Updated: 2019, Oct 16

Why Those Last Few Pounds Are So Frustrating

Effective natural medicine, lifestyle, & thought process most beneficial for weight loss, decrease cravings, balance hormones, and improve energy.
Lose Last Few Pounds Frustrating
Take off those last few pounds. Shutterstock Images

Chances are you’ve done quite a bit of work to where you feel like you’re at those last few pounds, or they somehow crept up, and now you want them off, or you have tried the diet, supplements, exercise, advice from others, yet the scale won’t budge.

The number may have even gone up!

This can also be confusing after the seemingly good intention, or if not that much has changed.

Further, weight gain does not just happen overnight (it’s more likely water weight, poor sleep, etc.), just like weight loss does not just happen overnight should we fast for a day, for example. It’s a compounding effect that can take time, except we never quite know how much time, so we could move onto another strategy right before the prior one would have actually affected. Or perhaps we were right.

Physiology of Fat Cells

The fat cell has at least ten different receptors and signals, metaphorically speaking that there’s not a single answer to losing weight.

Some include:

  • vitamin D
  • estrogen
  • thyroid hormone
  • glucocorticoids
  • insulin
  • inflammatory proteins
  • leptin

which translate to playing a role in stress response, hormone balance, hunger signals, blood sugar control, inflammation, and fat & sugar metabolism[1].

The endocrine system (including fat cells) are comprised of about 8 different organs, each with at least 3 different conversations not just to each other, but other organs in the body.

This adds up exponentially, especially when other organs get involved, plus our genetics and overall lifestyle that can alter function.

How much each ‘conversation’ expresses themselves can vary per person, hence the importance of why what worked for someone may not work to the same degree for someone else.

Thyroid and metabolism

The endocrine system also involves our thyroid, the main organ that controls weight, as well as overall metabolism in how fast or slow processes move throughout the body.

Our thyroid both influences, and is influenced by hormones like estrogen and progesterone, digestion, stress, and inflammation, to name a few main culprits, with the latter two encompassing a wide variety of concerns that can occur well outside the endocrine system.

Estrogen and weight gain

Estrogen dominance, a common issue amongst men and women and the main culprit of those extra pounds, can greatly affect how the thyroid and other hormones function, in which either estrogen levels are high, or they are normal with low progesterone (mimicking a high estrogen state).

Elevated estrogen can stem from our environment, such as cleaning and beauty products, pollution, plastics, and even tampons, plus our inability to get rid of what we usually produce.

Too much estrogen causes a protein to bind up thyroid hormone, therefore slowing down our metabolism to varying degrees. Both can worsen the quality of our gut health and digestive capacity through the gut lining and quality of gut bacteria, some of which also helps metabolize estrogen. Therefore, an imbalance can cause estrogen to recirculate, creating additional imbalance.

Blood sugar and weight gain

Insulin resistance or subtle blood sugar issues are also the main cause of those extra pounds, as high or low estrogen affects how the cell takes glucose (sugar) in for energy by being less responsive to insulin.

If we’re not getting the energy we need, chances are we’re not exactly reaching for a bowl of broccoli for energy.

In addition, it’s actually been studied that correcting underlying concerns of blood sugar issues may be slightly more effective to relieving weight gain and hormone imbalance in peri/menopausal women[2].

Testosterone concerns in men and women

Low testosterone (can get metabolized into estrogen- fat cells are partly responsible for this hormone) in men is also very common, and can also create blood sugar related issues.

Conversely, women are more likely to have high testosterone (or can look high if other hormones are low) such as in the case of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or even PCOS-like if all the criteria are not met, as well as many other hormones and blood sugar imbalances as well.

All of these different factors can make losing weight sometimes seem almost anything but linear.

The emotional side to weight gain

Weight is also proverbial for holding on, whether its emotions or not wanting to change certain patterns, as the spiritual aspects to blood sugar issues (the sweetness of life) and hormonal concerns (our foundation, and any repressed anger/repression, to self-expression) tend to correlate to what our root, sacral, and even throat chakra represent, respectively.

Balancing hormones, like life, functions best within a healthy range, and each can look different for everyone. However, any sort of change can be met with gusto or apprehension, yet at some point, we risk reverting to old habits- and our weight or history of weight loss efforts may reflect that.

The motivation you need

Discovering the reason specific to you in why you want to lose weight- in other words, ‘what does it mean to you?’, is called intrinsic motivation, a powerful, unrelenting reason that you will always come back to during times you think maybe challenging (i.e., events, parties).

And this reason may constantly develop during both your changes and roadblocks.

You May Also Want To Read – 5 Ways To Balance Your Hormones, Lose Weight & Live Free As A Feather

Important nutrition & supplements for your lifestyle

Understanding the mind-body connection between losing the last few pounds, or even weight, in general, can help provide insight as to why results may not happen in a short period of time, or even a single food or pill.

High protein meals have been shown to be more satiating than high carbohydrate or high-fat meals and can have higher weight loss results versus high carbohydrate[3].

Consider at least half your body weight in pounds, in grams of protein, or even a 1:1 ratio.

Protein is also metaphorically grounding to our overall energy, both energetic and keeping cravings to a minimum.

Water is also very important as we are 70% water, and actually fat cells retain water when they shrink, and staying hydrated tells them they can ‘let go.’

Sound familiar?

Thirst and hunger also have the same signal to our brain, so you may actually be thirsty.

Turmeric is a great cooking spice and/or supplement overall as it helps reduce inflammation, helps our liver detox hormones, reduce cravings, and can help us burn fat more effectively.

Please consult a knowledgeable practitioner when it comes to supplement use, quality, and potential herb/drug/nutrient interaction.

Your long-term plan for sustainable weight loss & maintenance
Losing those last few pounds means changing something up that you’re already used to doing, and staying consistent.

The change is what you do, and consistency is the why. Add in the ability to keep expanding your thoughts of health, and soon, weight loss becomes so much more than those last few pounds.

The plan of everything can differ per person as we all have different emotions, physiology, genetics, and lifestyle. Supplements can supplement a hurdle or two, but may not be a forever constituent as your life changes.

We are incredible as human beings, with capacities far beyond what we can even envision, and working with someone can not only meet you where you are but potentially extend your vision to optimal health and overall wellbeing.

Bibliography
1) Coelho, M., Oliveira, T., & Fernandes, R. Biochemistry of adipose tissue: an endocrine organ. Archives of Medical Science. 2013. 9(2):191-200. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3648822/
2) Carr, MC. The emergence of the metabolic syndrome with menopause. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. 2003. 88(6):2404-2411. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/88/6/2404/2845159
3) Noaks, M. The role of protein in weight management. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008. 17(Suppl 1):169-171. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296329
Author

Dr. Serena Goldstein, ND

Dr. Serena Goldstein is a Naturopathic Doctor in NYC who specializes in hormone concerns such as weight, low energy, stress, PMS, pe

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