You step on the scale and… nothing.
Reality check: you’re weight loss resistant. You’re not doomed, but you’re going to need some sleuthing to figure out what’s causing those scales to not budge.
I commonly see these 15 problems with people who can’t lose weight, all of which dramatically put the breaks on fat fast loss. Discover what’s creating your weight loss resistance and get lean for life.
- Gut Bacterial Overgrowth. Whether you devour a giant piece of double-stuffed pepperoni pizza or a protein shake, you suffer gas and bloating that progresses throughout your day. You regularly take a probiotic, so what’s the problem? You could have gut bacterial overgrowth. Here’s the story. You need enough beneficial bacteria in your gastrointestinal system for optimal immunity and digestion. However, an invasion of bad bacteria or too much of good bacteria (via your probiotic) can actually increase calorie absorption. Guess where those excess calories land? Yup, around your middle.
- Sleep. Do you consistently get eight to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep during your normal circadian rhythm (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.)? Researchers at the University of Chicago found even with a perfect diet and exercise, you’re at risk for obesity if you fail to get eight hours of quality sleep each night. The good news is great sleep habits can set you on track for fast fat loss.
- Birth Control Pills. Food cravings, fluid retention, fatigue, and yes, fat gain frequently accompany women who use birth control, which throws your body into a false pregnancy state. Binge eating, insulin resistance, and fat storage often ensue. Discuss with your doctor about other options so you don’t have to fight against your hormones.
- Hidden Food Sensitivities. Delayed food sensitivities often manifest as skin problems, joint pains, mood disorders, and weight loss resistance. Frequent culprits include wheat and dairy, especially if you crave them and eat these foods frequently. Gut permeability often ensues, where proteins slip through the gut wall and create systemic havoc. NSAIDS, stress, and a bad diet can all create leaky gut. An elimination diet or an IgG test can reveal your food sensitivities. Miraculous things often happen when you trigger and common offenders: you have better skin, feel vibrant, and the scales start moving again.
- Artificial sweeteners. Those zero-calorie colas can create calorie dysregulation, which means you lose the ability to properly regulate your calorie intake and potentially overeat. Aspartame also depletes serotonin, which can create sugar cravings. Your body also breaks down aspartame via glycation just like it does with real sugar. Glycation ages you and can stall fat loss. If you’ve been sucking down Diet Cokes like they’re going out of style, break your addiction with sparkling water and lemon slices. You might find in the near future you’ve suddenly dropped a dress size or two.
- Cardio. Without fail, you’re first in line to your Tuesday night aerobics class, and you hustle for that whole hour. So why can’t you lose weight? Endurance training, which involves working out consistently at a heart rate of 70% or more of your maximum heart rate for at least 30 minutes, can raise stress hormones that break down muscle and depress your immune system. This constant adrenal stress slows down your metabolism to conserve energy. Stop wasting hours and your health on the elliptical machine and incorporate burst training. A study in Exercise and Sport Science Reviews, for instance, showed that just 15 minutes of burst training over two weeks improved your fat-burning muscle metabolism. You couldn’t get those benefits with hours of aerobics classes.
- Snacking. If you’re eating three consistent meals including lean protein, leafy vegetables, fibrous starches, and good fat, you won’t want that mid-afternoon caramel pecan bun or giant Snickers bar. Balance is the operative word here. Waiting too long between meals to eat raises stress hormones, breaks down muscle, and stores fat. On the other hand, eating every two or three hours raises insulin, which stores fat. Aim for a substantial meal every four to six hours, and make breakfast in particular count.
Stay tuned next week for the remaining eight culprits!
Blom WA, et al. Effect of a high-protein breakfast on the postprandial ghrelin response. Am J Clin Nutr. 2006 Feb;83(2):211-20.
Gibala MJ, et al. Metabolic adaptations to short-term high-intensity interval training: a little pain for a lot of gain? Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2008 Apr;36(2):58-63.