You’re eating healthy and exercising, but you’re still struggling to lose weight. What could be the problem?
There are many potential reasons why you might be struggling to lose weight, even if you’re following a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Want to learn more?
Weight loss is a challenge. As if your system were a simple arithmetic problem, many people would tell you, “it’s all about the calories in against the calories out.” Honestly, if this exam had been that simple, everyone would have nailed it.
Sometimes, the scale won’t budge no matter how much you push it. It’s only natural to question when you can shed those extra pounds. But before you throw up the towel and start starving yourself, think again.
Losing weight is challenging, but it is not unattainable. It’s essential to keep your eyes peeled for the little wins (eating more healthy, working out more). Additionally, it might be helpful to go back and identify the obstacles that are preventing you from reaching your full potential.
So let’s go to the root of the problem first and then see your weight go down as a result. In this article, we’ll go over eight reasons why you may be having trouble losing weight and how to overcome them.
1. Nutritional Imbalance
There’s a lack of nutrition in the Standard American Diet, which is very sad. We consume too many calories and far too few nutrients. And, when we are nutrition deficient, we experience greater food cravings, so we tend to eat more.
In another article, we discussed ultra-processed foods, basically food that isn’t food. It’s loaded with chemicals and tastes great but lacks the nutrients like a pre-packaged microwaveable meal. And most Americans love these meals.
The typical American consumes an additional 500 calories per day than necessary, contributing to their weight gain. If you’ve ever heard of a study done by nutritionist Kevin Hall, in which he let his subjects eat anything they wanted, more than 500 calories a day were consumed by those who ate processed food.
We eat more when we consume processed foods because they are addicting. However, it elevates your blood sugar, which results in an increase in insulin. And then you need more insulin because insulin causes hunger, which is one loop. However, your body is probably signaling, “We need to consume more,” since it isn’t receiving all of the nutrients it requires.
If you consume ultra-processed foods, your body is telling you to consume more. It is more hungry and nutrient-deprived. And this would be a never-ending loop if we don’t stop eating that ultra-processed food.
Imbalances in the gut microbiota play a significant role in weight loss. It has been discovered that the environment that exists within your stomach might have an impact on your capacity to lose weight.
Let us first define the microbiome. In case you’ve forgotten, the microbiome is a term used to describe the collection of microorganisms, like bacteria, fungi, and viruses, that dwell in our gut. We can’t make it without all of these guys in our gut.
In another article, we discussed how your microbiota influences everything from your foggy brain to your joint pain to your skin and everything in between. Interestingly, it seems to have an impact on weight loss as well.
The unhealthy foods you consume generate a dysfunctional microbiome (called dysbiosis), which in turn changes how food is processed and absorbed. It also affects how your body stores the fats you consume from food. So, you find yourself caught in a vicious cycle.
Research on the gut microbiome was carried out on mice. There were two groups of mice used: obese mice with their microbiome and mice with no bacteria in their system. They transferred the obese microbiota into the germ-free microbiome, and the mice gained weight. The germ-free mice didn’t gain weight even when their diets were altered.
This indicates that those with a problematic gut will have more difficulty losing weight, even while on a calorie deficit. Again, this brings us back to the idea that we must first repair the gut before we can expect weight reduction as a result.
Inflammation has been the subject of several posts on this blog. We’ll talk about it again since there’s another destructive loop involving inflammation and weight gain. Obesity leads to inflammation, and inflammation makes it more difficult to lose weight.
Obesity triggers an inflammatory response in the body. It begins to behave as though it has been damaged. So, it dispatches an army of cells known as Cytokines to various organs such as the liver, pancreas, brain, and muscle. When your body is inflamed, the hormones that keep you satisfied are disrupted.
If you recall from our previous post, your brain receives a signal from a hormone called leptin when it is full. Without that signal, the brain instructs you to keep eating. However, inflammation interferes with your body’s ability to respond to leptin.
Aside from that, inflammation has a negative impact on insulin. You become more insulin resistant as a result of inflammation. This drives your body to produce more insulin, which makes you feel hungry. To stop the cycle of obesity, it is necessary to disrupt the cycle of inflammation as well.
4. Environmental Toxins
Obesity is often linked to unhealthy eating habits and a lack of exercise, both of which are certainly contributing factors. However, there are compounds in our surroundings that increase our risk of obesity. These chemicals are referred to as obesogens.
The chemical obesogens have the potential to modify human metabolism and predispose certain individuals to gain weight. Moreover, If you are exposed to it while you are young or still in the uterus, it will impact you for the rest of your life.
Obesogens are endocrine disrupters, which means they can mess with your hormones. They interfere with the hormones leptin and insulin, and they cause your fat cells to grow in size. They are also associated with an increased BMI in childhood and adult insulin resistance.
This kind of chemical may be found everywhere in the environment: pesticides, herbicides, and environmental chemicals. It can also be found in things like handbags, wallpaper, window treatments, medical items, and paper receipts. They can also be present in various pharmaceuticals and food additives like MSG.
Exposure to obesogens does not imply you’re doomed to a lifetime of obesity. However, this indicates that food and exercise alone may not be enough for you to achieve your health goals. This is why we advocate for pesticide-free and organic food.
5. Hormone Problems
Again, losing weight is not just a calorie-counting game. If your hormones are out of whack, losing weight will be a challenge. When our hormones — insulin, thyroid, stress, and sex — are out of balance, we might gain weight.
Hormones are essential chemicals in your body because they act as chemical messengers. They contribute to practically all body functions, including metabolism, appetite, and fullness. Certain hormones also have a crucial impact on body weight due to their link with hunger.
One important hormone that affects weight loss is insulin. Millions of people in the United States suffer from insulin resistance, and many of them are completely unaware of it. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is released into the bloodstream after we eat. Its primary function is to open cells so that glucose can access and provide us with energy from our diet. Another function of insulin is to control blood sugar levels.
Insulin resistance develops in the cells, which means they can’t use it as effectively as they should. As a result, your blood sugar levels remain high, which hinders your body’s ability to burn fat for energy.
Thyroid hormones are another often misbalanced hormone that interferes with weight reduction. Hypothyroidism, the medical term for an underactive thyroid gland, affects one in five American women and one in ten American males.
Even if people follow a healthy diet and exercise regimen, a slow metabolism may result from low thyroid function, making weight gain more probable. Losing weight is significantly more difficult when you have hypothyroidism, even if you follow a healthy diet and exercise routines correctly.
There’s also the category of stress under hormones. In this day and age, it’s easy to underestimate the negative impact that stress has on our health. Stress may cause you to gain weight for a variety of reasons, but why?
Stress increases your cortisol levels. Cortisol increases fat and carbohydrate metabolism, resulting in an energy spike in the body. This mechanism is necessary for survival conditions, but it also makes you hungry. Increased cortisol levels may also lead to cravings for sugary, fatty, and salty food. This implies you’re more inclined to eat fast food like french fries and a milkshake than a well-balanced dinner.
Sex hormones also have a major impact on weight loss. For men, excess abdominal fat decreases testosterone production. It also increases the feminine hormone estradiol. When testosterone levels fall, observable changes occur as fat begins to take over muscular mass and the skin begins to sag.
For women, estrogen production in the ovaries slows when they enter their menopausal years. Thus, the body begins to hunt for other sources of estrogen. To compensate for the lack of estrogen, our bodies transform more of the calories that we consume into fat. In the same way, as testosterone declines muscular mass, estrogen loss also leads to an increase in body fat.
In the real world, you may not be able to pick your ideal body type or shape and then achieve it with ease by following the appropriate diet. Even though many individuals don’t want to hear it, genetics have a big role in weight gain.
Over 400 distinct genes have been linked to obesity. Genes have a role in the onset of obesity, including regulating hunger, satiation, metabolism, food cravings, and the predisposition to use food as a means of coping with stress.
Some individuals are born with the genetic predisposition to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. Moreover, another group of genes aids in the regulation of dopamine action. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for motivation. In addition to helping you concentrate and pay attention, it is also a pleasure stimulant.
In addition, some individuals have dopamine receptors that are less sensitive to dopamine. Thus they need a greater stimulation to experience pleasures. All of this stems from this remarkable genetic variety that may drive individuals to become more hooked on sugar and processed meals. So there are a lot of genetic elements involved.
But heredity is not destiny. So, even if you have the “genes,” it doesn’t mean you have to be obese. You still have to eat a certain way to turn these genes on.
7. Mitochondrial Function
More than a hundred thousand mitochondria may be found in every cell in your body, processing oxygen and nutrients to produce the energy needed to power every system. You may have heard that the mitochondria are the cell’s “powerhouse.” It is really important because if it stops, you will die.
However, the mitochondria are very delicate. There is no one else like them. If they’re exposed to environmental pollutants, inflammation, or any of the other things on our list, they’ll be damaged rapidly.
They’ll also be affected if they take too many calories, particularly those from refined carbohydrates like sugar and refined fats. When these mitochondria don’t do well, they end up degrading. When mitochondria degenerate, they cause conditions such as insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity.
So, for them to keep us healthy, we must defend these guys. We must consume the right kind of food and take glutathione supplements to help repair mitochondrial damage.
8. Social Network
Chances are, if you were asked about “contagious disease,” you’ll answer “the common cold” or, even worse, “the flu.” But obesity won’t come to mind. However, obesity is a contagious condition, and we can get it from our connections.
Everyone yearns to fit in. Everyone wants to be a part of something. In other words, if all your pals are drinking green juices and doing yoga and running all day, you’ll probably follow suit and be in great shape in no time. However, If all of your buddies are eating processed foods and chugging soda while lounging on the sofa binge-watching Netflix, it’s likely that you’ll do the same and wind up becoming overweight as well.
Who you surround yourself with has a huge impact on your weight. Obesity is infectious. It’s a societal illness. We don’t think it’s a medical issue; it’s a societal issue. We live in a very toxic world, a nutritionally harmful one.
Come to think of it: how many McDonald’s do you see on a daily basis? Then compare it to the number of healthcare facilities you pass on your way to work. You’ll soon realize that junk food is widely accessible, but true nourishing food is hidden away.
Counting calories is just part of the solution if you are having trouble losing weight. Keep ultra-processed items out of your diet. You should also reduce inflammation and, consequently, restore your gut. Moreover, make sure you maintain a balanced hormone level and protect your mitochondria. Lastly, take a look at your social network, and surround yourself with people that would help you with your weight loss journey. And, if you want to be a game changer for your health, book an appointment with us here.