Have you tried time and time again to lose weight with little to no success? Do you feel discouraged and wonder what’s the point in even trying? While you’re not alone in these feelings and frustrations, there are some key things involved in weight loss you might not know about — and that could make all the difference.
Why can't I lose weight? A functional medicine approach.
Here are 6 reasons why you can’t lose weight + solutions.
1. The focus is on restriction, rather than balanced meals
Sometimes you need to eat more rather than less. This may sound crazy, but it’s about eating the right macronutrients in the right proportions. A gram of protein does not behave the same way in the body as a gram of carbohydrate. You have to improve your macronutrient balance to lose weight without depriving your health. For most people this starts with a good handful of protein (meat, fish, eggs, yoghurt, beans or pulses, or tofu) at each meal.
2. You're not preparing most of your own food
All restaurants and prepared foods have extra ingredients (for preservation and flavour) and an unnecessary amount of excess energy (food / calories) you don’t need. Calories are not a measure of nutrition and can’t be counted alone, but an extra 500 calories of denatured oil in that thing you think is “healthy” at a restaurant or in a prepared meal won't help you lose weight. Food prepared at home is much healthier than any meal you’ll ever buy, even salads.
3. You’re stressed and not making time for wellness
Stress can impact your weight in a number of ways. Long term stress equals high cortisol, which is linked to blood sugar imbalance, cravings and weight gain around the mid-section. If you want to get on top of your weight, you need to be thinking about your stress levels. That’s why 20 minutes of yoga daily might be the most effective thing to introduce into your life right now.
4. Your hormones aren't balanced
If you are fatigued, experience irregular menstrual cycles, feel depressed or anxious, you may have a hormonal imbalance. There are certain tests that will confirm this. I work with clients to help them choose the best test and take appropriate action to address the underlying cause. Hormonal imbalances include insulin resistance, thyroid abnormalities, estrogen dominance, and fibroids, to name a few. For hormonal imbalance symptoms, check out my female hormone health page.
5. You’re emotional eating
After a long day at work, do you unwind with a glass or two of wine? Do you find yourself reaching for a pint of ice cream when you’ve had a stressful day? This emotional eating is likely holding you back from your weight loss goals.
Practicing mindful eating can be really helpful if you’re an emotional eater. Check in with yourself to see if you’re actually hungry or just avoiding something. If you’re going to eat, sit down and give your food your full attention. Of course, you also want to get to the bottom of why you’re reaching for food to deal with your emotions.
6. Your digestion is not optimal
Your gut health determines your overall wellbeing and can contribute to weight gain. The microbes (bacteria) that lie in your gut help you to fight disease, process your food, make nutrients and make hormones. Symptoms of compromised gut health include leaky gut syndrome, food sensitivities, malabsorption, dysbiosis (healthy and unhealthy microbial imbalance), and more. You can improve your microbial health from eating more plant foods. However, if you have a digestive disorder, I recommend taking steps to remedy it.
If you want to get your health and weight back on track, then take a look at my Fabulously Healthy programme.
In this programme, you’ll make progress with your healthy eating and lifestyle goals and learn how to use food, nutrition, and wellness to lose weight and keep it off.
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