Weight loss is difficult in the best of circumstances. Many people think that weight loss is as simple as cutting calories; however, there are many factors that can impact your ability to lose weight. These factors include your genetics, your muscle mass, your environment, your overall health, and your sleep habits to name a few. Does the question, why can’t I lose weight anymore come to mind? If you have tried to lose weight in the past and have been unsuccessful, take heart! An integrative approach to weight loss may be exactly what you need. An integrative physician will look at your overall health and get to the root cause of the issue that is preventing you from losing weight.
When you first cut calories and increase your activity level, you may lose quite a bit of weight; however, over time, your weight loss may slow down dramatically or completely stop. Below we review eight common reasons why you can’t lose weight. It will help if you make a plan to overcome these so you can lose those excess pounds once and for all.
Have you ever found yourself reaching into a chip or cookie bag only to find it empty at the end of a movie? Mindless eating is one of the key reasons that could sabotage your weight loss efforts. Distracted eating has been associated with high Body Mass Index (BMI). When you mindlessly snack, the connection between your mind and body can be distracted and you do not realize the cues that you are satisfied and full.
Avoid sitting in front of the television or using electronics when you are eating. Instead, enjoy your meal, savoring each morsel. Take the time to chew each bite rather than wolfing your food down quickly. By taking your time eating, you will allow your body and mind to work together and tell you when you have eaten enough food.
If you will be eating in front of your computer or television, fix your plate or place your snack in a bowl rather than bringing a bag of snacks to your desk or couch. Doing so will help you control your portion sizes and reduce the amount of calories you consume at meal or snack time. When choosing snacks for movie time, opt for air popped popcorn, rice cakes, or another low calorie snack.
Overestimating How Many Calories You Burn
Weight loss occurs when you burn more calories than you consume. In order to determine the number of calories you should eat; you must calculate your resting basal metabolic rate. This rate is the rate your body uses energy for essential functions while you are at rest. There are several good calculators on the internet to help you determine your resting basal metabolic rate.
Your resting basal metabolic rate accounts for about two thirds of the total calories that are burned daily. In addition to this, you should consider your activity level and the number of calories that are burned from your exercise. If you burn fewer calories than you consume, you will gain weight. Conversely, if you burn more calories than you consume, you will lose weight.
When you first begin exercising, you may think you are burning more calories than you truly are. Look up the type of activity you are doing to help determine your calorie expenditure. Learning how to count calories and how to calculate your daily calorie burn will help you successfully lose weight.
In today’s world, portion sizes are much larger than they were in the past, which has resulted in excess calorie consumption. Relearning correct portion sizes is one of the first things you should do when trying to lose weight. The best way to remember the serving size is to look at your hand. Some quick portion guidelines could be as follows-
- Fats and sweeteners should be the size of the tip of your thumb (one teaspoon).
- Cheese, spreads, and dressings should be the size of your entire thumb (one tablespoon).
- Proteins like tofu, red meat, fish, and chicken should be about the size of the palm of your hand.
- Milk, ready to eat cereals, soups, and salad greens should be about the size of your fist.
- Fruits, vegetables, grains, lentils, and beans should be about the size of half of your fist.
Another way to help with portion sizes is to create a meal plan and keep a food diary. Both of these will help you get a better understanding of how many calories you are consuming each day. After a few weeks, you will begin to see patterns in your eating habits and be able to spot empty calories that could be sabotaging your weight loss efforts.
Finally, eat on a set schedule as your body will come to realize that you will provide it with adequate nutrition throughout the day. For best results, eat five or six small meals throughout the day rather than three large meals. This will help prevent you from getting hungry and overeating.
Many people who are on a weight loss journey think the best way to lose weight is to skip meals and eat small amounts of food. This may seem like a great way to cut calories; however, your body requires a certain amount of calories and nutrients. If you deprive yourself, your body will begin releasing excess hunger hormones to make you crave food.
When this occurs, you will find yourself bingeing. Typically, bingeing involves eating unhealthy, calorie laden junk food rather than nutrient dense foods, which can cause a number of nutritional deficiencies. These deficiencies can slow down your metabolism and cause the body to store fat for future energy.
To help you avoid overeating, it is important to regularly eat throughout the day. Eating every few hours will supply your body with the fuel and nutrients it needs to perform optimally. Try to eat a variety of foods throughout the day to ensure you are getting the vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
As women age, their estrogen levels begin to decline as they transition into menopause. Reduced estrogen levels have been linked to reduced muscle mass. Studies have shown that after the age of 30, women lose between 3 and 8 percent of their muscle mass every decade. Your muscles burn more calories than your fat does, which is why you need to increase your muscle mass.
Menopausal women typically gain more body fat as they age. Additionally, post menopausal women need fewer calories. The natural changes in a woman’s fat tissues can also cause weight gain. So what can you do to fight the effects of aging on your weight?
Although you cannot control your age and the effects of aging on the body, you can develop healthy habits that can help you lose weight and keep it off. To start with, you want to eat a healthy diet and avoid sugar laden foods and processed foods. Increase your consumption of vegetables to help satisfy your hunger to help prevent you from overeating.
You will also want to add strength training exercises to help rebuild any lost muscle. If you have never done strength training exercises, don’t worry. There are many options, including resistance bands, free weights, and weight machines. You do not need to bulk up to get the benefits of increased muscle mass. You can create lean muscle by using light weights and doing multiple repetitions. Leg lifts, push ups, sit ups, and bridges can all help increase your muscle mass.
Your Genes And Weight Loss
Have you ever met someone who could eat anything they want without gaining weight? Does it seem like you gain weight just by looking at food? Your genes can be the cause. Scientists have found a gene that impacts metabolism and makes it more difficult for some individuals to maintain a healthy weight. However, this does not mean that you cannot lose weight, you just need to know how to eat to counteract your genetics.
The FTO gene doesn’t affect your metabolism; instead, it affects your satiety. This gene causes you to take in more calories than your body needs. This is actually good news in that your metabolism hasn’t slowed down, you simply are eating the wrong amount of food per meal. The FTO gene regulates ghrelin, which is a hormone that controls satiety.
Individuals without the FTO gene stop eating when they start to get full. Those with the gene do not get the satiety cues and must teach themselves how to notice the signs of fullness so they know when to stop eating. So how can you lose weight if you have this gene?
First, you change your eating habits. Begin eating at least five servings of vegetables per day and a couple of servings of fruit. For best results, eat fresh or frozen veggies rather than canned vegetables that are typically laden with salt and stripped of most of their nutrients. Incorporate whole foods and skip processed foods. In addition to fruits and vegetables, incorporate whole grains, seeds, and nuts into your diet. Following these tips can help you lose weight in spite of your genetic makeup.
Your Digestive Tract Is Unhealthy
Your gastrointestinal tract houses trillions of beneficial microbes, making up your gut microbiome. A diverse microbiome contains different kinds of bacteria. Each of these types of bacteria performs a different function in your digestive system, including digestion, satiety, and metabolism.
If your microbiome becomes imbalanced, dysbiosis occurs. When the beneficial bacteria in your digestive system decrease, pathogens can overwhelm the digestive tract, resulting in a number of issues including digestive disturbances, nutritional deficiencies, reduced metabolism, and much more.
Studies have shown that individuals with a less diverse gut microbiome are at an increased risk of having a higher BMI (body mass index) than those who have a more diverse microbiome. Taking a combination of probiotics and prebiotics can help prevent weight gain and may help with weight loss.
You can take probiotics daily; however, if you do not feed the beneficial bacteria in your gut, they will not be able to proliferate in your digestive tract and overcome the bad bacteria in your digestive tract. So how do you feed the beneficial bacteria? With prebiotics!
Prebiotics are a type of fiber found in fruits and vegetables. As they are digested, they feed the beneficial bacteria in the digestive system. Heal your digestive system, rebalance your gut, and increase your metabolism by eating prebiotic rich foods and taking a probiotic supplement that contains several different strains of probiotics.
Eating probiotic rich foods is another great way to increase the beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract. Some of the top probiotic rich foods include kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt with live cultures, and kombucha.
Medicine Side Effects
Certain medications may cause weight gain or interfere with your weight loss efforts. These may include antidepressant medications, antipsychotics, beta blockers used to treat blood pressure, steroids, insulin used for treating diabetes, and antiseizure medications used to treat epilepsy. For certain individuals, these medications may contribute to fatigue or affect their weight loss efforts which can cause you to become less active, change your appetite, and cause your body to retain water. If you notice that you are gaining weight, do not stop your medications. It is strongly recommended to talk with your doctor today. There may be other medications that can be used without the same side effects, or your doctor may be able to adjust your dose. There are also numerous natural ways to help with chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression, including dietary changes, stress management techniques, and natural remedies.
One of the best ways to counteract the side effects of medicine is to heal your body from the inside out so that those medications are no longer needed. An integrative doctor may be able to help you methodically remove these medicines from your daily regimen.
Seek Help for Healthy Weight Loss
An integrative or functional medicine doctor understands how every system in the body must work together to promote good health. Your doctor will help address the root cause of your illness and harnesses the body’s innate ability to heal itself. They will partner with you to create a comprehensive treatment plan to heal your body from the inside out through health coaching, supplementation, healthy lifestyle modifications, dietary changes, stress relief techniques, and more.
Do you keep wondering, “why can’t I lose weight anymore?” Weight loss is difficult, but it is not impossible when you arm yourself with the knowledge of what may be hindering your weight loss efforts. Eat several small meals throughout the day, incorporate a variety of vegetables and fruits to help provide your body with the nutrients that it needs, and get daily exercise to increase your metabolism and successfully reduce your weight.