The Honest Health Blog: Why Am I Not Losing Weight?
Not Losing Weight Despite Eating Less and Moving More? Here Are 3 Things You Should Know
It's not always about eating less and moving more. If you're doing everything you can like a biggest loser challenge yet pounds are not shed off, then you might have to look into weight loss in a different perspective. Here's what you should know.
In 2016, global statistics on overweight adults has peaked to more than 1.9 billion adults. More specifically, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 650 million of the 1.9 billion overweight adults suffer from obesity. The catch is this: the number increases by the day and more people are getting killed because of this.
In a society where "thin is the IN", it's not really surprising that many go on a lifelong pursuit of becoming thin or why weight loss has now become a billion dollar industry.
In just the US and Europe alone, weight loss programs and products rake in an estimated annual revenue of $150 billion. Marketdata, a market research firm, published its findings of its 2017 biennial study on "The U.S. Weight Loss and Diet Control Market" presenting the dollar value and growth rates of 10 major weight loss market segments tracing from the 1980s to 2006 and 2010 forecasts. In the study, the estimated value of the weight loss market is at $55 billion and is projected to go higher and this is what we're actually seeing right now.
One probable data analysis supporting the large wealth in weight loss is that roughly 90% of people who loses pounds eventually regain all of it because weight loss is not just diet and lifestyle. Do not kid yourself that it's just about doing it consistently. To an extent, yes BUT there are other factors such as biological framework and medical condition that are also in play.
Before you plunge in to a weight loss program and get frustrated with the unshed pounds, here's what you need to know.
✅ Weight Loss is BIOLOGICAL.
The question, for most, has always been this: "I am doing everything that I can. I'm eating less and healthy. I exercise, I burn my calories! Why am I still not losing weight?"
Let's burn the myth that weight loss is solely just about diet and lifestyle. Biology also plays a big role in weight loss and you might not be shedding your much-needed pounds because of these things:
"Why can some people eat anything and everything yet they never put on weight?"
This is because of genetics. Research suggests that some bodies are just better in losing fat than some and vice-versa. Although genetics do not indicate or dictate future health, it does serve some predisposition to be overweight from as small as 25% to as large as 80%. In a study by university researchers in the United Kingdom, they compared DNAs of people under three weight categories: thin, normal, and severely obese. Published results in 2019 showed that both persistent healthy thinness same as obesity is a heritable trait.
Your time inside the womb also affects and influences these genes which is a lesser known information in weight loss discussions. Recent research has suggested that a mother's weight and dietary choices covering before pregnancy and during pregnancy also play a role in influencing the genes that control a baby's weight.
In studies conducted, women who gained excessive weight during the course of their pregnancy are more likely to give birth to large babies who can later on develop obesity problems.
Our bodies develop and function differently over different age periods and this is something that we should understand. As we grow older, metabolism rate also slows down by about 2 to 8 percent every decade. Most women gain about 5 to 15 pounds during the aging process - a product of reduced muscle mass as well as physical activity.
There are different approaches between male and female in losing weight. Studies have shown that males are quicker to lose pounds but females are generally are slower in comparison but are also more consistent in the long term. Sex is also a factor where body fat is first shed off. For example, men are more likely to lose belly fat easier than women.
✅ Weight Loss is influenced by MEDICAL CONDITIONS AND MEDICATION.
If you are struggling to lose weight, you may be suffering from these medical conditions. It's highly recommended to take a visit to your doctor to know and help you better manage and get back on track with your weight loss.
Inflammation and Cellular Damage
In order to heal injuries and fight off infections, inflammation is a necessary function but chronic inflammation is unhealthy and considered dangerous as it damages cells and impairs normal bodily functions. This can be caused by environmental factors (smoking and air pollution) as well as dietary ones (prescription medications and food).
The thyroid gland is responsible in production of hormones that regulate many bodily processes and there are two types of it: hyperthyroidism (overactive) and hypothyroidism (underactive). Hypothyroidism means thyroid cells are not produced in enough quantity required to keep cells functioning. This underactive status influences metabolism as well and a slow metabolism making it hard to lose weight. Individuals experiencing hypothyroidism are also subject to fatigue, depression, and muscle pain.
Chronic Stress and Depression
These conditions are very prevalent during this time of the pandemic and is suffered by both men and women, kids and adults alike. Cortisols are hormones released when an individual experiences stress can affect many body functions. High levels of this hormone promote a depressed immune system, elevated blood pressure, as well as abdominal fat. Not to mention that chronic stress also leads to overeating to compensate which results to unnecessary weight gain.
Cushing Syndrome, like chronic stress, involves the hormone cortisol. This syndrome is primarily characterized by weight gain which is concentrated in the face and the upper body. It also shows itself in acne, lethargy, high blood pressure, sleep problems, and for women in irregular periods.
Syndrome X is a group of health condition that is related to insulin resistance wherein it can affect the function of other hormones such as those that are responsible for your metabolism.
For women, there are significantly more medical conditions that affect their weight and weight loss.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
In a 2012 statistic published by World Health Organization, it shows that 116 million women are affected by this syndrome with 21% of them in reproductive age and its prevalence varies from 2% to as high as 26%. PCOS is characterized by insulin resistance and can hormonally drive fat accumulation in the abdomen. As discussed before, insulin resistance can result to slow metabolism rate making it hard to lose weight.
Lipedema strikes one every nine women worldwide which causes excess fat accumulation in hips and legs which are hard to shed. Additionally it also causes easy bruising and pain.
These changes are part of every woman's journey and three of the most notorious changes occur in puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. During these periods, a woman's body undergoes different changes which makes losing weight more difficult.
Some medications that help battle certain conditions that cause weight gain are another complications in preventing the body to shed off excess fats like for example antidepressants. Antihistamines for your allergic reactions, corticosteroids for asthma, birth control, diabetes, high blood pressure also have consequences in weight control. In addition, antidepressants and antihistamines also contribute to carbohydrate craving which leads to increased appetite.
✅ Weight Loss is about LIFESTYLE.
Weight loss is still about your lifestyle and dietary habits. More often than not, people who do weight loss programs neglect the importance of sleep in the process. Without adequate sleep, proper diet and healthy exercise will not be properly absorbed by the body. Moreover, when you skip on sleep or turn only a few hours a night, it may contribute to stress and other diseases and can lead to food craving and increase appetite. As for dietary habits, it's not just the composition of the diet but also the proper timing and serving portions. Skipping breakfast is one of the culprits in large portions of lunch meals which is not helpful in losing weight.
The Honest Conclusion
In conclusion, the holy grail of weight loss are not limited to diet and exercise. It also includes your biology and the status of your health. Therefore before proceeding into a weight loss program, make sure to first, get checked by your doctor to know more about your body and ensure that there are no underlying medical conditions that can hamper your goals. And if there is, know how to properly manage it. Second, take time to research about your program or hire a fitness coach who can help you with both your exercise and dietary program. And in the course of your journey to getting to your weight goal, be consistent in your workout and diet and get enough sleep.