Here’s Why You May Have Difficulty Losing Weight While Dieting
If you have been dealing with prolonged stress, chances are you have been experiencing difficulty losing weight. This is because stress can drastically affect your body’s ability to function normally. Even worse, it can also compromise your mood and appetite. And if nothing is done to remove stress from your life, it would eventually trigger adrenal fatigue. This can lead to greater weight loss challenges and a severely poor quality of life.
The Link Between Stress and Difficulty Losing Weight
Whenever you are dealing with a stressful episode, your body is typically ready to respond to it. This is due to your body’s very own NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) Stress Response System.
The NEM stress response system is made up of six organ and system circuits, including the bioenergetics circuit and the neuroaffective circuit. The bioenergetics circuit involves actions initiated by the pancreas, liver, and thyroid gland when stress is detected. Specifically, the thyroid would produce thyroid hormones that would increase the body’s basal metabolic rate when under stress. Meanwhile, the pancreas would start producing insulin to help ensure that the body has enough energy to deal with the stress it is confronting. Finally, the liver would move to clear away any excess metabolites that are produced as a result of the body’s metabolism response.
On the other hand, the neuroaffective response involves activities of the microbiome of the gut, brain, and autonomic nervous system when stress is detected. To do so, they rely on several neurotransmitters that would help balance your mood, emotions, and body. When it comes to the neuroaffective response, it is important to note that the gut health is very connected to making neurotransmitters. Hence, when gut health is compromised, it is possible for one to suffer mood problems and even depression.
Typically, all NEM stress response activities resume to normal the moment the stress goes away. However, in the case of prolonged or chronic stress, these functions are forced to keep on working until the involved organs and systems eventually become overworked. Because of this, they start to fail.
An overworked neuroaffective stress response circuit leads to mood swings and even worse, neurotransmitter imbalances. Among these is the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is produced by the GABAergic neurons.
When GABA levels in the body are significantly low, your ability to cope with stress is severely compromised. This may also explain why GABA deficiency has been linked to symptoms such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. These negative feelings can be heightened when you have adrenal exhaustion.
How Dieting Can Also Cause Stress in the Body
Aside from the body reacting to external stress and causing difficulty losing weight in the process, the act of dieting itself can also compromise your NEM stress response system. This is because when you deliberately limit your caloric intake, it causes the body to experience stress since there is now significantly less food that can be turned into energy. And when this type of stress is prolonged, it can also eventually lead to adrenal fatigue.
At the same time, agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons in the brain also respond to dieting by controlling your appetite. Moreover, these neurons also utilize a mechanism which readily detects how much energy is still stored in the body. From here, it would also be determined how many calories should be burned. And when the body decides to go on a diet, these neurons also respond to conserve as much of the stored energy as possible.
In fact, a study conducted by University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that when it is determined that the body is eating less, the neurons would decide to burn less calories. Because of this mechanism, losing weight becomes a challenge. Moreover, the situation also becomes more stressful for the person and possibly leads to worsening symptoms of adrenal fatigue.
Top Weight Loss Tips for Anyone Dealing with Adrenal Fatigue
Now that you know how dieting, stress, and adrenal fatigue can cause your body to experience difficulty losing weight, it’s time to figure out how you can prevent further weight gain while also helping your adrenals recover. Fortunately for you, there are several ways to lose weight healthily while also improving symptoms of adrenal exhaustion.
Before you try anything though, keep in mind that it is always better to consult with your physician first. This is because there may be certain foods or supplements that your body may have an intolerance or allergy to. On the other hand, it is also possible that some substances may have a contraindication to a vitamin or medicine that you are currently taking. Hence, you must make an appointment with your physician first so that the proper tests can be done if necessary.
That said, here are some easy weight loss tips that you can follow that would help you fight off adrenal fatigue:
Practice carbohydrate cycling
Carbohydrate cycling involves varying your intake of carbohydrate-rich foods throughout the week. The idea is that during a low carbohydrate day, you can get your body to burn fat at a faster rate. Meanwhile, you use moderate carbohydrate days to maintain optimal glycogen stores in the body and allow you to maintain good performance. Finally, the high carbohydrate days are meant to restore your glycogen levels and increase insulin so that you don’t suffer from any muscle breakdown.
If done properly, carbohydrate cycling can lead to a reduction in weight without putting your body in a state of prolonged stress. Even better, this would also help prevent you from losing motivation since you would not feel deprived of carbohydrate foods that you enjoy eating for too long. Keep in mind though that carbohydrate cycling is not for everybody, especially if in advanced stages of adrenal fatigue.
Engage in long slow distance training
Long slow distance training is a perfect physical activity for anyone trying to lose weight. It involves going on long intervals of some low-intensity physical activity. Hence, you get to build on your endurance and aerobic strength without tiring easily. This, in turn, leads to fat loss. Be careful in adrenal fatigue though as exercise may lead to crashes.
Take some supplements that can help curb your appetite
Today, there are certain supplements that you can take to help you suppress your food cravings better. For instance, there are saffron supplements available that increase your serotonin levels to help you control your appetite. Meanwhile, there is also a garcinia cambogia supplement that contains the extract hydroxycitric acid that can help prevent you from overeating. Another appetite suppressant is chromium picolinate, which can help curb cravings.
Go over any of these suggested remedies with your physician to determine what would work for you best. You may have difficulty losing weight now, but that doesn’t mean that the situation would not improve for you soon enough. As your adrenals recover, you will also find that your body would return to normal function, including your metabolism and neuroaffective circuits. When this happens, you will also find it easier to maintain a healthy weight for life.
© Copyright 2019 Michael Lam, M.D. All Rights Reserved.
Dr. Lam’s Key Question
How can dieting cause difficulty losing weight?
When you go on a diet, you significantly limit your caloric intake. This act alone can be viewed by your body as stress since it now has less food to turn into energy. In response, your AgRP neurons would decide to burn fewer calories, causing difficulty losing weight.