Why Do You Lose Weight and Why Others Don’t?

Today’s market is flooded with weight-loss solutions, from diet programs to supplements. While these solutions work for some individuals, others haven’t seen so much success. Why is this?

Well, weight loss is not a simple process. It’s influenced by many factors, including genetics, age, environment, eating habits, and more. Sadly, most people are not aware of these factors.

So, no matter how much effort they put in, that scale won’t budge. A deeper understanding of these factors will help you make the most out of your weight loss efforts.

Join us as we explore various reasons why some people lose body mass with ease while others don’t.

The Main Reason People Lose Weight

There are many reasons to lose body mass, but perhaps the main reason is to maintain good health. Over the years, the prevalence of obesity has increased significantly not only in America but also around the globe (1).

Obesity can lead to several chronic physiological conditions, including type-2 diabetes, stroke, and heart diseases. At the same time, it results in emotional issues. Furthermore, it’s more expensive to treat obese and overweight people than healthy people (2). So, it’s no wonder these individuals want to lose weight.

Other Reasons for Losing Weight Include

1. To Stay Fit

Another reason individuals lose weight is to maintain a healthy body mass and stay fit. It’s much easier to carry out our day-to-day activities when you have normal body mass. Also, a healthy weight is crucial for individuals participating in sport or other forms of physical activity.

2. Appearance

First and foremost, you should always feel comfortable with your natural body weight, no matter what people say. That said, overweight people always experience discrimination in both their professional and personal lives. To avoid prejudice, these individuals always prefer to shed off body fat. Furthermore, we live in a world where people with the lean body are considered beautiful and more worthy of roles as models and actors.

3. Mood

According to research, there’s a relationship between obesity and mood disorders such as stress, depression, and anxiety (3). It’s easier to develop mood disorders when you are insecure about your body mass or you’re being discriminated against it. Also, being overweight can make you sluggish and fatigued all the time, contributing to depressive symptoms. According to experts, burning excess body fat might help ease stress and anxiety and improve your overall mood.

Unintentional Weight Loss

Rapid weight loss should be an issue of concern. Maybe you’re stressed or developing a serious medical condition. If it’s because of too much stress, your body mass will return to normal once you feel happy. However, if you shed over 5% of body mass within 6 months, it’s wise to stop by a registered dietitian or a doctor’s office.

A sudden decline in weight can happen when you lose muscle mass because of injuries, stroke, nerve damage, or rheumatoid arthritis. Digestive and kidney diseases can also cause unexplained body mass loss.

Other Medical conditions include:

  • Heart Failure
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Diabetes
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Endocarditis
  • Cancer

Why Do Some People Struggle to Lose Weight Compared to Others?

Are you dieting and exercising but still have trouble losing weight? Then, it seems you’re not doing everything right as you thought. Here are some common mistakes that hamper the weight loss progress of most people.

Not Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Getting enough sleep at night prevents body mass gains. According to research, individuals who get less than seven hours of sleep at night are more likely to gain body mass and develop obesity (4).

Sleep deprivation might alter your hormone levels, especially those that regulate hunger like ghrelin. It might reduce leptin levels and decrease insulin sensitivity. Lack of enough sleep may also affect inflammation markers and other hormones that promote healthy weight.

Sleep deprivation increases your risk for obesity and will affect your weight loss progress. Therefore, it’s wise to take the necessary steps to get a quality good night’s sleep.

Consuming Too Many Calories

Another reason you’re having trouble losing weight is that you’re consuming too many calories than your body needs.

The number of calories you’re eating needs to be proportionate to the burned calories during workouts. If you’re burning fewer calories than you’re consuming, chances are you’ll gain body mass instead of losing it.

So, how many calories do you need to burn to shed to obtain a lean body? Well, to lose body mass you need to create a calorie deficit, meaning you need to burn more calories than you consume.

Research shows that people usually underestimate their calories intake and overestimate the number of calories they burn while doing an activity (56). Because of this, there’s a need for people to track their calorie consumption.

Tracking your calories and analyzing your diet allows you to get the most out of your exercises. Download a calorie calculator to determine calories burned during any physical activity or workout.

Slow Metabolism

High metabolism is necessary to keep excess fat off. However, it can slow down for several reasons. One reason is lean muscle mass loss. Lean muscle burn calories more than fat. Therefore, preserving your muscle mass through exercising is crucial for maintaining high metabolism and losing weight (7).

If you also eat fewer calories, you’ll experience a slow metabolism. A calorie deficit is necessary for losing weight, but a significant drop in calorie intake can prove disadvantageous (89). If calories levels drop too much, your body might slow metabolism down, thinking food is scarce.

To keep your metabolism high, watch your calorie intake and focus on strength training (1011). Also, track how many calories you burn. The more calories you burn the higher the body mass loss.

Not Keeping a Food diary

Most people don’t monitor what they’re consuming on a daily. A food diary is a powerful weight management tool. It helps users keep track of their food intake and check if they’re meeting their weight loss goals. How will you know if you’re reaching your goal weight if you don’t have a clue of what goes in your body?

Several studies show that individuals who keep food diaries have a high chance of succeeding in losing weight compared to those who don’t.

What’s even better, tracking what you eat every day helps to promote eating healthy and reduces mindless munching. You can also identify which areas of your diet require some changes to cut calorie intake.

Consuming Higher Amounts of Carbs

If you want to shed more pounds and increase your metabolism, you need to consume a diet low in carbohydrates. A low-carb diet eliminates those foods with high amounts of carbohydrates and focuses on food high in protein and fat.

Studies show that low-carb diets are effective at promoting short-term body mass loss than low-fat diets (12). Also, the extra fat and protein in the diet can help you feel full for longer. Therefore, reducing your appetite.

Cutting calories and eating low-carb meal will help you lose your body mass quickly and improve the body’s metabolic marketer, including blood sugar and HDL cholesterol.

On that note, don’t skip a meal because you’ll only eat more later. Also, don’t stop eating carbs because your body needs them for energy.

Not Exercising Enough

It’s hard to meet your weight loss goals if you’re not exercising enough to burn calories. You need at least 60 to 90 minutes of aerobic exercise or strength training every day to promote calorie burning. For high-intensity exercises, 30 minutes is enough.

Don’t overdo exercises, particularly if you are just starting. That can lead to excess muscle burn, burnout, and sometimes injury. Increase your workouts gradually as you get used. In case you get injuries or muscle burns while exercising, seek the help of trainers or physicians.

You need to determine how much physical activity you need to meet your goals. Alternatively, you can alter your weight loss goals to match your physical activity.

Even after you’ve cut your calories intake, you still need to stay as active as possible to ensure you lose those extra pounds.

Why Can Some People Not Lose Weight Not Matter What?

Health Conditions

If you’ve tried everything and you can’t even lose two pounds, it’s time you consult the doctor. Chances are you’re having a medical condition that’s driving your body to gain weight. Such conditions include:

Hypothyroidism: Low levels of thyroid hormones slow metabolism, making it difficult to lose weight.

Syndrome X: Anyone suffering from this health condition will put on weight because of the increased insulin resistance.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Like Syndrome X, PCOS causes insulin resistance, resulting in hormonal imbalances in the body and unexplained weight gain ( 13 ).

Other Medical Conditions Include:

  • Inflammation and cellular damage
  • Cushing’s syndrome
  • Hormonal changes
  • Lipedema

Medicine Cabinet

If you’re gaining weight, even after months of sticking to a diet and exercising, it’s time to evaluate your medicine cabinet. Several medications can cause weight gain, including:

  • Beta blockers used to treat high blood pressure
  • Insulins to treat diabetes
  • Certain antidepressants and antipsychotics
  • Corticosteroid medications
  • Epilepsy therapies
  • Anticonvulsant medications

These medications might affect your metabolism in one way or another. They can also increase your appetite and water retention by your body.

If you suddenly gain over 5 pounds in 6 to 12 months, visit your doctor. Don’t stop taking your medication because of the extra pounds. Your physician might recommend an alternative medication or adjust your dose.

Age

Losing weight becomes harder as you grow older. Once you’ve hit 30, your cells regenerate much slower, and your body requires less energy. It will become hard to eat as you used in your twenties, without putting on some weight.

At 40 years and above, muscle mass loss kicks in, preventing your body from burning calories. Losing muscle is normal as you get older because of reduced physical activity and injuries, which sadly become more common. The only way to prevent the degradation of your muscles is to stay active.

When you’re old, it’s quite easy to get stressed.  Chronic stress increase ghrelin, a hormone that increases your appetite and allows fat tissue to store more fat. Your metabolism also slows down. As such, you don’t burn more calories anymore, and your body stores fatter.

Additionally, hormonal changes during menopause can lead to an increase in weight, especially around the waistline. Women usually find it hard to get rid of the extra pounds after menopause (14).

Gestational Influences

Weight loss is a complex process. While we can control some factors like what we eat to lose weight, other factors are out of our hands.

Genetics is perhaps is one of the most know factors, but there are others like gestation conditions. A mother’s diet and the extra pounds gained during pregnancy can influence the weight of the infant.

Women who gain lots of weight when pregnant tend to give birth to large kids who might become obese or overweight (1516). So, if a mother is overweight during pregnancy, chances are the kid might develop weight issues earlier or later in life.

Diet and Weight Gain History

If you have a history of weight cycling or yo-yo dieting, there’s a high possibility you will end gaining more weight instead of losing.

Every time you lose and gain body fat by dieting, your fat tissues undergo some changes. Over time, it will become harder and harder to lose the gained weight.

Every time you finish your dieting phase and start eating normally, your fat tissue stores more and more fat. This way, your body will have enough reserves when you go into a calorie deficit state again.

However, every time you do this, the amount of fat stored increases. People tend to gain more weight after yo-yo dieting because their bodies try to cling to enough energy reserves.

Losing and gaining back weight also increases appetite and modifies your gut bacteria over time, leading to increased weight gain.

What Are Two Reasons People Fail to Lose Weight?

Unrealistic Goals

If you don’t set clear and achievable goals during your weight loss journey, you will fail. That’s because every time you fail to meet unrealistic goals, you’ll feel frustrated and depressed. Constant failure will push you into giving up on your goals, eventually.

The process requires time and patience. Sometimes you can work out and stick to a diet, but instead of shedding weight, you end up gaining. You shouldn’t give up, instead try to figure out the cause of your current weight gain and then address it.

Your goals need to be attainable so you can feel motivated every time you meet them. It’s nice to have a long-term goal, but it is also important to have short-term goals like daily, weekly and monthly. The little wins matter a lot in your weight loss journey.

Keep in mind, achieving your short-term goals takes you one step closer to attaining your long-term goal, whether it’s a lean body or looking attractive. Remember, your goals will never match your friend’s goals. Each person has different genetics, metabolism, eating habits, gut bacteria, and so on.

Have personalized attainable goals and work towards achieving them. This way, your efforts will bear fruits.

Not Seeing Results Quickly Enough

Truthfully, losing even one pound requires a lot of sweating, running out of breath, drinking lots of water, and so. What we are saying is, getting rid of excess fat in your body requires lots of effort, patience, and commitment.

Most people fail to lose weight because they expect quick results and they don’t want to put in the effort. You only get the result you desire by following the right steps and putting in the work.

Reduce your calorie intake, sleep for 8 hours, exercise regularly, stay active, and so on. This way, you can shed off excess body mass and keep it off.

Even experts will tell you, losing extra pounds is a journey that involves a lot of steps – there are no shortcuts.

Final Thoughts

Understanding why some people cannot lose weight can help you avoid certain pitfalls that can hinder your success. It’s clear from this article that we have control of most factors that hamper weight loss efforts. Nevertheless, we’ve also seen that other factors are out of our control.

With that said, shedding extra weight is hard, but not impossible at all. It only requires more time, patience, and commitment. If you feel like you’re not getting the results you desire, chances are you’re doing something wrong. Go through your weight loss program, analyze your methods, and make the necessary changes.

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/databriefs/db360.htm
  2. https://www.healthaffairs.org/doi/10.1377/hlthaff.28.5.w822
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21457678/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3632337/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1454084/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10617957
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3661116/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26399868/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19198647/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25293431/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15772059/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12679447/
  13. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23210095/
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23460719/
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20691469/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6276162/
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