Weight loss is complex. It’s not just about food and exercise. If you are struggling to lose weight, there are several reasons why. It’s not about the calories that you are eating. Other factors such as hormones, sleep, inflammation, medication, gut microbes, emotions and genes all influence your ability to lose weight and keep it off.
Therefore, food, movement, hormones, sleep, and all the just mentioned factors all affect the changes in weight.
The good news is that you have the ability to influence all of these factors except your genes. However, genes play the weakest role because of how the environment interacts with them. A clean diet makes clean genes.
We have all heard about food and exercise. Therefore, we are going discuss the other factors.
When it comes to not being able to lose weight, the first thing that comes to your mind is the thyroid hormones. It is true that they play a major role in regulating the metabolism, but there are other hormones that can affect weight gain and loss. Here are some if the hormones that you have to consider. Hormones are the signal for the body to become obese.
- Insulin: It is a hormone released by the pancreas to regulate glucose in the body. Insulin is also the hormone that signals the body to increase weight as recent studies suggest. Insulin can not only cause generalized obesity, but it can also cause localized fat growth.
- Estrogen is the hormone that makes you store fat in the upper thighs and butt. It affects the distribution of fat in the body. This is why postmenopausal women tend to gain weight in the abdominal area, increasing the risks of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and insulin resistance.
- Cortisol is the stress hormone that makes you store fat in your belly. It also stimulates fats and carbohydrates for fast energy, and stimulates insulin release and maintenance of blood sugar levels. The end result of these actions can be an increase in appetite and can cause cravings.
Sleep deprivation increases the production of inflammatory hormones, including cortisol which can lead to weight gain. Lack of sleep can therefore increase hunger and food intake. Reduced sleep can make you overeat and increase your cravings to foods high in carbohydrates and fats. Aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night.
Our gut is rich in bacteria. However, the wrong composition of bacteria can slow weight loss. Research showed that bad bacteria can extract more calories from your food, make you constipated, interfere with the fat-burning enzymes, change the appetite signals, and alter the genes that express how quickly you lose fat. So if you constantly feel bloated, it is time to start consuming probiotic rich foods or supplements that will help restore the microbial imbalance.
Chronic inflammation is harmful to our health and can lead to obesity. This chronic inflammation can cause us to become resistant to insulin (a hormone that helps control blood sugar) and leptin (a hormone involved in satiety). This will lead to increased appetite, weight gain, and possibly obesity. The solution is to stop the inflammation-weight gain cycle through dietary and exercise management. Losing weight is the most effective way to turn “off” the chronic inflammation switch, but significant changes need to be made.
Certain medication , antidepressants in particular, can cause weight gain. They can slow down the metabolism and the heart rate as well.
This is the most intriguing factor. It’s often ignored because emotions can’t be measured. People sometimes unexpectedly gain weight due to feelings that they are not expressing. Research showed that 75% of obese patients that were scheduled for bariatric surgery had experienced at least one adverse childhood experience, known as an ACE. ACEs cover emotional neglect, emotional abuse, divorce, sexual abuse, physical violence, and other emotional traumas. So if something has upset you, don’t swallow it; let it out on paper, or speak to a friend or a therapist. If emotions are stuck inside you, the weight can also stay stuck.
Finally, there are many factors that contribute to weight gain and prevent weight loss. The important thing is to never give up. All you have to do is identify the reason that is stopping you and work on solving it. Sustainable weight loss isn’t always easy, but it’s far better than disliking your body and feeling hopeless about your weight.