6 Things You May Not Know About Weight Loss

May 8, 2015 Updated: May 8, 2015

Struggling to lose weight? Here are 6 things you may not be considering.

Your Hormones Could Be Out Of Balance

If you’re seemingly doing “everything right” but for some reason you just can’t seem to get any weight off, you might want to consider getting your hormones checked. All the time we see people struggling with weight loss that actually have an issue with their thyroid hormone, which has a big impact on regulating weight. If that’s the case, the thyroid can often be boosted naturally (depending on how severe the thyroid condition is). For women, the estrogen/progesterone ratio in the body can also directly affect weight loss. Higher levels of estrogen relative to progesterone could be causing you to keep weight on. Get your levels checked, and then discuss the next steps with your doctor.

It’s Sugar, Not Fat, That Keeps The Weight On

Most of us know by now that the low fat craze is over, but just in case you weren’t aware — fat isn’t something to be afraid of, if you’re choosing the right kinds of fats like avocado, coconut, and grass-fed butter (yum). The real culprit when it comes to losing weight is sugar. Sugar from any source, even natural sweeteners like maple syrup, honey and fruit, can cause you to keep on extra weight if you’re eating them frequently.

Bad Digestion Hinders Weight Loss

Even if you’re eating all the “right” foods, if your digestion is off it can keep you from losing weight. If you experience bloating, constipation, gas, or other digestive discomfort, you’ll want to clear that up before you can really experience the weight loss you’re looking for. A good quality probiotic, drinking more water, and taking a magnesium supplement at night is a good place to start, or if you’re really experiencing digestive discomfort, a gut-cleaning cleanse might be in order.

You Could Be Overdoing It On Grains — Even If You’re Gluten-Free

Going gluten-free can trigger weight loss for many people, especially those with a serious gluten sensitivity. But we’ve seen many cases where grains in general (even the gluten-free ones) can cause some people to keep on extra weight. If you’re eating a lot of gluten-free grains like rice or quinoa, or gluten-free pastas, breads and snacks, eliminating these foods for a period of time could be a good idea — see how your body responds.

Poor Sleep Habits Make Weight Loss Difficult

If you’re eating right and exercising but having a hard time shedding pounds, take a look at your sleep habits. Not sleeping enough stimulates the hormone ghrelin, which increases your appetite, and lowers leptin, which tells you when you’re full. Your basal metabolic rate (the amount of calories you burn at rest) is also lowered when you’re sleep-deprived. In addition, your stress hormone, cortisol, is released in your body when you’re tired. This can stimulate your appetite even more. Are you convinced yet? Get more sleep! Studies show that 7-9 hours is optimal for most people.

Stress Is The Enemy Of Weight Loss

Are you the type of person who is hyper-particular about diet, goes to the gym 6 days a week and takes radically good care of your health…but you’re stressed and busy and overscheduled? We see a lot of patients like that at the wellness center, being that we’re located in Manhattan, where everybody has a minute-by-minute schedule! Good for you if you’re being productive and getting things done…but did you know that relaxing and weight loss actually go hand in hand? Like I mentioned above, the stress hormone cortisol can make you hungrier, and being too stressed out can wreak havoc on your adrenal system, which is intimately related to your thyroid (which helps regulate your weight). Bottom line – try some yoga or meditation (we love the Headspace app for meditation) and make sure you schedule in some time for relaxing.

Dr. Frank Lipman is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City. This article was originally published on DrFrankLipman.com.