Some women dream of being “skinny.” They focus on getting their weight down to a certain number and may not regard their health in the process. As you can imagine, that is unwise and can lead to a dangerous obsession with achieving an unrealistic goal reflected on the scale. Health is much more important than what you weigh. Why is it, then, that some of us continue to chase a number ideal instead of a health ideal?

Simply, the answer may lie in your perception of the function of a healthy lifestyle. If you believe the only reason to eat healthy is to achieve a weight goal, then you won’t understand the need to continue with your healthy habits after you hit your target weight. That leads to yo-yo dieting, which is dangerous to your health and well-being.

Instead of seeing the short terms goals as reason enough to diet and exercise, consider changing your lifestyle to achieve a ideal health; not just a target number on the scale.

Here are 4 reasons you can’t lose weight

1. You don’t put yourself first

As women, we sometimes have a tendency to put everyone else before ourselves. Do you find yourself taking care of your children, your partner, your friends and family’s needs before your own? Putting yourself last can cause serious complications later in life. If you need some incentive to put your health first, consider this: overlooking your own health for the benefit of others may cut your own life short. In order to be around to enjoy your family and friends for years to come, it’s time you made healthy eating and regular exercise a part of your everyday life.

Set aside some time each day to exercise for 30-45 minutes and make small, reasonable changes your eating habits to include more fruits, veggies, lean meat and protein.

2. You let your emotions decide what to eat

Beware of emotional eating! Sometimes life throws us curve balls… Everything may be going well in your life in one moment, then some event or series of events erupts, leaving chaos for you to manage. It’s in times like those that eating can feel exceptionally good. It’s can be a source of comfort that is sure to temporarily relieve your mind of the chaos in your lives. However, when the tide turns and your life gets back on track you will have another thing to tackle; your weight.

A better way to balance your emotions is to plan regular exercise into your day to serve as a great stress relief. You will be able to manage your stress level and avoid creating a problem (weight gain) that needs to be managed once everything else in your life settles.

3. You’re stuck at a desk

Make a move! Your job may be a great source of support for your finances but may not serve as the most effective catalyst to a healthy lifestyle. Face it; the average person sits at their desk for 6 to 8 hours a day. That’s definitely not a great way to lose weight or maintain your health.

Combat a sedentary job by taking a few small breaks during the day to walk around the office or even outside. If it’s not possible to leave the office, then periodically alternate between sitting and standing at your desk. Even that small change a few times a day can help you in your goals towards living a healthy lifestyle.

4. You reach inside the cookie jar too often

Avoid junk food! Staying away from junk food sounds so much easier than it is. You’re constantly surrounded by fast food places in your daily travels. Grocery stores are loaded with unhealthy food directly in your line of sight as soon as you enter the store. How can you avoid something that is all around you?

The first line of defense is your home. Keeping junk food out of the house will decrease your access to that type of food and therefore decrease your temptation and consumption of junk foods. The second thing you can do to to avoid junk food is to plan your meals and snacks ahead of time. By packing healthy snacks and keeping them at your fingertips, you can avoid the trap of needing a quick fix from the vending machine.

Losing weight may require you to rethink some of your daily habits, but we guarantee it will be well worth it! You will feel better, look better and presumably be around much longer for yourself and your family and friends.