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Why can’t I lose weight?

Whole Naturopathy / Lifestyle  / Why can’t I lose weight?
weight loss

Why can’t I lose weight?

Did you know that it was discovered around 12 years ago, that you can’t get fat from eating fats, there just isn’t a metabolic pathway!

They came up with this idea because fats give you more energy per weight than carbohydrates and protein. But what this actually means is that fats can fuel your body longer, than what carbohydrates can.

Good fat sources include avocado, butter, coconut oil, olive oil, oily fish, nuts, and seeds.

Protein is required for growth and repair of all cells, and should be included in every meal. It’s found in meat, eggs, dairy, soy, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Good sources of carbohydrates (carbs) are fruit, vegetables, and wholegrains. Carbs are particularly important for kids and teens as they grow and for adults that are active all day.

When you have a diet with plenty of fats, it’s easier for your body to use stored fats as a fuel source as the process is similar, but if you’re used to a diet high in carbs and low in fats, it can take a little while for your body to get used to using fat as a fuel source, so don’t suddenly change overnight.

Below are some reasons why you might be eating well, but not loosing weight, of have plateaued.

Thyroid dysfunction

The thyroid gland determines metabolism in your body, how energy is used and stored. Hypothyroidism is the most common endocrine disorder and can cause weight gain or fluid retention, depression, fatigue, concentration and memory problems, high cholesterol, muscle weakness, cramps, SOB, menstrual irregularities, low libido.

Hyperthyroidism is the opposite, increased metabolic rate, can be due to stress or over supplementation with iodine.

If you suspect thyroid dysfunction, see your doctor about blood tests, and this will give you a starting point as to what’s going on. Further testing can be done to fully understand how your thyroid is functioning.


Stress causes your body to retain weight, as historically, human stress involved a lack of food. Short term stressors are actually good for us, for example, exercise, where you push your body for a short time. This actually increases your resilience to stress. It’s the long-term chronic stress that’s a problem, which is becoming increasingly common as a result of life over the last couple of years. In response to stress, your body produces cortisol, which is helpful short term, but proinflammatory long term. This is why there is a correction between stress and heart disease, but also many other inflammatory conditions. Factor into your week activities that help you relax: time with friends, as well as activities that you do for fun.

Women’s hormones

Perimenopause begins around mid 40’s, at this stage the hormone oestrogen can fluctuate, whilst progesterone decreases. This can cause stress leading to weight gain amongst other things. Essential fatty acids are required to make hormones, so be sure to include quality fats sources in your diet. The pill can also disrupt your hormones and cause weight gain.


This is the hormone that puts your energy away in cells, used for all carbohydrates and somewhat for protein. When the cells are full, excess energy is stored in your liver (this allows you to go all night without eating), it then stores energy in adipose cells (fat). Adipocytes by nature are inflammatory leading to a number of health issues including heart disease and joint pain. Continually overeating carbohydrates can exhaust the insulin, making it harder to get energy for the cells, leaving you exhausted. This happens in the lead up to Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, where being prediabetic you can cause you to gain weight and be exhausted, similar to hypothyroidism. This can be checked by a blood test and managed by diet if it is found early enough.

Poor sleep

This can either cause stress or be as a result of stress, which once again, can cause weight gain. When you’re tired, healthy food choices can be harder, and  you can have less energy to prepare food.

If you have trouble falling asleep, try a night-time routine that includes winding down before bed, and blue light glasses for screens in the evening.

A sugar spike can keep you wide awake, so if you’re hungry in the evening choose high protein, high fats snack like nuts, and add a little dried fruit if you need to. Be sure all evening beverages are sugar free. Alcohol is also high in sugars and research has shown that one glass of wine can improve sleep, but more is often worse. If you need something calming in the evening, a herbal tea with a name like relax, sleep, calm, etc can be beneficial.

Don’t forget that too many coffees during the day can be affecting your night-time sleep. If you’re awake with a busy mind set aside time while you’re still awake to process thoughts, to do lists, or journaling, talking about problems with a friend, etc.


A low calorie diet can have your body think that there are food shortages, and store energy as fat, whilst a high calorie, low nutrient diet will also store energy as fat. I recommend a diet high in fats and proteins, and low in refined carbohydrates.

If you crave sugar, try eating something sour or bitter like lemon juice or roquette.

When you eat sweet foods, go for natural forms such as fruit, dried fruit, honey, etc. With all of these you will hit a point where you don’t want anymore, as opposed to sugar, where you can just keep going.

Chocolate – cocoa is high in magnesium, so if you crave chocolate, are stressed, and have muscle pain, supplementing magnesium may be helpful. If you want chocolate, go for dark chocolate, and try to work your way up to 85-90% cocoa.

Gymnema is an amazing herb for sugar cravings, just a few drops in your mouth and you can’t taste anything sweet for hours!

Once you’re eating good food, be guided by your body, if you wake up ravenous, eat, if not wait until you are hungry. We were never meant to be eating all day, eat a meal, then wait until your hungry before you eat the next one.

If you need further support, book an appointment or if you would like to try some Gymnema, contact us.


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