Losing weight in a healthy and sustainable fashion is one of the most challenging endeavors to accomplish. Despite the endless programs, products, trends and gadgets that promise quick and easy weight loss, maintaining the results is the endeavor most people struggle with.
Why is it so hard to lose body fat permanently?
There are several reasons why it can be difficult to lose weight in the form of body fat permanently:
Genetics: They can play a role in how easily a person gains or loses weight. Some people may have a more difficult time losing weight due to their genetic makeup. For example, we are born with an inherited body type based on skeletal frame and body composition. There are 3 general body types or somatotypes - ectomorph, endomorph and mesomorph, with most people having characteristics of at least 2 types.
Hormonal imbalances: Our hormones play a very significant role in how our bodies function, particularly with weight management, appetite and the many metabolic functions they control. Hormone imbalances can make it difficult to lose weight. For example, low levels of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) can slow down metabolism, making it harder to lose body fat. Elevated insulin levels or insulin resistance can also make it challenging to shed excess body fat.
Age: As a person gets older, their metabolism tends to slow down due to hormonal changes and loss of muscle, which can make it harder to lose weight in the form of body fat.
Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as lipedema, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and Cushing's syndrome, can make it more difficult to lose weight.
Dietary Habits: Consuming too many calories, low nutrient-dense or high glycemic foods consistently can make it difficult to lose excess body fat. Also when we eat can play a significant role in how we utilize stored energy. For example, eating right before bedtime, when melatonin levels are high, which has been found to increase insulin resistance in some studies.
Lack of physical activity: Insufficient physical activity on a regular basis can make it difficult to burn excess energy and can contribute to muscle loss and a slower metabolism, which can make fat loss more challenging.
Stress: Chronic stress can lead to weight gain, particularly in the abdominal area. This can occur due to the chronic release of stress hormones like cortisol, which is known to stimulate the release of insulin and promote an increase in belly fat. Stress can also have an impact on our dietary preferences and food consumption.
Lack of sleep: Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain due to disruption in our natural circadian rhythms. This can lead to an increase in the hunger hormone ghrelin and a decrease in the hormone leptin, which regulates appetite. Also when you're tired, you may be more likely to crave energy-dense, high-calorie foods that can give you a quick burst of energy, but leave you hungry soon after.
Medications: Some medications, such as antidepressants, antipsychotics, steroid medications and medications for diabetes and hypertension can cause weight gain as a side effect.
Slow metabolism: A person's metabolism plays a major role in how many calories they burn 24 hours a day. Individuals who have a slower metabolism may find it harder to burn excess body fat.
These are some of the common contributors that can make sustained fat loss difficult.
What Are the Health Risks of Having Excess Body Fat?
Not all excess body fat raises one’s risk for certain health conditions, but excess body fat, especially abdominal fat (also known as visceral fat), has been linked to an increased risk of several serious health conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis and certain types of cancer such as breast cancer, colon cancer, and endometrial cancer. In addition to these health risks, a very recent perspective piece by Dr. Giuseppe Matarese, a professor of immunology at the University of Naples Federico II in Naples, Italy, looked at how excessive caloric intake and obesity may influence the risk for abnormal immune responses by the body.
'Since each individual’s health, food relationship and history is unique, the protocol to achieve sustainable fat loss for their improved health and wellness should be designed to fit their specific needs and goals,' says Lisa Jubilee, MS, CDN. Even if you’ve been prescribed one of the popular weight loss medications like Ozempic, Wegovy, Saxenda or Mounjaro, medications cannot replace regular physical activity, optimal nutrition and an overall healthy lifestyle in order to support sustained weight/fat loss.
Our holistic nutritionist, Lisa Jubilee provides a customized approach to her nutrition counseling and meal planning so that each of her clients experiences a personalized nutrition and eating plan that they can lose (body fat) and live on.
Some of Lisa's modalities include:
If you have questions or are struggling with how to accomplish sustained body fat loss, feel free to contact Lisa for assistance: Living Proof Nutrition