Remember when cutting calories was the simple solution to weight loss?  Turns out, the “calories in and calories out” theory isn’t very effective and is increasingly ineffective as we age.  In fact, our bodies stubbornly hold onto fat for a host of reasons that defy calorie counting. Complex imbalances that develop over time can make weight-loss frustrating and difficult.  However, identifying and fixing those imbalances can put the body into a state of health, signaling the body that it is safe to shed those extra pounds.

In our practice, we’ve uncovered these top five reasons diets stop working

#5 Inflammation Issues

Inflammation may be a trendy term, but it can’t be overlooked when it comes to metabolism and weight loss.  If the immune system is upregulated and pumping out inflammatory chemicals in the body, those chemicals can damage receptors on your cells’ surfaces.   When receptors are damaged your cells can’t receive messages that promotes proper metabolism! This can lead to insulin and other hormone resistance which means your body can’t burn sugar or fat properly and instead it’s forced to store energy as fat around the midsection.

#4 Blood Sugar Imbalance

Countless people unknowingly struggle to balance blood sugar but are not technically diabetic.  When blood sugar spikes, the body often shuttles the extra blood sugar into triglycerides and stores them in fat cells around the midsection.  Stabilizing blood sugar with the right nutritional strategies can level blood sugar and promote fat burning around the belly.

If you have insulin resistance from damaged cell receptors, this problem gets worse!  Sugar is stuck in your bloodstream leading to hyperglycemia and increased triglyceride production, while your cells are starving because they can’t use glucose for fuel.  This means you’re stuck with excess weight and low-energy. It’s a vicious cycle.

# 3 Thyroid Trouble

Thyroid hormone is a key player in metabolism.  If your thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid or if your body is not able to convert thyroid hormones into their active form, your metabolism is taking a hit.  Conventional doctors typically only test one or two thyroid markers, but that totally overlooks the complete thyroid process. Not only do thyroid hormones have to be converted into an active form to be effective, but your cells have to be able to receive the thyroid hormone molecules. Just like insulin resistance, chronic inflammation can lead to thyroid resistance as well.  Proper testing can help identify if your thyroid metabolism is amiss and a well-trained functional medicine practitioner can help you get back on track.

#2 Stress Signals

It’s easy to brush stress off as normal, but chronic stress leads to a host of problems.  Not surprisingly, stress affects inflammation. Chronic stress causes problems with cortisol metabolism and elevated cortisol causes the body to produce more of those pesky inflammatory molecules.  You already learned how that affects weight management, but compounding this issue is that cortisol spikes trigger the liver to release stored glucose (sugar) which can cause blood sugar spikes.  Now, you’re probably beginning to see how all of these imbalances are interconnected!

#1. Regulating Rest

Poor sleep quality or undiagnosed sleep conditions like apnea are well known to cause a host of metabolic problems. To start, disrupted sleep leads to increased inflammation (you see where this is going).  In addition, sleep interruptions can lead to cortisol spikes in the middle of the night and that problem means blood sugar spikes as well.  Often, I see people that are well regulated with their blood sugar throughout the day, but sleep problems are causing high blood sugar and elevated cortisol at night.  Poor sleep also leads to low energy which makes it easy to reach for sweets and processed carbs throughout the day!

What To Do if This is You

This can feel really overwhelming!  If your body is holding onto stubborn weight and your normal diet tricks aren’t working, it’s time to get a thorough functional exam to identify imbalances that are working against you!  Identifying factors such as the five common problems I covered in this article can mean the difference between feeling your best or staying on a cycle or weight gain and poor energy! By uncovering the root of the problem and taking the right strategic steps now, you can be on your way to healthy body weight in no time.