Why Can’t I Lose Weight?
Average Read Time: 4 minutes
One of the most common things that I get asked about is weight loss. So many people question why they can’t lose weight, especially if they are suffering from a sluggish thyroid. They’ve tried everything, including the things that seem to work so well for others…but they didn’t work for them. It’s beyond frustrating. There can be so many reasons for this, but I want to start by talking about weight loss in general.
First ask yourself, what is “weight loss” going to look like for you? How will it make you feel? This is so important to identify, as this will make your goal for weight loss more realistic and attainable.
I have been down this road of frustration myself as I suffered from hypothyroidism—I was diagnosed at 22 years old. I was obsessed with the number on the scale. Despite doing everything I could to lose weight, nothing happened! Pretty sure many of you can relate.
Maybe Your Body Doesn’t Want to Lose Weight…Yet
Always remember: Weight loss is the last thing your body wants to do when on a health journey.
What do I mean by that? Your body will want to fix other problems before it even considers weight loss. So if you have minerals that are way off, or a gut infection, or maybe even a hormone imbalance…your body is going to want to fix that first.
Trust me, I understand the frustration when weight loss isn’t happening. But when your body has other issues that didn’t happen overnight, it’s going to take time for the weight loss to happen. Your body will lose weight when it is ready. Just keep focusing on getting healthy, and weight loss will eventually come.
Also, keep in mind that weight loss or fat loss is very energy-intensive. This is another reason why when the body is not in a good state, it will not prioritize fat or weight loss. Your body is much smarter than you might think. 🙂
So, why does weight loss not happen for some people when they are doing all the right things? Let’s look at some reasons that this could be happening.
1) How are your stress levels?
During times of stress, the “stress hormone” cortisol is released in the body, along with the hormones epinephrine and norepinephrine. Together, they constitute the “fight or flight” response to a perceived threat. Following the stressful or threatening event, epinephrine and norepinephrine levels return to normal, while cortisol levels can remain elevated over a longer time period. In fact, cortisol levels can remain persistently elevated in the body when a person is subjected to chronic stress.
Cortisol has many functions in the body, and one ultimate goal of cortisol secretion is the provision of energy. Cortisol stimulates fat and carbohydrate metabolism for fast energy, in addition to stimulating insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. The end result of these actions is an increase in appetite. Therefore, chronic stress (or poorly managed stress) may lead to elevated cortisol levels that stimulate your appetite, with the end result being weight gain, or difficulty losing unwanted pounds. In addition, the distribution of cortisol weight that often won’t budge is in the belly region.
UP NEXT: 5 Ways to Reduce Stress You’ve Never Tried
2) Do you have any infections (like a parasite, bacteria, or even mycotoxins)?
As I mentioned above, if your body has something else going on that it needs to focus on, weight loss will be the last thing it wants to do. Any infection or parasite can be really taxing on the body, and may slow or halt any weight loss. To rule out these possibilities, talk to your functional health care practitioner about mycotoxin testing and/or a stool test. Your poop can say a lot!
3) Do you have an overload of toxins, chemicals, or metals in the body?
Toxins will get pushed into fat cells, so if there are a lot of metals/toxins/chemicals, the body will make more fat cells just to protect you from the toxins. The last thing anyone wants when they’re struggling to lose weight is more fat cells! Hair tissue testing is a great way to check if you have an overload of metals in your body.
4) Have you had a full thyroid blood panel?
This is sometimes an obvious one, but a full thyroid blood panel is so important. I see so many people who only have their TSH checked. More tests are needed to get a complete and accurate picture of what’s going on with your thyroid.
Some people have a conversion issue, and can’t convert T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (active thyroid hormone). This will be difficult to see when only TSH is checked. Some people reverse it back to T3 (known as “Reverse T3”), which, again, is not an active hormone. This can be a huge factor for difficulty with weight loss.
Also, testing thyroid antibodies is a MUST! Thyroid antibodies can develop when a person’s immune system mistakenly targets components of the thyroid gland or thyroid proteins, leading to chronic inflammation of the thyroid (thyroiditis), tissue damage, and/or disruption of thyroid function. Weight loss will be very hard to accomplish if this is the case.
I recommend a full thyroid blood panel, including:
- Free T3
- Free T4
- Reverse T3
- Thyroid antibodies (TPO and TGAb)
5) What about your minerals?
Minerals are like the spark plugs of your body. They are responsible for so many functions and, I believe, are especially overlooked when it comes to weight loss.
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis can be very helpful here. The difference between blood testing and hair testing is that blood testing gives you a snapshot of “right now”, while a hair test gives you the average of what is going on in your body over the last three months. This gives a lot more important information.
Something that I address with a mineral test is the eating style. For example, if you’re eating a lot of fat (like a ketogenic diet) and your minerals show you are in a slow oxidation rate, this is a disaster for your body. You will struggle to lose weight!
Or if you have an overload of calcium, you will need to take the correct supplements to lower this to a normal level, or your thyroid and metabolism will never function at an optimal rate. Again, it’s going to make it extremely difficult to lose weight.
Or maybe your potassium levels are completely bottomed out. You need potassium helping with the conversion of your inactive thyroid hormone(T4) to your active hormone (T3). This can dramatically improve your metabolism.
I also like to see what selenium is doing. It is essential for helping to boost thyroid function.
If you feel like you’re kind of spinning a hamster wheel when it comes to weight loss and exhaustion…mineral status could be a missing link.
6) How are your sleep habits?
Most of us these days have busy, demanding schedules. This makes forming healthy sleep habits a challenge. Sleep is so unbelievably important to all aspects of your health, and is definitely important for weight loss!
A massive amount of regeneration and repair occurs between the hours of 10 pm and midnight. Just one hour of sleep before midnight is worth two hours of sleep after midnight. Getting at least 7–8 hours of sleep a night and being in bed before 10:30 pm should be a priority!
UP NEXT: SLEEP YOURSELF SKINNY
Are you tired of the weight loss hamster wheel?
The best advice I can offer is this: Don’t give up! The hardest part can be to keep digging when you haven’t yet discovered what works, but I urge you to do just that. You CAN lose that weight that won’t budge and get your life (and your hair) back by investigating further, and not giving up until you’ve reached the solution.
Most importantly, be kind to your body while you are healing. You only have one body, and you deserve all the things that you are working so hard to achieve!
Disclaimer: Patients should always consult with their healthcare provider before taking supplements or making dietary or lifestyle changes. The information shared here is not a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, treatment, advice, or a medical examination or evaluation. It is for informational purposes only and is never intended to replace or substitute services provided by a physician or other medical provider. Read full disclaimer HERE.