If you're like many people, you've tried a number of fad diets and various fitness regimes to reach a healthy weight. After some initial success, you probably hit a plateau and became discouraged. From that point, it's easy to give up and slide back into bad habits. Before you know it, you're back to your old ways, eating the foods that you know drain your energy and letting your exercise plans slip.
After going through this frustrating cycle a few times, it's no wonder many people give up on losing that extra weight. But if you feel like that weight is holding you back from living life as fully as you'd like, it may help to learn a bit more about your body to find out how to get healthier once and for all.
Despite the pressure some people feel to be thin for the sake of attractiveness, body weight is simply a key health indicator. What matters most is how healthy and comfortable you feel in your body. While determining your ideal weight according to your body type and health goals is important, focusing on pinpointing the specific factors that are keeping you from losing weight is crucial.
No matter your current weight, arming yourself with information can help motivate you and keep you committed to practices that can help you lose the weight you want to, to live your best life.
The truth is that when you are 20 pounds or more over your ideal weight, it is more difficult for your body to carry out its basic homeostatic mechanisms. It's harder for your body to calibrate its metabolism, regulate hormones, and maintain body temperature.
Inflammation increases as you gain weight, as does stress on the body. Blood pressure rises along with cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. Eventually, all of these factors can lead to the onset of weight-related diseases of the body, including Type 2 diabetes and more.
Here are some of the conditions that can worsen with weight gain:
Pulmonary symptoms, due to increased weight on the lungs
Overproduction of mucus
Susceptibility to infections
Kidney and liver disease
Various forms of cancer
Risk of stroke
Release yourself from self-judgment about your weight. There are so many factors, from the food at grocery stores, to water quality, to the way you were raised that can make it hard for you to lose weight without making key changes you never even knew about.
With so much misinformation and a new fad diet popping up almost daily, it is not your fault that you are having trouble losing weight — but it is your responsibility to determine exactly what is holding you back and to make the changes necessary to feel well.
The human body was created to run on a diet that includes proteins, carbohydrates, and fats — which is why fad diets that cut entire groups of food are doomed to fail. The real key to long-term wellness and weight loss is coming back into balance, which includes a healthy diet.
So how can you stop the cycle of yo-yo dieting and finally get to your goal weight? It begins with understanding how you got stuck in the first place.
At this point, most people already know the basic changes they need to make in order to lose weight. Switching to healthy eating habits and incorporating regular exercise is key — and there is no way to lose weight without implementing these shifts. But if you've already tried traditional approaches, and they just aren't garnering the results you expected, there could be a hidden imbalance in your body holding you back.
What could be keeping you stuck? There are a wide variety of possibilities. You should begin investigating by testing your insulin and blood sugar levels. If you are having trouble stabilizing blood sugar, your body will not receive the signal to tap into its fat stores in order to create energy. If you are experiencing excruciating food cravings that seem impossible to ignore, blood sugar levels could be the cause.
Once you know how your body is processing glucose in your blood, you can consider other factors that may be contributing to your weight loss issues. Hormones play a central role, because they are responsible for regulating your metabolism. If your hormones are sending a message to your body that you are in a highly stressful situation and need to conserve energy (fight or flight), there's no healthy amount of diet or exercise that you could do to lose weight.
Instead, the key will be re-balancing your hormones. Your thyroid gland plays a particularly central role here and is one of the most important parts of the endocrine system to consider when you reach weight plateaus.
Another commonly overlooked factor that can make it nearly impossible for patients to lose weight is an overload of toxins in the body. (This issue was a key component to Dr. Stephen Cabral's best-selling book, The Rain Barrel Effect.)
The reality is that our environment has become increasingly full of toxins, which present health challenges. Toxins like heavy metals, petrochemicals, pesticides, mold and the chemicals in many household and cosmetic products can accumulate in the body and reach a load that is very difficult for your body to process.
Eventually, your liver can become overtaxed removing toxins. Your body will begin to store these toxins in fat cells in order to filter the blood. This causes your fat cells to expand and leads to a general state of toxicity, water retention and puffiness.
This is why it can sometimes be very emotionally challenging when you start to lose weight. When your body burns fat stores, it is also releasing the toxins that are stored within them, which can increase stress and anxiety. But in order to lose weight for good, you will not only need to change your diet and exercise habits, but you will also need to rid your body of toxins that are stored in your cells.
If you've been having trouble losing weight, you may want to consider testing your thyroid, adrenal and hormone levels. There are at-home functional medicine lab tests to help you understand which of your body's systems are experiencing imbalances.
This type of test can tell you about your blood sugar levels, vitamin D, thyroid function, cortisol levels and estrogen levels, which is the depth of information you'll need to pinpoint the specific areas in your body that may need an extra boost.
Linda had always been on the curvy side, but by the time she hit her mid-thirties, her weight had gotten away from her. Before she knew it, her doctor told her she was technically obese, and informed of all the terrible associated health risks.
Linda had been trying to lose weight well before the obesity diagnosis, but she never seemed able to keep it off. She had already been making big strides cleaning up her diet and incorporating exercise, but the cycle of shame she experienced every time she failed to lose the extra weight was becoming too much to bear. She needed a new approach to feel motivated again.
Linda started with an at-home lab test and was both shocked and relieved when she discovered that her glucose levels were completely out of whack. It became evident that Linda had a serious gut issue, which probably began many years ago when she had had very heavy doses of antibiotics due to a bout of serious lung infections.
After learning what she needed, Linda took action regarding her health. By combining the changes she had already made to her diet with nutrition and supplements, she began to see new progress with her weight loss. Eventually, she even began to enjoy her exercise routine and did it more frequently. She has now been at her ideal weight for five years and has never felt so energetic.
There is perhaps no body-related goal that more individuals share than the struggle to maintain a healthy weight. Despite how overwhelming and emotionally draining it can be to constantly be trying new things to lose weight, you can make a positive change.
By understanding all of the factors that could be preventing your weight loss, you can stop the cycle. The right information can transform your life for the better.