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5 Hidden Causes of Weight Gain

Are you struggling with your weight? Trying to lose weight can be an emotional roller coaster, and is often not simply a matter of willpower and portion control. The only way to truly make a difference in the long run is to address the underlying cause(s) of weight gain. These are my top 5 causes for difficulty losing weight:

  1. Malnutrition-Most North Americans following the Standard American Diet (aka SAD diet). However this diet results in people being overfed but undernourished! This diet is low in essential nutrients that are needed for proper metabolism and hormone balance. Without these nutrients, we can experience hunger even while eating larger quantities of food, since the body is still starving for those nutrients.

  2. Blood Sugar Imbalances-Simple carbohydrates convert to sugar in the bloodstream faster than others. To prevent excessive storage of blood sugar into fat, you want your blood sugar to stay tightly regulated, with no sharp rises or dips otherwise it will triggers the release of insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels and storage into fat. As long as insulin levels are high, you cannot burn fat from adipose tissue because your body is focusing on storing excess blood sugar into triglycerides and then into fat cells. Because of these fluctuations in blood sugar, you can feel a short term energy boost, then low energy, and hunger cravings.

  3. Food Sensitivities-Underlying food sensitivities can cause inflammation in the body, hindering weight loss. Identifying and eliminating food sensitivities may decrease chronic inflammation which fuels obesity. Food sensitivities are delayed immune-mediated reactions to foods, which can occur anytime from eating the food and up to 72 hours after causing the body to produce excessive amounts immunoglobulin G (IgG). Common symptoms of food sensitivities include digestive issues (gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea), feeling like food “just sits there”, foggy thinking, migraine headaches, fatigue, difficulty losing weight, or skin issues (acne, eczema, psoriasis).

  4. Chronic Stress-There is a detrimental impact of long-term, chronic stress on our bodies. Our body deals with any long-term stress through the adrenal glands which produce cortisol. If you tend to gain weight in your mid-section, chances are chronic stress (or sugar imbalances) may be an issue. Over time, high cortisol leads to the breakdown of muscle mass (decreasing metabolic rate), decreased production of active thyroid hormone, depressed mood, cravings for sweets, fats, and salty food, and central weight gain.

  5. Thyroid Dysfunction-The thyroid controls metabolism and therefore weight. An underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, is associated with weight gain, depressed mood, cold intolerance, constipation, and many other symptoms. If you have symptoms but your thyroid has been tested and found to be “normal”, there still could be a problem with your thyroid. I look for optimal rather than normal levels in those patients, and often order a complete thyroid panel (TSH, fT3, fT4, TPO) to make sure everything is functioning as well as it could. As mentioned above, chronic stress can also impair the way thyroid hormone is used by the tissues, and may be a reason you could have symptoms when your lab tests appear normal.

If you have been struggling with weight and want to treat the underlying causes, book an initial appointment with me.

Best in Health!


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