close up of a woman's legs standing on a scale in a dark room

You aren’t alone if you are doing everything “right” and you aren’t achieving your weight loss objectives. However, the reasons why you aren’t at your goal weight may surprise you.

Valley Medical Weight Loss and Med Spa offers a variety of medical weight loss solutions. Unlike the never-ending weight loss fads and trends, our programs are based on scientifically proven strategies.

Below are the 10 most common reasons the scale is not moving, and how we can help.

#1 Diets Don’t Work

There are a variety of reasons why diets don’t work or why they only provide short-term results:

  • Most diets are based on extreme deprivation that isn’t sustainable. Not to mention, deprivation leaves you irritable and with decreased immunity and brain fog.
  • As soon as you stop your deprivation diet, the weight returns. Studies from UCLA show that 83% of people regain the weight they lose, and about 23% gain more than they lost.
  • Every person has unique nutritional needs based on factors such as genetics, age, lifestyle, and overall health.
  • Even diets that are well-balanced don’t take into account stress levels, sleep patterns, or gut microbes—which are proven to be primary driving factors in successful weight loss.

#2 Gut Health

A combined study between the British Gut Project, Twins UK, and Harvard Medical School found that even twins don’t gain and lose weight the same. This is relevant because twins have almost identical DNA. If two people with identical DNA gain and lose weight differently, it is unrealistic to think that the same diet will deliver the same results for everyone.

In addition to their body weight and body fat being measured, their blood levels were tested after every meal. Twins were given “healthy” foods or “unhealthy” foods and engaged in similar levels of physical activity but consistently gained and lost weight at different rates.

For example, one twin would have a huge spike in their fatty acids after eating chips while the other twin wouldn’t. Multiple things influenced this difference, with gut bacteria being a primary finding.

In other words, prioritize both probiotics and prebiotics in your diet. Probiotics grow healthy gut bacteria and prebiotics feed healthy gut bacteria.

Prebiotic foods include:

  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Asparagus
  • Leeks
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Leaks
  • Seaweed/sea moss
  • Flaxseeds

#3 Stress

Stress could be another reason why the scale is not moving. Our bodies are designed to manage short-term stress. When we are in a stressful situation or having a stressful day, our biological “fight or flight” response is activated. The stress hormone cortisol in your body rises to empower you to manage the “threat”. Once you are out of danger, your cortisol levels return to normal.

Unfortunately, with the constantly connected, busier-than-ever lifestyle many of us are living—stress levels are prolonged. You may even be stressed for weeks, months, or years at a time.

The prolonged spike in cortisol disrupts your internal balance, causing a negative ripple effect that includes a slower metabolic rate. With a slower metabolism, you are likely to gain weight and have a more difficult time losing weight. You may also be more prone to comfort eating when you are stressed.

On the flip side, some people get so stressed that they eat less and lose weight in an unhealthy manner.
Balance is the objective. When stress is high, prioritize self-care, relaxation techniques, and spending quality time with friends and family. This will boost the feel-good hormone serotonin which helps to balance out the spike in cortisol. 

#4 Hormonal Fluctuations

Many adults are only familiar with a few hormones (estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, and serotonin), but there are over 50 hormones in your body. These hormones fluctuate at different seasons in life, beyond puberty and menopause.

When your hormones are in flux, it throws off your internal balance, which could be why the scale is not moving.

The most common hormonal culprits include:

  • Thyroid hormone deficiency
  • Estrogen dominance
  • Androgen imbalance
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Growth hormone deficiency
  • Excess or prolonged cortisol
  • Leptin resistance
  • Prolactin excess
  • Pituitary insufficiency
  • Fluctuating sex hormones

#5 Prescription Medications

A side effect of many medications is decreased metabolism or fluctuating hormones. In addition to decreased metabolism or fluctuating hormones, many prescriptions cause weight gain for unidentified reasons.

The University Rochester Medical Center found that the most common culprits are:

  • Medicines for diabetes, such as insulin, thiazolidinediones, and sulfonylureas.
  • Antipsychotic medicines such as haloperidol, clozapine, risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine, and lithium.
  • Antidepressant medicines like amitriptyline, imipramine, paroxetine, escitalopram, citalopram, mirtazapine, and sertraline.
  • Epilepsy medicines like valproate, divalproex, carbamazepine, and gabapentin
  • Steroid hormone medicines like prednisone or birth control pills.
  • Blood pressure-reducing medicines like beta-blockers such as propranolol and metoprolol.

*If you are prescribed a medication, follow your physician and pharmacist’s instructions. Always read the side effects and risk factors and take them as prescribed.

#6 You Are Losing Muscle Mass

Studies find that between the ages of 30 and 60, you lose 3 to 8 percent of your muscle mass per decade. After the age of 60, the rate of muscle mass loss increases. This is important to understand because the higher your muscle mass, the higher your metabolism.

Metabolism is the amount of energy (aka. calories burned) your body requires daily. When your metabolism is “high” you will burn more calories, even when you are sleeping or sitting at your desk. Since muscles require more energy than fat, the higher your muscle mass—the higher your metabolism.

From a purely biological standpoint, men have a faster metabolism than women. This is because men have more muscle mass than women. This increased muscle mass results in metabolism that is 3 to 10 times higher than a woman of the same age. It is also why men typically have an easier time losing weight.

Regardless of your gender, if you have weight to lose, consider increasing your strength training.

#7 You Are Gaining Muscle

An exciting reason the scale is not moving much could be because you are losing fat but gaining muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat, so if you are losing inches but the scale isn’t moving much, it’s time to celebrate!

If you are gaining muscle and losing fat, you may only lose a few pounds a month—but you will physically see the difference. Your clothing will be loose, and your body will look tighter and toned.

Stick with it and eventually, the number on the scale will decrease.

#8 Nutrient Deficiency or Internal Imbalance

One of the reasons to eat a diet high in whole foods and low in trans fats, processed sugars, and other processed foods—is because food fuels your body. It provides the calories you require for daily energy and the essential nutrients to maintain homeostasis, which is your internal equilibrium.

Unfortunately, many Americans are near-deficient in many essential nutrients. This means that you may not be receiving enough of certain vitamins and minerals to maintain optimal equilibrium. This can lead to a variety of health risks, and it could be one of the reasons the scale is not moving.

How Can Valley Medical Help?

Valley Medical Weight Loss and Med Spa have a variety of weight loss programs and aesthetic services that can help you achieve your weight loss objectives. Even if the scale is moving, we can personalize and refine your approach.

This includes our:

Reach out today to learn more about our scientifically proven weight loss methods!

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