(Originally posted on August 31, 2021 on Bethenny)
Dr. Alexandra Sowa, a dual-board certified physician of internal and metabolic health medicine, and founder of SoWell Health identifies reasons for you may be struggling with weight loss. These are six unsuspecting medical conditions that might make it easy for you to gain weight and hard for you to lose weight:
- Insulin Resistance – Insulin resistance affects about half of Americans and 90% don’t know they have it. Insulin is a hormone released by the pancreas in response to consuming food, specifically carbohydrates, which break down to glucose. Insulin helps deliver glucose to your body – cells, organs, muscles to help it function. Ideally, your body will respond easily to insulin, keeping both blood sugar and insulin levels down. The problem is overtime with a traditional Western diet and lifestyle, the body becomes less sensitive to insulin, driving up insulin levels. When this happens, the the body has trouble converting glucose to energy and instead your blood into fat and stores it for energy use later.
- Vitamin Insufficiency – The majority of Americans are walking around with insufficient vitamin levels. This can make them feel totally depleted and fatigued leaving little room for a healthy lifestyle. Two important deficiencies to check for are your Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D levels.
- Sleep Apnea – It is estimated that about 25% of American adults have sleep apnea – and 80% don’t know they have it! Research shows that insufficient sleep at night means our bodies need to adapt to an increased need for energy to keep us awake during the day. This often leads to an overconsumption of calories. Other science shows sleep apnea can increase your risk for developing insulin resistance, which can make it more difficult to lose weight and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Hypothyroidism – A sluggish thyroid can make weight loss nearly impossible to lose weight, due to fatigue, increased water retention, and decreased Basal Metabolic Rate. A low inflammatory diet can often help a thyroid heal without a need for medications.
- Depression and anxiety – This is a big one, as there has been a 4-fold increase in anxiety and depression symptoms among American adults increase in the past year, linked to all of the uncertain circumstance of COVID-19. Increased appetite and decreased physical activity are common symptoms of depression that lead to weight gain, while the stigma associated with obesity may lead to depression. Depression is associated with an 18% increased risk of being obese.
- Chronic Inflammation – Long-term stress on the body, whether from life stress, poor sleep, smoking or excess drinking or a less than ideal diet can lead to chronic inflammation. This, in turn, can lead to an imbalance of hormones that can make it feel like it’s nearly impossible to lose weight.
If you’re experiencing any of these conditions and struggling to lose weight, talk to your doctor and get your labs checked regularly to trend how you’re doing.