Nine Surprising Reasons you Might Not Be Losing Weight
We all know the old paradigm: Eat well and exercise and your body will lose weight. Simple, right? But, how many people ACTUALLY experience success that way? It can feel like an unsolvable riddle at times! If it was just as simple as less calories in, more calories out weight loss wouldn’t be a multi billion dollar industry. Don't despair, here are some of the lesser known causes for weight problems that your doctor may not yet be assisting you with.
1. Parasitic Infections.
While most westerners tend not to expect to contract parasites, it is a valid possibility, especially in contact with children, pets, animals, contaminated water, soil, storm-water, or vacationing.
Additionally, people tend to assume that parasites make you skinny, that is not always the case.
A few common things to look out for:
Inexplicable weight gain/loss, constipation, diarrhoea, gas, bloating or other symptoms of IBS, having travelled internationally, a history of food poisoning or travellers belly, trouble sleeping, skin irritations or rashes, grinding teeth in your sleep, aching muscles or joints, rectal itching, fatigue, depression, never feeling full.
2. Improper Sleep
An irregular sleep schedule or sleep deprivation not only kills your motivation to eat well and exercise, it disrupts your blood sugar, hormones, immune system, digestion and more, which leads to weight problems.
Do your best to research ways to get any children you might have sleeping well to minimise disturbance to your sleep. (Like of course, you’re doing your best, anyway, but, just useful to know it’s possibly impacting your weight and to prioritise it higher, wherever possible.) Aim to sleep and awake the same time each day, switch your phone to aeroplane mode and don’t charge it next to your bed. I cannot stress enough how important it is to practice good sleep hygiene is, such as sleeping on a good mattress and a proper low allergen pillow which supports spinal health like this one. Also opt for low light and no screen time before bed, and not eating for at least two hours before bed. The silver bullet for my sleep problems, personally was meditation! I used to have so much trouble sleeping and honestly it was hell. Meditation is great for fixing troubled sleep. Get started today. You might also like to see your health professional like your Acupuncturist or Kinesiologist about addressing sleep disturbances.
3. Unhealthy Microbiome.
The microbiome is the name given to the lining of your intestines which actually comprises of billions of tiny organisms like bacteria and yeast. The crazy thing is that we are more bacteria than human, and these little critters have an indelible impression on our Immunity, weight, digestion, food cravings, hormones, and mood. It’s been found that if you do a “fecal transplant” (which is what it sounds like, a poo enema) taking fecal matter from a skinny person into an overweight person, the overweight person will become skinnier ( for a period of time)
We can all support our microbiomes with a good diet, low is sugar, full of fibre, prebiotic foods, probiotic supplements and probiotic foods, such as fermented foods like yogurts and fermented veg, avoiding alcohol, sugar and some medications including antibiotics and the pill. Additionally some household cleaning and personal care products containing Triclosan are considered to be damaging to the microbiome. Read labels and opt for natural solutions.
See your Naturopath to recommend a dietary program to fix your microbiome,
Opt for natural solutions for household cleaning.
4. Emotional Trauma
One client came to see me because she was struggling to lose weight. We got to chatting and doing Kinesiology and it was revealed that the weight was there as a means to protect her from unwanted sexual advances, we did some muscle testing and she revealed to me a history of abuse and unfulfilling sexual relationships. We worked together intensely on her traumatic past to help her. One year later she has realised her weight goals and has found a fulfilling relationship. The crazy thing about our bodies is that they do what they think is going to protect you. Your bodies pharmacy is so sophisticated that it responds to your emotions. If maintaining weight keeps you safe for any reason, your body is going to hold on. One thing which programs our body in a way like nothing else does is emotional trauma. Our bodies hold a memory of the traumatic event and then try to do anything to prevent it from happening again.
For example: We can hold onto weight for negative attention (eg. because we felt invisible once) To Identify with an overweight parent (eg. because we felt rejected by them) to feel larger and more intimidating (because we felt very unsafe as a small person) to prevent people from getting close to us (eg. because we were rejected) and many other reasons.
Speak to your Therapist, Kinesiolgist or Health professional. I love how Kinesiology is handy for joining the dots and has a Holistic approach unlike many other therapies. (that means attention to the whole person, lifestyle, emotions, energy, beliefs, nutrition- all aspects of being, not just one.)
5. Famine/Lack or Scarcity.
Diets are often interpreted by our stone age bodies as a famine. When we aren’t getting enough calories in the body thinks:
“OH SHIT! There’s not enough food! We’re gonna die!
Hold onto every kilojoule you can!”
That’s why many weight loss attempts are productive at first, then your body becomes resistant. Other things which mimics a starvation are financial stress and nutrient deficiency. (think: any kind of scarcity.)
Gradual weight loss is the best solution, as well as managing your stress. Try saving a financial buffer, so you don't freak out about money. Visualise having plenty to eat, full cornucopias of healthy, vibrant food. (Your imagination sends emotional signals to your body that you have plenty, so it can afford to let go.) Do your best to eat plenty of fresh, healthy foods and fill up on veg, this lets your body feel that it has enough and that it is safe letting go. Organic foods are grown in more nutrient rich soils, so opt for them, Eat intuitively, too. Ask yourself: are you craving beetroot, banana or oily fish, for example? Do your best to honour that in balanced ways.
Like I mentioned, the body hears your emotions. When you are under fight or flight your body literally switches off your digestion because it thinks it needs 100% of your energy to run from a tiger. (or pay the mortgage, more likely)
Additionally, the stress hormone Cortisol causes fat to accumulate around the belly.
In another instance a client of mine kept coming for weight issues and it kept coming up that she was just under way too much pressure. She needed more social time, a lifestyle change and a better social support network around her to help her manage her big family and stressful job. It did take two years before she could action all of the changes but once she moved home, found her people and her life became much more light and happy, BOOM! Her body just took over and shed kilos.
Speak to your therapist or Kinesiolgist to manage stress, Find ways to optimise your lifestyle to make your life easier and more fulfilling. Find good social connections. Engage in stress busting exercises such as boxing or running (all that pent up adrenaline and cortisol need a release and exercise is a great solution!) Do not underestimate the impact your lifestyle has on your health. Treat weight management as a long game. The little stuff you do every day adds up to your health.
7. Toxic Load
Toxins can wreak havoc with your bodies healthy weight management by interfering with hormones, enzyme systems, digestion, organs etc. Plus, our fat is a great storage spot for all the toxins, pesticides, heavy metals and drugs which for one reason of another we weren’t able to detox when we ingested them. (stress and diet are factors in this) Our body thinks:
“Oh dear look at this toxic garbage, I can’t deal this this at the moment so I’ll wrap it up safely and pop it in my love handle flab. When I am living in a stress and
toxin-free environment I will dispose of this carefully.“
The problem is that most of us never enter the toxin and stress free environment to deal with what we buried!
Reduce your toxic load by cooking on Cast-Iron or Stainless-steel Cookware, eating organic, grass-fed produce, drinking filtered water, cutting out cleaning chemicals, decreasing your exposure to traffic and industrial waste, filtering and ionising the air in your home or office increasing your exposure to nature (nature has natural negative ions which prevent free-radical damage) engage in an annual detox and manage your stress with regular lifestyle enhancements such as Kinesiology balancing, yoga, exercise, etc. Use a dry body brush, detox teas, rebounders (trampolines- great for detoxing) infrared saunas and massage to get stuff moving (you can even use portable massage guns, like this one at home, they're amaaazing!)
8. You Don't Love Yourself.
Hear me out...
Whilst it’s healthy to be around a specific weight range which is unique to everybody, there is no excuse for descrimination, abuse or body shaming. You have to learn to brush off hate, whether coming from within or others. Negative self talk, hate and criticism just puts more stress on a system which is doing its best to care for you with the environment it’s been given. Cut your body some slack. It does so much for you each second without ever needing to be asked. Besides, aren’t we woke in 2019? C'mon! You do not need to be one cookie cutter ideal body shape to be lovable. I hear a lot of contrary opinions like, you can’t accept fat because it’s unhealthy or unattractive. It’s precisely the part that needs acceptance the most. Outrageously love your fat bits! People think when you accept something you give up or condone unhealthy behaviour. Not true. When you accept something, you finally learn the lesson from it. Once the lesson is integrated healing may begin. When you really love a body you treat it as precious, you treat it with respect, you care for it properly, you enjoy healthy activities that feel good and fresh, wholesome foods, you feel less starved and make healthier choices, not out of fear, out of love. You ditch self abuse and sabotage. So, screw the haters, love your body and watch yourself heal. What have you got to lose?
If you have an allergy you are likely to know it, as symptoms tend to be pronounced and fast onset, however intolerance's and sensitivities tend to be tough to ID at first. In basic terms an allergy is an immune system attacking the food, a Sensitivity is a Chemical response to the food and an Intolerance is a chemical response that happens after a certain threshold of exposure to the food., generally due to a lack of enzymes to break down the food effectively.
Are you bloated, gassy, experiencing digestive pain, diarrhoea, skin problems, constipation, sinus congestion, fatigue , headache, joint pain or puffy eyes? That tummy pooch might be abdominal distension, not flab.
You may even know you should avoid a certain food like wheat, mouldy cheese or wine, for example, but be enjoying them moderately. Loving reminder to cut it out or work on reintroducing it with a naturopath or allergist if you want to help your weight along.
Enjoying foods which you are not great at digesting causes inflammation in the body. This can lead to insulin resistance and lethargy which contribute to weight gain, also.
Recognising the source of your symptoms can be tricky, mostly a health professional will suggest allergy testing or an elimination diet (which omits most common allergens) then gradually reintroducing suspect foods while paying attention to symptoms and introducing certain strains of probiotics or other medications, or prescribing digestive enzymes.
Food allergies, intolerance's and sensitivities can be very serious and help should be sought from your doctor, Naturopath or other experienced health professional to help manage them.
BTW I am a holistic practitioner, not a medical doctor so please seek medical advice before engaging any weight loss program or implementing the above information.