I never struggled with my weight (except for being chubby for a short while when I was 9 and 10). I was fortunate enough to not have to worry about what I ate for most of my life and not gain weight. Even after multiple pregnancies! However, things changed in later in my thirties and my forties. In my thirties, I wanted to lose 5-10 lbs, and I wasn’t successful until I went on a Paleo Diet. In my forties, I needed to lose 10-15 lbs and I couldn’t do it even though I was Paleo. In this post, we will look at the top 10 reasons why weight loss might not be working for you. I learned from experience and research that weight loss can be much more complex than just calories in calories out. Let me share what I have learned.
1. You need to reduce inflammation in your body
As any good blogger would, I did some research before writing this post about why weight loss isn’t working. I was surprised to find that this reason wasn’t mentioned anywhere. I would say this is the number one reason why people can’t lose weight. When I was trying to lose weight in my thirties, I was going hungry, counting calories, exercising and my weight wouldn’t budge. As soon as I started an anti-inflammatory diet (it was the GAPS diet), I lost 6 lbs the first week! Plus, I kept it off long term.
How inflammation causes you to hold on to the weight
Inflammation is not just about swollen joints or a painful body part after an infection or an injury. Inflammation encompasses a state of stress that affects your whole body when you eat foods you are sensitive to or when your lifestyle habits are poor.
Inflammation causes you to gain water weight
Changing hormone levels like your period and using hormonal contraception can cause water retention. A mineral imbalance can be to blame as well, but most commonly, it is your body’s response to inflammation. That is why so many people lose between 5-10 lbs the first week after adopting an anti-inflammatory diet. Your body attacks foreign invaders, that’s how it protects you. However, when you develop a sensitivity to a food, your body mistakenly thinks of it as an invader. That’s why it causes a form of inflammation that can be improved by eliminating common inflammatory foods.
Inflammation causes hormonal imbalances
Inflammation increase your cortisol level (stress hormone), spur insulin resistance and leptin resistance. The insulin and leptin resistance will cause you to eat more than you need. Read on to learn about the effect of cortisol.
Inflammation makes your body think it needs to protect itself by retaining more fat
The increased cortisol level caused by inflammation affects your thyroid function and your insulin production, which in turn will boost your hunger. Moreover, it diminishes the quality of your sleep, which also causes you to eat more. To top it all off, when your body thinks it needs to protect itself, it holds on to fat because it fears the lack of food coming up in the near future.
2. You have parasites
We may prefer ignoring the fact that parasites are just part of life and pretend they don’t exist, but the fact is: They do! All of us have parasites. Microorganisms are everywhere withing our bodies. Unfortunately, problems arise when the delicate balance is not maintained and certain of these microorganisms start harming you. If weight loss isn’t working, parasites might be to blame. Why? Parasites can cause inflammation and cravings. Your body is a whole, anything that is out of balance will affect everything else. If you are struggling with losing weight, it’s a good idea to use a herbal parasite cleanse. Contact me to learn which one I use.
3. You are stressed
Stress increases cortisol levels in our body. As I mentioned before, high levels of cortisol may cause weight loss resistance. Furthermore, stress could increase your appetite. Make sure you don’t use food to self-soothe. Practice self-care.
4. You are not sleeping well
Less sleep and chronic fatigue cause the hormone ghrelin to rise. Ghrelin makes you hungry! When you are tired, you want to reach for the coffee and the doughnuts. When you are tired, you don’t want to exercise. Learn how one night of poor sleep can affect your metabolism and your gene expression. If you would like to learn more about a program that will help you reduce inflammation, kill parasites and give you the best sleep of your life, get in touch with me.
5. You are eating too much
In the Paleo world, there is a disdain for counting calories and measuring food. After all, so many people have tried to lose weight by starving themselves while eating the wrong foods. However, If you are unable to lose weight on an anti-inflammatory diet, you might be underestimating how much you are eating. It’s easy to do with all the calorie-dense and delicious Paleo dessert substitutes. Or, as you grab a handful of Whole30 approved nuts and end up eating half a bag. It is possible to overeat healthy foods. Although I haven’t heard of anyone overeating vegetables. When you want to eat, instead of going for the Paleo cookies, make yourself a salad, or a side of veggies.
6. You need to reevaluate your exercise routine
Your exercise routine can harm your weight loss efforts in three ways.
You are not exercising enough
Exercising more is the most obvious way you can change your exercise routine. Exercise increases your caloric demand, so if you don’t eat more to make up for it, chances are you will lose weight.
You are over-exercising
However, it is possible to overexercise. Exercising release cortisol. Too much cortisol is bad for you. It will cause inflammation, disturb your sleep, and increase your appetite.
You are focusing on the wrong exercises
If you are only doing steady-state cardiovascular exercises in the hope of losing weight, you are missing out. High-Intensity Interval Training can allow you to increase your performance and your weight loss while working out a fraction of the time. Also, make sure your exercise routine includes strength training even if your goal is weight loss. Muscles burn more calories than fat. Strength training will help you look toned and in shape AND increase your metabolic rate.
7- You are eating too little
Eating too little as a reason why weight loss isn’t working might seem counterintuitive, but it does happen. Have you heard of starvation mode? Starvation mode means that your body’s caloric needs to decrease in the face of continued calorie restriction. Your body protects itself by decreasing your need for food. For some people, successful weight loss simply means adding in a few hundred calories a day. Enough to sustain basic metabolic functions and avoid starvation mode. Try my calorie calculator tool to help you figure out how many calories you need.
8- You have unrealistic expectations
Your expectations might be unrealistic in two ways.
You think weight loss isn’t working, but your metabolism is just naturally slowing down.
Starting at around age 40, your metabolism will slow down about 5 percent every 10 years. That’s close to 200 calories a day, depending on your current weight and height! It may take time to adjust to your new metabolic rate, that’s why so many people gain weight as they get older. If you are trying to lose weight, you may feel that you are eating less, yet not losing weight. That’s simply because you need fewer calories just to maintain your weight. So, if weight loss isn’t working, it may be time to check your calorie requirements and start tracking what you are eating.
You want to achieve a body size that isn’t optimal for you
Thin is not “in”! Strong is the new skinny! Focus on eating healthy foods, exercising and feeling great instead of focusing on reaching a certain weight. Calculate your relative fat mass index to determine if your body size is healthy for you.
9- You are filling up on the wrong foods
There are many ways to adopt a Paleo lifestyle. Technically, the Paleo lifestyle is an ideology. You can call yourself Paleo and eat mostly Paleo treats and convenience foods. If you want to lose weight and it isn’t working, trying different macronutrient ratios. See if you do better with more fats and fewer carbs or the other way around. Experiment!
10- You have leaky gut
Gut dysbiosis (or leaky gut syndrome) means that the walls of your intestines have smalls holes that let proteins from your food enter your blood stream. It means you are not absorbing nutrients from your food properly and the bacteria in your gut is out of balance. Did you know that lean people have more diverse gut microbes? Some gut microbes support a healthy weight by modulating levels of ghrelin.
If you enjoyed this post and would like to learn more about what you can do today to support weight loss and your general health, check out the video below. I interview my friend health coach Tyler Vaughn and we dive deeper into the topic.