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How Can I Lose Weight?

I recently got a mail which read, “I can’t lose weight. I’ve tried hitting the gym every day. I’ve tried changing my workout routines. I’ve tried walking, running, swimming, water aerobics and crunches. I’ve tried Weight Watchers. I’m taking a prescription weight loss medication. I’m on a thyroid medication. I have not lost one ounce. I travel between 174 and 177. I never go below, never go over.”

She further wrote, “I am 39 years old. Up until age 25 I was never, ever heavier than 125. I was always the skinny girl in my group of friends. At age 27 I started taking Paxil and gained 90 pounds. At my heaviest I went from 142 to 232 in 8 months. I got down to my current weight 9 years ago and haven’t budged.”

How To Lose Weight?

I hear your frustration and it frustrates me! You are doing so many things right, including seeking medical help. To that end, I provide the following suggestions as additional tips for you and all my readers, but I always suggest that you discuss your personal situation and these recommendations with your doctor(s) who can factor in your whole medical history.

Assess Stress

I know this can feel like a slap in the face – what you are going through is stressful and now she tells me to stress less? So I want to be clear that I am just noting “assess” stress as I have had patients whose frustration led to too much or too intense workouts as well as too little sleep (they were up all night googling for solutions to help their weight loss) and it ultimately impacted their body’s ability to lose weight. Additionally, food, medications, stress can also impact inappropriate inflammation – levels of chronic inflammation, that can prevent fat loss too. Have your doctor check your “sed rate” and “CRP” to assess this as well.

TIP: your doctor can check your cortisol levels; you may consider a magnesium citrate supplement; you can look at your sleep habits and make sure you are getting enough quality sleep; workouts are awesome but make sure you have recovery going on too; dietary choices direct healthy inflammation response as well as can contribute to an unhealthy, ongoing one.

Assess Digestion

“you are what you eat” is not really true, you actually are what “you digest and absorb” and if that’s not happening optimally then the body won’t be getting the nutrients it needs and likely isn’t eliminating what it doesn’t need either. Medications definitely impact your digestive system including the lining of the digestive tract so pay attention to that piece too.

Assess Your Weight

Many have memories of a favorite weight and I am not going to say that you can’t or don’t belong there but it’s important to assess what’s right for you today.

At this point, while we can look at your BMI (body mass index) that’s only giving us a range that doesn’t factor in your body composition (fat mass versus lean body mass). You could have a DEXA scan (can be costly) to assess and identify body fat goals as well as use your clothes, for example pants (jeans and stretch pants don’t work as well as they stretch with wear so much) or a fitted dress, to see how your workouts and eating are affecting results. Also, ask your doctor to look at your levels of inflammation.

TIP: chasing a favorite weight can lead to frustration and stress, instead focus on healthfully reducing body fat and inappropriate inflammation, as well as monitoring the scale for significant (>3 pound) changes.