7 More Culprits that Stall Fat Loss & Fast Metabolism

JJ angry womanLast week I showed you 7 commonly overlooked culprits that frequently trigger weight loss resistance. I received some wonderful emails saying, “Hey, that’s me!” Knowing what’s holding you back, after all, is the first step to improving it and overcoming weight loss resistance.

A few people, however, asked for more. They’re doing everything correctly, including eliminating food intolerances, burst training, and getting 7 – 9 hours sleep every night. But they still struggle with fast fat loss.

Over my 25 years working with weight loss resistance, I’ve seen numerous roadblocks that stall fat loss. Here are 7 that occur often:

  1. Too much caffeine. Coffee comes packed with beneficial antioxidants, but more than 1 cup can create detrimental effects. Caffeine keeps adrenaline around longer, for one, which can potentially stresses out your adrenals.  Too much adrenaline breaks down muscle, raises blood pressure and blood sugar, and stores fat. Determine any hidden sources of caffeine, including medications and chocolate.  If you insist on your morning coffee, cut down to 1 – 2 cups of organic and gradually transition to green tea. Yes, green tea still contains some caffeine, but it also offers antioxidants, the calming amino acid theanine, and catechins to help boost metabolism, lower appetite, and support fat loss.
  2. Skipping Breakfast. I’ve had clients who believe skipping breakfast saves calories or otherwise helps them lose weight. Au contrare! Doing so raises stress hormones, stores fat, and wastes precious muscle. Your metabolic rate also slows down, which means you burn less calories throughout the day. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed protein breakfasts keep you full and burn fat faster than high-carb foods, so start every morning with a fast, filling Virgin Diet Shake. I load mine with my All-in-One powder, frozen berries, leafy greens, extra fiber, and flax or chia seeds.
  3. Late-Night Snacking. While you sleep, your stomach secretes a hormone called ghrelin, which raises your “fountain of youth” hormone called human growth hormone (HGH). Late-night munching suppresses HGH and raises insulin, putting an emphatic halt on fat burning. Remember that every food you eat tells your body to store or burn fat. Guess what message that 11 p.m. spoonful of double chocolate chip ice cream tells your body? Worth mentioning: a University of Washington study found that for everyone involved, an 8-ounce glass of water before bed curbed late-night cravings completely.
  4. Stress. When you get super stressed, you might find you’re not hungry and your energy levels soar. You need little sleep and you’re burning calories. Great, huh? Except that your weight loss is coming from precious muscle, something you most definitely don’t want to lose. (There’s a reason I say fat loss rather than weight loss.)  Eventually you crash, because your body can’t sustain the chronic adrenal pounding. Suddenly you’re constantly tired, you get sick easily, and you’re craving that stale cheese strudel even though you ate a substantial dinner.  You might respond by cutting calories and bumping up your exercise, but ironically, you get worse. That’s because – bam! –  your metabolism crashes. De-stress and blast that stubborn fat. If meditation or yoga isn’t your cup of tea, try a hot bath or even a walk with your dog.
  5. Your Toxic Burden. Everything from the air you breathe to the water you drink constantly bombards your body with toxins, which can manifest in numerous ways. You might have a slightly lower-than-normal body temperature. Your doctor might find you have a normal thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level but your T3 levels are chronically low.  Sensitivity to smells, insulin resistance, and sex hormone imbalances can also signify a high toxic body burden.  Consider doing a little spring cleaning for your body, but do it correctly. After a long trip, I always use MediClear SGS chocolate, which provides essential nutrients to help your body detox and trigger fat loss.
  6. Low Stomach Acid. Chronic stress often manifests as heartburn and bloating after you eat protein. Step away from the antacids, which cause more harm than good.  Low stomach acid can impair protein digestion and create gut bacterial overgrowth. To curb that after-meal discomfort, limit liquids while you eat, since too much water dilutes stomach enzymes that break down protein. If you don’t have a history of ulcers, BioGest from Thorne Research can provide adequate hydrochloric acid as well as enzymes to effectively break down food.
  7. Thyroid Fatigue. Despite your test numbers, you really want to know how well your body converts inactive T3 to active T3.  Slightly elevated TSH or low levels of free T3 can be due to low iodine or selenium levels, chronic stress, heavy metals, and gluten intolerance. Thyroid fatigue can impact metabolic rate, sex hormone levels, overall mood and wellbeing, and the ability to build muscle.  Common signs of low thyroid function include elevated LDL cholesterol, a yellow tinge to skin, thinning eyebrows in the outer third, fatigue, inability to build muscle, depression, constipation, dry skin, low body temperature, and – you guessed it – weight loss resistance. If you suspect thyroid fatigue, get your TSH, free T3 and T4 and thyroid antibody levels checked and look for optimal levels, not normal ranges.

Stay tuned to this blog over the coming months, when I will expand on many of these issues and provide practical steps to correct them.

Worth mentioning again: eliminating the 7 highly reactive foods in The Virgin Diet that frequently trigger food sensitivities is the first step to overcoming weight loss resistance.

In the meantime, I want to know how many of these weight loss resistance culprits relate to you. Share your journey in the comments below or on my Facebook fan page. I read and value every one of your comments!


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.

University of Washington Study. 2002. Reported in Integrated and Alternative Medicine Clinical Highlights. 4:1(16).

© 2013 JJ Virgin & Associates, Inc. Celebrity Nutrition & Fitness Expert JJ Virgin helps clients lose weight fast by breaking free from food allergies.  She is the bestselling author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy, a Huffington Post blogger, creator of the 4X4 Burst Training Workout & co-star of TLC’s Freaky Eaters. Her latest book, New York Times Bestseller The Virgin Diet: Drop 7 Foods, Lose 7 Pounds, Just 7 Days, is out now. Learn more at www.thevirgindiet.com.

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  1. I have a question. When ordering the Virgin Shake mixes, I reviewed the ingredients and was surprised to see “Organic Cane Juice Sugar” listed as one of the ingredients. After reading “The Virgin Diet Book” and learning that all sugars, even the “hidden ones” are to be eliminated from consumption, I needless to say was left confused. I appreciate having you address this concern. Thanks.

  2. The older I get, the more I know I need to stop drinking coffee. So…so….hard. Never am happy with one cup. I’m a 30 oz a day kind of girl. Not good.

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