Weight loss is still incredibly challenging for most people, as evidenced by the growing global obesity epidemic.
According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, more than two in three US adults are considered overweight (defined as a body- mass index between 25 and 30), and 36.5% of US adults fall into the obese category (BMI greater than 30).
Many people also want to lose weight. According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately half of overweight and obese adults report that they are trying to lose weight. Which is why my patients often ask, "Why aren’t I losing weight?"
There is no simple, universal answer to this question, but after nearly two decades of working with patients trying to lose weight, and with the help of two leaders in the field of nutrition and obesity medicine, I’ve put together this list of some of the most common behavioral and medical reasons you might not be losing weight, even though you think you are doing everything right. I’ve also tried to include suggestions to get you on the right track to sustained weight loss.
You have calorie ’amnesia’
This is one of the most common and easy-to-fix issues that I see in my practice: Put simply, people often eat more calories than they realize.
You relax your diet too much on weekends
This is another very common issue that is a bit more challenging to fix, as weekends are generally much less structured and more social than weekdays. Three days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) of more relaxed eating (and in many cases drinking) can easily erase four days of more focused effort.
Your medication is working against you
Most physicians do not receive adequate training in obesity medicine and nutrition. Many may not be aware that the medications they prescribe may lead to weight gain or make weight loss more challenging.
You eat too much of a good thing
It is true that recommendations concerning dietary fat have changed in the past decade, and nutrition science has found that unsaturated fat, including nuts, seeds, avocado and olive oil, plays an important role in a healthy diet.
However, you can easily eat too much healthy fat along with other healthy foods, including whole grains.
Your body is resistant to insulin
This is an issue I often encounter with patients and one that my colleague Dr. Michael Rothkopf, president of the National Board of Physician Nutrition Specialists, confirms is an often overlooked reason for weight loss failure.