Unfortunately, being overweight has a stigma associated with it. The opinionated and under-informed often think that overweight people are gluttonous, don’t have any discipline, or are just lazy.
The truth is that the issue is much more complicated than that. Most of us go through periods in our lives in which we overindulge, and some continue to do it seemingly without consequence. But for some, the weight just piles on over the years.
Many of these folks just can’t catch a break. They often do everything right and lose little weight. Perception is that all one has to do is buckle down and eat paleo and “burn it out” on the treadmill to lose weight. The truth is, the opposite of what leads to being overweight isn’t always what reverses it!
Certainly genetics play a role. So do a variety of other influences, including environmental toxin exposure that can occur even before birth. But the most common causes of weight-loss resistance can be overcome, if they are known. There are three main causes of weight-loss resistance, and each one leads to the other. They often coexist!
Insulin resistance, thyroid dysfunction, and adrenal imbalance act as road blocks to efficient loss of body fat and are the three primary causes of weight-loss resistance. These three do not develop overnight, and the aren’t reversed on any quick diet.
When most people hear that term, they think diabetes. They’re on the right track, as insulin resistance leads to type II diabetes. However, insulin resistance begins many years or even decades before blood sugar increases or progression to diabetes occurs.
It is essentially when the cells and tissues (mainly the liver, muscle, and fat cells) are no longer responsive to insulin’s effects of escorting glucose (blood sugar) into the cells for the hopeful conversion to energy. The pancreas compensates by increasing its output of insulin, which is a fat storage hormone. The elevated insulin makes the body not want to get rid of that fat!
I’ve written previous articles about thyroid hormone and its importance in numerous aspects of health. Just a ten percent drop in thyroid function can affect health in significant ways. Thyroid isn’t the only hormone that affects metabolism, but it’s the most important! The average person has a metabolic rate of 2,400 calories per day. Assuming a decrease in ten percent of thyroid function leads to a ten percent drop in metabolic rate, that’s 240 calories less burned per day! A rough estimate is that 3,000 calories equal one pound of fat. So if one is down 240 calories per day, they will certainly be prone to weight gain and resistant to weight loss!
The adrenal glands produce the hormone cortisol that’s involved with the “flight or flight” response. Cortisol can be triggered inappropriately with various forms of physical or emotional stress. The inappropriate cortisol levels shift our bodies toward fat storage and muscle loss. That combination isn’t good for any situation, but it’s certainly not good for those trying to lose weight!
If there is a physiologic cause—for example, neurotransmitter imbalance, chronic inflammation, or stealth infections such as Lyme disease—this needs to be addressed. If there are environmental contributors to stress, helping your body more appropriately respond to stress is key. Adaptogens are nutraceuticals that help control inappropriate stress responses. Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing are also very effective supportive techniques to helping combat physiologic stress.
So there’s a quick hitter for those struggling to lose weight. As always, an investigation is required to uncover these often hidden inhibitors of health. These fundamental metabolic imbalances must be corrected for appropriate fat loss. They also explain why the calorie in versus calorie out theory has been debunked, in this case because of hormonal influences that lead to a metabolism that’s a moving target!