One of the most rewarding parts of my job is meeting clients who claim they’ve “tried it all” to lose weight and showing them how quickly functional nutrition can work.
There are many potential reasons why you may not be successful losing weight. Some are easily fixed and some require the help of a qualified practitioner, but with the extremely confusing information out there, it’s no surprise that most people have trouble losing weight on their own.
I’ve often chuckled to myself when clients tell me they’ve been doing everything right- they’ve been eating complex carbohydrates AND drinking this new “fat-burning” coffee. Or they are eating low fat. Or they are exercising vigorously every day and drinking fruit smoothies.
There is a lot of misinformation out there about nutrition and health. And it’s not your fault that you have ended up confused and frustrated.
So here’s some reasons weight loss may not be working for you and what you can do about it!
Having an imbalance of nutrients, particularly macro-nutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrates) is one of the major reasons for issues losing weight.
Many people assume that calories are all that matter. We’ve always been taught that it’s about calories in and calories out.
I’m not the kind of diet peddler who will tell you that calories don’t matter. They absolutely do. They are the fundamental units of energy that we use. BUT. They aren’t all that matters.
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve seen that have consistently been consuming low-calorie diets that are made up of processed products like bars and snacks, shakes, and frozen dinners. These diets tend to be heavy on the carbohydrates, low in fats and protein and filled with preservatives. This is bad for weight loss.
To lose weight effectively, the makeup of the day, and in fact the makeup of each meal needs to be balanced between protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Everyone is different regarding how much of each they can handle and tolerate.
I’ve written extensively about how to balance your meals (find more on that here) and my top tips for weight loss (find them here)
Food is food. If you are eating a regular diet but trying some “keto” products to help with weight loss, all you are doing is consuming more food and sabotaging your efforts. This principle goes both ways.
If you are eating a ketogenic diet but also consuming the latest “superfruit” in high quantites, you’ll be sabotaging your efforts.
The bulletproof coffee trend is a perfect example of this. When people describe a product as “fat burning” it is just marketing. No food is fat burning in and of itself. Several foods can boost your metabolism, but only modestly and only in the context of a healthy diet.
The key to consistent weight loss is eating real food in reasonable quantities and sticking to your program, whatever that may be.
Stay away from gimmicks and fat-burning supplements as they rarely do more than a slight bit to improve weight loss and can be damaging or harmful (many fat burners contain far too much caffeine, for example). Instead, save your money and spend it on quality nutrition counsel or personal training where you will see much greater results.
In my practice, I often see clients struggle with weight loss (and especially inches loss) when they consume foods they are sensitive to on a regular basis. In my experience, one of the biggest offenders is dairy but it can also be grains, eggs, nuts, or even other foods.
When consumed, these foods cause systemic inflammation that both bloats the body and causes it to hold on to weight. Even where weight loss is still happening, I often see minimal inch loss because of this inflammation.
Many people develop food sensitivity due to stress on the body or digestive system and discerning food sensitivity is a complex process. Functional testing like stool testing and IGg sensitivity testing can help discern the health of your gut and what needs to be done to address your sensitivities. The key is that you are not “doomed” to have them for life in many cases and working with a professional can help you get to the bottom of them.
Alcohol, while perfectly fine in moderation, is not wise to consume during a weight loss diet. Time and time again I’ve seen weight loss sabotaged by what would be assumed to be innocuous drinks.
When you’re doing everything else right and weight still isn’t budging, ask yourself if you’ve been having drinks here and there. Even if it’s red wine and even if its only once a week, it CAN sabotage weight loss.
The body must process alcohol before it can get to the business of weight loss. Even one drink a week can slow it down but a glass of wine every night is enough in some people to completely prevent progress. Not only that, but drinking can cause water retention and puffiness that won’t make you feel great.
Keep in mind that if you’re on a ketogenic diet, the metabolism of alcohol actually creates ketones, so your sticks or breath test might measure falsely high even though your production of ketones is actually low.
Did you realize that the tea you’re drinking might have sugar in it? Or the dressing you’re using? Many items which seem like no big deal, or which you don’t feel you are eating or drinking much of, can have a profound effect on weight loss when they contain added sugars.
Many reduced or low fat products contain added sugars as well.
Additionally, many people consume far too many products with artificial sweeteners during a diet. These products may taste like the things you’re missing but they have many unfortunate side effects like gastrointestinal distress (which can contribute to inflammation and food sensitivity) as well as effecting the way you metabolise real sugar. Artificial sweeteners can increase your risk of type II diabetes and should be avoided whenever possible.
There is a profound human need for movement. From studies showing it increases life span and health, to happiness, bone density, and lowered risk of chronic disease, we know that getting up and getting moving is important for our well-being.
But moving daily also has a profound boosting effect on weight loss.
Yes, it is possible to lose weight without exercise and many people who are encumbered by their weight must start this way. However, regular exercise should be incorporated as soon as possible and especially when close to goal weight, exercise becomes a vital component to the weight loss journey.
Excessive cardio is not the answer, but combinations of weekly high intensity training, heavy weight lifting, and light cardio like walking and yoga are all powerful tools for weight loss.
Perhaps more important than anything, support is that vital missing component in many people’s weight loss journey.
Without a supportive friend, accountability partner, or nutritionist the studies show that your efforts are almost doomed to fail.
The good news is that even if your family is unsupportive, you can’t find a friend who’s willing to commit, and you feel all alone, you can use the resources of a good nutritionist and her staff to give you that accountability, support, and advice you need to stay motivated.
My weight loss program combines several weekly check ins with powerful advice and support from a team of functional health coaches that make losing weight doable and exciting. If you’d like more information, contact me here.