Most doctors and weight management professionals will tell you that losing weight in a body that is functioning normally is a simple matter of math. Calories out must be less than calories in. That’s it! Now, re-read that. Weight loss for “a body that is functioning normally” is simple. What about bodies that aren’t functioning normally?
If you’re having trouble losing weight but you can’t quite figure out why, take a look at this short list of possible reasons:
- You’re not eating enough: This may sound counterintuitive, but your body will only allow for so many lost calories before it starts to worry that you’re trying to starve it. Once it goes into starvation mode, it’s going to hold on to every calorie it can – putting the brakes on your weight loss.
- Prescription problems: It’s important to let your doctors know about every prescription you are taking and whether or not a prescription is having a side effect you don’t like. Some medications can react with one another and cause weight gain; some just have weight gain as a side effect. Reviewing your prescriptions with your practitioners may uncover something that can be adjusted to help you release those extra pounds.
- Your hormones are out of balance: The human body is surprisingly delicate in its balance. This is especially true when it comes to hormones. Too much or too little of a hormone can lead to your body holding on to weight and reacting oddly to certain foods. Hormone imbalances can show up as a part of a myriad of other problems such as depression, thyroid problems, issues with reproductive health, diabetes and even some food allergies.
- You have a sluggish stomach: We’re going to talk about bowel movements for a moment here. In a perfect world, you eat and then have a bowel movement an hour or two later. Once or twice a day is still considered to be healthy. If your body is moving things more slowly than that, there may be a problem. Simple things like dehydration (you should be drinking at least 64 oz of water per day – every day. More if you can manage it.), lack of fiber, or not having the correct bacteria in your gut can all cause bowels that are slow to digest and empty. In some cases it may be something more serious like gastroparesis, a condition that causes the muscles in the walls of your stomach to work poorly or sometimes not at all. Gastroparesis can allow food to stay in the stomach too long and begin to ferment – which can lead to a bacterial infection. Gastroparesis can also lead to bezoars. A bezoar is food that has collected in the stomach and formed a hardened mass. They can cause obstructions that keep food from moving into the intestines and are considered dangerous.
I would like to take a moment to focus on gastroparesis since this condition can advance quite quickly and may be dangerous. When caught early enough, gastroparesis can be managed with diet changes and medication. In extreme cases it may require a feeding tube or surgical treatment. It is especially important to keep an eye on gastroparesis in patients with diabetes. The sudden movement of food into the intestines when the stomach does finally contract can cause unexpected spikes in blood sugar levels, making both the diabetes and the gastroparesis more difficult to control.