What if there is another reason for your weight loss issues?
Weight Loss Resistance is the term often used to describe a common condition in people with metabolic dysfunction who fail to shed weight even while following a healthy diet and/or exercise program.
These people may suffer from a variety of annoying symptoms including low thyroid, food intolerances, low sex drive, gastrointestinal issues, and fatigue. Oh my!
As a nutrition & women’s health expert, rather than suggesting an even stricter diet and exercise regime to my clients, I recommend they take a closer look at the underlying potential causes of their weight loss resistance.
There are many possible culprits which can create this frustrating problem.
If you’ve been working hard to shed the pounds but just aren’t seeing the results you desire, consider that one, or even several of the following could be the real reason why you can’t take off the weight.
The most common causes of Weight Loss Resistance:
- Chronic stress and poor stress response; excessive exercise is also considered stress!
- Hidden food allergies
- GI (gastrointestinal) dysfunction, including leaky gut or dysbiosis
- Nutrient deficiencies or poor nutrient absorption
- Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep
- Environmental toxins including xenoestrogens or “fake estrogens”
- Hormone imbalances and hormone resistance, including low thyroid
It’s the hormonal factors that I want to dive a bit deeper into as most women are affected by these at some point in their lives, especially after age 35.
Blame it on Hormones!
The top 4 hormonal causes of weight loss resistance are:
Not only do we have to make sure our major hormonal players – estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, and insulin are all in proper balance to facilitate weight loss, but there’s also the possibility that our body may have developed a resistance to some of these hormones.
What exactly is Hormone Resistance?
Let’s use INSULIN RESISTANCE as an example since it is so common.
Dr. Sara Gottfried, Author of The Hormone Reset Diet offers this explanation:
“When you’re healthy and in good shape, your pancreas produces exactly the right amount of insulin to have your blood sugar softly rise and fall within a rather narrow range.
But when your estrogen levels climb, the cells that produce insulin become strained, and you can become insulin resistant.
That’s when insulin starts to usher less glucose to the liver and muscles, raising the levels of sugar in your bloodstream and ultimately storing the glucose as fat. Your fat tissue can expand by as much as four times to accommodate the storage of glucose.”
Special Note on Thyroid Dysfunction
This is always a hot topic in the world of women’s hormone health!
Our thyroid can be negatively impacted by many factors including high cortisol, food allergies, toxins, and mineral deficiencies such as selenium, iron or zinc. When thyroid hormone levels are low, our metabolism slows down and weight loss becomes very difficult.
It is estimated that our metabolism governs 60-70% of our fat burning capability, so it’s not hard to understand how a slow or dysfunctional metabolism could seriously throw a wrench in our efforts!
If you suspect a thyroid problem, you will want to get your TSH, free T3 and T4, reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies tested, to make sure they are in optimal, and not just ‘normal’ ranges.
Simple Steps to Reversing Hormone Resistance and Shedding the Pounds!
- The first step is to understand what type of imbalance(s) you may have in order to address and correct it. Talk to a qualified Health Practitioner who is experienced in hormone issues and can recommend the right kind of testing for you.
- Then take a closer look at some small changes you can make to find better balance in your diet and exercise regime. For example, try to balance each meal with high quality “smart & slow carbs” such as sweet potatoes & legumes, as well as lean protein, good fats like coconut oil & extra fiber – think green leafy veggies!
- Life’s busy and meeting our daily nutritional requirements, especially when we’re stressed, lacking sleep and hormonally challenged, can be tough! Consider supplementing your diet with key vitamins and minerals that support metabolism, such as chromium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, as well as good B-Complex. It is always best to test your vitamins & minerals and consult with a Health Practitioner before adding supplements to your health routine.
- And where exercise is concerned – more or harder, does not always mean better! It has been shown that HIIT training, or High Intensity Interval Training is a hormone-friendly method of exercise if you start slowly and work your way up to 3 times per week, or every other day.
- Establish a better sleep routine, including no “screen time” 2 hours before bed, and ideally achieving restorative sleep between 10 pm and 6 am. This can be critical to hormone balancing and hence, to tackling our frustrating resistant weight issues!