If you’re reading this and you’re trying to lose weight but not making progress — you’re in the right place.
In order to start moving the needle in the direction you want to go, you have to start looking at your metabolism as many moving parts.
Your metabolism encompasses all aspects of how your body works — not just how much you weigh.
Metabolism includes all the things going on in your body that keep you alive and keep your organs functioning properly.
Your metabolism includes, among other things:
- your digestion
- sleep quality
- energy level
- your nutrient status
- the health of your nails, hair, and skin
- overall mood
- how your body handles blood sugar
- your libido
- your hormones
- mental health
- how quickly you heal
- immune system
- the health of your organs and glands (liver, thyroid, adrenals, heart, etc.)
How much you weigh will depend on how well all of your body’s systems are balanced.
And remember, not everyone who *wants* to lose weight *needs* to lose weight. Your weight is not a measure of your worth on this planet. We are MUCH more than what we weigh.
I get it, sometimes we want to lose weight so that our joints hurt less, or so that we can decrease our risk of certain diseases.
Wanting to lose weight to feel better and feel less inflammed is fine.
However, be sure to seek help if you struggle with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia. It is very important to get help as eating disorders are serious medical conditions that need to be treated by trained professionals.
So if you’re reading this and you’re struggling with an eating disorder, stop reading. This post is not for you!
If you need help finding someone who can help you, send me a message through this website, and I will help you find someone!
So, if you’re trying to lose weight but you have hormone imbalances and your digestion is off, for example, you will feel like you’re climbing uphill just to lose 5 pounds.
It might seem frustrating when all you want to do is reach your goal weight, but you have to look at your body as a whole system.
You have to get healthy to lose weight, not lose weight to get healthy.
So let’s dive into some reasons why you may be in a weight loss plateau or gaining weight.
You’re eating more calories than your body can use
I see this a lot with women who come to me after years of yo-yo dieting.
After a while, they stopped seeing results from extreme diets or fasting and now they’re anxious to try something new.
They didn’t understand that eating an extremely restrictive diet for years or doing prolonged fasts put their body under chronic, physiological stress.
This in turn down-regulated their metabolism, broke down important lean muscle mass and suppressed their thyroid to compensate — and now their body runs off fewer calories than before they started to diet.
To start repairing this, you can build up lean muscle by doing some strength training. This is important as it helps rebuild muscle that was lost due to extreme dieting. Weight training will help to “increase” metabolism since muscle is metabolically active, which means it helps you use more calories.
When I work with women who want to lose weight, I usually mention that most weight loss resistance is from eating more calories than your body can use to stay at or decrease your weight.
This isn’t something most women want to hear but over-consuming calories is the key factor in why most women aren’t able to lose weight, despite their best efforts.
It’s easy to eat more calories than our body can use, because we are bombarded with reminders to eat and drink calories beyond what our body needs to be healthy.
Sometimes, the women I work with are open to tracking their food for a period of time using my food journaling app.
This food journal app can be an eye-opener, revealing what may be keeping someone from achieving their weight loss goals.
One of the biggest contributors to going over our individual calorie range is excessive snacking. It’s easy to underestimate the calories from all those little bites and nibbles throughout the day.
A handful of chips here, a few bites of cake there, and a coffee with sugary syrup now and then can quickly add up, pushing the daily calorie intake beyond what our body needs.
I know it’s tedious, but by keeping a record of everything you consume, you can identify patterns of over-consumption and make more informed choices.
This awareness empowers you to reduce snacking and opt for healthy choices, ultimately creating the slight calorie deficit necessary for weight loss.
Helping women realize that small dietary changes can have a significant impact on their calorie intake is a crucial step in guiding them towards sustainable, fad-free weight loss.
When we work on building muscle, tracking what you eat and finding the right calorie and macro range for you, you will start to lose weight.
Over time, eventually the body starts to heal after years of dieting and deprivation which suppress your metabolic rate.
In addition to a slowed metabolism from extreme dieting, most of my clients have undiagnosed thyroid issues, namely hypothyroidism.
You have undiagnosed thyroid issues
Usually, your doctor will only look at your TSH level, and if that is in range, then you’re told your thyroid is fine.
Yet you have all the symptoms of low thyroid.
Symptoms such as:
- Dry skin
- Edema of eyelids
- Feeling cold all the time
- Decreased sweating
- Thick tongue
- Edema of the face
- Dry, brittle hair
- Impaired memory
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Edema in the ankles and feet
- Hoarse voice
- Feeling nervous and anxious all the time
- Heart palpitations
- Changes in vision
- Brittle nails
- Difficulty swallowing
- Muscle wasting and muscle weakness
- Heat intolerance
- Low body temperature
- Low pulse rate
- Slow mental acuity
- Slow movement
Your thyroid is your main metabolism gland!
Your thyroid mainly produces inactive T4 thyroid hormone. This must get converted to active T3 thyroid hormone in your liver.
All the cells of your body need active thyroid hormone.
Many issues can contribute to poor thyroid hormone (1) production, (2) conversion to active form, (3) getting thyroid hormone to cells or (4) uptake of thyroid hormone into cells.
To balance out your thyroid hormones, you need to make sure you’re eating to balance your blood sugar. Eat carbs, proteins, and healthy fats at every meal and snack.
There are other important thyroid labs, in addition to TSH, that will help give a clearer picture of the health of your thyroid such as free T3, free T4, reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies.
Taking your temperature and pulse before and after eating will also give you a good indication of how your thyroid is doing.
If your body temperature and pulse fall after eating, then this indicates some internal stressors going on in the body.
This leads us to our next potential reason why you may be struggling with weight loss.
Your body is under a lot of internal stress
I’m not talking about the “your boss is yelling at you” kind of stress.
Here we’re talking more about internal physical stress your body is under.
One big indication your body is under internal stress can be seen by taking your temperature and pulse before and after you eat.
If your temperature and pulse FALL after you eat a meal, then your stress hormones were chronically high prior to the meal. Stress hormones cause an elevation in body temperature and pulse.
Eating helps lower stress hormones, so if you eat and your body temp and pulse fall, you know your body is running on stress hormones for energy. Your body is breaking down muscle and other important tissue for energy between meals.
Usually, your body temperature and pulse should RISE after eating. Eating real, whole foods should stoke your metabolic fire and cause a rise in temperature and pulse.
Another good indicator of internal stress is your reverse T3 number when you get a full thyroid panel run.
If you have a high reverse T3, this tells you there is some internal stress going on in the body.
This could be from not eating metabolically-balanced meals, to imbalanced hormone levels, to imbalanced blood sugar levels, to low iron levels, to gut infections (bacteria overgrowth, virus like Epstein Barr, parasites, etc.), to food sensitivities, or nutrient deficiencies.
It takes time but it is worth it in the end to uncover what is causing your body to be under so much internal stress.
One key area to investigate has to do with the stress caused in your body by imbalanced blood sugar levels.
Your body is not able to handle blood sugar properly
This usually has to do with insulin resistance, a key lab marker I notice when working with clients who are trying to lose weight.
When anyone eats a carbohydrate, like an apple or a candy bar, that food causes a rise in blood sugar. Whether you are a diabetic or non-diabetic, carbs cause a rise in blood sugar.
Insulin helps move the glucose or sugar from the carb out of our bloodstream and into our cells where the glucose is used for energy production.
Someone with type 2 diabetes has too high blood sugar for too long in the body, and the body’s cells are not receptive enough to the hormone insulin.
This is called insulin resistance.
Not addressing insulin resistance and not getting type 2 diabetes under control can lead to complications with eyesight, infections, kidney disease, heart problems and more.
However, what most folks do not understand is that type 2 diabetes is not caused by sugar. T2 diabetes is caused by a dysfunction in the body.
This dysfunction prevents your cells from getting the blood glucose they need and this dysfunction keeps your body’s cells from being able to metabolize glucose efficiently.
Yes, T2 diabetics will have high blood sugar when they eat food with carbs. Their blood sugar will go higher and stay high for longer than someone without diabetes.
Yes, not eating carbohydrates will cause a fall in blood sugar. But not eating carbohydrates is not addressing the root cause of T2 diabetes.
You have to look at diabetes on a cellular level. If you have high blood sugar levels for too long, your cells are not able to metabolize that sugar properly.
If you have high blood sugar, and the sugar isn’t getting into your cells, then your cells actually have low blood sugar levels.
This means your cells are starved from the energy they need to function properly. You can have all the blood sugar in the world circulating in your bloodstream — but if it can’t get into your cells — it’s useless to your body (and causing a lot of damage to your organs and tissues).
Just monitoring your blood sugar levels and trying to stay within a certain range by cutting out carbs does nothing to address the main problem.
Taking insulin to force your blood sugar lower will not address the root cause of the diabetes to begin with.
Again, why doesn’t everyone who eats carbs become diabetic? Because not everyone has a problem getting the sugar into the cells and metabolizing the sugar once it’s there.
Otherwise, everyone who eats any carbs or sugar would develop diabetes. Not everyone is diabetic, yet most of us eat carbohydrates. Why aren’t we all diabetic then?
Going after the carbs and pointing the finger at them is distracting you from the real problem here.
The cause of diabetes is not sugar and carbs. It’s the underlying dysfunction on a cellular level.
With T2 diabetes, you have high blood sugar but your cells are still starving for energy (sugar).
To address this, you have to work on balancing your blood sugar by eating a metabolically-balanced meal, which includes plenty of fiber.
This includes eating complex carbs, fiber, proteins and healthy fats at each meal and snack.
We’re talking real, whole foods like fruits, cooked vegetables, raw vegetables, legumes, chia, flaxmeal, soy, edamame, lentils, seafood and poultry (if you eat meat) and fats like olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds.
Eating properly-balanced meals will help regulate your blood sugar and take care to lower some of your stress hormones like adrenaline, which are caused by imbalanced blood sugar. Too much adrenaline blocks your cells from being able to use sugar.
When you lower your stress hormones by eating a properly balanced meal, this helps your cells become more sensitive to insulin and blood sugar.
To help address the root cause of your weight loss resistance:
- Eat the amount of calories and macros that your body can handle
- Work to build muscle to help increase your metabolism
- Eat protein, fat, fiber and complex carbs at each meal and snack
- Monitor your temperature and pulse before and after you eat (they should rise after eating)
- Work to lower the internal stressors on the body
Instead of focusing on a quick fix diet that promises to “get you shredded” by cutting out carbs — you need to get on the same team as your body.
Start by listening to your body.
Where are the biggest challenges for you?
Start investigating and turning over rocks to get to the root cause of your weight loss resistance.
Get on the same team as your body and start working together.
If what you’re doing isn’t working, then re-evaluate what needs to change.
It could be something as small as going to bed earlier to reduce the stress on your body.
It could be a larger aspect that involves addressing insulin resistance, low thyroid hormones and clearing up pathogenic gut infections.
Until you start pushing your body towards health, your body will not release the weight easily.
I hope you found this post helpful.
Leave a comment and let me know what you think.
I’m here to help you find your root cause.