Statistics don’t lie. One in three adults in the U.S. is obese. One in six children is obese. Losing a few pounds isn’t just a matter of vanity, it is a matter of life and death.
Obesity-related injury and illness make up 20 percent of health costs in the U.S. Trying to lose weight is a major $66 billion industry. So why is America getting fatter?
It’s so frustrating. Losing weight is a matter of taking in fewer calories than you burn. So why do so many dieters say they can’t lose weight no matter what?
Weight stalls and plateaus are a real thing. But you can overcome them.
Read on to learn more.
I Can’t Lose Weight No Matter What I Do!
It’s a common problem. You put in the hard work to watch your diet, do your cardio and suffer. The results?
Nada. Zippo. Zilch.
It’s a very real problem. You aren’t a lunatic. There is an entire health category description dedicated to people who are resistant to weight loss due to some sort of physical imbalance.
For example, women who suffer from certain hormonal imbalances find it very difficult to shed fat, despite very restrictive diets and high activity. People with thyroid malfunctions, gut flora imbalances, and certain allergies might also find themselves unable to lose weight.
However, discovering the particular reason you aren’t losing weight will take some sleuthing. Your doctor can test your hormone levels and look out for gut inflammation or other signs of metabolic disorders.
Ask Your Doctor
Ask your doctor for a full thyroid work up. Undiagnosed or poorly managed thyroid conditions like Hashimoto’s or Brights disease make weight loss difficult, if not impossible. Men and women with atypical weight accumulation should definitely have their hormone levels looked at.
Inadequate testosterone levels in men can cause stubborn fat. In women, polycystic ovary syndrome causes hormone related fat changes. Without correction, weight loss is nearly impossible.
A condition called lipedema affects one in nine women. Abnormal fat accumulates on the hips and legs. It is very difficult to lose these fat deposits without surgical intervention. Past pregnancies and yo-yo dieting also have an effect on how the body stores fat.
Certain medications, past and present can make weight loss nearly impossible. If you used antidepressants, steroids, or hormone therapy your weight loss program might slow. Past abuse of certain types of drugs (like cocaine or speed) also leads to hard to drop pounds.
Fooling the Caveman
If you and your doctor determine that all is in working order, but you still can’t lose weight no matter what, it might be time to re-access your daily calorie needs. Look on the bright side. Your caveman genes are ensuring the survival of your line.
In times of famine, your body adapted to hoard resources and slow its metabolism. While you appreciate Mother Nature’s gift of long-term survival of the species, it’s frustrating for swimsuit season.
It seems counterintuitive but reducing your caloric intake for too long or by too much slows the metabolism. Simply alternating days of slightly higher calorie counts with lower calorie days is sometimes enough to restart your weight loss engine. Don’t go overboard, make sure to average out at a deficit each week.
Choose More Fresh Fiber
Slow digestion and a sluggish metabolism go hand-in-hand. Your body thinks it is starving and slows things down to eke out every bit of nutrition. This worked well when our ancestors hunted the wooly mammoth with sticks.
However, our low fiber, high fat, processed food diet is too calorie dense for our prehistoric appetite and digestion. Set a goal of at least 30 grams of fiber a day in the form of leafy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
As a bonus, all that fiber is helping you regulate your sensitivity to insulin.
Your late night Netflix binges may be keeping you fat. High cortisol levels from stress and lack of sleep may hinder your body’s ability to store and release excess calories. Sleepy people are also less able to control impulses, leading to overeating.
Shut off your electronic devices several hours before bedtime for best results. Try meditation or old-fashioned book reading to relax before bed. Many people like a calming yoga stretch to encourage sleep.
Change Up Your Exercise Routine
Your muscles also learn how to move to reduce calorie burn. You may find yourself training harder than ever but not burning the same number of calories. Switch up your routine and add strength training to your cardio and vice versa. Try high-intensity interval training, rock climbing or swim resistance training for a calorie burn boost.
Sometimes simply spending an extra day to rest and reset is all your daily routine needs.
Just Add Water
Your body requires lots of water to rinse the waste products from fat burn away. if you have not been getting adequate water, your metabolism will slow. Aim for an ounce of water per pound of body weight. Work your way up to this amount slowly if you don’t already drink this amount of water.
Make sure that you aren’t overdoing the salt either. Fat retains more water than lean muscle. So when you load up on salt, guess where your water retention is going to show?
Overcome That Plateau
Everyone’s body is different. When you can’t lose weight no matter what, it’s usually a temporary problem. Check in with your doctor to eliminate medical concerns for weight loss resistance.
Switch things up to convince your metabolism that you aren’t starving. That goes for diet, exercise and rest. You’ll see results!
Like what you’re learning? Keep reading Harcourt Health for better information. Learn more about diet and exercise here.