This article summarizes possible reasons you may have obstacles to weight loss and fat reduction long-term.
If you are eating healthy, exercising and and doing all the right things, but can't seem to lose weight or body fat--- and keep it off, you might have a medical condition that needs attention. I will briefly discuss some of these problems:
Chronic stress: if you are nervous, anxious or grieving, the body can produce toxic chemical substances, such as cortisol, that encourages fat storage, especially around the waist, which increases your risk of major health problems. High levels of cortisol also weaken the immune system, which may increase your risk of being sick.
Underactive Thyroid: In this case, your body may not be producing enough thyroid hormone to help burn stored fat. As such, your metabolism is slow and your body stores more fat than it burns, especially if you are sedentary.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Over five million women in America suffer from this disease, which is often difficult to diagnose. This disease is due to a hormone imbalance. You may have PCOS if you have irregular menstrual bleeding, acne, excessive facial hair, thinning hair on the head, difficulty getting pregnant or if you gain weight despite doing all the right things. Women with PCOS have an increased risk of developing cancer of lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer).
Syndrome X: It is also known as metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance. It is believed that one in three Americans have this problem and may not even be aware of it. Unfortunately, I see many patients in my practice with this problem. It may cause you to crave carbohydrates and sugars and make you eat even when you are not hungry. Most people with syndrome X are usually "carbohydrate sensitive", but that doesn't mean that you need to be on a low carb diet.
What you need are low glycemic carbohydrates like whole grains, barley, buckwheat, brown rice, and multigrain breads. The highly refined foods and carbohydrates can cause blood sugar and insulin spike that trigger craving, over-eating, anxiety, and most important damaging free radicals, oxidative stress, and more insulin resistance.
People with syndrome X are prone to develop diabetes, high cholesterol, high tryglycerides, heart disease and high blood pressure. The good news is that syndrome X is preventable and so are the diseases that are associated with it if you eat a proper diet, keep physically active and maintain a healthier lifestyle.
Depression: This is a major problem and causes emotional eating, which can be an obstacle to losing weight and keeping it off. Furthermore, some medications that are used to treat depression also contribute to weight gain.
Moderate to Excessive Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol plays a major role in fat storage and weight gain. Alcohol, including wine and beer, may be good for the heart, but it is not good for weight loss and there are recent studies to suggest that it can damage brain cells and cause memory loss.
Alcohol (beer, wine, etc.) is a highly refined carbohydrate, similar to sugars, candies and white flour, that may raise blood sugar and insulin levels, leading to increased inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation, which is the body's normal response to injury and foreign bodies, is now believed to be the root of most chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, premature aging and even obesity itself.
Medications: Many common drugs that most of us consider safe are among those with negative side effects that may cause weight gain or fat storage. These include some medications used to treat depression, anxiety, blood pressure, seizures and diabetes. Others are steroids such as prednisone and cortisol, birth control pills, excessive food sweeteners such as fructose, high fructose corn syrup that is used in many processed foods, such as sodas, juices and ice cream.
If you can't lose weight despite honest and consistent effort at eating a proper diet and keeping active, you should seek professional help. It is possible that you may have any one of these medical conditions.
Talk to your physicain to adjust your medication or prescribe a different one to get you back on the right track towards your goal weight and health.
By: Billy C. Johnson, M.D., PhD.
Author of New Prescription for Childhood Obesity