5 Reasons Why You Are Not Losing the Weight
While I do not specialize in weight loss, I find that weight loss is still one of my client’s top goals. I’m all about root causes. There is no one right diet for everyone and no one right diet for your entire life time. I see people that are eating healthy, or eating very little yet they are still struggling to drop weight. Here are some things that could be hindering your weight loss from a root cause perspective
Undiagnosed Subclinical Hypothyroidism or Using Synthetic Thyroid Medication
You can be struggling with thyroid issues for years before your doctor finally diagnosis it. And that is if she will do the correct thyroid testing. The thyroid controls metabolism and hence when the thyroid function slows down so does the number of calories you burn up.
Once you know that your thyroid is not functioning properly, and this includes the autoimmune condition, Hashimotos, work with someone to address your root causes so that you can support proper thyroid functioning and autoimmunity too if need be. While medications may help you, they do not help everyone and some need extra nutritional support. In addition to that, while medication may be needed, it still does not address the root cause for your hypothyroidism.
Many also don’t get the results they hope for by using synthetic medication since it is made up of T4 which needs to convert into the active form, T3, for your thyroid to function optimally. Seek out a health professional who supports using natural desiccated thyroid which has some T3, the active hormone in it. (you may need to call around until you find an MD who has a more holistic view or opt for seeing a naturopath for your thyroid medication). One way to find the right doctor is to call the compounding pharmacy in your area and ask if they will give you the names of local doctors that prescribe natural desiccated thyroid hormone replacement.
Obesity has inflammation as a root cause. What can trigger inflammation in the body includes your diet, toxins and food sensitivities to name several. But let’s focus on how your diet can cause inflammation.
A diet high in refined and processed foods such as sugar, flour, oxidized oils, and heavy on the starches such as from a diet of pasta and bread can all cause inflammation and lead to weight gain. Ever see someone with a “puffy” face? That is usually a sign of inflammation.
Many people think that because they are “paleo” or “vegan” or “vegetarian” that they must be eating a healthy diet. This is not always the case. A paleo diet too high in meats (and not grass fed or organic), a vegan diet high in grains and a vegetarian diet high in dairy can all cause inflammation.
Any diet, whether you are vegetarian, vegan or a meat eater, should be plant based. Think 70-80% of your meals should be leafy greens, herbs, spices and crunchy vegetables. Then you can add in your beans or your grass- fed meat along with healthy fats from avocado, EVOO or coconut. If you want to reduce inflammation and lose weight, these changes need to be made.
Avoid oils such as canola, soy bean and vegetable oil. These are high in omega 6’s. While we need some omega 6’s in our diet, we are getting too much, and this leads to inflammation. On top of that, by the time you use these oils, they are rancid, which contributes to free radical damage in the body (and again leads to inflammation). Choose healthier options such as coconut, avocado or “real” extra virgin olive oil (avoid the fakes which are blends of olive oil mixed with cheaper oils such as canola).
Having too much estrogen is more common today than people realize and if there is an imbalance of estrogen with your other sex hormones, this can cause weight issues. This is not only an issue in women but is occurring in men with more frequency (i.e.: “man boobs”).
Too much estrogen can be caused by our diet and lifestyle. Too much sugar and excess alcohol
can lead to estrogen dominance. Xenoestrogens, which come from plastics, are also hormone disruptors, and can create unbalance. Foods sprayed with chemicals (GMO crops) are also a contributing factor. If your weight gain is caused by excess estrogen, you will typically have the weight gain in the hips, thighs and upper arms.
A low- fat diet, which I think more people are now realizing, is not the healthiest diet, can reduce your cholesterol levels into the “too low range”. While western medicine may tell you that the lower your cholesterol, the better for you, studies indicate this is not true and in fact, cholesterol at 160 and below is linked to mental health issues and an increase in suicidal ideation. We need cholesterol. In addition to this, having cholesterol that is too low can contribute to low testosterone. Men and women both need testosterone (just in different amounts). For women, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), which is associated with insulin resistance and elevated testosterone, can also lead to weight gain. This weight is typically around your middle as belly fat.
Constipation can also lead to hormone imbalances. My mantra is “you are what you do not eliminate”. This is so important, because excess estrogen gets eliminated via the bowels. If you do not eliminate, it recirculates and makes its way to fatty areas of the body.
Balance your hormones if you want to lose weight. Get rid of the plastics (and do not microwave plastic containers), eat plenty of fiber rich foods such as fruit and vegetables and reduce the alcohol and refined foods in your diet. Avoid foods that contain added hormones such as beef and dairy that is injected with growth hormones (chose grass fed). Avoid GMO’s and sprayed foods as much as possible and include healthy fats in the diet.
Poor Gut Health
Studies have shown that those with specific strains of good bacteria in their gut are able to maintain a healthy weight. They also found that those who are missing these healthy strains and have more “bad” bacteria in the gut, tend to be overweight. Thus, having good bacteria can aid in weight loss and having more bad bacteria and less diversity in the gut can lead to weight gain. Some bacteria can cause inflammation while others can reduce inflammation.
Think of your microbiome as a garden. Does your garden have a lot of plants, or just one type or is it filled with weeds? You want diversity and more plants and fewer weeds! Add in probiotic rich foods such as kefir, kimchee, kombucha and fermented vegetable. Add in prebiotic rich foods too. Think of this as the rich soil to help your plants grown. Prebiotics are the food for your probiotics. These foods include asparagus (raw), onion, garlic (raw) and not too ripe bananas.
In addition to this, food sensitivities that are undiagnosed, can lead to intestinal permeability and this can lead to weight gain. You can do a trial elimination diet or you can get tested.
Too Much Stress!
Yes, just by being stressed, you can hinder weight loss. When you are stressed, the adrenals increase cortisol production to help you manage the extra stress. This is a good thing, in the short term. The problem is that you may have chronic stress. This leads to constant cortisol production.
Think about it. Synthetic cortisol such as prednisone is known for causing weight gain and diabetes. This is an example of what high cortisol production caused by chronic stress can do to our bodies.
While we all have stress in our lives, knowing how to control it can help reduce belly fat and elevated cortisol levels and other health conditions associated with stress such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.
To help manage stress you can add in meditation, yoga, deep breathing, emotional freedom technique (also called tapping), or just setting aside some time for yourself daily.
Support your body when under stress with nutritionally dense foods (stress uses up nutrients such as your vitamin B’s, magnesium and vitamin C) and Adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogenic herbs help us to adapt to the stress in our lives. My favorites are Ashwagandha and Rhodiola.
Bottom Line: If you feel like you have tried every diet out there and still cannot keep the weight off and don’t want to spend more money on another diet book, diet plan and another exercise program, then work with someone who can address your root causes to weight loss and help you with an individualized plan to help you succeed.
Hoffman, R. 10 Reasons Why It’s Not Your Fault You’re Fat. Health E Times, Issue 2, 2017.
If you are sick and tired of feeling sick, tired, fatigued, depressed, anxious and more and have given up hope then Karen’s simple, effective, individualized and sustainable approach may be what you need.
Karen Brennan, MSW, CNC, Board Certified in Holistic Nutrition and Herbalist is the author of Tru Foods Depression Free Nutrition Guide; How Food Supplements and herbs can be used to lift your mood and If Life is So Good, Then Why AM I Still Depressed? Discover the root cause for your depression and learn what to do to feel better and owner of Tru Foods Nutrition Services, LLC.
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As a nutrition professional, Karen does not treat, cure nor diagnose. This information is for educational purposes only.