When trying to lose weight, making appropriate dietary changes and increasing exercise, while limiting alcohol consumption and late-night snacking, will usually set you on the path to success. But for some people, making drastic lifestyle modifications doesn’t translate to a smaller number on the scale. That’s because in spite of our best efforts, our own bodies may be sabotaging our weight loss plans.
There are 5 possible reasons someone is not losing weight. These reasons can keep body systems from functioning properly, and keep you from achieving your weight loss goals.
When you’re under stress — whether late to pick up your preschooler, behind deadline at work, or in actual danger — your body goes into a natural “fight or flight” response and releases the hormone cortisol. Typically released at a level commensurate to the “threat” you feel, cortisol affects metabolic pathways in a number of ways by giving you emergency energy for coping with stressors. It only becomes a problem when long-term stress causes the body to secrete the hormone with such frequency it no longer remembers what normal levels are and leaves you in a constantly elevated state.
This makes losing weight difficult, and can also contribute to weight gain, predominantly in the abdominal area, an especially unhealthy area to carry extra pounds.
As women age, the ovaries often show a reduction in progesterone production resulting in excess estrogen. Because progesterone is responsible for signaling the thyroid to burn fat for energy, this “estrogen dominance” results in fat being stored around the midsection. Women often complain of this as they begin going through menopause, although a hormonal imbalance can occur at other times as well.
Your thyroid gland produces hormones that control metabolism, and therefore controls how the body uses energy. Disorders of the thyroid, such as Hashimoto’s diseases or hypothyroidism, can prevent the gland from making enough of these hormones, making it difficult to lose — or even maintain — weight. Other symptoms of inadequate thyroid levels are fatigue, hair loss, low mood and brain fog.
When thyroid levels are especially low, the constant body stress taxes the adrenal system, causing inflammation and exacerbating these symptoms.
Chronic inflammation makes it hard to lose and maintain weight, and dietary choices are its primary cause. Sugar, grains, processed foods and some dairy products eaten in abundance contribute to inflammation that leads to weight management issues.
One reason is that inflammation affects your microbiome, or gut flora, which, among other things, can make you crave more of the foods you may be trying to avoid in an effort to lose weight. While inflammation is a problem in and of itself, it can also be a symptom of leaky gut syndrome, a condition that affects the lining of the stomach and intestines and interferes with nutrient absorption, something that’s especially important when reducing calories.
Unless we live in a bubble, everything we take in, both internally and externally, introduces toxins to our body. These must be filtered by the liver to prevent them from entering our bloodstream in large amounts. Air and water-borne pollutants, as well as chemical-laden skincare products, do plenty to tax our livers, but diets high in processed foods and alcohol make filtration more difficult and, over time, can lead to a toxin buildup with which our livers just can’t keep up.
When this detoxification system breaks down, patients can experience a number of symptoms from low mood, digestive issues, problematic skin, sluggishness and difficulty losing weight.
Don’t Give Up
The symptoms associated with many of these issues — weight gain, low mood, brain fog, fatigue — are very similar to those associated with normal aging and menopause, leading some women to believe their current state is their “new normal.” But if you’ve been trying to lose weight without success, there may be a functional reason your body is not responding. Weight management is a key component to overall wellness, so don’t give up! With proper and painless testing, we can identify and correct issues to allow your body to function properly, and achieve the healthy weight you desire. At Infinity Wellness Center, we can help you find the root cause of your weight issues.