Vital Signs

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5 Reasons You Don’t Lose Weight

Among the common complaints that patients present with is the inability to shed the pounds despite dieting and exercising. It is important to work with registered dietitians and coaches with training and experience in weight management.

Here are some common reasons why you may not be losing the weight:

1) You are eating the wrong stuff.

  • You think you are eating the right foods when you are most definitely not. Many dieters buy “healthy" snacks and juices but don’t read the labels to realise they are probably taking in more calories from sugar than before. Many “natural” juices on the market may contain up to 8 teaspoons of sugar. Drinking juices everyday means an additional 240 teaspoons per month of sugar that will convert mostly into fat if not properly metabolised by exercise.

Read more about the hidden sugars in our diet.

  • You are still eating a lot of rice and bread which means more sugar needs to be metabolised instead of the existing fat stored in the cells.

  • You are eating too many high-starch vegetables such as potatoes, corn and yam instead of low-starch vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale, cabbage and cucumber.

  • You are drinking alcohol that may be high in sugar.

  • You are not eating enough whole foods such as beans, legumes like chickpeas, and nuts and seeds.

  • You are using refined vegetable oils such as canola and soybean oils instead of extra virgin olive oil and organic coconut or avocado oil.

2) You are not exercising properly.

  • While walking is very beneficial, cardio and strength training are required to burn the fat. Cardio may involve running or using a treadmill or stationary exercise bike. This form of exercise is particularly effective at burning belly and organ fat. Organ fat is very harmful and studies show that reducing organ fat can cause a reduction in risk of many diseases including cardiovascular disease. Strength or resistance training is very useful for maintaining muscle mass and can be done by lifting weights or using resistance bands.

  • It is noteworthy that gaining muscle mass while losing weight may not be reflected in your scale but rather your waist size. So relying only on your scale to tell you if you are losing weight isn't the most reliable way. The way your clothes fits and how you feel are very important.

3) You are not getting enough sleep.

  • Sleep has been studied extensively in relation to metabolism and obesity. Persons who do not sleep properly are more likely to develop issues with cortisol and insulin which both tend to prevent fat burning. Switching off those blue screen phones and devices and dimming the room lights at least one to two hours prior to bedtime can have a profound effect on sleep by ensuring your melatonin levels are normal.

4) You are eating at the wrong times.

  • It is now established that intermittent fasting or caloric restriction is actually just as effective as the foods we eat in weight loss and maintenance. The crazy idea that eating small frequent meals daily is now out the door. Caloric restriction during the day or night helps the body with autophagy or ‘self-eating’. Autophagy allows broken down cells to be cleared making way for more efficient cells that can regulate metabolism. If we eat continuously then autophagy is hindered.

  • Also eating frequently causes high insulin levels which prevents fat breakdown. A condition called insulin resistance can result after too many insulin spikes from overeating with high sugary foods. Insulin resistance is one of the underlying causes of many modern diseases including diabetes, obesity, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

  • Working the night shift can mess up your hormones and biological clock which can also mean eating unhealthy foods too late at night and snacking.

5) You may have a medical condition.

  • It is known that certain medical conditions increase your weight or make it difficult to lose weight. Known examples are Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome (usually caused by insulin resistance) and sleep apnea. Certain medications may also be causing your weight gain such as the contraceptive pill or steroids. Discuss those conditions with your doctor and make the necessary changes to your diet, fasting and exercise regime.

Other brief mentions for not losing weight are unrealistic expectations that you set or not drinking enough water throughout the day.

Mindful eating also helps which means eating without distractions and eating while calm to help the food digest.

I do hope these pointers help you on your journey to weight loss and maintenance.

Dr. Navi Muradali, DDS, MBBS is a medical doctor with a special focus on the oil and gas sector. He was a former City Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) and is the founder of Virtual Wellness.

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Health Disclaimer:

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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