Weight is a fickle beast. Too much excess weight is one of the biggest contributors to some of the most prominent diseases in America. Namely: Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, gout, & sleep apnea.
There are a thousand different ways to lose weight in America including dieting, exercise, & weight loss surgery. Since the weight loss industry is worth well over a billion dollars, it can be hard to weed through all those diets to determine what will work for you.
“I’ve tried them all”
This is the phrase I hear in my office all too often. Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Atkins, Low Fat, Grapefruit, Dolly Parton Diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, & Starvation or skipping meals just to name a few. If diet after diet isn’t working for you then we need to find out what will work for you! Everyone is different, but here are some of the top reasons I see that is preventing folks from reaching their full weight goal potential.
1. Eating too many carbohydrates:
This will always be my first go-to when a client is wanting to lose weight. At every appointment with me I will ask what foods are typical for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. From there I will suggest alternatives to foods that may be preventing you from reaching your full potential. All too often excess refined carbohydrates appear at each meal and snack time. While carbohydrates are perfectly fine in a healthy, well-rounded diet, too many carbohydrates will convert to sugar and can then be stored as fat on the body. Furthermore, high carbohydrate diets are typically associated with insulin resistance, diabetes, and high triglycerides. Modifying the carbohydrate intake to your sweet spot will help you lose weight and keep it off.
2. Avoiding healthy fat:
Healthy fat is just that. Healthy! When we modify carbohydrates in the diet, it is so important to make sure we accommodate by eating more healthy fat from olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, and nuts. Working together, we can determine exactly how many servings of fat your body likes at each meal. Yes. At each meal! Your body requires fat in the diet to absorb certain vitamins (Hello Vitamins A, D, E, K), also, unlike carbohydrates, fat is a major component in satiety and feeling full. So we want to make sure we are not loading up on low-fat foods (btw, low-fat foods are typically loaded in sugar). Best part is that these healthy fats do not easily contribute to weight gain unless you are eating way too much.
3. Not eating enough vegetables:
Or choosing fruit over vegetables
Not a veggie lover? We can change that! Too often I see weight loss come to a crashing halt when veggies are only introduced sparingly. Realistically, we should be getting at least 5 servings of vegetables per day. The old-school saying of 7 servings of fruits and veggies a day needs to be modified to say 1-2 servings of fruits and 5+ servings of non-starchy vegetables per day. Our bodies do this strange thing when it doesn’t get the nutrients it needs. It will actually hold on to fat like crazy. Loading up on veggies will provide your body with loads of easily accessible nutrients that can help your body release excess weight.
4. Not eating enough food:
Might sound counter-intuitive based on the notion of calories in vs. calories out. Unfortunately, losing weight isn’t always as easy and taking in less energy than you put out. In fact, if you cut your calories too much it could be causing more harm to your health goals than helping. It is typical to see lower calorie diets associated with low-fat/high-carb diets due to the calorie difference in fat and carbs. The reason why is because fat has more calories than carbohydrates, but fat doesn’t convert to sugar as easily.
On the flip side is intermittent fasting where you skip meals or try to fast for 12-16 hours a day and only eat during a 8-12 hour window. While intermittent fasting can be beneficial for weight loss and blood sugar regulation, it is important to make sure your body is getting high quality nutrients during the process. Otherwise, just like any other fad diet, it will eventually stop working
5. Hidden Food Sensitivities or Allergies:
This is a big one that I am immensely passionate about because I am a personal testament to this. Removing food sensitivities and allergies can severely decrease bloating, clean up the intestinal tract, and help your body start absorbing those nutrients that are so important for good health and weight loss. When food sensitivities are continually attacking the body, the digestive track will struggle to return to normal working order and can cause a leaky gut. Having a leaky gut can cause so many health issues on top of weight and therefore needs to be tended to. If you think hidden food sensitivities are making you sick, we can work together to help overcome them to get you feeling 100% again!
6. Not exercising to you correct potential:
There is a bell curve when it comes to exercising. No exercise at all can be detrimental to your health, but did you know that exercising too much can also be hard on your body? When we over exercise it can put a lot of strain on your body which can stress out your little adrenal glands. Your adrenal glands are these little walnut-sized glands that produce cortisol, nor-epinephrine and epinephrine (or what we used to call “adrenaline”). Overdoing it on exercise can wear this gland out to where it cannot produce these hormones sufficiently, leading you to be worn out and exhausted all the time. We want to keep these hormones humming and we do that through proper diet and adequate (not excessive) exercise.
*Note: Everyone's "optimal" exercising goal will be different based on your age, sex, and health status.
7. Health Issues or Medications
Health issues and required medications can make it hard to reach our weight goals because they are typically things we cannot easily manipulate. In these situations, I believe it is vital to find a qualified integrative and functional medicine practitioner to help put the puzzle pieces together. Hypothyroid, excess stress, diabetes treatment, and steroid medications can all cause weight gain. Talk with your doctor about any medications you are on that may cause weight gain. If no answers can be found, consider seeking out a functional medicine practitioner to help you dig deeper to determine what may be causing unwanted weight gain.
As you can see, there is a lot of reasons why you may not be able to lose weight
appropriately. While some resolutions can be simpler – correct diet and exercise – others may be something that are not as easily manipulated. If you struggle with weight loss and need a helping hand, nutrition services to help reach your health goals!
The Functional RD