Weight loss can be a complicated process, especially when you get to the stage of thinking that you can’t lose weight. Weight loss involves so many aspects of your life. Of course, we all know about cutting the calories. Most of us also remember that continually cutting and counting calories can soon become challenging and tiresome after a while. Cutting calories might be useful short term but long term, we’re not sure. We love food, life and variety far too much to be spending time counting the calories let alone putting up with the restrictions. The secret to successful weight loss, we feel, has to involve more fun than starving ourselves.
Often on a weight loss diet, you hit a ‘weight loss plateau’. The ‘weight loss plateau’ is such a frustrating plateau to hit. Sometimes it can be impossible to shift past it. A weight loss plateau happens after you have lost some weight and then for no apparent reason, you find it impossible to lose any more weight. You are exercising as much as you have been doing and eating as little as you have done since you started your weight loss journey, but your weight loss has come to a halt.
The weight loss plateau is when your metabolic rate slows down so much due to the loss of muscle and fat. Often you may need to eat more food to kickstart your metabolism again. Signs that you may be on the weight loss plateau include not losing weight, irritability, fatigue, hunger and feeling tired. There may be other reasons why you find shifting weight near to impossible. Here are fifteen reasons why you might be struggling to lose weight.
15 Reasons Why You Can’t Lose Weight
- Gut Issues
- Acid/Alkaline Balance
- Food Intolerances
- Glycemic Load
- Blood Sugar Levels
- Food Cravings
- Nutritional Deficiencies
How To Address These Weight Loss Issues
Your hormones need to be kept balanced for optimal wellbeing and weight loss. There are four hormones which affect weight loss; insulin, thyroid, estrogen and cortisol. They all need to be kept in balance.
Insulin signals to your body to stop burning fat and instead tells your body to store fat. Keep your insulin balanced by always eating a small amount of protein and healthy fat with any carbohydrates you eat.
Thyroid stimulating hormones regulate your metabolism. People who have high levels of free T3 and free T4 often show a significantly higher speed of weight loss (1). If you think your thyroid hormones may be unbalanced ask your healthcare professional to check TSH, free T3 and free T4. All these thyroid hormones need to be tested correctly to obtain effective treatment. Eat a healthy diet rich in whole foods which support your thyroid. Support your thyroid with nutritional supplements and remove what may be upsetting your thyroids such as toxins, pesticides, heavy metals and inflammation.
Cortisol is your adrenal hormone which you produce in a stressful situation. Prolonged stress causes high levels of cortisol which causes high blood sugar, high cholesterol and high blood pressure, increased belly fat and muscle loss. Remove as much trouble from your life as possible. Practice yoga, meditation and mindfulness to help you cope with stress better.
Estrogen is naturally detoxified by your body. Studies suggest that fat cells elevate your estrogen levels (2). Among other things eat more cruciferous vegetables which help your body clear excess estrogen.
Gut health and gut bacteria have a big part to play in weight loss (3). More often than not, an unhealthy balance of gut bacteria makes losing weight much harder. An incorrect balance of gut bacteria creates sinkholes of toxic inflammation and may drive weight gain.
There are significant correlations between fatty liver, insulin resistance, high triglycerides, and low protective HDL cholesterol. Chronic inflammation induced by lousy gut bacteria has severe consequences for cellular energy production. Packing your diet with anti-inflammatory foods is a big step in the right direction.
Another useful step is packing the diet with a right balance of probiotics. Boosting the low levels of beneficial bacteria improves the gastrointestinal mucosal integrity and reduces systemic inflammation. Enjoy delicious foods that contain a right balance of active enzymes that will help with digestion.
Other foods which improve the health of your gut include fermented foods such as; sauerkraut, kimchee, kombucha, miso, tempeh and dairy which all contain live cultures. Include plenty of fibre in your diet. Enjoy prebiotic-rich foods including; flaxseed, leafy greens, oats, onion, garlic and leeks.
Chronic inflammation causes weight gain (4). Increase foods which have anti-inflammatory properties including antioxidants, essential fatty acids, green tea, turmeric, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Exercise regularly, reduce stress and indulge in good quality sleep.
Creating a positive mindset around why and how you want to lose weight seems to be a significant factor for long-term weight loss goals. Focus on losing weight because you love yourself, your loved ones and your life. Think of how healthier you will look and feel. All the additional activities you will be doing with your active family. Lose weight to prevent health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Choosing to have a negative mindset sets you up for failure. Create a journal and spin as many negative things in your life to a positive. Not only for successful long-term weight loss but a better experience overall (5). You will be amazed at how grateful you become for small things you may have taken for granted. Your whole life will be more fruitful for this shift of mindset.
Stress leads to increased cortisol release which attacks muscle mass, slows metabolism and causes an increase of fat around your belly. It also raises your blood glucose levels, blood pressure and makes you feel fatigued. If that is not enough, stress also increases your appetite. It is for this reason that practicing yoga for stress release works so well as part of your weight loss program.
Sleep helps with weight loss because after a bad night’s sleep one usually craves food, hunger pangs sets in and that pesky sweet tooth rears its head regularly throughout the day. Typically carbohydrates and sugary foods are desired after a bad nights sleep. Aim for seven hours of good quality sleep every night.
Weight loss can be acid forming. Stress and acidic foods may cause an acidic and alkaline imbalance within the body. As a general rule, meat, dairy and animal proteins are also acid-forming. Most fruits and vegetables are alkalizing. Refined carbohydrate products provide a significant contribution to the common low-grade metabolic acidosis. Research a list of which specific foods are acidic and which are alkalizing. Focus on alkalizing and cleansing your body. Intermittent fasting is an integral part of effective weight loss, gut healing and alkalizing program.
Protein does pack a punch for effective weight loss. Effective weight loss is beyond willpower and calorie counting. When we haven’t eaten for a while, hormones like ghrelin provide a powerful hunger signal to our brain. Boosting the protein content of your meals has a significant effect on lowering these signals (6). Other proven benefits of protein may include; prevention of the loss of muscle mass, a common problem while dieting and increasing metabolic rate. Protein is the most thermogenic macronutrient. A high protein diet may increase post-meal thermogenesis. Compared to a high carbohydrate diet, providing a significant metabolic advantage. Choose a variety of protein sources.
Symptoms of a food allergy, among other things, include; bloating, constipation, aches and pains, depression, hormonal issues, stomach cramps and shortness of breath. If you notice something, unusual get a food allergy test to ascertain which foods don’t work for your body. If you eat foods which don’t suit your body you produce histamine and cortisol. Two hormones which cause short-term water-weight gain and long term fat storage. Sometimes it is staggering how much weight you gain from eating food you have an allergy or intolerance towards.
The measurement of sugar and starch in a portion of food is the glycemic load (GL). The GL shows how much the carbohydrate there is in food, how fast the carbohydrate breaks down into glucose. It tells us how quickly your blood sugar levels will rise. Eat low GL foods which release their glucose slowly into your bloodstream. It will encourage your body to burn fat, lose weight and sustain your weight loss. Much more effective way to eat than measuring the glycemic index (GI).
Blood Sugar Levels
Keeping your blood sugar levels even throughout the day and night will keep hunger away. Sounds too good to be true. If you haven’t eaten for a while, your blood sugar levels will drop, and you will become hungry. If you eat a carbohydrate, glucose gets released into your bloodstream, and your blood sugar levels will rise. Unbalanced blood sugar levels can continue to yo-yo all day and night. It can also cause poor sleep. For maximum weight loss, eat low GL foods and eat small meals regularly throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels balanced.
They say our drive to seek food is one of the strongest physiological compulsions. Our brain is wired to ensure we continue to supply the body with essential nutrients. The same centre mediates this behavioural reinforcement in our mind which creates addictions. Food cravings can be managed by eating enough protein, eating smaller meals more often, choosing low GL foods and balancing your blood sugar levels.
Most types of alcohol contain a significant amount of empty calories and increase your appetite. Alcohol also interferes with the fat burning process and promotes fat storage (7). Try our little trick of filling your best wine glass with sparkling water, a few ice cubes and a slice of lemon instead of wine. Another method is thinking of your glass of wine or chosen alcoholic beverage as a big chunk of cake. They could both offer the same amount of calories.
Metabolism is a term given to how your body breaks down energy for living. A fast or high metabolism means you burn more calories at rest and during activity. If you have a slow metabolism, you need to eat less to avoid becoming overweight. Try to speed up your metabolism with resistance and cardio exercise. It is also important to not eat too little as your body will go into starvation mode. Starvation mode will slow your metabolism and prevent weight loss. Eat more frequently, spicy foods and breakfast. An antioxidant in green tea called catechin may also be helpful for increasing your metabolism.
A nutritious, balanced diet should give you all the nutrients your body requires. Right? Well, yes and sometimes no. Due to, among other things soil depletion, hormonal imbalances and stress, your balance of nutrients may, at times, become imbalanced. Nutritional supplements to support your weight loss include fish oil, probiotics, vitamin D and magnesium. If you are unable to manage stress, we find a B complex is another useful addition to our nutritional supplement program.
Chromium, green tea and 5-HTP are supplements which support weight loss. Garcinia cambogia will also help you lose weight. It will slow down the production of fat and reduce your appetite. 5-HTP helps normalise your brain’s serotonin levels. Low levels of serotonin cause a depressed mood and increased appetite. Chromium controls blood sugar levels.
We hope these tips help you minimize some of the difficulties of losing weight. Weight loss is a journey, try to enjoy your pace and path.
The 131 Method
For a comprehensive program addressing all of these 15 reasons, visit the 131 Method. This program goes beyond food and addresses the root cause of many reasons for weight loss resistance.