10 Things That Could Be Stalling Your Weight Loss

Are you a woman over 40 who has tried all the things but can’t seem to lose weight? You’re feeling stuck, maybe you’re at a plateau and the scale isn’t budging. 

It could be what you’re eating, or what you’re not eating, how you’re exercising, sleeping, managing stress, or it could be your hormones! 

The women in my Momentum Membership and my 3 month weight loss program started with me out of frustration, too. After a certain age, our whole routine has to shift because whatever we were doing in our 20’s and 30’s isn’t working anymore. Suddenly, eating bread goes straight to the waistline, joints hurt in the morning as you hobble in to the bathroom, and doing a week of spin classes to shed a few pounds in a week feels virtually impossible. 

Get ready to dive in to 10 reasons you could be having trouble losing weight. As a Holistic Nutritionist and weight loss coach, I’m all about using food as medicine but I also stress the other pillars of health. Weight loss goes beyond just what’s on our fork. 

Certain food, chronic stress, sleep habits, even things like not drinking enough water can be roadblocks in our weight loss. Sometimes, we just have to step back and reassess what we do every day in order to know what our next steps should be. 

If you’ve been trying all the fad diets to kickstart weight loss, like juicing, keto, spin classes, intermittent fasting, cutting calories in half so that you’re starving and miserable, then I’m sure you’ll find some value in what I have to share with you.

  1. Are you a grazer? Snacking between meals or late at night? This includes that mid-afternoon latte, piece of fruit, or protein shake!

You see, every time we take a sip, bite or lick of something, we kick ourselves out of a fasted state and into a fat-storage state. When we eat, our body produces a hormone called insulin to help our cells take up the glucose from our food, and use it as fuel – or energy. This is a wonderful, beneficial mechanism, but, if we do it all day long, we aren’t giving our body a chance to burn stored fat as fuel. In order for our insulin levels to come down enough so that we can start using our fat reserves for energy, we should allow 5 hours between meals. This means no more snacking and just water between meals. 

  1. Another important hormone that helps us get through stressful situations, whether it be a car accident, a big move, or a missed flight , is cortisol. This is another important mechanism that we need for survival. The way it affects our weight loss goals is when cortisol is always high, meaning we are always in a state of stress. When cortisol is high, it suppresses our other hormones. It also tells our body to start storing fat because- since the beginning of time- we need  body fat as a back-up reserve for when we are under stress and have to run from, or fight a tiger. Remember, the body can’t tell the difference between the different stressors in your life. No matter what kind of stress you’re under, you will store fat for when you need it later.
  1. Remember when you used to sleep through the night? Neither did I until I balanced my hormones. There are many hormones at play when it comes to sleep. That high cortisol suppresses our sleep hormone called melatonin, high insulin from snacking on sweets late at night also affects melatonin.  Fluctuating estrogen levels mess with our sleep during perimenopause and menopause. Sleep is a pillar of health. You can be doing all the healthy things in other areas of your life, but when you don’t sleep, I think it’s safe to say that your whole next day is a mess. You likely have to rely on caffeine to get you through, and all your brain and body crave for quick energy is sugar. You’ll be looking for chocolate, fancy coffees, and it’s really difficult to resist the donuts in the office lunchroom when you didn’t get a good night’s sleep. 
  1. It might sound like the most simple thing to implement for a weight loss program, but water is essential. When you are on a nutritious meal plan for weight loss, I guarantee it will contain plenty of fibre. Fibre doesn’t work at cleaning and flushing out your system without water! Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces of water each day. For example, a woman who weighs 180 pounds will want to drink 90oz water (thats just over 11 x 8oz glasses of water each day). Calculate your ideal water amount and see if you’re currently getting it in. If you’re one of my clients or Momentum Members, I send you water drinking reminders and other things to think about every day through a habit tracking and accountability app,which my ladies just love because, although it seems like the most simple task, remembering to drink water is difficult for alot of us!!
  1. The problem with diets like keto is that they eliminate important macronutrients, like carbs. If you DO snack during the day or at night because you’re legit hungry between meals, it could mean that you are missing something. Fibre from carbs, and healthy fats provide us with vital nutrients but also keep us full. A meal without protein (even if it’s plant protein, will not sustain us. Each meal should contain all 3 macros for balance, especially for weight management. If you’re missing carbs, fats, or protein in their perfect amounts for your unique metabolic needs, you’ll be searching for snacks and won’t get the required nutrients you need to keep your muscle tone up as you lose weight.
  1. Cutting calories or skipping meals will cause you to lose weight, but not for long. Many women think that caloric restriction is the answer but, the solution is actually to eat to lose weight. The key here, though, is to eat the right kinds of foods. A blood test can help determine how much, and what kinds of foods are ideal for your metabolism.
  1. If you are over 40, you likely feel the changes in hormones as you approach menopause. Estrogen levels are declining, or you could be dealing with an underactive thyroid. Hormones do change throughout the month, and what we eat, how we exercise, and how we sleep can support these changes. The best way to see what’s going on with your hormones is to get tested. Regardless, avoiding sugar, excess caffeine and alcohol, don’t restrict calories, and be sure to include the 3 macronutrients in each meal to keep hormones happy.
  1. When we’ve tried all the things and still can’t lose weight, we usually turn to more exercise. We definitely need daily movement, but we don’t need to train harder. Remember that stress hormone, cortisol? When we over-train, our body actually gets stressed out and produces cortisol. As mid-life women, we should be focusing more on low impact, gentle movement like yoga, daily walks, swimming, cycling, and strength training using handwiehgts and resistance bands. When we start to lose weight, and our estrogen declines, so does our muscle mass and our bone density. Women, especially, need to keep building muscle in our 40’s and beyond.
  1. How do you know if you’re lacking vitamins, nutrients, or enzymes? A blood test will give you a great indication. You can also guage by the make up of your meals. Are you eating a variety of foods or the same things all the time? Vitamins, enzymes,  and minerals support our metabolism, our liver for detoxification, the way we digest food and absorb it’s nutrients, and our gut flora. If you’re having digestive issues, you’re bloated, gassy, or stagnant with weight loss efforts, focusing on gut health and digestive enzymes can be supportive.
  1. Inflammation is the cause of disease. It can show up as skin rashes, joint pain, chronic digestive issues, allergies, diabetes, high cholesterol, and other serious health conditions. Getting to the root of what’s causing the inflammation is the first step. Ever wonder why your best friend can eat whatever she wants, but you just look at bread and gain weight? Some foods might cause inflammation for you, but not for others. For you, maybe eggs are worsening your morning joint pain. Or, if you suffer from heartburn at night, perhaps you’ll do better with plant-based dinners to reduce the inflammation and improve digestion. 

So, what do you do about it? 

Test, don’t guess. 

I work with a proven program for weight loss that is based on your own blood values. It’s not a one size fits all approach, because, there isn’t just one meal plan for everyone! Your blood determines what enzymes and nutrients will support your body best. Foods that won’t contribute to more inflammation in the body so that you can lose weight and feel comfortable on the inside and outside again. I’ll share a way for your to connect with me for a free nutrition consult at the end of this training.

Try a gentle elimination diet. If you suspect that some foods are causing you discomfort, eliminate them for 4-6 weeks, then slowly reintroduce one at a time to see if the symptoms come back. Allow 3 days between each new food that you’re bringing back in and take notes in a diet diary or journal. Usual culprits are gluten, eggs, nuts, seafood, and dairy. But, anything can cause a sensitivity so be open and mindful.

Set an betime reminder on your phone and create a daily ritual to unwind and prepare for sleep. Your body and brain love routine so get used to winding down at the same time every night, avoid stimulants like late night snacking, scrolling through the news or social media, and support yourself with relaxing herbal tea or an epsom salt bath. Some of my favourite supplements are magnesium, and passion flower tea.

Swap out your aggressive cardio sessions for more resistance training, HIIT, hand weights, or gentle movoemnt. I like to set a daily step and calorie burning goal on my tracker so I can see how I’m progressing during the day.

Can’t remember to drink water? I use  a few different tools to keep me on track. I either measure out all the water I intend on drinking in a day in a giant glass measuring cup and pour from it all day long, or I’ll put as many elastic bands as glasses I want to drink on my water glass. Every time I finish one, I remove one elastic band. I find the visual works well for me so I can see if I need to pick up the pace or not. If you are in my Momentum Membership or are a client in my weight loss program, then I send you little habit reminders straight to your phone every day to help get these habits to stick.

A stress management plan is important, especially if you are stress eating or it’s affecting your sleep. Tools like journaling before bed, meditating, reading, yoga, or setting up a support network are all helpful ways to manage those cortisol levels.

Connect with me for help in setting your wellness roadmap. Knowing what foods and habits you need to get your body back into balance so that you can lose weight, takes so much stress and guesswork out of what to eat. 

Rather listen to these posts? Check out the Fork This podcast episodes below.

6 Diet & Lifestyle Shifts That Could Make Menopause More Manageable Fork This | Nutrition For Weight Loss

From stubborn weight loss plateaus to dry vajay-jays and sleepless nights… Who knew that such a natural period in life could cause such disturbances? In this episode, I offer my personal suggestions for supporting the transition into menopause through diet and lifestyle. You can find all of the info, links to my fave products, and studies for further reading in this blog post. Also mentioned in this episode: Metabolic Balance Nutrition Plan Follow me on Instagram Visit my website — Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/forkthisweightloss/message
  1. 6 Diet & Lifestyle Shifts That Could Make Menopause More Manageable
  2. These 3 Steps Will Keep You On Your Weight Loss Path
  3. Start These 5 Habits to Lose One Pound a Week
  4. 10 Things That Could Be Stalling Your Weight Loss
  5. How to Lose 20 Pounds in Reasonable, Bite-sized Steps

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