Have you been wanting to lose weight for a while? Are you carrying extra kilos since the COVID lockdowns ended or have had a baby and just haven’t shifted the weight yet but are keen to?
It’s not uncommon to see clients that are ready to lose weight, reduce their calories in, increase their exercise for increased calories out and don’t lose any weight. It is SO frustrating to not see the results you are working so hard for. Especially when you have been committed and consistent for weeks or even months in a row.
It can feel like pushing a boulder up a hill. All that effort for very little reward. But before you give up hope of ever losing that weight and accepting this as your new normal, know that there are a number of biochemical and hormonal imbalances that could be the obstacles.
We frequently find via thorough testing that quite often the deck has been stacked against our clients from the start.
Why no weight loss?
There can be a number of reasons for no significant weight loss including low thyroid function, excessive stress hormone and insulin production and estrogen fluctuations are just to name a few. When we take a look under the hood by using blood testing and check for all the possible causes then we can target our treatment to get you back in balance.
The thyroid connection
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that is located at the front of the neck and is often known as the “master gland” of the body since they have an important impact on your physical and mental health. When it becomes underactive (called hypothyroidism), it causes a decline in metabolism, among other things. When thyroid hormone levels are low, you won’t be able to lose weight that you’ve already accumulated and you may gain weight that isn’t expected.
Chronic stress as a culprit
Another hormone imbalance that can block weight loss is an increase in stress hormone and a subsequent rise in insulin. Cortisol, which is produced in the adrenal glands under stressful circumstances, aids you in navigating your way through the fight-or-flight reaction that your body activates. It aids in the availability of glucose to the body to be used as an energy source, allowing you to survive stressful circumstances. In a nutshell, it frees up energy for the body to use in order to flee from danger.
Insulin, on the other hand, is a hormone that promotes storage of unneeded sugar as glycogen and fat for future use. This technique works well if your body only ever feels stress in brief spurts and not very often. However, that is not the case for most women in reality.
Chances are you’re currently living a hectic and stressful existence and producing more cortisol than is healthy, on average. Chronic stress imbalances the way these hormones function. Stress at work, family difficulties, financial problems, issues with the neighbours, these are all examples of stressors.
The body perceiving stress triggers a release of glucose but what we don’t do is vigorously physically exert ourselves (ie, run away from the lion – or mother in law – at high speed) to burn through that glucose that’s now floating around in our bloodstream.
The end result is high blood sugars that must be stored as glycogen or fat for another time. This is the fundamental mechanism by which constant stress can cause insulin resistance and weight gain.
When estrogen levels change
Changes in estrogen levels might also cause weight gain. When estrogen and estradiol begin to drop in perimenopause, you may notice weight gain. One of its responsibilities is to assist us in maintaining a healthy weight. When we stop making it, we notice a significant amount of weight gain that tends to accumulate around the waistline (think of a tire encircling your waist!), hips, and thighs. Very nice.
Another function of estrogen is to be produced in fat tissue. The more fat cells you have, the more estrogen you create, and this can lead to an estrogen-dominant scenario. Estrogen dominance can cause you to become overweight. This results in a negative loop of weight gain and hormonal problems.
What you can do
If you’re having trouble moving weight despite doing everything correctly, or if you’ve decided to achieve a healthy weight, seeing your doctor for hormone testing is an excellent idea.
A general pathology lab may check your thyroid hormones, thyroid antibodies, and thyroid cofactors. You may also examine women’s hormone levels, blood cortisol levels, fasting blood sugar and insulin levels to assess how well your hormones are balanced at the moment. (Not eating the Tim Tams also helps, but you knew that.)
Book an appointment with one of the Radius health practitioners to begin the process of getting to the bottom of why you can’t shift your weight.