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Here Are The Barriers That Keep You From Losing Weight

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Losing weight has become a recurring New Year’s resolution for many people. The desire to shed some pounds is there, but the actions seem amiss. 

It’s even more frustrating for those who have exerted so much effort yet face no significant results.

About 45 million Americans adopt a slimming diet to lose weight every year. However, only about 50% of them successfully realize their goal and get the healthy body mass index (BMI) they should have. 

So, what many people ask is, “Why am I not losing weight?”

Contrary to popular belief, your weight loss journey is not strictly linear. Although limiting and regulating your food intake and getting active are critical steps in losing weight, they may not suffice especially if there are several biological and psychological barriers along your way.

So, before you mope and lose hope, take a look at all the potential weight loss barriers blocking your success. Once you address them the right way, you will have a higher chance of losing weight and getting the health and fitness you have always dreamed of.

That being said, let’s dive right into the details. 

woman working out at gym doing bicep curls

Biological Barriers

One of the probable reasons you may not lose weight could be medical issues. These could range from health conditions to certain drugs used in treatments. 

Therefore, if you engage in a weight loss program without pre-assessing your health, it could end in futile efforts. On the other hand, if you address these health issues first, you might get better results. 

So, here are the biological barriers you should deal with first before trying to lose some weight. 

Metabolic Disorders

Your metabolism directly affects your weight. 

For one, it’s the process that facilitates the conversion of glucose into energy as well as its usage and storage into fats. 

Hence, if your metabolism takes the slow lane, you’ll end up burning fewer calories leading to more fat buildup. On the other hand, if you have a faster metabolism, you process more calories and use them to power up your tissues instead of getting stored as fats. 

Research has supported the critical impact of metabolic disorders, especially metabolic syndrome, which comprises different conditions affecting the body simultaneously. 

So, if you have a metabolic disorder, your metabolism will most likely get affected, leading to challenges in weight loss. Moreover, it will be aggravated if you have metabolic syndrome.

Here are two of the critical metabolic disorders you need to watch out for are the following:

Diabetes

When your blood sugar is high due to problems with insulin production or processing, the risks for obesity increase. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 90%  of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese.

Although diabetes per se does not directly hinder weight loss, it remains a crucial medical condition that promotes weight gain, which can counteract your weight loss efforts. 

Hence, it is imperative to get tested for diabetes and prediabetes as part of your pre-weight loss plan. 

Hypertension 

High blood pressure or hypertension is characterized by an excessive and long-term force produced by the circulating blood, which pushes against the arterial walls. 

This elevated level of blood pressure can lead to stroke or heart disease. But how does it affect weight loss?

According to a study conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, people with high blood pressure have a reduced ability to metabolize fat in the heart. Moreover, hypertension often goes hand-in-hand with obesity or being overweight. 

Hormonal Problems

People often neglect their hormones until these chemical messengers become directly involved with health issues. Unfortunately, not everyone is aware of the vital role of hormones in weight management. 

For starters, there is a myriad of hormones responsible for metabolisms, such as thyroid hormones, insulin, glucagon, leptin, growth hormones, sex hormones, and more. 

If these hormones are produced short or excessively, it can affect how the body processes organic molecules, including lipids or fats. 

If you’re set for weight loss, take note of the following hormone disorders and get the hormone testing done:

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland produces insufficient thyroid hormones in the bloodstream. 

Thyroid hormones like T3 and T4 regulate metabolism. They pretty much dictate how much energy cells should utilize. Therefore, a shortage of these thyroid hormones can significantly slow your metabolism. 

Research has shown that hypothyroidism causes weight gain. 

Furthermore, it’s not just the imbalance in the production of thyroid hormones that prevents proper weight loss. Data shows that changes in the production of thyroid-stimulating hormone released by the pituitary gland can also be considered a weight-loss block.

It is best to get your thyroid health profile via blood tests and other thyroid function tests before planning your weight loss to address this type of barrier.  

Cushing Syndrome 

Cushing syndrome occurs when your body produces excess cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, over an extended period. Cortisol is created and released by the adrenal glands. 

People diagnosed with Cushing syndrome have an unusually round face, a fatty hump between shoulders, purple stretch marks, weak muscles, and thin limbs. However, the most common symptom is weight gain. 

With this condition, your weight loss can be compromised. That’s why it is essential to check your cortisol levels, mainly if other symptoms of Cushing syndrome are observed. 

PCOS

It has been noted that men lose weight faster than women. This has something to do with the levels of sex hormones found in each sex. 

For example, women produce more estrogen than men. The increased production of estrogen is linked to the rapid accumulation of fats which, by evolutionary context, prepares the woman’s body for pregnancy. 

However, there’s also one condition that keeps weight loss a consistent challenge. We’re talking about no other than polycystic ovary syndrome or better known as PCOS. 

PCOS is a condition in which the ovaries create and release overwhelming amounts of male hormones of androgens. It can lead to fertility or difficulties in conception if not appropriately addressed.

This hormonal imbalance is associated with weight gain since the female body struggles to use insulin in processing blood sugar, turning it into energy. This condition is also referred to as insulin resistance. 

As a result, your blood sugar and insulin levels increase in the bloodstream leading to fat buildup, especially around the abdomen. 

Certain Medications 

Drugs used to treat certain disorders and diseases may come with side effects. For others, it could be a headache, insomnia, or skin rash. But for specific medications, one of its critical side effects is weight gain.

This could be due to temporary alteration in metabolism or the hormones affecting the process. 

Check out some common medications that can trigger weight gain resulting in a complicated weight loss process. 

  • Antidepressants
  • Antipsychotics 
  • Beta-blockers 
  • Corticosteroids 
  • Insulin 
  • Sulfonylureas 

If you are prescribed these medications and are in the process of weight loss, don’t forget to tell your doctor about your concerns. Depending on the degree of the health condition, your doctor can lower the dosage to prevent weight gain. 

Psychological Barriers

Sometimes what keeps you from losing weight are not health conditions affecting your physical body. In some cases, the barriers are psychological. They can be clinical disorders or mindsets that stem from your external environment. Here are the psychological barriers you should be aware of. 

Stress and Anxiety

It’s pretty challenging to shed some pounds when you’re constantly under stress. Likewise, you might find it crippling to go to the gym or establish a consistent weight loss diet if you have general anxiety. 

For starters, if you are stressed, your cortisol levels soar, leading to slower fat metabolism and lipid buildup. 

Then, of course, there’s the high likelihood of treating food as a temporary remedy to stress and anxiety. As a result, it’s not uncommon to encounter people who do stress eating, especially after work or during the weekends. 

Nevertheless, research has strengthened the association between stress and obesity. It details the impact of high cortisol levels on increased abdominal fat accumulation. 

Moreover, chronic social stress also alters patterns with regard to habits involving diet and physical activity. This means, despite your desire to lose weight, there’s a high chance that you’ll simply give in to activities that ease your stress level, such as indulging in comfort foods. 

Depression

Depression can be a personal experience for many people. Some tend to lose weight due to suppressed appetite and lack of motivation to perform their daily routine. 

On the other hand, others tend to gain weight which inevitably leads to obesity. In addition, this condition often affects women more than men due to other factors such as hormonal imbalances. 

Ultimately, depression becomes a trigger for people to lean more on overeating and a sedentary lifestyle, leaving them to gain weight consistently despite the desire to lose weight. 

Hence, aside from having your physical health screened, it is imperative to include your mental health on your pre-weight loss profile. This ensures that depression does not get in your way of successfully reducing your weight.

Dopamine Dependence

Dopamine is dubbed as the “pleasure hormone.” While it’s true that his neurotransmitter allows you to feel happy and satisfied whenever you’re exposed to a positive trigger, high levels of dopamine can cause more damage than good if not properly regulated.

There has been a clear link between excessive dopamine and addiction. 

In the context of weight management, dopamine is produced when you eat foods high in sugars which induces a pleasurable experience. This is why you tend to have sugar hankering even during the wee hours.

Dopamine dependency leads to uncontrollable cravings, which result in compulsive eating

Therefore, if you feel like dopamine has taken over your brain, seemingly affecting your weight loss plan, you can check for dopamine levels in your blood to confirm the condition. 

Behavioral Barriers

If you get positive results for all these physical and psychological barriers, it will all boil down to the behavioral obstacles. 

Sometimes the reason why you’re not losing weight has something to do with your inability to adapt habits and practices promoting weight loss. Other times, the real problem is consistency. 

Weight cycling, also known as yo-yo dieting, is the process of losing weight and then regaining the said weight after some time. It’s a frustrating cycle that could increase your risks for inflammatory disorders. 

That being said, it takes a lot of consciousness and motivation to withstand the following behavioral barriers. 

Unhealthy Eating Habits

It’s common knowledge that the type of food you consume directly impacts your weight. 

If your choose junk foods such as processed food items or meals high in sugar, salt, and fat, the likelihood of weight gain can be increased. On the other hand, nutritious foods are known to improve your health and, by extension, your BMI. 

Likewise, consuming large portions of food means subjecting your body to high levels of calories. 

As a rule of thumb, high caloric intake can lead to lipid accumulation if not balanced by caloric expenditure.  

Therefore, one of the critical steps in weight loss is consistent dietary management.

Lack of Sufficient Physical Activity 

Eating healthy food may not be enough. Exercise and other physical activities need to be part of the equation. 

The relationship between weight loss and physical activities is one that nobody can question. It has been established considering this process is responsible for the conversion of glucose into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which is practically the currency for energy, 

Caloric expenditure, or the process of burning calories into energy, comes into play if you become physically active. Otherwise, the weight loss process can be slow or completely fail. 

Unfortunately, not everyone likes to get into physical activities like exercise, working out, or playing any physical sport. That’s why you’d often encounter people looking for products in the market that guarantee weight loss without exerting too much physical effort.

Nonetheless, if you are indeed serious about losing weight, you can’t turn a blind eye to the importance of exercise. 

Sleep Deprivation

You can never underestimate the value of sleep. 

However, with the current condition we have today, encompassing overworking and exposure to factors that hinder the release of melatonin, also known as the sleep-wake cycle hormone, sleep often becomes the last item on the agenda. 

Unfortunately, sleep deprivation does not simply rob us away of much-needed rest at night and energy in the morning. It also has a critical impact in blocking weight loss. 

For example, lack of sleep leads to rapid hunger and a critical shift from converting fats into energy, reducing adipose tissues made of lipids. 

Hence, if you are aiming for a successful weight loss process, make sure that you get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night. 

The Bottom Line 

It can be frustrating to recycle your new year’s resolution of losing weight every year. 

Nonetheless, it remains crucial that you don’t stop trying unless you have successfully achieved a healthy weight. 

After all, it’s not just the body image you should consider in targeting this goal. Instead, it’s more important that you focus on your health. 

However, suppose you have been failing miserably over the years. In that case, you can start your weight loss plan by identifying the physical, psychological, and behavioral barriers that keep you away from your goal. 

If you’re wondering how to start your health screening, consider getting the Weight Loss Profile Blood Test and other weight management tests. It contains all the tests you need to ensure that physical and psychological barriers are correctly identified and addressed. 

Having this initial process could increase your success in losing weight while detecting any underlying conditions.

Medically Approved By Dr. Edward Salko, MD

Dr. Edward Salko is the board-certified physician who reviews lab tests provided by PERSONALABS™. He earned his Bachelor of Science in chemistry and pre-med from the University of Florida in Gainesville and his Doctor of Osteopathy Medicine in 1980 from Kansas City University School of Medicine.

Dr. Salko’s career has specialized in family and emergency medicine. His passion is to provide clients with the tools they need in the most convenient way possible to allow them to take charge of their own healthcare. He has held a variety of positions in Kansas, Florida and Washington. Currently, in addition to his duties as Medical Director for Personalabs, he is a practicing emergency physician in Kennewick, Washington.

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