Some claim weight loss is simply a matter of “calories in, calories out”, and weight loss is just a question of “eating less, and exercising more” but if that’s the case why do so many struggle?
You may be someone who struggles even though you have not changed your eating habits – you may find that you’re putting on weight but you’re not sure why…
Some reasons why long-term weight loss can be challenging
- Prolonged Stress is being increasingly confirmed in scientific research as one of the prime reasons people can’t lose weight.
When stress is a constant part of your life, the body makes lots of a stress hormone hormone called cortisol. People with high cortisol levels tend to have higher insulin levels which makes the body store fat especially around waistlines.
Skipping meals while you’re stressed is a double whammy – this causes the body to produce adrenalin which in the short-term makes you feel great but rather than breaking down fat can make you break down muscle for energy, which will reduce your resting metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn off each day).
How can you reduce your cortisol levels? Take time out to relax, get some fresh air, try a gentle yoga class or I highly recommend floatation too. This is a practise where you float effortlessly in a special pod of Epsom salt water. It gives all your muscles and joints a well deserved break and is incredibly calming for your mind. Epsom salts are high in magnesium which many people are depleted in and it’s known as the ‘anti-stress’ mineral.
- High sugar diets leading to high insulin levels
Insulin is the hormone made in our pancreas that helps the body move sugars from food into the cells of our bodies. Eating refined carbohydrate foods and sugars can lead to excess insulin as these types of food cause sharp spikes in blood sugar and give signals to the body to make more to process the sugar.
Try eating some protein and fat with each meal to reduce the speed at which glucose is absorbed in to your bloodstream. This will balance blood sugar levels, reduce insulin spikes and keep you satiated for longer.
- A lifetime of dieting
If you’ve been on and off diets for 20 years or more then you may have have reduced your RMR (resting metabolic rate). Our bodies adapt to our environment, and so if you’re consuming fewer calories, after a while, your body will adapt to to this and this becomes your normal set point. And so when you go back to your old eating habits, your body treats the additional calories as surplus to requirement and stores them as fat. This is why in the long term most ‘diets’ don’t’ work. Does this mean your fat loss efforts are doomed? No, not at all but a personalised nutrition and exercise approach that focuses on increasing your RMR will be needed.
Our endocrine hormones include the ones produced by the thyroid and the adrenal glands as well as our sex hormones. Any imbalance here can directly affect our underlying metabolism and have a knock on effect on how much cortisol and insulin we produce. The endocrine hormones are one of the reasons why women struggle with sustained weight loss more than men – they have far more hormones interacting with each other in their bodies and therefore have more chance to be off-kilter! For example, low progesterone levels can cause PMS, weight gain, insomnia and more. If you are experiencing other hormone related symptoms in addition to your weight, then a closer look at this whole system can address this. The use of herbs and nutrition are very powerful here.
I see many clients with some form of inflammation – this can be anything from recurrent cystitis, gut issues, chronic pain to arthritis. The body sees inflammation as stress and likes to hold onto fat when stressed! So here the key is to address the inflammatory conditions first and then the body will be ready to address any excess weight.
If any of the above resonates with you and you’d like to find out more then please get in touch.