You’re following a healthy weight-loss plan and paying attention to diet, exercise, adequate sleep, and proper supplementation. Yet your weight remains the same. But there are medical conditions that make it difficult to lose weight.
Often when this happens, there’s a hidden culprit such as stress or prescription medications. Or perhaps you’re eating foods with hidden forms of sugar. Sometimes, though, stubborn weight that won’t go away is the result of underlying medical conditions that affect various systems throughout the body. If your body’s internal processes aren’t functioning correctly, that can have a widespread impact on other bodily functions — including your ability to lose weight.
If you think you may have any of these conditions, talk to your doctor about how to better manage them so you can get your weight loss on track.
1. Inflammation and cellular damage
Inflammation is an essential function of the body for fighting infections and healing injuries. Chronic inflammation, however, is a dangerous health condition that can be caused by environmental or dietary factors such as prescription medications, smoking, air pollution, and certain foods, including sugar, wheat, and dairy. Chronic inflammation can lead to cellular damage, which in turn impairs normal functioning throughout the body. Both the inflammation and cellular damage need to be addressed in order for weight loss to take place.
The thyroid gland produces several hormones that regulate processes throughout the body. In many people, the thyroid is either overactive (hyperthyroidism) or underactive (hypothyroidism). If your thyroid is underactive, it may not be producing enough thyroid hormone, which is needed to keep cells functioning throughout the body. If your thyroid slows down, then everything else slows down — including your metabolism. It can be very difficult for people with hypothyroidism to lose weight. They may also experience fatigue, sluggishness, difficulty concentrating, depression, muscle pain, and severe PMS.
3. Chronic stress and depression
Stress triggers the release of a hormone known as cortisol, which influences many processes throughout the body. If you are living with chronic stress, anxiety, or grief, the result is often high, prolonged levels of cortisol, which can lead to health issues such as a depressed immune system, elevated blood pressure, and increased abdominal fat. Chronic stress and depression also often lead to emotional eating, which in turn causes weight gain.
4. Cushing’s syndrome
Elevated levels of cortisol in the body for an extended period of time can also lead to Cushing’s Syndrome, which is characterized by weight gain, especially in the face and upper body, as well as acne, lethargy, high blood pressure, sleep problems, and irregular periods. Cushing’s Syndrome occurs more often in women than in men, particularly in women between the ages of 25 and 40.
5. Syndrome X
Weight gain is often inevitable for those suffering from Syndrome X, which refers to a group of health conditions that seem to be related to insulin resistance. When your body doesn’t respond well to insulin, it affects the function of other hormones throughout the body, including those that help control your metabolism.
6. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is the result of a hormonal imbalance. Symptoms may include acne, excessive facial hair, irregular menstrual periods, thinning hair, difficulty getting pregnant, and unexplained weight gain. Although there is no cure for PCOS, it can often be managed through lifestyle factors such as a healthy diet, exercise, and weight management. Keeping PCOS under control helps lower the risk of infertility, heart disease, and uterine cancer.
7. Hormonal changes
The only thing constant about hormones in a woman’s life is that they change. Three of the most notorious periods of hormonal change are puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. If you’re experiencing symptoms of menopause, these natural hormonal changes may make it more difficult for you to shed excess weight.
If you are experiencing any of these issues, it’s important that your wellness and weight-management program have the proper medical oversight. At Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers, our medically supervised weight-loss programs are designed to help identify and manage the underlying health issues that can make weight loss difficult. Request a free consultation to find out how the experts at Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers can safely guide you on your weight-loss journey.
Medically reviewed by Jay J. Garcia, MD on March 8, 2018