5 Reasons You Can't Lose Weight

Risa Groux, CN
 | Published: 
June 11, 2020

5 Reasons Why You Can't Lose Weight

I see it all the time. People come into my office with the exact same frustration—they are eating a very clean diet and doing all the right things, in conjunction with regular exercise, quality sleep, and all the necessary factors to lose weight. Let me clarify “all the right things,” as we may have different definitions. I am specifically speaking about low carbohydrate, little to no sugar, alcohol 1-2 glasses per week,60-80% of your plate is vegetables and 3-6 ounces of quality animal protein,good fats (avocado, olives, and quality oils), an occasional sweet potato/yam,along with eggs, nuts, and seeds, and minimal processed foods. Either the needle doesn’t move, or it moves up. I’m here to tell you that I understand your frustration and there are reasons behind it. We know that 1+1 = 2, and if something in the formulation changes, the outcome will change. That is exactly what is most likely happening in your body, and here are the tools to find it.


1.       Sugar Dysregulation

Sugar and carbohydrates (which turn into sugar) are our fuel source. Plainly stated, the pancreas pumps out insulin, which is a hormone that converts sugar into glycogen and escorts it into every cell of the body. Once the glycogen enters the cell, the mitochondria converts it into ATP, which is our fuel source. There are two scenarios where this can go wrong. If the glycogen cannot enter the cell, it will find a place to park in the fat tissues and fat cells. This happens when the glucose receptors on the cell are damaged or not working due to insulin resistance. The second situation is when the glycogen enters the cell, but has excess glycogen that the cell does not need for energy production, so the surplus is stored in fat cells and tissues.

The first step in finding out which scenario could be yours is blood tests to determine insulin production, which are fasting insulin and c-peptide. These markers will indicate production levels and quantity of insulin in the body. Fasting glucose and hemoglobin(HGA1C) are two additional markers I always order to see if there is prediabetes or diabetes. If there is blood sugar dysregulation, this imbalance is a very easy way to gain weight quickly.


2.      Thyroid

The thyroid gland is mainly responsible for metabolism and temperature gauging, but it affects almost every system in the body. Needless to say, it is critical to have optimal thyroid function.  There are 10 markers for thyroid testing, and it is critical to know them all so you can determine what can be causing the thyroid to be sluggish or hyperactive. When I look at thyroid, I look to see if there is a production, processing, or conversion issue. Production issues are when the pituitary gland creates either too much or too little thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). This can fluctuate if you are taking thyroid medication. T4 is our inactive thyroid hormone and makes up 93% of the equation. T3 is our active thyroid hormone, and is only 7% of the total equation, so it is critical to make sure that it is functioning optimally.

When I look at hormones, I look at free hormones, which are unbound and available for the body to use and total hormones. Total hormones are free hormone and hormones bound to proteins. A processing issue happens when TSH is not producing enough T4. A conversion issue is when there is enough T4, but it is not converting to T3. Another factor to consider with the thyroid, is reverse T3 which isn’t always ordered on lab work. This indicates if cortisol is affecting the T3. In addition, T3 uptake indicates if sex hormones are affecting it. Low T3 symptoms include lack of weight loss, constipation, fatigue, and cold extremities. The last two markers that I look at are for antibodies, such as TPO (thyroidperoxidase antibody) and thyroglobulin antibody to see if the body is in a state of attack, which would likely tell us of an autoimmune condition.


3.       Sex Hormones

Sex hormones can greatly affect weight loss, especially for women, because hormone production is constantly shifting day to day and throughout a woman’s lifetime. Depending on what stage you are in the menstruation life cycle, all stages have different guidelines, so it’s important to check using functional medicine guidelines. For example, a majority of women are estrogen-dominant, which affects one’s ability to lose weight. This is when you can be eating the perfect diet, but have too much estrogen, which will hinder your weight loss. DHEA is a hormone made in the adrenal glands, and is a precursor to sex hormone production. It’s critically important that you have enough DHEA to burn fat. I recommend a full hormone panel to evaluate the entire scope.


4.      Cortisol

Along with thyroid and sex hormones,adrenal glands complete the endocrine system. Many hormones are produced from the adrenal glands, including adrenaline, cortisol, and aldosterone. Most relevant for weight loss is cortisol, a stress hormone we produce throughout the day from the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep. It is intended to start high upon waking and slowly decrease throughout the day. When the sun goes down, the melatonin production naturally goes up while cortisol continues to dip so we can fall asleep. People can experience difficulty losing weight if cortisol is either very high or very low. I will usually order an adrenal stress index test, which is a saliva test measured throughout the day to determine where cortisol levels are. Symptoms of cortisol dysregulation are inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, fatigue, muscle weakness, low or high blood pressure.


5.       Toxins

We are inundated with toxins everyday. In 2020, the FDA has approved 82,000 chemicals for us to use, more than any other country. Over 3,000 of these chemicals is approved for food consumption. It is estimated that the average American female comes in contact with over 200 toxins just before she’s left the bathroom each morning.[1] Think about your shampoo, makeup, deodorant, and nail polish, just to name a few. Those toxins can create inflammation throughout the body if there is no detoxification.

Homocysteine is an inflammatory marker on a blood test that is usually related to early heart disease and B vitamin deficiency. Homocysteine is often elevated with a common gene mutation called MTHFR, which the majority of the population has. When we have elevated homocysteine levels, our body struggles to detoxify. Therefore, toxins continue reabsorbed and create more inflammation. Toxins live in fat cells and fat tissues. I detox 99% of the clients I work with and see immediate weight loss,even with those who have other weight loss hurdles mentioned above. It is very important to clean house by detoxing 1-4 times per year for optimal health.


The struggle to lose weight can be simple or very complicated. It is important to work with a practitioner who follows functional medicine guidelines, and not wait until disease becomes present. The RGN Detox is a great way to detoxify the body and get started on your weight loss journey. It is a 14 day detox comprised of collagen shakes, detoxifying supplements, and a Paleo eating plan. Shop the RGN Detox here.

[1] Environmental Working Group

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