Trying to lose weight, but cannot? Here are 7 reasons that could be getting in the way
Do you keep piling on the kilos, no matter how many diets you try? The problem may have more to do with your general health than with your food. Here are simple solutions that can help you beat the bulge.
Need more sleep If you don’t sleep well, then the body’s hormone axis don’t work properly. They affect metabolism and eventually lead to weight gain. Doctors say if you aren’t sleeping, your body won’t be digesting food normally either. Besides, people suffering from insomnia often snack through the night or drink coffee, which makes the problem worse.
Fix it: Get into a routine by going to bed at regular times and waking up at the same time, even during the weekends. Steer clear of caffeine after 4 pm and try to avoid iPhones or watching TV in your bedroom. Instead, unwind by reading before going to bed.
You’re depressed The problem here is twofold. Most people share an emotional relationship with food. So when depressed, they tend to eat more. However, antidepressants can also stimulate the appetite as, when people feel happier, thanks to the medication, they overeat.
Fix it: It’s important not to use an increase in appetite as an excuse to eat the wrong foods. Instead, make sure you always have healthy snacks, such as fruit, nuts and seeds, on hand to stave off those pangs of hunger. If you feel your medication is to blame for your weight gain, then see your GP who might be able to prescribe alternatives.
You’re stressed When adrenaline (the stress hormone) kicks in, the body produces more cortisol, which in turn causes hunger. When you’re stressed it’s tempting to turn to unhealthy ready meals, high-calorie snacks or alcohol. Stress can also make you feel lethargic. All of these factors take their toll on the waistline.
Fix it: Even in times of stress, eat regular, healthy meals. People who are stressed at work tend to laze around in bed on weekends, but that makes matters worse. Unless you eat within half an hour of waking up, the body will go into fasting mode and store up the last meal in case you don’t eat.
Thyroid to blame Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, slows down the metabolism; many people find they put on weight while it goes undiagnosed. With treatment, the hormones will balance out and weight will soon return to normal.
Fix it: Symptoms of hypothyroidism include tiredness, constipation, aches, dry skin, lifeless hair and feeling cold. If you experience any of these, see your GP for a blood test.
PCOS syndrome Many overweight women suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. They have a resistance to insulin, just like people with diabetes, which in the case of PCOS makes it difficult for them to convert the male hormone testosterone in the ovaries into the female hormone oestrogen.
Higher levels of testosterone in the body will make sufferers put on weight and the insulin resistance does the same thing because the body can’t utilise the calories it is taking in.
Fix it: Patients are treated with metformin (the same medication given to type 2 diabetics). It reduces the insulin resistance, which rectifies the hormone balance. They are also encouraged to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well and exercising regularly. Other symptoms of PCOS include excessive body hair, irregular periods, infertility, hair loss and acne.
Eating late at night Studies have shown that people who consume the same calories as others, but eat them an hour or two before going to bed will put on more weight than those who eat earlier. This is because the body is aware that you are not being active, so it stores the calories by turning them into fat. It takes the body longer to convert this stored fat into energy again.
Fix it: Eat your main meal at lunchtime and then have a smaller, lighter meal in the evening, at least three hours before going to bed. The body’s ability to digest food reduces as the sun sets.
You’ve cut out carbs We all know you need a balanced diet to be healthy but for many of us, cutting out carbs is a sure-fire way to reduce a few kilos quickly. However, when you eliminate something from your diet, the body starts to crave it. Carbs are important building blocks for the body to turn into energy.
Fix it: Eat healthy carbs, such as wholemeal breads, rotis, and brown rice. Avoid diets that ban them.