7 reasons you can’t lose weight – and what to do about it!
Eating too many diet foods – Supermarkets are filled with low-fat foods and some so-called healthy snacks, such as cereal bars, are often high in sugar says Rhoda Sutherland, a dietician at Spire Southampton Hospital. “This can cause your blood sugar levels to peak and trough, ending up with a craving for more sugary foods and laying down extra fat. Our bodies, particularly our brains, need fat. Not getting enough can leave you feeling hungry and prone to a low mood.’ Rhoda suggests instead of choosing diet foods you include protein with each meal. Serve it with a small amount of starchy carbs, plenty of veg and some healthy fats. For example:
Breakfast: Porridge, unsweetened muesli or Weetabix, with milk or natural yoghurt, sprinkled with a few nuts.
Lunch: Jacket potato with tuna and a salad with olive oil dressing.
Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognaise – with lots of Bolognaise
Lack of fibre
Cutting out or down on carbohydrates in order to lose weight can lead to a lack of fibre. Dietician Dr Sarah Schenker says: ‘Fibre is important when trying to lose weight as it works to balance your blood sugar levels to help prevent cravings and to keep you fuller for longer.’ To get more in your diet she recommends:
Eating two portions of fruit a day. Good choices include apples, pears, cherries, apricots and berries.
Eating five portions of vegetables a day with two of them starchy veg such as peas, sweetcorn, sweet potatoes and squashes.
Enjoy starchy carbs such as wholegrain bread, oats or rice, as they are a good source of fibre. Stick to two portions of these a day if you’re trying to lose weight.
A sluggish thyroid?
An underactive thyroid can cause weight gain, says nutritionist Amanda Hamilton ‘Symptoms also include fatigue, feeling cold, hormonal problems, depression and low libido. Sometimes a test from the doctor may come back negative, but you still have the symptoms. This can be frustrating as it can mean a re-visit in six to 12 months to see if the symptoms register as qualifying for medical intervention.’
Amanda recommends you eat the following to help your thyroid work optimally: iodine, manganese, vitamin C, methionine, magnesium, selenium, zinc and the amino acids cysteine and l-tyrosine. They are all found in foods such as fruit, vegetables, seeds, meat and nuts including almonds.
‘Not all calories are created equal,’ says Rhoda Sutherland. ‘For example, calories from sugary foods with have a negative effect on your body, causing sugar cravings and hunger, as opposed to the positive filling effect of calories from protein.’ Rhoda suggests you stop counting calories to lose weight and instead concentrate on eating more healthily.
Think about food too much?
‘Thinking about what to eat and what not to eat can take over your life. This diet mentality can be stressful and make you binge, feel like a failure and result in yo-yo dieting’, says Harley Street behavioral specialist Sandra Roycroft-Davis She says: To lose weight successfully and long-term you need to stop food being the main focus of attention – beware of it becoming your best friend or even your enemy! Aim to have a stable, normal relationship with food. Eat healthy balanced meals and smaller portions, and listen to your hunger signals. ‘Find ways to get non-food related thrills instead, such as socialising or exercising releasing feel-good hormones into the body’.
No meal planning
‘One of the most important pieces of nutritional advice I give clients is to make sure they plan their meals,’ says Rhoda Sutherland. ‘This will save unnecessary trips to the supermarket and stop you making impulse buys, which can cause you to overeat.’ A handy tip Rhoda suggests is to bulk-cook protein-rich soups and stews and freeze them so you always have a ready-made meal.
Not enough tryptophan
‘Serotonin, a protein produced in our bodies from the amino acid tryptophan has a key role in appetite and metabolism,’ Says Nina Omotoso, nutritional therapist. ‘Low serotonin can stimulate appetie control centres in our brain increasing appetite and a desire to binge on carbs’ Try eating tryptophan rich food with little carbohydrate (such as ricecake or crispbread) once a day. Good choices are turkey, cottage cheese, soya, fish and shellfish
Could any of the reasons above be stopping you from losing weight?