1. You have underlying inflammation.

Inflammation is a trendy word, but most of us don’t really understand what it really means. Inflammation is exhaustion of the cells’ defenses at the cellular level. Unfortunately, inflammation is very common, and can happen for a variety of reasons such as a poor diet, nutrient depletion, infections, metabolic disturbances, exposure to toxins and many others. Added sugars and frying oils are two of the biggest inflammation-driving culprits in the diet, so getting rid of those can go a long way in prepping the body for weight loss. Eating nutritious food is essential for lessening inflammation in the body and easing it toward your weight goals.

2. You aren’t getting enough sleep.

Inadequate sleep can drive inflammation in the body, which slows or stops weight loss. Too little sleep also can influence cortisol levels in the body, which cause you to gain weight if not corrected. For more shut-eye, read about the influence of blue light on your sleep and try correcting your circadian rhythm by getting outside every day for a walk.

3. You’re stressed out.

Chronic stress drives inflammation, which makes it hard to lose weight. Controlling stress is certainly easier said than done, but doing what you can to get stress levels in check will help set the stage for successful weight loss and help you maintain a healthy weight.

4. You’re letting your subconscious brain take over.

Did you know that your subconscious brain wants you to overeat? Our bodies are designed for a day and age where scarcity was common, so in times of plenty, your brain coaxes you toward eating energy rich foods without you even realizing it. Foods that are especially pleasing and addictive for your subconscious brain are a combination of carbs and fat, such as cookies, ice cream, chips, French fries, burgers, etc. Ever get a craving for a plain burger patty? No cheese, no bun, just the patty? But add the cheese and the bun and all the sudden, that food is craveable. Recognize your cravings for what they are and make a conscious decision about what to do about them.

5. You’re not eating enough.

Eating too little is the No. 1 reason people have trouble losing weight. You think, “Less is better. I’ll just lose weight even faster.” But, unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Your body is designed to survive more than it is designed to lose weight. If for some reason you couldn’t eat for two weeks, your body would shut down all non-essential processes and slow your metabolism way down. When you barely eat in an attempt to lose weight, you may lose a few pounds at first but when your body catches on to what’s happening it will start to slow your metabolism way down and weight loss will stall or slow significantly. Eat enough to stay well nourished, and aim for a more subtle calorie deficit. If you want to accelerate your weight loss, work to move more instead of eating less.

6. You’re grazing (and drinking) your calories away.

It’s easy to feel hungry all the time and yet eat more calories than your body needs. Snacking can be a great tool to help get through an energy slump between meals, but left unchecked, uncontrolled snacking will lead to overeating. Small snacks will never provide sustained energy like a mixed meal with a combination of protein, fat and/or carbohydrate. Without rib-sticking power, one snack will lead to the next without ever properly satisfying hunger cravings. Even more troublesome, calorie containing beverages do not register with the brain as filling you up, so there’s no limit to the amount you can consume since your brain won’t tell you are full.

7. You’re not moving enough to create a calorie deficit.

Humans are made to move. Our bodies are meant to cover ground walking and meant to do various types of work that requires frequent changes in position with a high level of frequency. Without frequent “baseline” movement habits, your calorie expenditure will not be high enough to create a calorie deficit. Even more troublesome, your movement habits limit how well-nourished you can be. There is a bare minimum of calories you need to consume to be at least minimally well nourished. You have to eat food to get nutrients. Historically humans moved a lot, which required a lot of calories to maintain weight, which required a lot of nutrient-rich food. Therefore, people ate more food in general just to maintain weight, giving them ample opportunity to eat all the calories they needed to be very well-nourished without becoming overweight. If you’re highly sedentary, you must limit your calories to match your activity level, which also means you must limit your nutrient intake. Poor nutrition leads to inflammation and poor health in general, which makes it very difficult to lose weight. Move more all day long, and including regular exercise is the cherry on top. Remember your body needs to move.

8. Your blood sugar is on a roller coaster.

The great popularity and success of low-carb diets is a testament to the need for stabilizing blood sugar. When you get hungry, your blood sugar typically dips, triggering a craving for food, often one high in quick-digesting simple carbohydrates such as chips, soda, candy, pasta, bread or other processed carbs. When you satisfy that carbohydrate craving, your body gets a shot of quick energy and a spike in blood sugar levels. The body sends signals to help bring the blood sugar down and get the energy into the cells, which can lead to a sort of rebound low blood sugar and hunger. Eating more protein-rich foods, healthy fats and complex plant foods that take time to digest can help bring the blood sugar roller coaster in check. For some, a low-carb diet works wonders, but simply replacing simple carbohydrate foods with more complex plant foods (think replacing pasta with zucchini noodles) can have a profound effect on getting the blood sugar roller coaster under control and bringing hunger and satiety signals back in check.

9. You’re dieting in the short-term but don’t have a plan for the long-term.

You’ve lost weight in the past, but the pounds always seem to return, and then some. Your body and your metabolism need time to adjust to changes. If you’re following a low-carb eating plan, subtly increase your carbohydrate intake by adding a few servings of healthy whole food carbohydrates each day until you find your energy equilibrium and give your body and your metabolism a little bit of time to adjust to the new state of things. Your body’s tendency is to want to return to your previous weight and protect itself from losing its energy reserves. Help weight loss to stick by gently easing up on your eating plan and have a strategy for long-term changes and habits that can help you maintain your hard-earned weight loss.

10. You haven’t matched your personal needs to your eating plan.

Every body is different. So why do we try to apply a one-size-fits-all approach to eating and weight maintenance? Just because something worked well for a friend or a neighbor doesn’t mean it will be the perfect approach for your health journey. While low carb works great for many, there are many different levels and styles of a low-carb diet that can be applied and adjusted. Some do better with a simple intuitive approach of eliminating particular foods or food groups or a thoughtful decrease in portion sizes. Others may prefer the more analytical approach of counting calories or macros and enjoy the food flexibility this approach can afford. No matter what the approach chosen, listen to feedback from your body and be open to making some adjustments as you go.

And if you’d like more personalized help with your healthy eating journey, the MediSlim clinic in Lufkin is here to help. Dr. Robert Kistler and the MediSlim team are here to support you on your weight-loss journey. I even provide complementary one-on-one nutrition counseling to all clients of the clinic. I hope to see you soon.

To schedule a consultation with Angela, visit the MediSlim clinic at 3806 S. Medford Drive in Lufkin or call (936) 632-1996 for more information.