Are you not able to lose weight? Look for underlying causes
Have you tried every diet under the sun but still can't lose weight? Are you growing increasingly frustrated and hopeless. Low-calorie diets have long been popular, but the rising obesity epidemic shows they clearly don't work at keeping the weight off. If you are sticking to your diet but still not able to lose weight, you may have an unidentified health issue slowing down your metabolism and blocking your ability to burn fat.
Low-calorie dieting can slow your metabolism for years
Humans have vacillated between feast or famine for most of history, with more bouts of famine us modern folk will never know. The human body is designed to get us through times of famine by slowing down metabolism and increasing hormones that promote fat storage. A low-calorie diet is, as far as the body is concerned, a famine. When you embark on a low-calorie diet it sets in motion the same mechanisms to save you from starving. The result is that each low-calorie diet can actually make you fatter when you resume eating an appropriate amount of calories. Sadly this metabolic slow-down from dieting can last for years. This was recently evidenced by a follow-up study of participants in the The Biggest Loser reality TV show. Six years after the show, their metabolic set point was lower than when they started. The former contestants now burn 500 to 800 fewer calories per day, which means they have to under eat simply not to gain weight. Most of them returned to their pre-show weight and have to stick to a low-calorie diet to avoid becoming progressively fatter.
Dieting skews key hunger hormones
On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you overeat or eat too much sugar, your hormones may be skewed to make you chronically hungry and hinder fat burning. This is caused by leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that controls feeling satisfied after eating and whether you burn or store fat. Eating a lot of starches and sugars and overeating lead to leptin resistance. As a result, you're constantly hungry and you store fat too easily. Eating fewer processed carbohydrates and exercising regularly will help sensitize your cells to leptin so that fat burning abilities return and you're not hungry all the time.
Other health issues that can prevent weight loss
For most people, especially women, weight loss is not as simple as “calories in, calories out.” Inflammation, thyroid problems (such as Hashimoto's hypothyroidism) and other health factors can make it difficult to lose weight. Many people see their unwanted pounds drop away on an anti-inflammatory diet that removes common inflammatory foods, such as gluten, dairy, and grains. These diets are commonly used to manage pain, digestive problems, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, depression anxiety, and other health issues. They work because excess weight is often a symptom of health imbalances, such as systemic inflammation, leptin resistance, hormonal imbalances, stress, leaky gut, blood sugar imbalances, food intolerances, and hypothyroidism. By addressing these underlying factors, weight loss sometimes magically happens.
The autoimmune diet and weight loss
The autoimmune diet helps people with chronic illnesses. Although it's effective for managing autoimmunity and dropping unwanted pounds, It should not be used as a weight loss diet. Be careful not to under eat on this diet as that will trigger the famine response that prevents fat burning. When you're managing a chronic illness like Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, it's important to meet your nutritional needs, eat healthy fats (so your body knows it's not starving), and sufficent protein to stabilize blood sugar stable. This will help increase your metabolic rate and drop extra weight without going hungry. Functional medicine has effective ways in working with underlying health issues that hinder weight loss. Ask my office for more advice.
About Dr. Josh Redd — Utah, Arizona, New Mexico functional medicine
One of the main goals at RedRiver Health and Wellness Center is to work with patients to improve their health, wellbeing, and quality of life. The RedRiver Health and Wellness Center team is passionate about helping ailing patients achieve optimal health, and we truly care about the success of each and every patient.
RedRiver chiropractic physicians are great advocates for prescribing physicians and endocrinologists. In fact, many of our patients see their prescribing physician(s) more frequently while under our care than they would otherwise. Our goal is not to replace our patients’ primary care physicians and specialists, but to complement their care by providing patients with nutrition, diet, lifestyle and educational support and strategies. This way, patients can learn to manage their symptoms more efficiently. We have developed rewarding relationships with many prescribing physicians across the country, and we strive to continue to building relationships with MDs, DOs, NPs, and NMDs. When health professionals can work together for the benefit of the patient’s health, it becomes a win/win situation for the one who matters most—the patient.