One of the most common questions I get asked probably every single day is, “How come I’m not losing weight?” and if you’re one of those people I want you to know that you’re not alone and it’s not your fault. They say two out of three people in this in this country now are overweight. Of those people, three out of four of them are either on a diet or thinking about a diet. Of the ones who successfully lose weight, unfortunately, 98% of them usually gain that weight back. Here’s the reason it’s not your fault it’s because you haven’t found the underlying issues for the weight loss.
I’m Dr. Loy Anderson at Thriven Functional Medicine. We help a lot of people with weight problems although – we’re not specifically a weight loss clinic – when we get to the root cause, we actually are able to help people get it off and keep it off which is the goal, right? Losing it isn’t actually the hard part, it’s keeping it off. Today I want to give you some tips on why you’ve not been losing weight and what you can do about it so that you can be healthier and feel better and have more confidence and maybe even put on a swimming suit and go to the park with your grandkids and play. That’s the goal of being able to lose weight. It’s not about counting calories it’s not about restricting what you’re dieting. It’s not your fault and it’s definitely not about dieting and exercising. In fact, one of my favorite sayings is, “you can’t out-exercise a bad
diet.” We’re going to talk about some math here for a second, if you eat an average single piece of pizza it’s about 250 calories. You’d have to walk fairly briskly for an hour to burn 250 calories so it’s just physically not possible to spend enough time exercising. However, the bigger reason is what the food is doing to us and we’re going to dive into that. I want to give you several tips about why you’re not losing weight and what you can do about it.
Starting with the number 1 Tip I believe is Sleep.
We are chronically sleep-deprived. We are chronically waking up tired and this has a major and profound effect on our metabolism and our fat storage hormones. When we’re tired we don’t make good decisions or choices. Our willpower and our motivation go down, our body heals and restores rests and repairs when we’re sleeping so when we’re not getting good quality or good quantity of sleep, and if we’re not sleeping at the right time. I’ve had people tell me, “Well, it doesn’t matter when I sleep or if you’re working nights or shifts I sleep during the day.” That actually does make a difference in your metabolism, on your inflammation systems, on your immune system. So when we sleep matters how much and the quality of how we’re sleeping matters. A lot of people are taking sleep medications to try to get better sleep, the problem with those is that it doesn’t actually improve the quality of sleep it gives you the illusion that you’re sleeping more but you’re not actually improving the quality. So some of those other benefits on your hormone regulation and your metabolism don’t happen. I always encourage people and the number one question I ask is, “If they’re not losing weight, how’s your sleep?” And let’s work on that because there are so many simple things we can do to improve sleep.
Tip number 2 is Hormones.
‘Hormones’ is a huge topic but I’m going to hit three or four here that I think are the most important to pay attention to when it comes to your weight. Number one is actually insulin. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar, but also fat storage. It’s a key fat storage hormone and insulin is regulated by our eating not just what we eat but when how often and how much, too. We have all kinds of tips to help people regulate their insulin there are lots of resources out there, but that’s a really big key for helping you start to lose weight. The next one that I think is super important is cortisol. Most people know cortisol is their stress regulating hormone. It’s involved in the stress response. Cortisol is not bad, we need it. The problem is when it’s too high for too long or high at the wrong time, like at night when we’re trying to sleep so that’s tied into the sleep one. The good news is even if you’re under a lot of stress – which almost everyone is these days – there’s a lot that you can do to help regulate your cortisol. That’s a key one, estrogen and progesterone imbalances are really big. Mostly for women but maybe even for men too so a lot of women have too much estrogen relative to their progesterone now this could be a whole other topic but estrogen is a fat-storage hormone so we want to get that balance back. That’s what functional medicine is all about, is getting balance back and there are lots of ways you can do that. Sometimes it’s just adding some bioidentical progesterone to get things balanced or taking other steps to help your estrogen metabolism that’s a really, really big one. I’m just going to mention thyroid because of course, most people know thyroid has to do with your weight and your metabolism. The problem is most people aren’t testing the right tests to really tell if your thyroid’s working or not. You’ve got to find out by doing the right test if it’s actually working.
Tip number 3 is Exercise.
Is exercise important. Absolutely, but not to burn calories. By doing cardio as I already told you, with that pizza example, it’s just simply not possible to spend enough time to burn up what we’re eating. I want you to think about building muscle. That’s the key with exercise because when you build muscle you change what we call your basal metabolic rate – that’s how much you’re burning, how many calories you’re burning when you’re just sitting at rest or even sleeping, 24/7. If you can burn more calories all the time, that’s way more efficient than spending an hour on a treadmill. The way to build muscle is doing resistance training or weight training. That’s the key so it’s not that cardio is bad, it’s great for stress management and cortisol regulation, but it doesn’t help you build muscle. In fact, if you’re having a hard time building muscle you’re probably missing the next step the next tip…
Tip number 4 is Rest and Recovery.
Adequate Rest and Recovery see when we exercise, we stress the muscles but we actually build the muscle and it grows in the healing and the resting and repairing phase. Now, this is not the same as sleep, it’s taking a day off from the gym, it’s doing a restorative activity, it’s taking the time to be just restful. That’s really, really key and this, too helps you regulate stress and cortisol and even insulin. They’re all tied together which is really, really cool. When you exercise you also raise testosterone and DHEA, which are both fat-burning hormones – so that’s another benefit of helping build muscle – and getting adequate rest and recovery.
Tip number 5 is inflammation.
All right the last one we’re going to cover today is inflammation.
Inflammation is a really, really big driver of many chronic diseases including obesity. In fact, fat itself creates more inflammation, and then you’re stuck in this vicious, terrible cycle of fat storage and more inflammation. There are all kinds of causes of inflammation and the key is finding the causes for you – this is where we’re going to finally talk about diet – now here we’ve spent six minutes seven minutes talking about weight loss, I haven’t even talked about diet. Here’s where we’re going to talk about diet, but it’s not about the calories, it’s about which foods are you eating that might be causing inflammation. Our food, our diet is the biggest source of inflammation. There are a lot of others too, and I help people find those, but if you can start to think about eating whole foods, avoiding the processed food, avoiding some of the foods that trigger inflammation, you’re going to start lowering your inflammatory markers. You’re going to be able to start more easily losing weight, especially if you’re doing all the other tips that we just talked about today.
Guys, I hope that was super helpful for you if I’ve raised more questions than I’ve answered reach out to us to find out more or follow us on Facebook. We do a lot of posts and a lot of education about all these things all the time, so we’re here for you. You’re not alone and you are worth saving, bye.