As a nutritionist, a lot of clients come to me with the same question: “I cut out gluten, dairy and sugar. I’m exercising like a fiend. Why am I not losing weight?” Why, when we think we’re doing everything right, can we still not lose those last lingering pounds? The answer is simple — weight loss isn't just about "calories in, calories out." There is more to it than that! Check out these three common reasons why you may not be losing weight:
1. You’re exercising too much.
A high cortisol level, in my clinical experience, is the number one cause of weight gain. This can happen due to any number of reasons, but ironically, over-exercising is a major culprit. My clients are completely convinced that exercising a lot will help them lose weight, but it often has the opposite effect. Exercise is great, of course, but spin class in the morning and running at night is often just too much. Be kind to your body and give it a break!
I recommend exercising less, but smarter: Think HIIT circuits or weight training for 30-45 minutes a few days a week, and focus on gentle exercise like walking, yoga, and Pilates about 45 minutes on the other days. Days devoted specifically to rest and relaxation are key, too. Rest days are not a novelty! High-cortisol levels are related to stress, whether it’s physical OR mental, so giving your body and mind an opportunity to rest is essential.
2. Your liver needs love.
If you’re drinking alcohol regularly, eating lots of processed food and sipping two or three coffees a day, your liver may be clogged. Because it’s a fat-burning organ, it must be in optimal health in order to flush toxins out of your body. Not only is it an important part of weight loss, it’s key to hormonal balance. A liver cleanse is one of top health recommendations.
Here's how you do it: Reduce alcohol intake, swap coffee for herbal tea, cut back on sugary, processed foods, eat lots of dark leafy greens at each meal and enjoy plenty of protein-rich foods like eggs, chicken and legumes. When our liver is clogged with toxins and bile, it can’t properly detoxify, metabolize hormones and other substances, or maintain blood-sugar levels.
It’s also worth checking that your thyroid is working properly. Ask your general practitioner to check your thyroid levels, particularly your T3, T4 and reverse T3.
3. You need to let go.
Is your digestive system working properly? On a physical level, you should ensure that you have plenty of good gut bacteria and are going to the bathroom regularly. Constipation poses difficulty in weight loss for obvious reasons — you must get rid of the waste in your colon.
To ease constipation, take a daily probiotic for general gut health, drink chamomile tea, which soothes and relaxes the bowel and stay hydrated in general. Dehydration often leads to constipation.
Emotionally, I believe that holding on to feelings, memories and emotional baggage makes us uptight. This inability to relax naturally prevents us from releasing our bowels, too. Is there something or someone you’re holding on to? Often when we work on the emotional side of thing and truly let go, we also let go of the excess weight.