For 60 years our American Dieting Mindset has looked at weight gain and weight loss in terms of calorie consumption alone – how many calories you take in and how many calories you burn up.
Turns out it’s not that simple.
Certainly our lifestyle is the first place to explore and adjust. It doesn’t help to go looking for miracle cures, quick fixes or specialists if your lifestyle is making you sick – but – if weight release continues to be difficult after making consistent and reasonable lifestyle changes, then this list offers other variables to explore.
Here are some possible non-calorie reasons we might struggle with weight:
1. Sluggish metabolism – due to under-eating, under-moving, restrictive dieting, aging, etc.
2. Over-consumption of alcohol also lowers metabolism
3. Certain medications
4. Muscle to fat ratio – Muscle burns more fuel than fat tissue, by far
5. Poor digestion and nutrient absorption – recent research is showing that eating quickly and not experiencing enough pleasure from your eating experience can have an adverse effect
6. Not having a reasonable balance of macronutrients – fat, carbohydrates and protein.
7. Poor nutrition
8. Over-consumption of refined sugar and flour can affect blood sugar and insulin which affects the body’s ability to release weight.
Here’s what Dr. David Ludwig, endocrinologist and obesity researcher, has to say:
“Are we really to believe that, for someone on a diet, a cup of cola with 100 calories would be a better snack than an ounce of nuts containing almost 200 calories?
“New research has revealed the flaws in this thinking. Recent studies show that highly processed carbohydrates adversely affect metabolism and body weight in ways that can’t be explained by their calorie content alone. Conversely, nuts, olive oil, and dark chocolate – some of the most calorie-dense foods in existence – appear to prevent obesity, diabetes, and heart disease…
“All this time, we’ve been diligently following the diet rules, but the rulebook was wrong!”
9. Stress, depression, negativity and anxiety can affect cortisol levels which can in turn affect weight
10. Insufficient and poor quality sleep
11. Menopause and other hormone issues/changes
12. Health issues – hypothyroid, diabetes, Cushing syndrome, etc.
13. Certain food allergies
14. Getting too little physical activity
15. Genetics and family history
16. Insulin resistance
17. Leptin resistance
18. Chronic inflammation
As you can see there are many possible reasons to have mercy on yourself for not being able to lower your weight.
I’ve coached people who have reduced their calories to starvation levels and still haven’t seen weight release – very disheartening indeed. Once they understood that there are other factors at play beside sheer calories we could be about the good work of finding their unique and specific solutions. And so can you.
There is always a way through!