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Weight loss can be a delicate subject among women, but it really doesn’t have to be that way.
When you think about dropping pounds as a way to preserve your health, rather than as a way to fulfill an image, the discussion becomes one about wellness and quality of life, rather than about ego or appearance.
And we need more of that. Because obesity and overweight are killers…
Post-menopausal women who are obese are far more likely to have metastatic breast cancer. Obesity-related conditions such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes are among the leading killers women (and men) worldwide.
Even if you’re overweight but not obese, you’re putting yourself at greater risk of osteoarthritis, hypertension, gout and kidney disease.
If you’ve tried to lose weight but found it difficult or impossible, take heart. Here are four possible reasons, and ways to do something about them.
4 things that keep the weight on
- Your thyroid is slow. Our bodies function through a delicate balance of chemicals. When that balance is thrown off, things go wrong. When it comes to weight loss, this is especially true of your thyroid hormones.
Triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) are hormones that control your weight and metabolism. Many things can throw them out of balance, including:
- Too much or too little iodine in the diet
- An undiagnosed medical condition
- Toxicity from amalgam fillings
When one of these causes too little T4 to be produced, the metabolism slows down, making weight loss more difficult.
Signs of a slow thyroid include dry skin and hair, fatigue, constipation, muscle aches and weakness, and unexplainable weight gain.
What to do. Your doctor can do a blood test, thyroid scan or radioactive iodine uptake test to assess your thyroid status. If indeed there is a problem, look for any nutritional deficiencies that may be causing the problem before your turn to hormone therapy.
A nutritionist can help with this. Adequate levels of protein, as well as the minerals selenium, iodine, iron, zinc and magnesium and vitamins B1, B2, B12, A, C and D may all be involved in a thyroid imbalance.
- You’re stressed out. Your adrenal glands release the hormone cortisol any time you’re under stress. Cortisol is released until the stress has passed, then returns to normal levels.
But when you’re constantly stressed, even if it’s become your normal way of life, your body continues releasing cortisol. This adds fat to your midsection, but your body never gets the message that it’s OK to let go of that fat.
Other possible causes of a cortisol imbalance are the use of corticosteroid medications like prednisone, as well as nutrient deficiencies and hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid hormone).
Sleep deprivation also raises cortisol levels and increases your appetite.
What to do. Taking a good look at your daily stress levels and finding ways to control stress is the key here. Practices like meditation and yoga will do this, but so will taking time to be outdoors in nature, practicing gratitude and deep breathing.
Of course, talking to a trained professional could help if you feel like your stress is out of your control.
- You’re doing the wrong exercises. Studies have shown that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is better at burning fat than long, sweaty cardio sessions.
HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise with brief recovery periods between each. Since exercise sessions are short, HIIT fits well into almost anyone’s schedule.
- You’re eating the wrong foods. While this may seem like an obvious reason for poor weight-loss results, there’s more to it than counting calories or sticking to a diet. In fact, it’s not about dieting at all.
An intuitive eating plan can help you make friends with food and begin eating healthfully as a way of life. Rather than a diet, intuitive eating respects your body’s nutritional needs and your desire to eat enjoyable but less-healthy foods upon occasion.
Of course, avoiding processed foods that are high in sugar, salt and chemicals is the first step. Eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits is another natural way to adjust your body’s system so that it is digesting food more thoroughly.
Finally, if you drink alcohol daily, even on a moderate basis, those hidden calories may be keeping the weight on.
Editor’s note: While you’re doing all the right things to protect your brain as you age, make sure you don’t make the mistake 38 million Americans do every day — by taking a drug that robs them of an essential brain nutrient! Click here to discover the truth about the Cholesterol Super-Brain!