Dieting and Exercising But Not Losing Weight

I felt it necessary to dedicate some space in my blog to the causes of not losing weight, although we are eating clean and exercising. Like many, I have been on that ship and know how frustrating this is and can be.

Why Can’t We Lose Weight? Woman on scale

When we follow what we hear should work with constant practice yet get no results, this can drive us up the roof. It is the most frustrating feeling one can ever experience. And when we constantly fail, we lose the motivation to continue trying. So why is it that some of us may be dieting and exercising but not losing weight.

We must seek help to see if we can pinpoint what may be wrong if this happens. In many cases, this is due to a medical condition that we may not be aware we are suffering from. Visiting a doctor or care provider is one of the best ways to get tested to see if we can determine what may be going on.

Medical Conditions

There are medical conditions that cause difficulty slimming down. Below I share some that are probably not a surprise and others that are not the first thing that comes to mind.

According to the National Library of Medicine, PubMed.gov, several endocrine diseases cause obesity. Some of these are:

Hypothyroidism

Policystic Ovarian Syndrome also known as PCOS

Cushing’s syndrome

Hypothalamic disorders

Conditions/Disorders Explained

A review confirms that Hypothyroidism “results in decreased metabolism and secondary effects including fatigue and weight gain.”

According to PubMed, Hypothyroidism is a disease of the thyroid gland. The gland does not make enough thyroid hormones, and weight gain is a symptom of the disease. It is also known as having an underactive thyroid.

Many individuals suffer from this condition. It is one of the most known for difficulty with weight loss. Genetics seems to play a role, so it may be a condition that may show up in other family members. Females usually develop the disease. Treatment usually helps manage it.

According to a review in PubMed, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine disorder afflicting females of reproductive age. It is common in women ages 18 to 35. A study concluded that women who suffer PCOS experience more difficulty with weight loss due to many factors aside from the actual disease.

This syndrome can cause many health issues and infertility, insulin resistance, obesity, and cardiovascular problems, are the most common. Women with this condition may experience infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods. It may cause an excess in levels of the male hormone (androgen). The ovaries fail to release eggs regularly. The exact cause of PCOS is unknown.

An article in PubMed describes Cushing’s Syndrome as a condition that is also known as Endogenous pathologic hypercortisolism. It is caused by having an excess of cortisol. The disease is prevalent and morbid. Individuals who experience this syndrome report a poor quality of life.  Most of the signs and symptoms are hypertension and weight gain. Not all patients experience the same symptoms.

Hypothalamic Disorders

The hypothalamus as a small but crucial part of the brain. It controls several important functions, including sleep and growth. According to PubMed the disorder is due to damage to the ventromedial hypothalamus and causes weight gain, a feeling of hunger which is not normal and can cause overeating known as hyperhagia, a low metabolic rate, defective coordination between nervous systems known as autonomic imbalance, growth hormone (GH) deficiency, and various other problems that contribute to weight gain.

Symptoms to Look Out For

Some of the signs of some of these conditions are very similar. Be on the lookout for some of these symptoms:

Hypothyroidism:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Increased blood cholesterol level
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Puffy face
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle weakness, aches, tenderness, and stiffness
  • Joint pain, stiffness, or swelling
  • Irregular menstrual periods or amenorrhea
  • Dry hair or hair loss

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS:

  • Amenorrhea (missed periods) or irregular periods
  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Unwanted hair growth (excessive facial hair)
  • Thinning hair on the head
  • Acne
  • Mood changes
  • Sleep problems
  • Infertility
  • Depression

Cushing’s Syndrome:

  • Severe fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Depression, anxiety and irritability
  • Loss of emotional control
  • Weight gain
  • Round face
  • Cognitive difficulties

Other Causes

Other causes of struggling to lose weight may also be due to the following:

Depression:  According to the US Department of Health, Depression is a serious mood disorder and affects how you feel, think, and go about your daily life. Some symptoms of this condition are:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

Although it is believed that being overweight can cause depression, studies have also shown that depression can cause a person not to exercise and thereby become overweight.

Stress: According to the US Department of Health, stress is experienced by everyone, and it is not always a bad thing. However, suffering from it for long periods is not good for your health. According to PubMed (NIH.gov),  studies suggest that stress may be linked to weight gain. According to Mayo Clinic, stress that is not addressed “can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.” Stressed Lady Holding Forehead

A note about this condition: Stress is a silent killer. Do not ignore the signs and symptoms, thinking this is not happening to you. Studies have shown that people that suffer from this condition can need up to 20 days to recover. I should know. I once had to take medical leave from work because of it. It took me precisely 21 days to return to work with a feeling that I was strong and well enough to get back to my usual tasks. My doctor himself warned me not to take this condition lightly as it is, as he put it himself, “a killer.”

I have found another way to treat stress aside from exercise. Remember, exercise is one of the best ways to manage stress. This other item is terrific for stress relief. I love the aromatherapy oil difusser necklace and the lovely scented oils.  These are perfect for relaxation. They have done wonders for me.

Medications: According to a review Antipsychotics, antidepressants, antihyperglycemics, antihypertensives, and corticosteroids all contain medications that were associated with significant weight gain. It goes without saying that if you consume prescribed medicine and are having a hard time losing weight, that may be the culprit. Some women who take oral contraceptives also tend to gain weight when taking the pills.  Check with your physician to see if the prescription can be changed, especially if it is a brand name drug substituted by a generic one which may not cause the side effect.

Syndrome X: Metabolic syndrome, according to Mayo Clinic, is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. These conditions include increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol or triglyceride levels.

If you have difficulty shedding the pounds, the best thing to do is visit a professional to get tested to rule out that you are not suffering from any of these or other conditions.

It is frustrating to work hard and follow the rules to lose weight, not to see any results. This is the case with many people, especially women.

When you are armed with the knowledge and tools that you need to know what to do when you are not sure what is wrong, you have the benefit to find a solution and get back on track with your weight loss goals and road to becoming healthier.

What If It’s Not a Medical Condition?

But what if the reason for your struggle is not because of a medical condition? I must go back to the importance of eating and drinking clean. I, too, have been an offender of not making the right choice. The unhealthy one would involve soft drinks and juices. And don’t mind me, juices are ok if they are natural and organic. I bet you didn’t guess that even low sugar liquids can affect your health.

In my next post, I share how the regular consumption of low or zero sugar drinks and low-calorie sweeteners’ is not good for us and how water is essential to reach our health goals.

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12 thoughts on “Dieting and Exercising But Not Losing Weight

  1. Hi. I can relate to this. I have gone through it. And it’s pretty discouraging.

    The only way we can lose weight when diagnosed with hypothyroidism, is being willing to switch to another diet. And something that can also help us a lot is avoid inflammatory foods. When we have an underactive thyroid, avoid inflammatory foods is key.

    1. Hello Ann,

      Thank you for sharing how this is something you have dealt with yourself.  I am a firm believer that personal experiences are one of the best ways to tell others that they are not alone in their battles.

      You mention inflammation and avoiding this and foods that cause it. That is so true. In my other posts, I share how I had to do this to lose weight even while not suffering from hypothyroidism. It is a good practice.

      I am sure your comment will help many others, and I thank you for taking the time to visit my page and tell us what you have done to deal with this condition.

      I hope you are doing well.

      Best wishes,

      Nyny 

  2. I was discouraged that I had been trying really hard and didn’t seem to be loosing weight. But I have realized that this does not mean that I’m not losing fat. Body weight tends to fluctuate by a few pounds. It depends on the foods we are eating, and hormones can also have a major effect on how much water our body retains. And a very important point is that if we’re exercising, it is possible to gain muscle at the same time as we lose fat.

    1. Hello, Abel,

      What you describe is all very true. I have experienced this myself. It turns out that on many occasions that I was not able to lose weight, it was due to a health issue or because of my hormones.

      Once I was not losing much weight at all, yet my clothes were fitting looser on me. That told me I was losing fat.

      I can’t stress enough that if we can’t lose weight, we need to get checked to rule out as many things as possible, find the problem and a solution, and begin working on correcting what’s wrong without delay. It will make our weight loss goals a lot easier to reach.

      Thank you for sharing your story.

      All the best,

      Nyny

  3. Hi, thanks for this article on Dieting and Exercising. I really learned a lot, I always thought that you will surely loose weight as long as you excise and on a diet provided you follow it religiously. But I am surprised that some factors such as depression and stress which to me should cause you to loose a lot of weight stops your body from doing so, interesting! 

    1. Hello, Nedia,

      Thank you for your comment.

      I am glad that my post has been of value to you and has taught you about other factors contributing to weight gain. As you mention, it would seem correct to lose weight when we stress or are depressed. That is what is considered the typical scenario. Yet, many of us, especially women, experience the other end of the spectrum.

      When I didn’t know enough, I believed that stress or depression should cause weight loss. The first time I was asked if work had me stressed by a doctor, I didn’t understand the connection. That’s when I first heard that it could make us gain weight.

      I hope you will share this with others who may not have this knowledge and invite them to visit my page and learn more. Please come back often as I continue posting on the site.

      Best wishes,

      Nyny

  4. In my hones pinion, losing weight is all about calories deficit and time! Those are just the 2 factors that if we can stick to them, we will lose the weight for sure but it is hard since our brain is telling us to eat more and binge because it thinks that we are in famine. Other medical conditions and genetics can play a part in the weight gain but that you have to find out with yor doctor. I cannot wait to find our about sweeteners on your next post! 

    1. Hi, Nuttanee,

      You are correct that calorie deficit is needed to lose weight, and the one old most valuable thing that many of us cherish and cannot give away that easily – time. We need time to exercise and find a way to balance it among all the other responsibilities expected of us.

       It is also true that we allow our minds to control our emotions, and we will succumb to binge eating sometimes. This is especially true when we gather with friends who will not support us in our journey to lose weight. That is why it is so essential that we partner with someone or ask our friends and family to begin a diet with us, so we don’t suffer the consequences because they eat foods while living with or visiting us that are not precisely the healthy kind. And it does take lots of willpower to stay on the right track.

      I am glad to hear you are interested in my next post about sweeteners. I hope to see you back so you can learn more about this topic.

      Until then, I wish you all the best,
      Nyny

  5. This article will be perfect for my mother. She’s currently struggling with losing weight and she has been trying to do it in a less physical way as she is currently injured and cannot do too much physical stuff. This will literally be perfect for her because she really needs to find other ways to lose weight and you have provided that, I want to let you know you are saving lives

    1. Hello, Misael,

      Thank you for your comment and kind words.

      I am happy to hear my story has shed some light on things you can look into to help your mom on her journey to weight loss and become healthy.

      I can imagine how difficult it must be to lose weight if she has experienced an injury. One thing that can stop someone in their tracks when it comes to exercise is precisely no mobility. It must be stressful not to be able to move like we use to. Yet, even then, there are things that we can do to change our eating habits and delicious diets we can follow to lose weight.

      Please do come back often as I share new posts. I would love to hear more of how your mom is doing as she works on becoming lighter and healthier.

      I wish you both all the best,

      Nyny 

  6. Great post, I found your article very informative.  There are so many things that can affect our health, I am a strong believer in you become what you eat.  Consuming unhealthy foods and sugars over long periods eventually cause  inflammation in the body and all kinds of problems and diseases show up. I am a celiac sufferer, it all started 10 years ago when it seriously hit me.  I had a very demanding job and there was no time to prepare meals, the shortest way out was to grab a piece of whole wheat bread and make a quick  health sandwich. All of a sudden I got dermatitis herpetiformis, this is when I realized something was seriously wrong, to crown it all doctors could not give me answers, ointments and medication did not help. I started to do my own research on Google and after a couple of days found an article that described my situation to the tee.  I stopped eating gluten, within 4 days my skin  started healing and within 14 days I was back to normal.  Celiac disease is a life sentence, there is no cure. I stayed on the gluten free diet, learned to bake my own gluten free bread,  I lost 28 kilos in weight by going gluten and grain free.  Maybe I had this intolerance since child hood, sometimes the condition is dormant until one day when  something triggers it.  I am so used to be gluten free that I do not miss gluten products anymore.         

    1. Hello, Carola,

      I am glad you found my article informative and thank you for sharing your story. 

      I have heard of Celiac disease and personally knew a person who suffered from the condition. Everything you describe here that you went through sounds a lot like what I heard from this person. Thank you for bringing it up since this disease also affects the health of many individuals. When speaking of this disease, management of what you eat is a big thing. There is no other way around it to get better but to change what foods you eat.

      Diseases do show up all of a sudden. Some experience mild symptoms and do not realize it or consider it until it is already a full-blown problem.

      I am glad you took the initiative and worked on finding information yourself. It is difficult when we know something is wrong and because doctors cannot find anything, we have to live with the burden. Your story demonstrates the importance of listening to your body and how we must advocate for ourselves.

      I am glad you found a remedy that you were able to implement, and that has worked for you. I am also delighted to hear that what you did helped you lose some weight. It shows any health condition can stir havoc on our systems, but once we figure out what it is, we can take control of it and meet our weight loss goals.

      I hope you will continue sharing my site with others and your story as well. Please come back often as I share new posts.

      Until then, I wish you all the best,

      Nyny

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