10 Reasons Why You Are Eating Healthy and Not Losing Weight
Are you sick and tired of the constant struggle of eating healthy and not losing weight? Does it seem like a lifelong battle that you can never win? Does it work like a roller coaster ride that has ups and downs, but the weight you lose won’t stay gone? “It’s so easy,” they say, “just exercise and cut the carbs… drop the sugar… increase the proteins.” But if you have tried a variety of diets and still aren’t seeing results, there are many factors to consider that could help make the change you are looking for. Things that you aren’t even aware of could be derailing your ability to lose weight right under your nose.
Top Reasons Why You Could be Eating Healthy and Not Losing Weight
1. You are NOT staying hydrated. Water is essential to life. It is recommended that you at least drink 64 ounces a day to keep your body functioning properly. However, more recent modern studies have shown that you may actually need more: 120 ounces for the average adult male and 88 ounces for the average adult female. It is pretty safe to say the majority of us do not drink the necessary amount. The good news is that it does not have to be pure water. “Water” can be found in the other liquids and foods we consume. When it comes to weight loss, your body needs water to break down the fat it stores. However, being that this process is not prioritized by the body, if you fall short on liquids, your body will halt that fat burning process, and use the water for more important bodily systems. Bottom line, stay as hydrated as possible so your body has enough water to do everything it needs to function optimally.
2. You are NOT eating ENOUGH fats. Yes, you did indeed read that correctly. I am not suggesting you eat a box of donuts, but your body does need a good source of healthy fats to carry out its daily functions, so let your fear of eating fats be over! If your fat source is a healthy one, such as avocado, coconut, or nuts, go for it. It has been proven that healthy fats are actually more effective for weight loss than low-fat diets. Low-fat foods are more likely to leave you hungry, unsatisfied, tired, and craving junk food. High-fat foods also provide sustainable energy to prevent low blood sugar levels, a common symptom of adrenal fatigue.
3. You are NOT meditating and relaxing enough. Believe it or not, if you are overly stressed, and not living mindfully in your present moment, your hormone levels will become unbalanced, and your cortisol levels will rise. Every type of stress counts, whether it be mental, emotional, or physical. Cortisol can and will influence weight gain. When you reduce your stress by meditation techniques such as yoga or deep breathing, you minimize your cortisol levels and improve your overall health. A severely overly stressed body can experience what is known as the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response Dysregulation where there is a shutdown of the digestive tract, increased blood-sugar levels, a spike in cholesterol, and the body enters survival-mode, in which it locks fat cells in place for future use. If you are eating healthy and not losing weight, just breath. You will be setting yourself up for shedding pounds more easily and living a healthier and longer life.
4. Your protein consumption is off. Balance is important with everything, even with your protein intake. Protein is a very important part of eating healthy and is the primary building block for the entire body, and it is very important in creating and maintaining muscle. But there is a point where too much protein can cause you to gain weight. When the body receives more protein than it can use, it stores it as fat. There are a variety of opinions on the proper amount of protein one should consume. The DRI, or the Dietary Reference Intake, recommends 0.36 grams per pound, or 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man and 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman. This seems to be the amount to prevent deficiency, but not the amount to ensure optimal health and body composition. That differs per person, and per circumstances such as your current state of health, activity levels, age, muscle mass, and physique goals.
5. There is a thing called too much exercise. Exercise does indeed boost your metabolism. But you must watch your training levels. Daily, high-intensity workouts can also have the opposite effect. Your body starts to stress out and slow down its metabolism. If you find that you are eating healthy and not losing weight, you may want to alternate high-intensity workouts with lower-intensity ones to keep your metabolism functioning at a steady rhythm. If you are training for a marathon, practicing for a ballet recital, or competing in a sports and train morning, noon, and night, you could be stressing your body out. It will begin to store fat so that it has energy reserves for possible future breaking points. Be careful with exercise in adrenal fatigue. Over-exercising may lead to a crash. It is best to approach this gently.
6. You may be dealing with self-esteem issues. There is a theory that you become what you think, a mind over matter concept. If you think negatively, you will make yourself sick; if you always have happy thoughts, you will be a happier person. Anorexia falls into this category as patients truly see and perceive themselves as overweight, when they are indeed not. Many people who suffer from weight issues may have deep-rooted problems that need to be addressed before the body can work on efficiently on losing weight.
7. You are underestimating your body. Your body deserves a lot more credit than you give it. It’s smart, and it is always thinking of you. It will do its best to keep you from starving. When you lose more weight than it is comfortable with, it slows down the metabolism system to store as many calories as it can. Guess what happens? You will reach a plateau in your dieting and be unable to lose any more weight. No matter what, you must maintain a steady flow of calories so your body feels confident it will not have to store food for the winter!
8. You are not sleeping sufficiently. Sleep and weight gain have been scientifically linked. If you are not getting adequate sleep, then you will compensate the next day by looking for other options to support your need for energy such as extra food or caffeine, both of which are capable of throwing your body’s natural system off. It has been proven that the more hours you are awake, the more you will eat. The average adult should get between 7-9 hours sleep a day. If you are eating healthy and not losing weight, you may want to examine your sleep schedule a little closer.
9. You are relying on that scale. If you are eating healthy and not losing weight, stop looking at the scale. In fact, just throw it away. For one, muscle weighs more than fat. In addition, when you’re building muscle, your body retains water, a weight calculation that has nothing whatsoever to do with fat cells. Keep hitting the gym and working hard. A better weight gauge will show up in your clothing and bodily measurements.
10. You are ill or taking prescription medications. Your body can react from illness and prescription medications in all sorts of ways, one being weight fluctuations. You can be eating healthy and not losing weight merely due to taking antidepressants. These and other medications have a direct effect on the body’s hormone production, which in turn has a major impact on metabolism. If you are ill or suffer from conditions such as adrenal fatigue, losing weight will be problematic for you due to the inefficiencies of your stressed out bodily systems. You will need to heal underlying issues before proceeding with your weight loss attempts.
Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and Weight Gain
Unfortunately, weight gain is very common with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome, or AFS, especially central weight gain. This can be a time when you are eating healthy and not losing weight despite your attempts. During AFS, when the body is severely overstressed and chronic fatigue has set it, the body enters survival mode to conserve energy. At this point, any attempt to lose weight will fail. To obtain any weight loss success, those with AFS will have to first heal the adrenal glands and make sure they are healthy and strong. When this is done, the body will gain back its balance, and the metabolic pathways will again be open for easier weight loss.
The advice here for AFS sufferers and anyone else who is eating healthy and not losing weight is the same. Work on the adrenals or the problems at hand, and weight loss will occur over time. If you only work on weight loss and ignore the adrenals or other body needs, your health will worsen over time, making weight loss to be a constant, losing battle.
If you find yourself in the position of eating healthy and not losing weight, it is very important that you take a closer look at your situation and figure out why you have reached such a plateau. Always consult a healthcare practitioner or nutritionist before implementing any new weight loss techniques, or if you believe you may have additional problems that are prohibiting you from losing weight. Patients who suffer from syndromes or illnesses such as adrenal fatigue must take care to maintain an appropriate diet and ensure they are primarily focusing on managing pre-existing conditions before focusing on weight loss elements.
© Copyright 2018 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
Is it common to be eating healthy and not losing weight?
No, it is not common, but if you are eating healthy and not losing weight, it could be a sign that something is inhibiting your weight loss. It is important that you stop and take a closer look at what’s going with your body.