By Mila McManus M.D.
The three most common excuses given for the inability to lose weight are thyroid malfunction, eating too many calories, and inadequate exercise. Everyone knows that. Right? Not so fast. In fact, we wish we had a nickel for every time someone has said, “No matter what I do, what I eat, how much I exercise, I can’t lose weight!”. Truth be told, there are many variables that can prevent weight loss even when it seems like the diet and exercise are more than adequate. Our stressful and toxic world contributes more than you might realize, along with important lifestyle habits. There may also be other physiological reasons. For most people, there are several variables at play. Here is a list of considerations when you are at your weight loss wit’s end.
- Inflammation affects metabolism. Inflammation stems from various factors, but one, in particular, is a food sensitivity. You may not realize, for instance, the eggs, almonds, or wheat in your diet are sabotaging your efforts because of an underlying food sensitivity. Another source of inflammation is alcohol. (Of course, the calories from alcohol don’t help either.)
- Poor sleep quality and sleep deprivation cause an increase in ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates appetite, as well as cause a decrease in leptin, a hormone that tells you when to stop eating.
- Thyroid function may be low despite normal lab results. Test yourself here for low thyroid symptoms. Your thyroid ratios may be suboptimal because your body can’t adequately convert inactive thyroid (T4) to active thyroid (T3) due to vitamin deficiencies, stress, poor gut health, or heavy metals. In addition, infection and inflammation increase Reverse T3 (RT3) which blocks thyroid function at the cellular level.
- Guessing at caloric needs and exercise needs without knowing your own biological, physiological needs can sabotage your efforts. Consider having a metabolic test to determine your accurate resting metabolic rate, caloric needs for weight loss and for weight maintenance. It is easy and affordable. Ask for a Metacheck appointment.
- Trying to exercise your way to weight loss is pretty fruitless when not examining your diet. Dietary adjustments will be a much faster route to weight loss compared to trying to overcompensate with exercise.
- Doing the wrong types of exercise is a recipe for long term disaster. Muscle mass contributes greatly to your metabolic rate. If you are trying to jog off your behind and belly fat, you may find that strength training to increase muscle mass is more effective at burning calories, toning every area of the body, and getting faster results.
- Hormonal Imbalances for both men and women can greatly impact the ability to lose weight. For example, imbalances of sex hormones (e.g., testosterone, estrogen, progesterone) can impact thyroid function which, in turn, affects metabolism. Have you heard of estrogen dominance? Men can struggle with this as well if testosterone is declining while exposure to estrogenic plastics, chemicals, or soy causes increased estrogen levels.
- Poor gut health (even with absence of any obvious gastrointestinal symptoms) caused by medications, poor diet, antibiotics, and artificial sweeteners, to name a few, will often affect weight. Good gut health is mission-critical for weight loss.
- Lectins, which are in many healthy foods, can cause weight gain and inhibit weight loss. Read about lectins here, and read about which foods contain the most lectins here.
- Nutritional deficiencies affect metabolism. Are you deficient in iodine, selenium, vitamin D, or iron perhaps? Deficiencies here will affect your thyroid function.
- Medications can affect your metabolism, including birth control pills, antidepressants, and beta-blockers. Even Zyrtec and Allegra, common allergy medications, can cause weight gain.
- Toxins may be sabotaging your efforts, too. Today, our toxin exposure is significantly higher than it was just fifty years ago. Additionally, some of us don’t eliminate toxins as well as others do. A good detox program may be helpful! Read our article on toxin testing and search our site for detox recipes that will help you get rid of harmful toxins. PEMF Therapy and IR Sauna are two additional detoxifying options available at our office.
- Inadequate hydration can slow your metabolism.
- Unaddressed emotional trauma can affect eating habits and have neurohormonal effects that contribute to weight gain.
- Emotional eating habits are a common problem, such as binge eating chips or cookies when sad or stressed, or celebrating good times with cake and champagne.
- Not eating enough calories can be disastrous on your metabolism. Starving yourself, or eating a normal number of calories, and then following with excessive exercise or exertion, can cause reduced muscle mass and, therefore, slowing of metabolic rate.
- Eating too late at night can affect weight, mainly because studies show that late eaters tend to make poorer food choices and eat more calories.
- Eating too quickly will tend to cause you to eat more calories because you’re shoveling in more food during the interval between intake of food and getting the signal from your brain that you are full.
- Excessive fruit intake can affect weight because the sugar in fruit, fructose, more easily stores as fat than other types of carbs.
- Stress-yes, stress. Its effects are evil in every way.
Ready to do something about it? Here are ways to get started:
- Read Highway to Health, A Nutritional Roadmap, by Mila McManus MD, available in our office and on Amazon. This book includes everything you need to know about nutrition and lifestyle to maintain a healthy weight. The 2nd edition was published in December 2019.
- Call 281-298-6742 to learn how we can help you start losing weight today!
- Use our website to find healthy recipes that are sure to spice up your taste buds and make you feel better.
- Follow the links in this article to test yourself and learn more.
- Join us on March 19 at 5:30 pm for Wellness Night Out where Dr. McManus will discuss the challenges of weight loss. Healthy snacks will be served.
The Plant Paradox by Dr Gundry
Why Isn’t my Brain Working? by Dr. Kharrazian
Adrenal Fatigue by Dr. James Wilson