The three secrets to exercising for weight loss

Sometimes, the "best" ways to lose weight  lead to the worst results -- like when you join a gym.

You pay the fee, meet with the trainer, show up two or three times a week and then a month later you get on the scale... and let out a scream.

No, it's not a scream of delight. It's a scream of horror -- because you haven't lost a pound, and you may have even gained a little weight.

Well, don't be too disappointed. You're not alone.

More than a quarter of all people who start exercising actually gain weight, according to a new survey of ways to lose weight. In addition, nearly half don't lose any weight at all.

All told, just 27 percent of exercisers report losing weight while on their workout program, according to the poll of more than 1,000 British exercisers.

It's discouraging. Frustrating. Even downright infuriating.

But don't let it bring you down -- and don't let it put a stop to your workout plan, whether it's in a gym or at your home.

There are three main reasons people fail to lose weight when they start to exercise -- and if you've "been there, done that," you may have battled one, two or all three yourself.

Today, I'm going to give you the power to fight back -- a guide to the top three obstacles to weight loss during exercise, and how to overcome them:

1. Snack Attack: The new study finds that 40 percent of exercisers burn less than 300 calories during a workout. That alone isn't bad, especially if you're just starting out, but a sports drink and a small snack could quickly put all those calories back into your body -- and maybe more.

Don't undo all your hard work.

Make better choices instead. Pass on the sports drinks and choose filtered water, coconut water or a fresh vegetable juice. And instead of junk food, stick to something healthy such as a piece of fruit or sliced vegetables.

If you get your exercise outside of your home, bring a drink and snack with you so you're not tempted to buy something unhealthy afterward.

 2. Diet Disaster: A workout program is part of a weight-loss program -- but it's only part. If you don't eat better, all the exercise in the world won't make much of a difference.

So along with regular exercise at a gym or in your home -- or wherever else you choose -- make some adjustments to your diet. Skipping the processed foods, and eating fresh foods instead is one of the easiest ways to lose weight.

I recommend a Mediterranean diet rich in healthy fats and lean proteins.

3. Body Balance: Sometimes, you can eat right and get your exercise and still find the numbers on the scale just won't budge.

Don't give up. Since the muscle you're building weighs more than the fat you're burning, it's natural to hit a plateau and at times maybe even gain a little weight back.

But if you find you've hit a plateau that lasts for months, there could be something else going on -- such as a hormonal imbalance that can cause fat to accumulate around your waistline, especially if you're middle-aged or older.

A holistic medical doctor can check your hormone levels and replenish them naturally if you're falling short.