8 Common Weight Loss Roadblocks

June 1, 2018 | Post by Sam Presicci

8 Common Weight Loss Roadblocks

Weight loss is often a tricky subject, because there’s so much emotion wrapped up in what we think our bodies should look like. We’re inundated with messages from doctors, the media, well-meaning friends and family and social media “highlight reels.” And many of these messages and programs encourage you to give your power away and put your trust in the medication, the meal plan or the meal replacement shake instead.

But this lack of trust in yourself and your capacity to successfully change your habits is incredibly damaging. You learn to stop listening to your own body’s cues and instead pay attention to what the next internet “expert” has to say. You end up believing that you’re a broken being that just needs to be fixed. And the diet industry, along with our sick-care model of healthcare, tells you that they can fix you. But here’s the thing:

 

You don’t need to be fixed. You are whole and you are enough, just as you are. But I also understand the desire for weight loss, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight. However, if your main motivation for losing weight is to fix the other issues in your life, you’ll end up pretty disappointed at the end of your journey.

 

Let’s talk about some of the common mistakes I see people make when trying to lose weight:

  1. Undereating (particularly fat and protein)
  2. Overexercising
  3. Focusing only on the food
  4. Operating from a mindset of scarcity and deprivation
  5. Treating healthy living as a means to an end
  6. Valuing calories over nourishment
  7. Focusing solely on the scale (please take measurements instead, or at the very least in addition to your scale weight!)

 

If all of those things are missteps, then what are some steps you can take to lose weight? First and foremost, toss out the conventional dogma. Fat won’t make you fat, counting calories is mostly bullshit, you don’t need a pill or a powder, and you can be trusted around food. Below, I’m outlining some of the factors that may be affecting your weight loss efforts. For the sake of brevity, I’m not going into detail on any one topic, but rather giving you an overview for each one.

FOOD

First, let’s talk food. There is no one-size-fits-all here. But there are some general guidelines. Eat vegetables, well-raised animal proteins and healthy fats. Head here for my advice for building a balanced plate. In the beginning, it can be hard to listen to your hunger signals, but it won’t always be that way.

SLEEP

Arguably more important than the food is making sure you get quality sleep. If you’re struggling to lose weight and you haven’t addressed your sleep hygiene and routine, you’re going to keep struggling. There are many articles around the interwebs on sleep hygiene tips, and I’m also working on one to post here too.

MOVEMENT

In order to lose weight, you do not have to work for hours at the gym, toiling away on the elliptical and targeting your “trouble areas.” A better idea? Lift some weights and get your heart rate up in a way that you ENJOY. Ride your bike, run with your dog, jump on a trampoline, do some burpees (probably fun for some people 😉 ), Zumba your heart out, do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), do Crossfit, do Orange Theory. The possibilities are pretty much endless. The key is to do something you don’t hate.

Movement isn’t a punishment for carrying extra weight. It’s a privilege and a gift. When we treat it as such, our whole perspective shifts.

STRESS/MINDSET

Are you chronically stressed, overworked or overwhelmed? You wouldn’t be alone! When you’re stressed, your body releases certain hormones (like Adrenaline and Cortisol) to help you deal with the immediate stress. This system is great for acute stressors. However, when you’re in a state of chronic stress, these hormones end up permanently elevated, leading to cravings and decreased satiety.

And when it comes to mindset, the way you speak to yourself and the thoughts coursing through your head on a daily basis make a difference! If you’re constantly telling yourself that you won’t lose weight or that you’ll never be a healthy person, you’ll find a way to make that a self fulfilling prophesy. A good rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t talk to a friend, loved one, or family pet that way, you shouldn’t talk to yourself that way either.

UNDERLYING INFLAMMATION

Often, the food you eat and the environment you live in leaves you with chronic inflammation. This inflammation is a contributing factor to many of the chronic diseases that plague our population. A great place to start is by taking OUT the inflammatory foods. Doing a Whole30 or other elimination diet can be a really great way to identify which foods work for you and which ones make you feel less than your best.

See the section on toxin exposure below for more information on environmental factors.

TOXIN EXPOSURE

Unfortunately, this is something that we all have to deal with in an increasingly toxic world. I know that the word toxin sounds a little woo-woo, but this is a very real issue. How do toxins interfere with your ability to lose weight? They mess with your body’s ability to balance blood sugar and metabolize cholesterol. Over time, this can lead to insulin resistance. Additionally, these toxins build up in your system and create a toxic burden that your body has to work to detoxify. The larger the burden, the harder it’ll be for your body, and the more that the toxins will pile up. Mark Hyman has a great analogy in this article on toxins.

When I say toxins, I’m talking about heavy metals, contaminated drinking water, plastics, harmful cosmetics/personal care products/household cleaning products, environmental pollution, and more. Here’s a pretty staggering report from the CDC on human exposure to environmental chemicals. There are some things we can do to mitigate our risks here, including:

  • filtering your water
  • using stainless steel water bottles instead of plastic
  • using glass food containers, especially if you’re heating up your food in them
  • Switching to more natural skin care and household products (if you want brand ideas to get you started, check out my ‘Shop’ tab).
  • Using as little plastic as possible, including switching to reusable veggie bags at the store and reusable Stasher bags instead of plastic baggies.

 

Luckily, our bodies can excrete toxins in four main ways: pee, poop, perspiration and through breathing. Given this, it’s important to be sure you’re drinking enough water on a daily basis and going #2 regularly. 1-2x/day is the goal! As far as perspiration goes, exercise and movement are your best options here, though you can also consider using a sauna to aid your body’s detoxification efforts. When it comes to breathing, it’s important to utilize belly breathing. Here’s a great article detailing that practice.

HORMONE IMBALANCE

Many people who are struggling to lose weight have a hormone imbalance. There are a few hormonal culprits, and one of the most common is insulin. When your body continually has a surplus of insulin (often seen when eating too frequently and/or eating lots of carbohydrates without activity), it’s extremely difficult to lose weight. The same can be said when your body is numb to insulin altogether. This is due to the fact that insulin is a fat storing hormone.

Other common issues? Low testosterone (yes, even in women!), high cortisol, low thyroid and low estrogen. These are topics that could all have their own blog post, so I don’t want to dive too deep here. If you find yourself struggling to lose weight, I highly recommend working with a functionally-minded practitioner. If that’s not possible, see what labs your primary care doctor will run. Even basic labs will give you a piece of the picture.

GUT DYSBIOSIS

Gut dysbiosis refers to an imbalance of gut bacteria. With dysbiosis, you may have a lack of beneficial bacteria and an overgrowth of “bad” or opportunistic bacteria. Your gut requires a balance of the good and bad bacteria. When there are too few of the good guys, the bad guys are able to take over, causing changes to your microbiome. When this happens, you end up with inflammation that can damage the GI lining and cause some pretty uncomfortable GI symptoms. It can also lead to conditions like SIBO, Irritable Bowel Disease, or Intestinal Permeability (commonly referred to as leaky gut).

Need Help?

Not sure where to start or want a partner on your weight loss journey? Head to my Nutrition Coaching page and learn more about the packages that I offer. I always offer an optional 15-minute complimentary Strategy Session if you want to be sure it’s the right fit before diving in. My greatest privilege in this life is helping people on the path to true and lasting wellness.

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