6 Reasons Why Women Struggle To Lose Weight
By Stephanie , April 27, 2019 11:00 AM
There’s a phenomenon I’ve see happen again and again. A husband and wife realize they’ve been enjoying their after-dinner snacks a bit too much and are seeing the numbers on the scale rise. They decide to embark on a healthy diet to shed those excess pounds and, ideally, lose weight fast. Two months later, the husband’s shed serious pounds and is looking trim, while the wife struggles to get the scale to budge, even after a diet full of kale salads and grilled chicken breast.
Sound familiar? The truth is that while losing weight is tough for anyone, there are several factors that can make it extra challenging for women. In fact, American women recently hit a milestone — and not a good one.
A 2016 study published in the journal JAMA found that between 2013 and 2014, obesity among men was 35 percent and 40 percent among women. More interesting, however, was that between 2005 and 2014, while men’s rates of obesity essentially plateaued, the number of women who were very obese steadily increased. (1)
While obesity can take a toll on your self-esteem and confidence, it isn’t just about the way you look. In fact, that should be the least of your worries. Obesity contributes to premature aging and death by increasing the risk for developing life-threatening diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Not obese but carrying around a few extra pounds than is recommended? You could be cutting your lifespan short. One 2017 study found that folks with a history of being overweight, not obese, had a 6 percent increased risk of dying from any cause. (2)
It can be a touchy subject but if you’ve got some extra weight, it’s time to take steps to change that and figure out what the best weight loss tips for women are. After all, reaching a healthy weight is vital for protecting your health, both today and as you age.
Reason #1: You're eating the wrong foods
Take a walk through the supermarket, and you’ll be assaulted with aisle after aisle of low-fat and no-fat foods, “healthy” chips and cookies and juices and sodas galore. You likely already know that if you want to lose weight, cutting out processed foods and sweets is the first and most obvious step. But those healthy-sounding options can be just as bad, too.
When you eat foods that are low- or no-fat, other ingredients are added in so that the food tastes like its full-fat counterpart. Those extra ingredients don’t add in the nutrients that have been stripped away, however, so you end up craving more because, despite the fact that you just ate, your body is still lacking in the vital nutrients it needs. You end up eating more calories than you would have if you’d just eaten the full-fat product.
Sugar is another culprit in healthy foods. “Good” foods like yogurt, salad dressings and tomato sauce are often packed with sugar, leading to more cravings, headaches and more. It’s also one of the reasons you’re struggling to lose weight.
How to Know:
Look through your refrigerator and pantry and take stock of what’s in there. If most of your foods are boxed or in bags, it’s time to transition to more whole foods. Read the labels, too. How much sugar is in your favorite jar of pasta sauce? Are those crackers loaded with preservatives?
What to Do:
First, eliminate or seriously cut back on the fake foods. When possible, choose real foods instead. Among weight loss tips, this one is absolutely essential. That means an apple instead of apple juice, orange slices instead of something orange-flavored. If you’re craving something, skip the no-fat version that will likely leave you wanting more, and instead measure out a serving instead so you can enjoy the food without going nuts.
If you do buy snacks and other convenience products like salad dressings, read the ingredients list and nutrition facts. Buy brands that are organic and free of pesticides and dyes. Skip the flavored version of foods like yogurt and add your own fresh fruit and honey to it. And when possible, make your own foods. Spend a few hours meal prepping on the weekends to make staples you can eat throughout the week, like sauce, dressings and healthy on-the-go snacks.
Reason #2: You have a thyroid problem
Life is all about balance and, when it comes to your body functioning properly, this couldn’t be more true. Our body operates on a delicate balance of chemicals that it must maintain to function properly.
Some of the most important chemicals when it comes to weight and metabolism are the thyroid hormones T3 and T4, aka triiodothyronine and thyroxine.
These hormones can be thrown out of whack by many issues. From a diet with too much or too little iodine, to toxicity from amalgam fillings, to an undiagnosed medical condition, the thyroid can produce too much or too little T4, impacting your metabolism.
How to Know:
If you’re suffering from too much T4, or hyperthyroidism, you might find yourself experiencing these symptoms:
- Racing heart
- Unexplained weight loss
- High amounts of perspiration
- Muscle weakness
- Multiple bowel movements
- Thin, brittle hair
Hypothyroidism, or too little T4, can produce the following symptoms:
- Dry hair, skin
- Unexplainable weight gain
- Muscle weakness and discomfort
If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your health care practitioner.
The three most commonly used tests to determine if you have a thyroid condition are blood tests, a thyroid scan and the radioactive iodine uptake test. Your doctor can determine which one is best after a review of your specific conditions.
What to Do:
Instead of turning to hormone replacement therapies with the use of pharmaceuticals, natural hormones using animal hormones or, in extreme cases, surgery, first look at any nutritional deficiencies you may have that are contributing to an imbalance, like iodine or toxicity from things like amalgam fillings in your teeth.
Reason #3: Your prescription meds are making you fat
Are you on prescription medications? They could be the reason you can’t lose weight. Certain medications can cause weight gain as a side effect, whether from fluid retention, changing your appetite or an increase in hormones. Among the chief offenders are birth control pills, antidepressants, angiotensin-receptor blockers and steroids.
How to Know:
If you’re on one of these prescription medications and, despite all your best efforts, you’re struggling to lose weight, it might be time to speak with your doctor.
What to Do:
If possible, before starting a prescription medication, jot down your weight and then check in on the scale after two weeks. If you notice weight gain, it’s easier to nip it in the bud early on.
However, if you’re already on medication and think it could be hampering weight loss efforts, speak with your doctor about your options. It may be possible to transition to a more natural option, like a natural form of birth control, coming up with a plan to transition off medication or simply trying an alternative that’s not known to cause weight gain.
Reason #4: Your'e not getting enough sleep
Hitting the snooze button several times in the morning or spending too much time scrolling through your social media feeds while in bed? If you’re skimping on sleeping time, you’re not just yawning through the day, but also hurting your attempts to lose weight.
One review found that people who sleep between 3.5 and 5.5 hours a night consume nearly 385 more calories the next day when compared to those who sleep between 7 and 10 hours. (6) Sleep is critical for our bodies to repair and function properly. When you consistently don’t get enough sleep, not only are you more likely to gain weight, but you’re also at a higher risk for chronic diseases, anxiety, irritability and more.
How to Know:
Take note of what time you’re going to bed, what time you’re waking up and the quality of your sleep. If you’re consistently sleeping for under 7 hours, it’s time to make some changes.
What to Do:
Shutting off electronics an hour before bedtime, limiting caffeine intake in the afternoons, avoiding simple carbs in the evenings and journaling can all help you unwind so you get enough rest. You can also consider natural sleep aids to boost your ability to fall asleep and sleep soundly.
Reason #5: You're eating your emotions
After a long day at work, do you unwind with a glass or two of wine? Do you find yourself reaching for a pint of ice cream when you’ve had a stressful day? This emotional eating is likely holding you back from your weight loss goals.
When you’re eating to deal with your emotions, like anxiety, stress or unhappiness, you’re likely not reaching for carrot sticks and blueberries, but carbohydrates, processed foods and even alcohol. Those calories eventually add up and, at the same time, you’re avoiding learning how to deal with difficult emotions and situations. It’s pretty much a lose-lose situation.
How to Know:
Think about the times when you pig out on unhealthy foods. Are you stressed, distracted, bored? You might be emotionally eating.
What to Do:
Practicing mindful eating can be really helpful if you’re an emotional eater. Check in with yourself to see if you’re actually hungry or just avoiding that assignment that’s hanging over your head. If you’re going to eat, sit down and give your food your full attention. No eating out of the bag, either. If you’re going to snack on some chips, but them in a bowl so you can see how much you’re eating. That might help curb your cravings.
Of course, you want to get to the bottom of why you’re not feeling so hot. One study found that practicing relaxation techniques helped obese women who were emotional eaters lose weight over the course of three months, along with helping them reduce depression and anxiety. Engaging in other activities that can help you relax are a better option than emotional eating.
Another study found that when women increased their frequency of workouts, they saw changes in their self-regulation around food, significantly improved their moods and were able to exercise more. Instead of pouring a glass of wine or snacking all night, try hitting a yoga class or going for a long walk instead.
Reason #6: You're eating way too many healthy foods
Good-for-you foods are delicious, but too much of a good thing is possible. While foods like avocados, nuts and full-fat dairy are great for your health, they’re also pretty high in calories. If you’re eating a lot of these foods, you might be consuming more calories than you realize.
What I’m talking about is following a standard diet that’s also packed with high-fat foods.
How to Know:
If your diet is packed with healthy fats like eggs, avocados, butter and you’re not following a low-carb, high-fat diet, you might be overdoing the fats.
What to Do:
If you’re already enjoying and eating foods high in fat along with protein, you might want to consider going on the keto diet. It’s been proven to be more effective at weight loss than a low-fat diet, and you’ll likely have an easy time transitioning to it. Among my weight loss tips, going keto is the diet that produces the quickest results alongside significant health changes.
Otherwise, there’s no need to eliminate these healthy foods from your diet. Instead, it’s important to be mindful of serving sizes and sticking to one or two of these foods a day. For example, if you added a scoop of almond butter to your morning smoothie, skip the nuts in the afternoon and replace them with something else.
Need Help Losing Inches Off Your Waist?