Weight Loss Resistance? There is hope for hormone challenged. If you have tried popular diets in the past and have failed, you can find relief in the fact that is is not your fault! Weight loss resistance is a term we hear frequently and refers to a metabolism that is not responding to regular diets and exercise. Unfortunately, it seems our metabolism slows down as we get older but why? The cause commonly points to 6 different core patterns that we need to identify in order to support and heal a malfunctioning metabolism.
Do you have one or more of the 6 causes for Weight loss resistance?
- Adrenal dysregulation (high or low cortisol)
- Hormone imbalance (hypothyroid, estrogen, testosterone, progesterone)
- Chronic inflammation (gut, joints, muscles, autoimmune)
- Food allergies (gluten, dairy, soy, etc)
- Insulin resistance (diabetes)
- Poor detoxification (genetic, poor diet, alcohol)
Functional lab testing can be used to find the source of weight loss resistance. These specialty labs are helpful to pinpoint the problem area so treatment can be more focused and efficient. For example, if you find you have low cortisol on an adrenal saliva test, you will need to exercise less and in a more moderate way, like yoga and walking, than someone who has normal cortisol levels.
Why can’t I lose weight?
- Adrenal dysregulation: If you have stress, either physical or emotional, your cortisol is sabotaging your weight loss efforts. When cortisol rises with stress, so does insulin levels and fat storage. Or, if your cortisol levels are chronically low, you will have inflammation, fatigue and crave sugar & carbs for energy.
- Hormone imbalances between the thyroid and sex hormones occur during periods of change like after pregnancy or menopause. Stress, low adrenal function, synthetic hormones and endocrine disrupters (plastics, pesticides, BPA) and poor nutrition can also cause imbalances that cause weight gain.
- Chronic inflammation in your body can be caused from digestive disorders, allergies, autoimmune disease, arthritis, asthma, eczema, acne, abdominal fat, headaches, depression and sinus disorders. Older and recent studies have concluded that chronic inflammation is a root cause of obesity, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and cancer.
- Food Allergies are often associated with inflammation because even when you have a food intolerance and not a true food allergy, your system gets triggered every time you have that food. Many people don’t know what they are reacting to because symptoms can occur up to 4 days after the offending food has been eaten. Dairy, wheat, soy and eggs are the most common allergies and often show up as skin disorders, migraines or chronic sinus problems.
- Insulin resistance happens when your cells fail to respond properly to high levels of circulating insulin caused by high blood sugar. It is often called the fat storage hormone because high insulin levels can cause your body to store unused glucose as fat. You will also feel tired because you are not getting glucose into the cell for energy- leading to more sugar cravings.
- Poor detoxification of hormones, environmental toxins can be genetic or can be from a total body burden over time. Poor Liver detoxification often responds well to specific nutrients that support both the phase 1 and phase 2 detoxification pathways.
The good news is that we can do a lot toward resetting our ‘broken’ metabolism, or weight loss resistance, by correcting these core issues. Specific ways to exercise, eat and decrease stress can go a long way in restoring your hormonal balance and healthy metabolism.
How do I fix my metabolism?
- The elimination diet helps to wind-down some of the inflammation in the body whether it is from food allergies, poor detoxification or an auto-immune condition. When you start re-introducing back foods after 21-28 days, you can identify the foods that cause you problems.
- Carb-cycling to help reset the cortisol, insulin and leptin cycle that is currently storing fat and retrain your metabolism to start burning fat again.
- Intermittent fasting (IF) is helpful for women over 40 only if your thyroid and adrenals are healthy. You can check your cortisol levels with a saliva test and serum thyroid panel. This is how IF works- you skip breakfast, eat lunch, no snacking until dinner and then fasting through breakfast until lunch. It is referred to as the 8:18 (eat 8 hours: fast 18 hours) which is the most simple way to IF.
- Lean protein and fiber help to stabilize insulin by keeping your blood sugar from the ups and downs refined carbohydrates can cause.
- Healthy fats (avocado, omega 3 fatty acids, coconut oil) help to reset your fat burning pathways.
- High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is more effective at burning fat than long periods of running or cardio.
- Detoxification to help your liver function with specific diet changes and targeted supplements.
- Nutrients that assist with thyroid health include Vitamin D3, selenium, zinc, copper and iodine. The adrenals thrive with Vitamin C, adaptogenic herbs and B vitamins.
If you, or someone you are close to, struggles with weight loss resistance, just know there is hope to reverse these patterns. If not addressed, they can progress to chronic illnesses requiring medications and can be also be disabling. It’s not always easy to make changes but often switching up some diet and lifestyle habits are just the tweak your system needs to make some big changes- naturally.