You’ve cut back your calories, hit the gym, and committed to making lifestyle changes, but the numbers on the scale just won’t budge. Here are nine things that may be stopping you from losing weight despite your best efforts to shed those pounds.
Many, many people – and especially women – mistake water weight for fat. In fact, it’s not uncommon to carry up to 15 pounds of weight in water-laden tissues. If losing weight seems impossible, you may simply be retaining water. Things like too little protein in your diet, a food sensitivity, or even hormonal imbalances can cause it. Surprisingly, dehydration can also lead to water retention. Also make sure your sodium intake is not too high.
Your thyroid is vital for regulating your hormones, and in turn, hormones are responsible for regulating your metabolism. When your thyroid isn’t working optimally, your metabolism may not be fast enough to burn enough calories – even if you’ve drastically changed your diet. If you think your thyroid may be to blame, a simple blood test can rule out any potential problems.
Dr. Ann Louise Gittleman, a nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author, says that as many as three out of four people have inadequate levels of magnesium in their bodies. Magnesium plays a crucial role in converting food into fuel, so when there isn’t enough, the calories you consume are more likely to become fat cells. You can get more magnesium in your diet by eating dark, leafy greens, fish, nuts, seeds, and avocadoes, or you can take a dietary supplement.
Probiotics are popular these days for several reasons. Although they’re usually marketed to boost your immune system and promote digestive health, a study published in Nature: International Weekly Journal of Science back in 2006 showed a very distinct link between a lack of probiotics and obesity. If losing weight seems impossible, adding probiotics to your diet may help. Yogurt is a great choice, and you can also find probiotic supplements in your local nutrition and drug stores.
When you eat carbohydrates, your body produces insulin. As you likely already know, insulin turns the carbs you eat into sugar, which your body can readily store as fat. When it comes to losing weight, your goal should be to keep insulin levels low by eating a high-protein diet and cutting out most simple carbs. Proteins stimulate your pancreas to make glucagon, which is a hormone that negates the effects of insulin, keeps your blood sugar in check, and allows your body to burn stored fat.
When you’re stressed out, your body pays the price. Cortisol is a hormone that your body secretes in response to both short-term and long-term stress. Although some cortisol is normal, too much can cause serious issues, including weight gain around the abdomen, buttocks, and thighs. To reduce cortisol levels, make sure you’re getting enough sleep and finding appropriate ways to handle stress, such as meditation or even yoga.
Your liver, which is responsible for creating the bile that flushes toxins from your body and digests fat, plays an important role in your ability to maintain a healthy weight. If your liver is clogged with toxins from the environment or from the foods you eat, it can’t adequately do its job. The best way to promote liver health is with regular diet and exercise. What’s more, studies have shown that a supplement called milk thistle can increase bile production, which may help flush the liver and keep it healthy.
A study published in Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal in 2014 showed that the adequate release of healthy, high-quality bile from the liver also triggered the release of an enzyme designed to convert thyroid hormone T4 into T3. This hormone conversion is the very process that allows your body to metabolize the foods you eat, so it is vital for losing weight. To improve your bile quality, consider supplements like milk thistle, avoid refined sugars and processed foods, and incorporate probiotics into your diet.
When it comes to losing weight, most people start cutting fat out of their diet immediately. This can cause your body to retain more fat, making it harder to shed pounds. Although you certainly should cut out all trans fats and watch the amount of saturated fat you consume, it’s crucial to eat healthy fats regularly. For example, flaxseed oil contains certain fats that regulate your insulin levels, and coconut oil can boost your metabolism by half thanks to its abundance of medium-chain triglycerides.