to do and feel daily rather than punishing yourself with burpees and squats and sit-ups in a gym that hate going to you will be more consistent with your movement.

I find lasting results happen with people connecting more with themselves and finding what naturally feels good for them and what they like doing.

Then it’s not a chore, you’re not doing it for weight loss, you’re doing it because you like it. Everyone can do the stuff they like all the time, why not lean into that?

When you flip your mindset on movement, then the living starts. If you connect with what you truly want out of life, you can start living that life NOW, you don’t have to wait until you lose weight you don’t have to wait until you’re good at exercise or you’ve got this diet down packed you can stop dieting, you can stop doing that exercise that you hate today and then you can get on with learning to heal your mind and body and bloody enjoying life, today!

That might look like…

You love nature, so you go for a beautiful nature walk, no rush, no agenda just being present in the glory of a beautiful rainforest, or trees or flora and fauna and ferns and that peaceful beautiful feeling you get walking through that space and feeling the energy of the earth with you at that moment. This feels so much better than running on a treadmill that you absolutely hate that is going to give you inflammation and pain and you’re never going to want to do it again because it creates so much pain in your body.

When in reality…

All you need to do is move when you’re ready to move and not because a program says you have to move so many days a week, that you have to 10 reps of weights. Etc.

Exercise can be really good for the body, but it also can be strenuous, I used to love that full-body exhaustion, where you go hard at it.

But now these days that walk in the forest sounds just so beautiful and is something that I will do it is something that I will look forward to doing it’s living life how I want to live, rather than letting outside forces guide me on how to be in the world.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight. 

Maybe you’re feeling uncomfortable in your body, your weight is affecting your life, you’re not enjoying life, it’s stopping you from living how you want to live, or having experiences, like travel or outings with friends and family.

Are you missing out on life?

Your clothes don’t quite fit anymore, you’re feeling sluggish or tired and you want to get out there you want to walk up that hill because something is interesting up there you want to go down to the beach and go for a nice walk and not feel uncomfortable with your legs chafing and just sweating up a storm you want to go out and sit somewhere and not have to worry about what kind of chairs that you’re going to be sitting on and whether they’re going to hold your weight or you will fit.

Whatever your reason, start with thinking about how you want to live, what is getting in the way of the life you want and then go about healing your wounds.

Your weight will change when you change…

when your habits and behaviours change and it won’t be a struggle, it will be just you are being you and loving everything that you’re doing.

And if you want to change and not wait one minute longer without getting the support you need to finally get off the weight-loss train then, let’s talk.

Click here to book a free chat with me.

Let’s create an action
plan together!

In this session we cover what you are experiencing around food, your goals, desires, struggles and frustrations then your dreams. From there we will map out and plan your weight loss dream life journey.

You will get actional tools and tips that you can implement right now and identify how and if we are a fit to work together inside one of our weight loss programs.
(Valued at $350 AUD)

Now, I did a massive Google search and pulled out the top most common questions people have about weight loss, so you don’t have to wade through the noise.


Is it possible to Lose weight without exercise?

Short answer: Yes, you can lose weight with our no-diet/no-exercise weight loss hypnosis program, where we teach your mind to change simple lifestyle habits. For Example: Drinking more water, eating enough protein, getting enough sleep, improving your gut health, emotional healing, managing stress, eating good fats, and eating a variety of food.

Is it possible to lose weight while you sleep?

Technically, no, your body is resting and doesn’t burn much while you are asleep apart from its normal functions. There is some data that you may burn fat while you sleep in a fasting state. You can read more about fasting here >>

BUT if you listen to hypnosis as you go off to sleep it can help re-train your brain so that when you wake up you have new healthier habits and behaviours that will result in weight loss.

If you click here I made a session to retrain your brain to love healthy food while you sleep.

Also, the lack of sleep can be a huge factor in weight gain or unable to lose weight.  Your body may need more energy from feeling tired which may cause things like overeating or making quick or poor choices because you’re exhausted.

There is evidence that sleep deprivation may affect your hunger hormones. Leptin is your appetite suppressant (it tells your body you’re full) or Ghrelin tells our body we are hungry.

Studies suggest that sleep deprivation may throw off the balance decreasing the appetite of Leptin and increasing our hunger hormone Ghrelin.

Is it possible to lose weight without dieting?

Yes! In my 10 years of experience, it’s the only way to lose weight and achieve lasting results.

Dieting, restricting, or banning foods may cause irreversible damage to the body, create eating disorders, and is a miserable experience.

Rather, focus on health and wellbeing and your weight will settle to its natural size and shape.

Is it possible to lose weight with PCOS?

It’s possible but it may be a long road to travel. In my own experience with uterine polyps which resulted in a 45kg gain, it was at times, so very hard. Even now my body is taking time to release the weight. But I also must accept that I might be this size and shape forever.  So, I get on with life and focus on health and wellbeing instead.

You must trust the process and trust that you are doing all you can to be healthy and that’s all that matters.

My philosophy is to heal the root cause of the problem so I would be looking at how to heal the PCOS, if possible, and if not, how can you support a body living with PCOS.

How to lose weight without losing your mind

This question popped up because there is a book on the topic. The answer is the same as what is said above, focus on how you want to live, what is getting in the way of that, healing your wounds and getting on with life.

Weight Loss Surgery Types

There are four types of weight loss surgery, Gastric Band, Gastric bypass, Gastric sleeve and Virtual Gastric Band.

Did you know that after the surgery you can only eat very small amounts of food? It’s just like a restrictive calorie diet.  People starve their bodies with the use of this surgery.  You can never eat properly ever again, (unless you get adjustments) and if you don’t have healthy eating habits or as I say above resolve the reason why you have the relationship you have with food in the first place this behaviour continues.  So, people who come to me that have had the surgery, are miserable, malnourished, feel extremely unhealthy and all the reasons why they are overweight in the first place are still there.

I’m not your doctor, please speak to your doctor and a weight-loss professional before choosing to have surgery or not have surgery.

The fourth option is a virtual Gastric band.  This procedure takes your mind virtually through the Gastric band operation in a way that your mind believes that it happened, and your eating habits and behaviours change as a result.

Plus, we can also work on how you got to the place of needing it in the first place and massive leaps in your quality of life.

I love helping people in this position because the results are so incredible and inspiring.

Why am I not losing weight no matter what I do?

You may have a medical reason why you are not losing weight so please consult your doctor to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

For non-medical causes, to find your answers get super curious, focus on health and connect with yourself.

Ask questions like:

  • Am I undereating,
  • over-exercising,
  • stressed,
  • have hormonal imbalances,
  • food sensitivities,
  • poor gut health
  • trauma
  • emotional weight

If you have any of these issues and you are trying to fix your weight with ‘diet and exercise’ it will be very frustrating, and you’ll get nowhere.

In my own personal experience, hormones & chronic fatigue played a huge part in my 45-kilo weight gain, the weight piled on and I just got bigger and bigger, and it didn’t stop!

I got curious and found that I had poor gut health, uterine polyps and weirdly an abscess under my tooth all contributing to my body gaining and holding weight.

I’ve resolved these issues and now I wait to see what happens, I may never lose the weight, but I’m sure as hell not going to let that get in the way of living life and the feeling of pure joy every single day!

Jodi Clarke

Jodi Clarke

CEO & Founder | Clinical Hypnotherapist | Weight Loss Specialist

Leading the charge is Jodi Clarke, the CEO and Founder of Awaecnan, a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist specialising in weight loss hypnotherapy in South East Melbourne and the peninsula. Having studied at The Academy of Hypnotic Science, an Australian government-accredited Clinical Hypnotherapy training academy, Jodi’s hypnotherapy skills are both effective and award-winning as she supports clients to achieve positive changes in their everyday lives.

To find out more Connect with Jodi on Facebook or Instagram

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