Why Can't I Lose Weight?: Three Reasons Diet & Exercise May Not Be Working for You

Are you one of those people who just can’t seem to lose weight no matter how much you diet and exercise? You’ve tried it all: Pilates, jogging, lifting weights, low-carb diets, nothing seems to work. If you’ve been trying to lose weight and nothing seems to work, there may be health factors that prevent you from losing weight.

Insulin Resistance

People who have developed insulin resistance can have a difficult time losing weight. Those who are already overweight or obese can experience insulin resistance. This condition causes high blood insulin levels, which means that the body is unable to process sugars in the blood. High insulin levels in the blood signal cells to store fat. It is possible to reduce the levels of insulin in the blood by eating a healthy high fiber diet and exercising.1 Insulin resistance may develop into diabetes if left untreated. Have your blood glucose and insulin levels checked by your doctor, especially if you are over-weight or obese.


Stress is a major player in weight gain and difficulty losing weight. Stress can lead to a number of illnesses and can cause you to gain weight or have difficulty losing weight. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center,2 stress can lead to food cravings and over-eating. People often indulge in comfort foods, such as chocolate or cake, when they feel the effects of stress. The most common type of stress-related weight gain is the development of belly fat. The body releases the stress hormone cortisol that aids in the development of belly fat. Fat in the abdominal region is dangerous and has been linked to diabetes and heart disease. Reduce your stress levels, if possible. Exercise is a great way to counter the effects of stress. Take a long walk in a park or go to the gym and walk on the treadmill.

Thyroid and Hormone Imbalances

Hypothyroidism, or a low functioning thyroid gland, can contribute to weight gain and an inability to lose weight despite diet and exercise. Hypothyroidism is easily diagnosed by your doctor and treatable.3 It can be very difficult to lose weight if you have a low-functioning thyroid gland, because the thyroid releases chemicals that regulate the use of fats and carbohydrates. Changes in diet, exercise and medication, if necessary, can help alleviate hypothyroidism and facilitate weight loss. As people age, their bodies produce fewer hormones. Women over age 40 generally produce less progesterone. More estrogen in the blood can result in weight gain and difficulty losing weight.4 Post-menopausal women are likely to gain weight in the abdominal area. Increased activity and a healthy diet can help reduce the likelihood of weight gain due to changing hormone levels.

1 Life Extension, Obesity Strategies to Fight A Rising Epidemic, http://www.lef.org/protocols/metabolic_health/obesity_01.htm

2 University of Maryland, Stress Complications, http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/what_health_consequences_of_stress_000031_3.htm

3 Mayo Clinic, Hypothyroidism, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypothyroidism/DS00353

4 Mayo Clinic, Menopause Weight Gain: Stop the Middle Age Spread http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/menopause-weight-gain/HQ01076

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If you feel that you have a health problem, you should seek the advice of your Physician or health care Practitioner.

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