For many people, it’s easy to quickly lose 5-10 pounds with a targeted, week/two week long diet or food plan approach; keeping it from creeping back on is another story!
At least long term studies on successful weight loss maintenance have found that most people keep off 10% what they initially lost for longer than one year. So, for that easy initial loss of 10 pounds on your fad diet trial, that’s only a 1 pound sustained loss! Eh.
Let’s dive into why some weight sticks around regardless of diet and exercise so weight loss can happen!
What makes some weight so stubborn?!
Most functional nutritionists point to underlying health issues, most of which are blood sugar related. Why is sugar so significant? To put it simply, sugar creates a whole slew of body imbalances as well as hijacking your body for its own pleasure. For an overview, read this post and this post.
The good news is that these 3 common causes for stubborn weight gain can be addressed with targeted lifestyle strategies.
Inflammation caused by fluctuating blood sugar levels.
Refined sugar is absolutely horrible and wreaks havoc on nearly every system in your body, from your head to your toes (diabetics often have toes amputated). It activates the same pleasure-reward system in your brain as opioid drugs, creates its own “organ” of fat stores inside your body to feed, regulate, and communicate with itself, and creates nutritional deficiencies as your body fights itself trying to calm the inflammatory responses.
Start putting out the raging fires of inflammation by identifying your sweet spots (quick supply of sugar energy) in the foods you eat.
- Do you steer clear of the candy isle but load up on gluten-free desserts that are made with simple carbohydrate, refined grains like rice flour, potato starch, or natural sweeteners (that are still sugar)?
- How do you take your coffee, tea, or refreshing drinks? Even diary products have lactose, which is a form of sugar. Too much honey is still too much sugar.
Science is now telling us that it only takes 10 days for your taste buds to adapt to the foods you are eating. That’s good news! Go cold turkey on eliminating simple, refined grains or stop adding sugar to your drinks as you count down from 10.
If you are heavy handed with sugar, I might suggest that to avoid the migraines that are sure to be triggered from a quick break and loss of quick energy, stretch out those 10 days and gradually decrease your consumption. The less fluctuation in your blood sugar levels, the less fuel for the flames of inflammation!
I highly recommend the book How to Fight FATflammation by Dr. Lori Shemek to get a full, smack you in the face look at the devastation that inflammation causes in your body and weight loss goals. Her action steps are effective and it is encouraging to experience the positive changes in your body as you shrink your fat cells and feel better.
Chronic stress creating nutritional deficiencies and imbalances
Always stressed? Not only are you sapping your brain power but you are firing and re-firing the same brain patterns over and over again, using all the same nutrients up over and over again. Chronic stress raises your hormone cortisol levels, which in turn destroys all hormonal balances throughout your brain and body.
Depression also saps your brain and body of key nutrients, especially B complex vitamins, that play a huge part in regulating emotions and creating hormones needed for better sleep, cognitive functioning, and even fertility (let alone weight loss).
The worst part about chronic stress-including “stress triggers” that start the downward cycle, is the constant state of imbalance within your brain and body. Various nutrients are utilized by multiple body systems and when their supply is always being utilized, it makes it very hard to replenish through every day eating; testing and prolonged supplementation is often necessary.
The good news is that there is an abundance of online stores and product availability. I highly recommend making sure you can read and identify the sources of the supplement’s ingredients. A food/ plant-based supplement will deliver more benefits than one manufactured in a chemical lab. My go-to, top brand is Garden Of Life-hands down, and has been for decades.
Try this today to start developing healthier habits that will bring perspective to chronic stressors in order to rewire your response:
- Be aware of your triggers, things that incite your heart to start racing and become unsettled.
- Role play with yourself different responses to known stressful situations. Prepare yourself better by writing out and practicing “if-then” action statements. Think of non-food related soothing responses or swap out for healthier options, like probiotic drinks for a carbonated soda.
- Think logically about the situation and how it is impacting your health and weight loss goals. Remove as much emotion from the stressor as possible so that you are activating your Pre-frontal Cortex instead of your flight-fight center (amygdala). These brain regions utilize different nutrients and you will be building new brain connections.
- Doctors all say it and we’ve heard it millions of times: consistent, quality sleep. Sleep pretty much fixes everything 😉
Unless you’re living life only in the great outdoors, you’re exposed to a variety of chemicals and substances that your body may not be able to efficiently process each night (while you are sleeping!).
And, if the first thing you reach for in the morning is a cup of coffee, then you probably aren’t helping your lymphatic system flush those processed toxins out of your body. The lymphatic system is like a house with plumbing that has been winterized: the pipes need to be emptied through movement and water pressure!
Best-selling author, speaker, and doctor Mark Hyman informs us: “The two most important things you need to know to cure disease, create health, and lose weight are:
- The role of nutrition in health and disease.
- The role of toxins and the importance of detoxification in health and disease.”
Knowing that this present society is inundated with exposure to and ingestion of toxins, read this post by MindBodyGreen and check off your overload symptoms. I’ll wait!
Toxins short circuit your brain pathways, disrupt hormone balances, destroy a diverse and healthy gut, and keep you fat. Dr. Hyman explains:
“To understand toxicity, you must understand the concept of “total load.”
Total load is the total amount of stressors on your system at any one time–it’s like what happens when a glass fills over with water. It takes a certain amount of water to fill the glass and then, after a certain point, you put more in and it overflows.
When our detoxification system is overwhelmed, it gets overloaded. That’s when we start developing symptoms and getting sick, but it may take years of accumulated stress and toxins to get to that point.” (Is There Toxic Waste In Your Body?)
While it is true that the body naturally “detoxifies” itself, stubborn weight gain (thanks, fat) disrupts multiple systems and sometimes renders them moot (especially if you are deficient in the required nutrients). It’s as frustrating as your cellphone key pad not acknowledging your number prompt on an automated help call…
Across the (nutrition) board, you can speed up the flush with two drinks: distilled water with ACV at night, and lemon water in the morning-before coffee. Think quart canning jar amount of water and chug it down!
One of my favorite resources on this subject is the book, The Science of Skinny because it really explains what she calls “liverize” and “alkalize” to cleanse and boost your system using food.
What to do:
- Tomorrow morning, squeeze and plop a lemon into your coffee cup and fill it with warm water. Let it steep while you do some yoga stretching (like reaching for a taller glass, your breakfast dishes, and packing your healthy lunch). Then, add your lemon tea into a larger glass of water and drink it all as you now wait for your mug to fill with coffee.
- Continue to drink distilled, not chlorinated or fluoride water, throughout your day to keep flushing and hydrating your body.
- Snack on fresh berries, make a smoothie with frozen berries, and crunch your stress away with raw veggie sticks dipped in a healthy fat dip. Raw fruits and veggies are key to using food to detoxify your body and break through stubborn weight gain.
And, finally, it is worth your money and effort in purchasing organic from the “Dirty Dozen” list because pesticides really are nasty. Here’s a visual from Dr. Axe:
Want more effective weight loss tips that you can do each day? Check out these Daily Resets to balance hormones, decrease inflammation, and increase your metabolism with food.