The idea behind losing weight is simple.
All you have to do is burn more calories than you consume, drink more water, and exercise for 30 minutes a day. Sounds easy, right? But you know it’s not so straightforward.
According to data by Marketdata Enterprises, a market research firm that specializes in tracking niche industries, Americans spend north of $60 billion annually to help lose pounds. That goes to everything from paying for gym memberships and joining weight-loss programs to drinking diet soda. (¹) The weight loss niche seems to be a profitable one for everyone except the consumer!
Have you ever tried losing weight, only to find that once you stopped dieting, you gained the weight back and more?
You’re not alone, and it could be because of something you can’t control. Your body’s set point is a reference point around which the body tries to keep your weight stable. Each individual may have a genetically determined set point for adult weight.
It has been shown that when some people gain weight, they experience an increase in metabolism (the rate at which calories are used), so that excess energy is wasted. Following this period of weight gain, it is relatively easy to revert to the previous set point weight.
However, trying to go below the set point has the opposite effect.
Metabolism can slow down as less food is eaten or exercise is increased. This leads to a slow-down in weight loss, a plateau, or even weight gain on few calories. This is your body’s attempt to keep your weight stable. (²)
These mechanisms have been used to explain why few people are able to maintain any weight loss following a calorie reduction diet. Those who do maintain a lower weight were probably above their set point when they started the diet. They lost weight down to their set point and were able to maintain it without constant restriction.
However, for those already at their set-point, but above their average weight, a reducing diet’s attempt to get them below their set-point results in slower metabolism and quick regain on a few calories as the body attempts to keep the physically normal, but culturally high weight. Your set point, unlike your brain, does not care about current fashion.” (²) Does this change your opinions about your struggles with weight? Let’s consider a few more reasons why you can’t lose weight.
Here are 8 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight:
- There is no way to measure your set point.
- The diet plan you’ve chosen is unrealistically difficult to follow and maintain. You have no idea how to transition from a diet plan to a healthier way of eating.
- You don’t have a support system to help you to stay on track.
- You have an underlying medical condition that prevents you from losing weight. For instance, people on prednisone medication are often very hungry, and this is difficult to overcome.
- You are a shift worker with elevated cortisol levels. “Our findings show that cortisol might play an important part in the development of obesity and increased cardiovascular risk for those working in shifts,” said Laura Manenschijn, M.D., of Erasmus MC in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and lead author of the study. (³)
- You have a job that does not allow you to eat at regular intervals.
- Your lifestyle does not allow time to cook or have access to fresh fruits and vegetables so you grab “fast food” instead. Students who are swamped with classes, homework, and maintaining a job come to mind.
- You won’t consider a change in your lifestyle eating habits because you haven’t been successful at losing weight in the past.
Just to be clear let me ask you this, “Do you know what cortisol is?” Here is a short explanation: Cortisol is a stress hormone. You want your cortisol levels to be low at night. In the morning, you want cortisol levels to rise and give you energy. Many shift workers work at night. Their cortisol levels stay high. “Cortisol cues our body to hold onto body fat, so it plays a huge role in weight gain.” (⁴) Has this knowledge given you another ‘AHA’ moment?
Have you gained [no pun intended] some insight as to what may be preventing you from losing weight?
How you lose weight is a personal decision. Fortunately, today’s consumers are better educated. The trend is moving away from fad diets and moving towards healthier lifestyles.
Wishing you the best!
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*Originally published on October 26, 2018
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