“Why am I still not losing any weight if I’m dieting and exercising?” is a question women sometimes ask.
We all know that eating less and exercising more are the keys to weight loss. If you believe you are doing everything right and still are not losing weight, then you may have a hidden health problem that’s ruining your efforts. The following four problems seem to be the most common.
1. Food Intolerances The most common food intolerances are dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, corn, and nuts. Ingesting these foods can lead to bloating, gas, diarrhea, constipation, mild asthma, eczema, headaches, muscle and joint pain, and fatigue. You can begin to figure out whether this is your problem through an elimination diet. Start by removing gluten and dairy from your diet for two weeks. If you still don’t notice a difference with your weight, also eliminate eggs, corn, soy, nuts, food coloring, and preservatives. Then slowly reintroduce the possible food culprits, one at a time, noticing any negative reactions. If you experience a severe reaction, you know to remove that food from your diet permanently.
2. Medications Certain drugs, especially antidepressants and steroids, can contribute to weight gain. Birth control pills may cause a temporary increase in water retention, which can affect your weight. Some individuals notice weight gain within a few weeks of starting a new medication, or it sometimes it takes several months before you see any effects. You can ask your doctor to prescribe an alternative treatment plan. Switching to a lower dose of hormones with birth control pills might also help.
3. Thyroid Problems Hypothyroidism, or a low-functioning thyroid, can disrupt your metabolism by making it harder for you to lose weight. Symptoms include fatigue, hair loss, dry skin, joint pain and muscle weakness, heavy periods, increased sensitivity to cold, and depression. If you are experiencing the preceding symptoms, then you need to consult your physician. If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, your doctor will usually start by prescribing a low-dose thyroid hormone like Synthroid.
4. Hormone Imbalances Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which a woman’s ovaries produce an excess of male hormones. PCOS is associated with insulin resistance and can lead to excess fat storage around the waist and Type 2 diabetes. If you have irregular periods, excess facial and body hair, acne, some male pattern balding, along with unexplained weight gain, you should consult a physician. If you do have insulin resistance, you will need to cut out refined carbohydrates and added sugar from your diet.
Nutritionist Natalie is a registered dietician and active member of the American Dietetic Association. She has worked for over ten years in the health club industry and now has her own nutritionist practice.