After starting a new diet or exercise program, the first thing that people do is head for the scale with high hopes of a decrease in body weight. Some people’s efforts yield successful weight loss results, but many others don’t seem to budge the scale. They are left frustrated, wondering why their hard work and newly adopted healthy habits have not paid off. So what’s up?
Depending on the diet, it’s possible that portions are too large, exceeding the number of calories that you should be eating. It might be time to stop eyeballing and start measuring correct portion sizes. If you are regularly exercising and not losing weight, you may not be working out as hard as you think you are, i.e. not maintaining a consistent heart rate to assist with weight loss. What if you followed your dietary and workout programs exactly as they were detailed? Your program may not be inhibiting your weight loss; rather, the culprit may be an underlying health condition or medication.
Medical Explanations For Weight Gain
A number of health conditions can make it difficult to lose weight. On top of that, the medications that patients are prescribed for their health conditions can also contribute to weight gain. This can put a patient in a no-win situation. A doctor may suggest that a patient lose weight to improve his or her condition, but that same doctor will prescribe medication, which can inhibit weight loss, to the patient. According to various studies, the following conditions are most likely hindering weight loss.
When the thyroid is underactive, the body cannot produce enough thyroid hormones to burn fat that is stored in the body. A person with hypothyroidism typically has a slower metabolism, and that means that he/she is storing more fat than he/she is burning. This is especially true for people who don’t exercise and people who eat unhealthily.
Cushing’s syndrome is the result of prolonged exposure to cortisol, which is made in excess by the adrenal glands. The condition is typically characterized by a fatty hump between the shoulder blades, purple stretch marks on the skin, and a rounded face. This condition commonly results in weight gain, type 2 diabetes, bone loss, and high blood pressure.
Depression affects each person differently. Some people decide not to eat and become wildly malnourished, while others resort to food to ease emotional distress. It is also common for people with depression to avoid exercise, due to the lethargy associated with the condition.
Hormonal Changes In Women
As hormonal shifts begin to happen in women, they can find it difficult to lose weight, or they may find that they gain weight with ease. These hormonal shifts can occur at puberty, during pregnancy, and before, during, or after menopause.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Affecting roughly five million adult women in the United States, PCOS is a disease that stems from hormonal imbalance. Most women with PCOS experience irregular menstrual bleeding, weight gain not caused by excessive eating, thinning hair, or difficulty getting pregnant.
A Prescription For Weight Gain?
As we mentioned earlier, medications can contribute to weight gain or prevent you from losing weight. According to a medical doctor at the Scripps Clinic of Nutrition and Metabolism Research Center in San Diego, California, 25% of his patients take medications or have conditions that lead to weight gain. The reason for weight gain may be attributed to the fact that certain medications lower metabolic rate and increase appetite. Other medications can increase hormones that store fat. Common medications that lead to weight gain can include:
- Beta-blockers (for high blood pressure or other heart conditions)
- Birth control pills
- Medications like sulfonylureas (for type 2 diabetes)
- Corticosteroids (for conditions like lupus or asthma)
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Antiepileptics (taken to control seizures)
It may be beneficial to switch to a plant-based diet and focus your dietary efforts on real food to obtain essential nutrients. Processed foods, meats, dairy products, and other junk foods can often worsen your health condition and lead to weight gain. A vegan or raw vegan diet may improve your overall health, condition, and you may even start to see your efforts reflected on the scale. Remember, everyone is different and some people may experience more visual transformations without shedding a lot of pounds. The number on the scale doesn’t mean that you are not making progress! Check your waist size. Is it smaller? Appreciate the forward strides and maintain your willpower!
If you think that your condition or medication may be preventing you from losing weight or causing you to gain weight, consult with your medical professional to see what other options are available. Above all else, don’t give up on getting in shape. It may be difficult, but this shouldn’t deter you from leading a healthier lifestyle.