3 barriers to overcome for weight loss

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Recently, I started coaching a new group of women wanting to lose weight.  The program is for 8 weeks and the excitement at the beginning is palpable.  Everyone is filled with hope and longing that their weight loss goals will be fulfilled.  Then reality bites!  At around the 4-week mark the cracks begin to show, the willpower wears off (as it is meant to – willpower is a short term phenomenon) and it becomes really hard work.

That’s because losing weight can be a long and frustrating process.  Some lucky people can change their diet slightly or do a small amount of exercise and their weight just drops off.  However, some people find that no matter how much they exercise or restrict their calories they cannot lose weight at the rate they want.

If you are struggling to lose weight with the normal methods, it may be that you have an internal barrier to weight loss.  There are several hormonal and chemical issues that can stop you from losing weight more effectively.  Below I will discuss just 3 problems that occur and briefly discuss how you can fix it.

1. Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Insulin resistance associated with metabolic syndrome, diabetes and PCOS is a metabolic disorder which affects insulin and blood sugar level metabolism.  In individuals with insulin resistance your body’s insulin receptors have become resistant, which leads to high levels of circulating insulin.  If left unmanaged, this syndrome causes accelerated degeneration in the body.

People with insulin resistance tend to carry weight around the abdomen (visceral fat).

Insulin resistance makes it very difficult for you to lose weight successfully.  The best way to tackle insulin resistance is a combination of exercise, diet modification and nutritional supplementation.

PCOS is a very common condition in women and presents with several symptoms such as excess hair growth (hirsuitism), acne, irregular periods, and difficulty losing weight.  This condition is usually caused by a combination of insulin resistance, excess androgens and low levels of progesterone.

Naturopathic treatment can help to treat PCOS by regulating hormone levels and treating insulin resistance.  Once the insulin resistance and hormonal levels are improved, weight loss can occur more easily.

2. Estrogen Dominance

High levels of the hormone oestrogen can cause several health complaints such as endometriosis, breast tenderness, pre-menstrual syndrome and period pain, however it can affect your weight.  Excessive oestrogen encourages fat and cellulite deposition around the hips, thighs and buttocks.  In women with oestrogen dominance, herbs and nutrients that boost progesterone and support liver function can help fat loss to occur more effectively from areas that you want, instead of the face and breast area (which women usually don’t want to lose).

3. Thyroid Disorders

I’ve spoken about this before but it’s worth covering again.  Thyroid imbalance can strongly affect metabolism and make it difficult to lose weight.  People with an underactive thyroid may experience weight gain, fluid retention, bloating, fatigue, low body temperature, hair loss, dry skin, constipation and muscle weakness.  An overactive thyroid usually causes weight loss, oily skin and an increase in irritability.

Thyroid imbalance is very common in post-menopausal women and often goes unnoticed.  A blood test by your doctor can assess your thyroid levels.  If you have an imbalance in your thyroid function, consult a naturopath for a treatment plan to correct its functioning.

I’ll have more barriers for you next week.

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Brenda Rogers

With over 25 years experience as a corporate trainer, naturopath, yoga teacher and wise woman educator, Brenda is the head clinician and coach at Quintessence Health.

"A healthy mind and body simply ensures you have the time and energy to fully express and manifest your life’s purpose – it facilitates the unfolding of joy."

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