For some people losing weight is easy. They just need to cut out sodas and sweets and go to the gym regularly. For people with a chronic health disorder, losing weight remains hard and gaining weight happens too easily despite doing everything right.
Weight gain and weight loss resistance are common symptoms among people with chronic health disorders. Contrary to popular belief, inability to lose weight or keep a healthy weight is a flaw in your metabolic, immune, or neurological health instead of a character flaw.
Fat shaming is rampant in today’s society, particularly against women. The truth is, some overweight and obese people have the healthiest diets and lifestyle practices you’ll encounter. They have to follow a strict diet or else they would quickly balloon out of control.
Instead of beating yourself up about not losing weight or gaining weight, consider if any of the following underlying causes may apply to you.
Here are the nine possible reasons why you can’t lose weight and none of which are due to being lazy or undisciplined.
1. You’ve been on a diet your whole life. The multi-billion-dollar industry along with the society of today’s of unrealistic body image standards have enforced low-calorie diet into a way of life. It can work well when you’re still young, but as you age your metabolism fatigues from constant famines.
Our bodies respond to famines by decreasing our metabolism and increasing fat storage hormones. As a result, a low-calorie diet can make you gain weight more than a normal calorie diet. This explains why diets have long-term success.
A TV reality show entitled, The Biggest Loser, further poignantly illustrated this phenomenon. Researchers found the majority of the participants, which were burning 800 fewer calories per day on the show, returned to their pre-show weight and had to under eat 400-800 calories a day to not gain weight.
2. Your hunger hormones are out of whack
Conversely, if you eat ample sugar and desserts and carbohydrates (slices of bread, pasta, white rice, etc.) regularly, you’ll most probably have leptin resistance and skewed hunger hormone function that causes constant food cravings and hunger. You can improve your leptin sensitivity so your hunger cues and fat burning returns to normal by minimizing or eliminating processed carbohydrates and exercising regularly.
3. Your thyroid isn’t working well
One of the most common causes of weight gain and weight loss resistance is hypothyroidism or low thyroid activity. An autoimmune disease that attacks and damages the thyroid gland called Hashimoto’s ranks as the most common cause. This is why many patients have a hard time losing weight even after they start taking thyroid medication. You should address the underlying causes of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism immediately to improve your health and lose weight.
4. You are chronically inflamed
Chronic inflammation disrupts hormone function, metabolism, and gut health which leads to promoting fat storage and prevent fat burning.
Many people can easily lose weight by following an anti-inflammatory diet and lifestyle. Nutrient-dense foods invalidate inflammatory triggers also manage pain, gut problems, autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, depression anxiety, and other health issues.
5. You’ve had a brain injury or have compromised brain function
Patients who have suffered head concussions and brain injuries are gaining a lot of weight and having troubles losing them. The reason for which is because brain injuries cause inflammation in the brain, which impacts brain function, and disrupts metabolic, hormone, and immune that leads to weight gain and restrain fat burning. Patients often struggle with fatigue, exercise intolerance, depression, and other symptoms that interfere with appropriate fat burning and storage.
6. You have mold illness
Mold illness has been identified as an underlying cause of many health disorders and symptoms, including weight gain and weight loss resistance. Almost a quarter of the US population is suffering from mold illness. Toxicity from mycotoxins, the byproducts of molds, can have a great impact on our metabolic, immune, and neurological health which leads to unexplained weight gain and weight loss resistance. This refers not just to the dreaded black mold but also the more commonly found strains of mold caused by leaks and water damage in buildings.
7. You were born with an obese gut microbiome
Research into the gut microbiome, our trillions of gut bacteria, impacts every aspect of our health, including whether we are more likely to be thin or heavy.
Results on both mice and humans have shown that obese subjects are immunized with the gut bacteria of thin subjects went on to quickly and easily lose weight.
Different factors affect your gut microbiome “signature” in a way that promotes obesity. These factors are: being delivered via C-section, being formula-fed versus breastfed, and frequent antibiotic use during your childhood.
8. You are a victim of childhood sexual abuse or sexual assault or have PTSD
After more than two decades of studying why most obese people regained the weight that they lost, an obesity researcher accidentally made a discovery. Most of his test subjects were sexually abused as children or sexually assaulted right before the time their weight gain began. Women use food addiction to cope with their PTSD.
Likewise, researchers have found a correlation between food addiction and PTSD in women.
9. You have a brain-based disorder that promotes food addiction and an eating disorder
For many people with weight issues, they run to food as their comfort. Food becomes the source of torturous addictive behaviors that can morph into eating disorders. Research shows that addictions and eating disorders are linked to brain-based disorders such as ADHD. Skewed neurological function leads to obsessive thought patterns that lay the foundation for addictive eating and eating disorders.
Look for the underlying cause of weight gain and weight loss resistance to develop self-compassion.
I hope this article helps you understand some of the factors that play into a chronic struggle with weight gain and weight loss resistance. Our society begs us to gorge on eat sugary foods and drinks through incessant advertising while a multi-billion-dollar diet industry and impossible pop culture body ideals value human worth based on thinness.
As a result, millions of people, the majority of them women, internalize society’s fat shaming and develop shame and self-loathing around food and their bodies when the real sickness is in the society and not the individual.
The body is a miraculous machine that operates in constant service to us. You can learn to live and eat in a way that honors good health and function regardless of your size. Ask my office how we can help you.