There are so many reasons the extra kilos refuse to budge, and honestly - it's not all your fault!
Here are the 5 main reasons I see in my clinic affecting weight loss:
1. Fishy Fad Diets And I don't mean diets containing Fish! Ok - get ready for a bit of a rant here, because fad diets make me SO mad! Any time I'm asked what I think about the latest fad diet, I can't help but roll my eyes. There's a reason why they're called 'fads', and that's because their results simply don't last. Paleo, Keto, Atkins, Low-calorie shakes - these are all examples of diets that have cut whole food groups and macronutrients from the diet in order to achieve weight loss success. I promise you - any time you cut whole food groups or an entire macronutrient (or drastically reduce it's intake) you will see some pretty fast weight loss. At first. But it's not sustainable, and it's not healthy - you are starving your body of nutrients that it needs to keep organs functioning optimally. Note that the Keto diet, which is hitting it's peak of popularity at the moment, was actually created as a therapeutic diet for epileptics. By starving the brain of its usual food source (glucose), the body is forced to burn fat to create energy for the brain (which produces ketones), changing brain chemistry. Elevated blood ketones and ketonuria are very real and very serious side effects when not managed correctly, and the diet itself is not even considered a first line treatment for epileptics. But I digress.....
2. Scarcity Consciousness
You're approaching weight loss from a mindset of 'deprivation' rather than 'nourishment'. When you're constantly referring to food as 'good' or 'bad', only allowing yourself tiny amounts of food, thinking 'I want that, but I can't have it', or trying to force yourself to like eating something you don't enjoy, you are only ever going to set yourself up for failure.
It's time to change your mindset - instead of thinking about healthy food in this way, think about all the beautiful, nourishing foods you can eat in abundance. How much more positive does that feel, just thinking about these foods differently in your mind?
And honestly, eating well can include a LOT of food. A LOT. If each meal you focus on including foods that provide you with bucket loads of nutrients, that fill you up, and that you actually enjoy, dieting to lose weight actually just becomes your way of eating. A lifestyle, and something you can sustain forever.
I personally am also all about balance - enjoying a square of dark chocolate here and there, a piece of cake to celebrate a special occasion, an ice-cream every few weeks during summer. Eat wholesome, nutritious food most of the time, and enjoy your treats occasionally so you never have to feel like you're missing out on the things you enjoy.
3. The Lies Behind the Labels
Now this one may seem like a no-brainer, as most of us will know what an unhealthy diet looks like - but what about those times you ate sooooo healthy, but the weight just didn't budge?
Were you misled by marketing / packaging / taglines into thinking something was healthier than it was?
Don't feel silly - feel angry!! Because this is something I see over and over and it really makes me so mad that food companies can get away with that they do.
One thing I really like to work with clients on over time is learning to read nutrient panels and ingredients lists. This can be a skill, but it's worth learning as this will tell you what is REALLY in the food you are eating.
And don't be misled or distracted by packaging or signage that screams 'Sugar free', 'No artificial colours or flavours', 'Low-fat', 'No-fat', 'Low-carb' etc. It's all smoke and mirrors! If packaging or signage is VERY LOUDLY telling you what is NOT in a product - be very wary of what is!
Also, don't be fooled by something being advertised as vegan or raw or paleo - this does not automatically make what you are eating healthy, or something you should be enjoying every day. Treats are treats, regardless of whether it's sweetened with 80 raw medjool dates or the most refined sugar cane product on the planet - so by all means enjoy them in moderation, just not every day ;)
4. You've Moved Beyond 'Stressed Out' to 'Running On Empty!'
You may have heard of the hormone Cortisol in relation to stress, but did you know this hormone plays a major role in causing your body to retain weight?
During times of acute stress, our bodies produce cortisol (which makes cells resistant to the action of insulin, retaining blood sugar levels, and also signals the production of further glucose by the liver) and adrenalin (which also increases production of glucose in the liver, and gets the blood pumping - to get that extra sugar and oxygen to the muscles). This is our fight or flight response and allows us to quickly escape the situation.
When we are under long-term stress, our body continues to secrete cortisol. As sugar is constantly being released into the bloodstream, the pancreas continues to secrete insulin, which signals to the cells to take the sugar back up and remove it from the bloodstream. It's a cycle that continues, and can result in insulin resistance (ie. the cells no longer 'respond' to the insulin). The higher the amount insulin circulating in the blood, the harder it is to burn fat, and you will also notice a change in weight distribution, with fat being deposited predominantly around the abdomen.
5. Hormonal Sabotage
We've just talked about the impact of cortisol & insulin on blood sugar and weight. But what about the rest of the endocrine system? Hypothyroidism, leptin imbalance, oestrogen dominance, too little testosterone (yes, women need testosterone too), can all lead to an inability to shed stubborn fat.
And no amount of exercise, or eating a 'healthy' diet is enough to rectify the problem. Work needs to be done to rectify the hormone imbalances through lifestyle changes and specific dietary and supplementation programs designed to assist in the creation, regulation, and clearance of hormones BEFORE healthy eating and exercise will shift any weight.
So, weight loss really isn't as simple as the 'calories in, calories out' equation we were told was the key in the past. There is a lot more at play than may be immediately apparent.
If you feel your weight loss efforts may be being hampered by any of the above, then get in touch so we can work together to get to the bottom of the issue and rectify it!