I absolutely LOVE Women to Women resources. In alignment with Marcel and the foundation of Functional Medicine, there are reasons that in the pursuit of weightloss, it is not achieved.
Enjoy the posted article and starting checklist of possibly causes in your personal journey to a HEALTHY WEIGHT!
As a culture, we believe that if you simply stop eating so much and just get more exercise, you can always lose weight. Personal trainers, nutritionists, and even well-intentioned healthcare practitioners relay this message to women every day. Yet there are still women out there who can’t lose weight. Are they lying about what they eat and about how much they exercise? I don’t think so — because I was one of these women.
In my 20’s I joined Weight Watchers and drove myself crazy weighing and measuring every morsel of food I put in my body. I never missed a workout, never cheated with food, and every time I got on the scale, I’d find I only lost a mere half-pound or even gained. I know that Weight Watchers works well for some people, but it didn’t work for me. And now I know it was because I had something called weight-loss resistance.
I talk to women every day who spend hours at the gym, who starve themselves regularly, and just can’t figure out why they aren’t losing weight. Weight-loss resistance is extremely frustrating, and often isolating. If this sounds like you, the first thing I want to say is I believe that you are not a closet eater and that you are doing everything you can. The reality is, there may be a metabolic imbalance blocking you from weight loss, and once you resolve it, the weight will melt away, stay away, and allow you to maintain a healthy weight.
What is weight-loss resistance?
Weight-loss resistance arises when a woman develops or has a preexisting metabolic imbalance that makes losing weight and maintaining healthy weight extremely challenging, despite her best efforts to eat less and exercise more.
Here are the six core systemic imbalances that greatly contribute to weight-loss resistance in women:
- Hormonal imbalance (including thyroid dysfunction)
- Adrenal imbalance (chronic stress)
- Neurotransmitter imbalance
- Digestive imbalance
- Systemic inflammation
- Impaired detoxification
Six ways to address weight-loss resistance
We often see a combination of the above imbalances in stubborn weight-loss resistance, but as we begin to work with a woman, we see one that generally predominates. Here are six fundamental measures you can begin to apply today. We have found each of these beneficial to a woman’s efforts — no matter how entrenched her weight-loss resistance.
1) Understand your unique physiology. Work with a functional medicine practitioner or join a program like our Personal Program for Healthy Weight to identify any metabolic imbalances keeping you from weight loss. Once you find out what your imbalance is, you can tailor your nutritional plan and lifestyle changes to re-balance your system.
2) Get the best raw materials. I suggest eating three well-balanced meals and two snacks each day. Organic fruits and vegetables are always good choices, but also be sure each meal and snack includes some high-quality protein like legumes, nuts, fish, or lean organic meats. If you are often on the go, a snack shake made of whey protein and almond milk or water is also a great choice.
Along with regular meals and snacks, successful weight loss is facilitated by including certain vitamins, minerals, and cofactors in your diet. In particular, chromium, zinc, vitamin C, D3, and the B vitamins are essential for healthy metabolism. So be sure to include a high-quality multivitamin–mineral complex like the one we offer in our Personal Programs to support your weight-loss efforts.
3) Move your body. Even if you’ve felt discouraged by your fruitless workouts of the past, regular exercise is integral to a woman’s health — especially to shake off extra pounds and maintain that healthy weight. Overcoming weight-loss resistance and resetting your metabolism will generally require a little sweat — but for those short on time, bursting or interval training is a super-efficient option.
4) Address stress and emotional health. For some, rebalancing your body may be as easy as ending a troubling relationship! I had one patient whose weight-loss resistance was rooted in stress. Her husband was cheating on her and embezzling money from her. Dumping him helped her to lose 40 pounds without doing anything else! So take the time to explore what’s working and not working in your life, because these things truly do influence your make changes and sustain healthy habits.
5) Find time to restore and SLEEP. Quality sleep is something we all compromise when we’re overscheduled. But if you’re serious about losing weight, sleep has to become a top priority. Not only does a good night’s sleep allow our body time to restore itself, sleep plays an integral role in how hungry we feel. Studies show that getting too little sleep causes us to consume more calories. Eight hours of sleep between the hours of 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM is ideal when you want to overcome weight-loss resistance.
6) Gain the benefit of a supportive social network. Research shows that people who join together in their weight-loss efforts are more successful. Whether you find a partner to start your new weight-loss plan with, join a larger group, or simply take advantage of our Member Advocates and Wellness Coaches, gaining connection with others can really help you lose.
Could weight-gain be in your genes?
New research in genetics is helping us to understand that genes cause some to metabolize fat differently than others. This means that certain kinds of food and exercise may be better for some than others.
While some women may lose weight on a lower-fat diet, others may benefit from a more Mediterranean-style diet.2 While some women lose more weight with endurance-style exercise, others may do better with strength training. In other words, we’re all different!
I’m not sure why our culture is always trying to put us in a box, one where the same solutions work for every person. Mother Nature proves to us again and again that we are all unique. What works for you may not work for your girlfriend or your sister. Our differences in shape, size, color, genetics, and personality are all worthy of embrace and celebration. You deserve to find out what’s lying at the core of your weight-loss puzzle and we can help you get there.