What Is Weight Loss Resistance and How You Can Overcome It

There are many components to learn when implementing a weight loss regimen. Weight loss resistance is one of the more frustrating ones. With a barrage of information coming at you every day, it is difficult at best to sometimes try to find the system that works for you.


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Sometimes when you do find that system, it is met with frustration and disappointment because you were not even aware that such a thing as weight loss resistance exists.

What Is Weight Loss Resistance?

Have you ever had the experience wherein you have carefully weighed, measured, and watched every bit of food you intake and began an exercise program only to find that your weight has not budged?

This could be due to a factor known as weight loss resistance, which is a situation where a possible metabolic imbalance exists. Several metabolic imbalances can contribute to weight loss resistance.

  • Thyroid conditions
  • Chronic stress which raises cortisol levels
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Digestive imbalance

These are to just name a few contributing possible factors to weight loss resistance. Moreover, some of these conditions are combined making weight loss even more difficult.

Things You Can Do About Weight Loss Resistance

Of course, the first and most important thing to do is to seek out the advice of a professional. Some individuals prefer the counsel of their primary care physician, while others seek out the advice and help of a wellness counselor or nutritionist.

A combination of professionals, however, seems to be the best bet when it comes to overcoming weight loss resistance. The tests that a primary care physician can perform will sometimes be sufficient to indicate which, if any, of the issues you are incurring are due to a medical condition.

A primary care physician can always refer you to a specialist in a particular field according to those test results. For many individuals combining a holistic approach along with a traditional approach provides for a win/win combination, as well.

For example, if your current weight loss condition is due to high cortisol levels due to chronic stress, seeking the aid of a wellness practitioner may be the best bet for you. Practices such as massage, yoga, or reiki may be the missing ingredient in your weight loss resistance.

Things such as eating raw, organic foods, getting enough hydration through green teas and plenty of water, and getting the proper rest are all exceptional ways to help yourself along the way in fighting against weight loss resistance.






Is Weight Training For You?

Maybe you watch people at the gym, huffing, puffing, grunting and sweating at the weight machines or free weights and think, “No way I want to do that!” You’re not sure you would benefit from lifting weights, especially since you have no desire to look like a body builder.

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You can benefit from lifting weights even if you do it only a couple of times each week. Weight training can help improve your muscle tone, build lean muscle mass and help you lose weight. No matter how old or young you are, weight training is good for you.

As we age, we lose muscle mass. Lost muscle will be replaced by flabby fat if you don’t do something to rebuild lost muscle. Muscle tissue requires more energy to function than other tissues, therefore it uses more calories. Your metabolism will increase slightly as you gain muscle and burn fat. Increased muscle mass also means your endurance will improve. You will be able to work your muscles harder for a longer period of time. Weight training stresses your muscles causing them to adapt, which makes them grow stronger.

Start with a weight that you can lift, but tires your muscles after 10 to 12 repetitions. Beginners should start with one set of 8 to 10 repetitions of any lifting exercise. You should be barely able to lift the weight on the last repetition.  When you can do 12 repetitions without fatigue, increase the weight by adding 2 to 5 pounds.

Learn proper lifting technique before you grab the dumbbells. A fitness trainer can help you learn the correct way to lift so that you enjoy the benefits of weight training while reducing your risk of injury. Don’t forget to warm-up before lifting. Do some light exercise, such as brisk walking or calisthenics.

Rest one full day between weight training workouts. Your muscles need at least one full day to repair and recover. You can work your core, legs and thighs one day, and then your arms, chest, shoulders and upper back on the next day. Your workout can be as long as you feel comfortable exercising. You can exercise for 15 minutes, 20 minutes or longer. Adjust your workout to suit your strength, overall level of fitness and your time schedule.


Fat-Fighting Foods

You’ve probably heard about green tea. Claims about the benefits of green tea range from helping you to sleep to increasing metabolism to helping improve your mood. There is a basis for the metabolism claim — catechins. Catechins is a plant chemical that boosts your metabolism. To enjoy the fat-fighting benefits of green tea, drink several cups of hot tea each day. Replace your regular soda or coffee with cream and sugar with a cup of hot green tea. You will enjoy the benefits of catechins metabolism boost while cutting out extra calories from sodas and coffee additives. Hot peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin, which briefly boosts your metabolism and curbs your appetite. You might eat less when you eat spicy foods.

Grapefruit does not have a magic ingredient despite the fad diet claims from a few years ago. Grapefruit does contain plenty of soluble fiber, which takes longer to digest and may help you feel fuller longer. Raw fruits and vegetables of all kinds help you feel fuller longer and are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Raw vegetables and fruits are generally low in calories, high in fiber and loaded with nutrients your body needs. Trade potato chips and other calorie loaded snack foods for a plate of raw vegetables.

Use spices in your foods to boost flavor without added calories. Cinnamon helps to curb your appetite and may stabilize your blood sugar. Stir some cinnamon into coffee, tea, yogurt and milk drinks.

Sensible Snacking

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Americans really enjoy their snack foods. Vending machines are located just about everywhere and contain sugary drinks, chocolate bars, salty chips and pretzels and candy snacks. Convenience stores and many grocery stores place the candy bars and small bags of chips close to the checkout line or beside the cash register where you will be tempted to make an impulse buy. These snacks can contribute hundreds of empty calories to your diet. According to the USDA snacks can amount to nearly 600 calories per day. Many people will consume a full meal’s worth of calories every day just by snacking. Eating between meals does not have to be a diet disaster. You can eat a healthy, nutritious snack between meals that can help boost your metabolism to aid in weight loss. The key to losing or maintaining your weight and still enjoy between-meal snacks is to snack sensibly.
If you get hungry between meals, you should eat a healthy snack so that you do not over-eat at mealtime.  Snacks that will curb your hunger without adding too many extra calories will contain fiber and protein.   Peanut butter on whole wheat crackers or on a stalk of celery will ease your hunger pangs and provide nutritional protein, carbohydrates and fiber to help you feel full. Raisins, walnuts, almonds, dried cherries and apricots or fresh fruits, such as apple slices, a pear, an orange or a handful of grapes are rich in nutrients, fiber and antioxidants. One-half cup of low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit, like blueberries, raspberries or strawberries, can help you feel less hungry while providing your body with important vitamins and calcium. 
Don’t keep a bowl of chips, pretzels, popcorn or candy on the table in the television room! Mindless snacking can add hundreds of calories to your diet and you won’t even realize how much you have eaten. Replace your high-calories television snacks with healthy alternatives like dried fruits, nuts, granola and fruits. Low-fat cheese and whole wheat crackers is a healthy alternative to popcorn and chips. Cut out the sodas when you snack. Drink a glass of water before your snack to help you feel full between meals. 

Eat for Energy

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Would you be surprised if someone told you to eat to lose weight? Your metabolism is the process by which your body converts the food you eat into energy. Your metabolic rate is the rate at which your body turns food into fuel. The metabolic rate is different for each person and generally slows down as you age. This is why some people get what is called “middle age spread” around the abdomen or hips. When the metabolic rate slows, but caloric intake does not decrease, you can gain weight. Depriving yourself of food is not the answer to maintaining a healthy weight. Your body needs food for energy and will slow your metabolic rate in response to a lack of energy. Starvation diets are not only dangerous, but counter-productive since the body responds to deprivation by slowing down metabolism. To maintain a healthy weight or to lose weight, keep your metabolic rate at peak efficiency by eating more often. 
When you eat food, your body responds by releasing hormones and enzymes that convert food to energy that can be used by your cells. If you wait too long between meals, the metabolism slows down. Skipping breakfast or lunch and then eating a large evening meal may cause your body to store more food as fat in order to compensate for the lack of food earlier in the day. Your body stores up fat for energy use. The problem is the body is storing more fat than you are using for energy. In order to avoid this cycle of starvation and weight gain and keep your metabolism functioning at peak efficiency, eat several small, high-fiber meals everyday. 
Eat a healthy, high-fiber breakfast, followed by a mid-morning snack. Fresh fruits, vegetables, yogurt and whole grain crackers are ideal choices. Don’t forget to eat lunch, and then enjoy a late-afternoon snack. Dinner should include foods from all the food groups. At least 1/2 of your plate should be filled with vegetables, fruits and grains. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help your body digest food and remain hydrated. Green tea may also help to increase your metabolism because it contains an antioxidant called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), which may help boost your body’s fuel burning power. 

Start the Day Off Right!

Eating a healthy breakfast every day can help jump-start your metabolism, help you feel energized and give your body the nutrition it needs to start a busy day. The best way to lose weight is to keep your body burning calories instead of storing fat, so make sure you begin your day by eating something nutritious to fire up your metabolism for the whole day. If you skip breakfast, you miss out on a prime opportunity to boost your body’s calorie burning engine. If you are not eating breakfast, you may not be getting  all the nutrients your body needs to remain healthy. 

Remember, you have not eaten anything while you were sleeping. After 7 or 8 hours of sleep, your body needs food. Breakfast is essential to replenish your nutrient stores and stave off hunger, which can cause you to over-eat at lunch. Fasting by skipping breakfast can also increase your body’s insulin, which results in fat storage. Hunger can also tempt you to eat donuts or candy, which may temporarily stave off hunger pangs because they are loaded with sugar, but contain practically no vitamins and minerals. Avoid fast food breakfast sandwiches. Most are loaded with sodium, sugars, chemical preservatives and fat. 
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You will feel more energetic during the whole day if you eat a healthy breakfast of high fiber, high protein and low-fat foods. Oatmeal, whole wheat cereals, fruits like bananas, blueberries and strawberries and yogurt are high fiber foods that contain fewer calories than a bagel or a muffin. Multi-grain and whole grain cereals with low-fat milk, some fresh fruit such as bananas or strawberries and a cup of orange juice is low in calories, but packed with nutrients and fiber. Whole-grain waffles with fruit and low-fat sweeteners, such as natural corn syrup, provide energy and taste great.

For more information, see:
WebMD, Lose Weight: Eat Breakfast, by Jeanie Lerche Davis, reviewed by Louise Chang, MD, 2010

Understanding Metabolism

Your metabolism is the process of converting food into energy that is used by your body. Even when you are at rest and not exercising, your body is hard at work converting food and beverages into usable energy to keep your heart beating, keep you breathing, repairing damaged cells and tissue and making new cells.  The metabolic rate is how fast your body converts food and drink into energy by burning calories. Generally, the more muscle you have, the faster your metabolism. 
Photo Credit: Abhijit Tembhekar CC-BY-2.0, 2009
The foods you eat can have a direct impact on your metabolism and metabolic rate. High protein foods increase your metabolism, because it takes more energy to digest a high protein diet than a diet high in fats and carbohydrates. Other factors, such as age, gender and lifestyle also impact your metabolism. Women tend to have a slightly slower metabolism than men. Everyone’s metabolism slows down as we age. Those who do not engage in regular physical activity, like exercise, may have a slower metabolism. 
The thyroid gland, located in the front of the throat, controls almost ever aspect of metabolism. The thyroid produces hormones that speed up or slow down your metabolic rate and control whether your body stores fat. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid does not produce enough of the metabolism-regulating hormones. This can lead to weight gain and other problems, some serious. Conditions of the thyroid gland should be treated by a doctor. If your thyroid gland is functioning normally, but you still can’t seem to lose weight, stimulating your metabolism by eating a healthy diet and regular exercise may help increase your metabolic rate so that your body burns fat for energy and builds muscle.
Starvation diets, fad diets and diet pills are not the answer to boosting your metabolic rate and reducing body fat. Depriving yourself of food can actually cause your metabolic rate to slow as your body responds to fewer nutrients. Starvation and fad diets can be very harmful to your health. Diet pills suppress your appetite and can cause you to eat less and less often, which is also harmful because your body is not going to get proper nutrition. Your metabolism may also slow down if you wait hours between meals. You can stimulate your metabolism by eating several smaller meals, including nutritious snacks throughout the day. Start with a healthy breakfast, some exercise like walking, a mid-morning snack and then a light lunch. Eat some fruit, granola, yogurt or other healthy snack in the afternoon. Eat a light snack, such as an apple or a salad, after dinner and drink plenty of water. Small meals throughout the day will stimulate your metabolism as your body must burn calories to digest food. 
In addition to eating healthy meals and snacks every few hours throughout the day, regular aerobic exercise can boost your metabolism. A brisk 30-minute walk in the morning and late afternoon or 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at the gym helps your body burn calories and fat stores. Strength training helps to build muscle and burn fat. Changes in your daily routine, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to work, can help you burn more calories and stimulate your metabolism. 

For more information, see:

Mayo Clinic, Metabolism and Weight Loss: How You Burn Calories, 2011

Mayo Clinic, Hypothyroidism, 2010