6 Unexpected Reasons Why You Can’t Lose Weight
I see a lot of clients for weight loss who have tried everything under the sun but are still unable to lose weight. Some of my clients even have the perfect diet but still can’t lose weight. Weight loss doesn’t always come down to calories in vs calories out. There are numerous things that could be going on in your body which can affect weight loss, and I’m going to touch on a few of these for you.
1) You’re under eating or have tried too many low calorie/starvation diets
This is a mistake that a lot of dieters make. Just because you’re on a “diet” doesn’t mean you have to eat tiny morsels for each meal. Eating very little makes your body store whatever you eat as fat — just the opposite of what you want. It also causes your metabolism to slow down, making it more difficult for you to lose weight.
I’ve seen many female clients who have a really good diet but just aren’t eating enough to support their energy requirements, or they’ve tried so many diets in the past which are low calorie that they have now negatively affected their metabolism. Eating a low-calorie diet or restrictive eating for a long period of time will cause some type of metabolic damage. This is one of the reasons why people’s experiences plateau.
What I recommend: Seeking professional help from a nutritionist who can teach you how to heal your relationship with food, to help you nourish your body with real natural whole foods. (P.S. I’d love to see you if this is something you struggle with!).
2) An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
You might realize the reason you’re feeling tired, sluggish, constipated or have difficulties with concentration or dealing with cold hands and feet might be due to a sluggish/underactive thyroid. A sluggish thyroid can slow down metabolism subsequently resulting in weight gain. In our country, many people don’t consume the right foods to support thyroid health (i.e. iodine and selenium), we also lack these nutrients in our soils. Without being conscious of this and incorporating these foods into your diet this could be affecting your thyroid health.
What I recommend: Getting a blood test done to check your TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels, then going with this to a holistic nutritionist or naturopath. Often doctors say that your levels are fine, when in fact they might be skewed towards one side or the other. Also incorporate 3 brazil nuts into your diet daily to ensure you’re getting your daily dose of selenium, and sprinkle some kelp salt onto salads or roasted veggies, or snack on nori sheets and brown rice sushi to bump up your iodine levels.
3) You’re too stressed
When you are stressed your body goes into the ‘fight or flight’ response. When this happens regularly your body releases cortisol, a fat storing hormone. It’s important to put aside 5-15 minutes each day for yourself, to unwind and de-stress! This is important for helping to nourish your adrenal glands and signaling the nervous system to kick into the parasympathetic ‘rest and digest’ response.
What I recommend: You could try to meditate (even if it’s just for 5 minutes), I like to put my legs up against the wall for 15 minutes every night. Other options include reading, a walk around the block, having a bath, or simply just sitting and focusing on your breath, allowing your belly to rise and fall (breathing in for 4 counts, hold, then out for 4 counts). Try to do this 2-3 times throughout the day to you relax, unwind and be present.
4) Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalances can hugely affect weight loss. Conditions such as PCOS, for example, can cause insulin resistance which can cause weight gain, making it harder for you to lose weight. It’s also common for a female to be estrogen dominant (especially when taking the OCP). Absorbing environmental estrogens is another factor to consider which can lead to estrogen dominance. Environmental estrogens are known as xenoestrogens, these are synthetic chemicals found in plastics, fertilizers, detergents, and cosmetics. It is believed that these xenoestrogens can mimic our bodies natural estrogens. Excess estrogen can result in weight gain in both men and women.
What I recommend: Ditch the plastic drink bottles and lunch containers and opt for glass instead. And buy organic produce whenever possible
5) You’re not getting enough sleep
A lack of sleep or poor quality sleep may be hindering your weight loss goals. Sleep deprivation can slow down your metabolism and affects the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin. Leptin is what tells your brain to stop eating, whereas ghrelin stimulates hunger and is produced in the stomach. Some research suggests that poor quality or inadequate sleep is associated with low levels of leptin and high levels of ghrelin, often resulting in weight gain.
What I recommend: Get a solid 8 hours of sleep each night. Create a healthy sleep routine. I’ve written about ways to improve your sleep which you can check out here – 10 Tips For A Great Nights Sleep.
6) You’re over exercising
I can vouch for this one personally! I’m a sucker for HIIT and that release of endorphins, but for some people (like myself) too much of a good thing just isn’t right. For me personally, it upsets my hormones and increases my stress response. Exercising is still important for weight loss but if you are a busy person, and have high-stress levels and aren’t getting adequate sleep your body’s stress response will be high. Then if you add in intense exercise (i.e. do a HIIT session) regularly your body is going to pump out even more cortisol (hello fat storage) preventing you from losing weight.
What I recommend: Try limiting HIIT to 1-2 days a week and for no longer than 30 minutes. On other days do more restorative practices such as yoga, pilates, walking, or weight lifting (that doesn’t leave you feeling breathless).
If this is something you struggle with I’d love to see you for a consultation to help you get back to a happy weight so you can feel comfortable, healthy and look amazing. Send me an email today to book in a consultation – [email protected], or give me a call on 021 1264274 . I’m also happy to answer any questions you have to find out if I would be a good fit for you.
Hi I’m Natalie, a Registered Clinical Nutritionist, health influencer, blog writer & recipe creator. My own health complications prompted me to make positive diet & lifestyle changes, revitalize my health leading to a career change from the corporate world to nutritional medicine. I believe in a wholefoods approach to good health, focusing on simple strategies for modern, busy people.