Tackling Resistant Weight Loss

by Dr. Sara Koorjee

I want to approach the topic of resistant weight loss as I have had several patients, friends and family members tell me, “I am doing everything right, but am not losing any weight.” Often people report they continue to gain weight in light of eating well and exercising regularly.  How can this be?

We all know that diet and exercise are foundational to a healthy weight, however there are several factors that increase our weight, and make it very difficult to lose unless those factors are addressed. Some causes of resistance weight loss are:

  • Chronic inflammation
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • Nutritional deficiencies or imbalances
  • Environmental toxins(heavy metals, pesticides, phthalates, herbicides, etc.)
  • Changes in microbiome
  • Increased intestinal permeability
  • Hormonal imbalances

I want to focus on hormonal imbalances as this is one of the most common causes of resistant weight loss. The three most common hormones involved in maintaining a healthy weight are:

  • Cortisol
  • Sex hormones: estrogen, progesterone, testosterone
  • Thyroid hormones

Cortisol is a hormone released by the adrenal glands in a normal daily rhythm and also in response to stress. When out of balance, cortisol causes increased belly fat, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, decrease in muscle mass, etc.

Sex hormones are a large topic, and deserve more attention, but for now I will just highlight that any imbalance in the sex hormones have a profound impact on weight gain and loss. I often see this as an issue for both men and women.

Thyroid hormones are important for metabolism, GI function, mood and so much more! When there is dysfunction in thyroid hormones, symptoms such as weight gain, hair loss, constipation and depression can appear or become exacerbated.

Where do we start?

Get tested! The biggest issue for most people with resistant weight loss is that the cause of their weight gain is not properly diagnosed and therefore never treated. Hormones need to be checked during certain times of day and for women who are menstruating during specific times of her cycle.

It is also important to get the WHOLE hormone picture. For example, doctors often measure just one thyroid hormone, however it is important to measure four or more thyroid hormones in order to understand imbalances and possible causes.

If you are interested in understanding more about how your hormones may be affecting your health, reach out to the office to inquire about how we can support you.