The Top 10 Reasons You are Not Losing Weight

I see this all the time.  We're now four weeks into the New Year, and you've been exercising more than you have in a long time.  You're skipping the drive-thru's and being strict about your diet.  However, when you're stepping on the scale, the numbers aren't budging in the direction that you need them to. So why are you not losing weight?  Here are the top 10 reasons you are not losing weight:

  1. You haven't chosen the right diet
    With the thousands, if not millions, of potential diets out there, it's so easy to get overwhelmed and confused.  When choosing a 'diet', you need to make sure it revolves around real food, and not the processed homogenized crap served from a drive thru window or inner isles of a grocery store.  Protein meal replacement weight-loss shakes also are not real food.   The best clinical results I have seen in my office are from the ancestral based diets like the paleo or primal diets.
  2. You're not drinking enough water
    You need to be drinking at least ½ your body weight in ounces of good clean water, and yes, the type of water really does matter.  You should be drinking a good mineral or spring water; the natural minerals found from these sources really aid in the utilization and absorption.  The waters that should be avoided are reverse osmosis (purified) or distilled.  These types of filtration tend to test poorly on my patients, when Applied Kinesiology Manual muscle testing is used.
  3. You're exercising too much
    This time of year a lot of people are starting to suffer from symptoms of over training.  These include lack of progress toward your goals, injuries, fatigue, lack of focus (brain fog), restlessness and increased resting heart rate.  Most of these signs indicate that your sympathetic nervous system is in the driver seat of your body, which means you're stuck in a perpetual fight or flight response.  When your body is in a response of excess cortisol, adrenalin and nor-adrenalin, it is exceedingly hard to lose weight.  To fix this take some time off from training (1-2 weeks).  When you start again, go with slower, less intense, heart rate type of training.  After a few weeks of this you can add in some very short H.I.I.T type of training first thing in the morning.
  4. You're drinking too much alcohol
    I love a great class of wine just as much as the next guy.  However, if you're trying to lose weight, it's best to limit or decrease your intake of any alcohol all together.   This is because all alcohols are sugars.  When first transitioning to a paleo diet, you will probably have to work very hard to balance your blood sugar and cortisol.  So, if you are struggling dropping the weight, you might have to drop all forms of sugar, including alcohol and fruits.
  5. You aren’t sleeping enough
    When you are chronically sleep deprived you’re cortisol levels to rise.  When you have excess cortisol circulating, it makes it really hard to drop that weight, even if you're working hard to lose it.  Plus when you get enough deep sleep you tend to spike growth hormone, which helps you burn fat and build muscle.  So make sure you get 7-8 hours of sleep in a very dark room for the best possible sleep.
  6. You're taking in too many carbs
    While most people consider paleo a no carb or low carb diet, the truth is that paleo is actually very flexible when it comes to the amount of carbs you can eat.   You just really need to choose more traditional sources of those carbs.  Yams, sweet potatoes, squash, vegetables and fruits are all acceptable forms of carbs.  Also, naturally sweet things like honey and maple syrup can be used in small doses from time to time.  The problem comes when you move away from breads, pasta and rice, some people tend to replace every bit of their carbs, they were getting from those breads, with fruit and the starchier carbs like yams and squash.  If you're struggling with losing weight, it might be helpful to eliminate all carbs except vegetables from you diet for at least three weeks.
  7. You're under too much stress.
    When I say this to patients they almost always respond "but I don’t feel that stressed”.  What everyone fails to recognize is that even if you don’t feel stressed, your body is reacting to everything that is going on around you.  This includes emotional stress, physical stress, financial stress, thermal stress, electromagnetic stress and especially, chemical stress.  All these potential innocuous stressors add up.  Your body doesn’t differentiate the type of the stress, and they are all cumulative.  They all create cortisol, adrenalin and nor adrenalin that break down lean muscle and increase fat storage.  This system was built for our survival against life and death events, like getting eaten by a tiger.  The problem is that it doesn’t differentiate between the tiger and the stack of paperwork on your desk.
  8. You're not getting enough fat in your diet
    Conventional wisdom has been telling us that in order to lose fat you need to cut fat out of your diet.  Well reality couldn’t be farther from this conventional wisdom, and science has been proving it for a long time.  It's not just about eating fat in general, but the type of fat you eat is extremely important.  The fat should come from healthy sources like fish, grass fed and finished beef, some nut and fruit oils.  These fats are high in omega 3 fats and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.  Yes those are the vitamins your doctor has been saying you are extremely low in!
  9. You're not being honest about cheating
    It is probably time to start tracking everything you eat.  You may be surprised at how often you're slipping in a bite of sugar here and there, even if it's from approved sources like yams or fruit.  Also, if you' haven't already done so, you'll want to clean out your pantry.  If you are anything like me, getting all of the “cheats” out of the house is a must.  Slipping just one or two times, every couple of days, can be enough to wreck your weight loss goals.
  10. You're not in a routine
    This may be the most important thing you can do.  If you can make your diet and exercise a focused routine that you just do everyday then you stand a much better chance of succeeding.  There is a great book about the power of a routine called Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind.  This is a great book that is helping me set my daily routine.

Hopefully at least one of these triggers some new ideas and changes in your weight loss journey and gets you to the final outcome you deserve!

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