When you set your mind on losing weight, there is little as frustrating as slow progress. If you consider yourself a slow loser, this post will share five things that could be resulting in slow weight loss for you.
I’m a Slow Loser – At-A-Glance
- A number of medications can slow down weight loss or even encourage your body to gain weight.
- Exercise can stimulate your appetite or help you gain muscle which looks like stalled weight loss on the scale.
- Look out for hidden sugars. You’ll be surprised at the “healthy foods” that contain sugar.
- As your body sheds pounds your metabolism is not as taxed simply because it takes less energy to move around a slimmer body.
I’m a Slow Loser…What’s Wrong?! [Video]
In this video, you’ll learn…
- Five things that may be affecting your weight loss.
- Ways to identify these factors in your everyday routine/diet.
- Practical steps towards success.
Causes of Slow Weight Loss
I want to start with an issue that is widely overlooked: medication. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, a number of medications, from medicines for diabetes to blood pressure meds can slow down weight loss or even encourage your body to gain weight.
The mechanisms by which medications cause weight gain will vary. Some will stimulate your appetite and others may cause water retention or cause your body to burn calories at a slower rate than normal.
You can be doing the right things with your diet, but not getting the results on the scale. Your best first step is to talk to your doctor about your medication. Together, look for ways to lessen the side effects.
#2 Exercise without Diet
This next issue may be a deceiving one because the progress might be happening within you, but you’re not seeing the results on the scale. The issue I am describing is exercising without dieting.
A few months ago, I ran into a friend who I hadn’t seen in a while. She was feeling discouraged because she had invested a month’s worth of time in working with a personal trainer in hopes of losing weight. At the end of the month, however, her weight had only dropped one pound. She felt like she had put a lot of effort in, but had gotten little in return.
If you’ve ever had this experience, there are a couple of things to consider.
If you are lifting weight for exercise, your muscles will build and that added muscle will add weight to the scale (1).
Relying on exercise alone means you’ll want to monitor your body fat percentage along with your weight. It is easy to find bathroom scales that also measure your body fat percentage.
It is also worth noting that exercise may stimulate your appetite. If you are a slow loser and looking to speed up weight loss by adding exercise, you’ll be happiest with your results if you add some focus to your diet.
#3 Hidden Sugars
The best place to start is by cutting out sugar and refined carbs. The challenge with getting those fat-blocking foods out of your diet is that they seem to be lurking at every corner.
This brings me to the next thing for you to take a look at if you’re a slow loser than desired weight loss: hidden sugars.
To keep your weight loss on track, you’ll find the most success if you make it a habit of reading ingredient lists.
My rule for quickly determining if a food choice should be left on the shelf is to look where sugar falls on the ingredient list. If it, or one of sugar’s many aliases, is listed as one of the top three ingredients, that food should stay on the shelf.
When you get in this habit of reading labels, you’ll be surprised at the “healthy foods” that contain sugar, including everything from protein and energy bars to salad dressings.
Even too much natural sugar from fruit can be too much for some metabolisms. I have a blog post that explains why eating fruit and weight loss might not mix if you are interested in learning more
#4 Underactive Thyroid
Speaking of metabolisms, there is no doubt that hormonal issues can impact metabolism. When we talk about metabolism, an underactive thyroid comes to mind for many.
Every cell in your body needs thyroid hormone to make energy.
If your thyroid is underactive, you might not be producing enough thyroid hormone to burn fat efficiently. The challenge with diagnosing a thyroid condition is that routine blood tests often fail to detect low thyroid levels.
You want to ask your doctor to run a complete thyroid panel, which will look deeper and uncover hidden problems. On my website, I provide a breakdown of the thyroid tests that you can ask your doctor to run. You’ll also find a hypothyroid quiz that will let you self-evaluate if you may have an under-active thyroid.
#5 Distance from your Goal Weight
It is important to consider where you are on your weight loss journey.
If you are in relatively good health but had a lot of weight to lose when you began your diet, it is likely that weight loss was happening at a good pace in that early stage.
However, as your body sheds pounds your metabolism is not as taxed simply because it takes less energy to move around a slimmer body.
Think of this: a gallon of water weighs about eight pounds or 3.6kg. Try carrying two of these jugs up a couple of flights of stairs. You’ll see how carrying that extra weight feels like a workout.
As more of these pounds are lost, your body does not need to work as hard, so you don’t burn as many calories from your typical activity level. It is these times that you may want to look at adding exercise to bump up your metabolism and encourage continued weight loss.
A Path to Weight Loss
There is a lot that goes into reaching your weight loss goal, but getting there can be life-changing. Stay on your path.
As I often say, the way to stamp a guarantee on your efforts is to create a plan that is Easy-to-Follow, Enjoyable, and Effective. When you have those three E’s in place, there is no reason or desire to turn back to your old habits.
(1) Baar, Keith, Gustavo Nader, and Sue Bodine. “Resistance exercise, muscle loading/unloading and the control of muscle mass.” Essays in biochemistry 42 (2006): 61-74.
About the Author
Dr. Becky Gillaspy, DC graduated in 1991 with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College.