Losing weight can do wonders for your health, but it requires hard work and commitment. Sometimes, it seems like no matter what you do, the scale won’t budge an ounce. It’s a frustrating problem, especially if you’ve done all thing things that should lead to weight loss: tracking your calories, paying attention to your macros (carbs, proteins, and fats), and exercising regularly. You aren’t imagining the stagnation, and there are several reasons why your body may refuse to let go of fat.
- Health conditions. Several health conditions can slow weight loss to a crawl. Hypothyroidism can slow down your metabolism. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) increases insulin resistance in women and increases hormones that cause fat buildup around the stomach. Women are also prone to lipedema, a condition that causes stubborn fat to cling to the hips and thighs. Metabolic syndrome can affect men and women alike. It’s characterized by increased blood sugar, abnormal cholesterol or triglycerides levels, high blood pressure, and fat accumulation around the waist.
- Certain medications. Some health conditions don’t cause weight gain per se, but the treatment for those conditions might. Any illness or disease that requires corticosteroids can lead to weight gain. Certain anti-depressants and anxiety medications have a strong correlation with weight gain as well. Diabetes medications and certain antihistamines can also contribute to weight gain. These medications increase appetite and hunger.
- A history of yo-yo dieting. People who lose and regain weight often, better known as yo-yo dieting, may struggle harder to lose weight with each subsequent attempt. The body changes how it stores fat after prolonged calorie deprivation. Many crash diets aren’t sustainable, as they call for too few calories. These diets promote rapid weight loss at first, but the body adjusts to the insufficient nutrition by slowing the metabolism. Once the individual resumes eating a normal diet, their body holds onto the fat in the event of another calorie decrease in the future.
- Age. Losing weight becomes much more challenging with age, particularly for women. Even women who’ve never had problems maintaining their weight may notice the scale creeping upward despite no changes to their diet and exercise routine. Menopause also causes significant hormone fluctuations that lead to weight gain, which is harder to lose than typical weight gain.
- Genetics. Your genetic makeup can predispose you to have a slower metabolism and a penchant for gaining hard-to-lose weight. Your genes can cause hormonal imbalance as well, leading to many of the health conditions mentioned above.
- Unbalanced diet. Tracking your calories is a significant part of weight loss, but the kinds of calories you consume matter as well. For instance, you can put yourself into a slight calorie deficit to lose weight over time. However, if you’re consuming mostly unhealthy foods, you aren’t getting the nutrients you need. Macronutrients also play a role in weight loss. The body burns more calories to digest proteins compared to carbs and fats. Proteins and carbs pack less of a calorie punch at 4 calories per gram compared to 9 calories per fat gram.
A variety of factors influence your ability to lose weight. While you can control lifestyle factors like diet and exercise, it’s much harder to work against genetics, medications, and medical conditions. Schedule an appointment to learn how bariatric surgery can help you reach your weight loss goals.