Q: Why am I making healthy changes but not losing weight?
Weight rebalance is complex. The thought that weight loss equates to more calories out over calories in is an old belief that should be retired.
While intake and movement are elements in what determines our weight, it’s not so simple. It’s a complex system of other factors including the dynamic dance of hormones (such as insulin, leptin, ghrelin, and cortisol), neurotransmitters, the presence of inflammation, and nutritional status.
Some experience weight loss when they first adopt healthy changes. But for some, they actually find that their body weight creeps up before the weight loss happens.
This could be due to in part of micronutrient deficiencies and hormone dysregulation. When you first start truly nourishing your body, your body’s first response will be to retain all the energy and nutrition you consume. As long as you are supporting your body through stress management, sleep, and moderate activity, this phase should be short-lived.
If weight loss still doesn’t come after complete compliance on a healthy lifestyle, then it calls for a deeper look to find the root cause. When the body is balanced and is fully nourished, it will heal from the inside out. Imbalanced weight is a symptom. Addressing weight is to support the body’s foundations in health: digestion, blood sugar balance, minerals, hydration, and fatty acid balance. Once we can determine why the body is in a state of survival, and we can reassure the body that it’s safe, the pounds will start to shed.
It’s also common for those making healthy changes to lose weight but then plateau, hovering about 10-30 pounds above where they’d like. This typically indicates the need for additional tweaks in the lifestyle to support further regulation of hormones. Or, simply, it could mean that the body knows what its healthy weight is better than you do!
In any discussion on weight loss, we need to discuss healthy expectations. Sometimes our desired weight is skewed by what our culture values as desirable or beautiful. BMI charts can also be misleading because they don’t take in to account of muscle versus bone versus fat. Additionally, we must understand that slow and steady weight loss is more sustainable than a quick fix. Take the The Biggest Loser contestants as an example. Many gain the weight back because the root cause nor hormones and metabolism are addressed.
Finally, we cannot forget that before any weight loss occurs, healing must take place. And this healing takes extra nutrition from the most nutrient-dense foods possible, not less.
Are you following all the nutrition “rules” and desire to lose weight? I have news that may shake your world. It’s possible to enjoy delicious food, separate guilt from eating, and not feel deprived to lose weight. If you have questions about how this would look, let’s chat about how to make your vision reality. But if you’re not ready for that, I highly recommend reading Happy Weight, written by a fellow Nutritional Therapy Practitioner to convince you that it’s possible to lose weight, be happy, and not follow a 800 calorie diet.