I eat well and exercise but can’t lose weight

Most think they just need to eat less and exercise more to lose weight but unfortunately, it’s often not that simple. Today we are going to take a look at the many reasons why you may be having difficulty losing weight despite a good diet and exercise.

The question is, ‘How do we make a change that lasts?’ Remember, losing weight is not a short term diet, it is a lifestyle change. Try to make a few positive changes each week over a few weeks so you can ease in gently.


First of all, here’s a bit of advice to get the best out of your exercise.

Brief intense bursts of exercise work your muscles more and that burns more calories than walking at a steady pace. Try to accelerate for 15-20 second intervals then cruise for a minute and go again. This allows you to burn more calories without producing a lactic acid build up in the muscles and that painful post exercise muscle stiffness/soreness.

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Make sure to keep the risk of overuse injury in mind. If you rush into a strenuous workout before your body is ready, you may hurt your muscles, tendons or bones. Instead, start slowly. Try just one or two higher intensity intervals during each workout at first. If you think you’re overdoing it, slow down. As your stamina improves, challenge yourself to vary the pace. You may be surprised by the results.

Go for a walk with family and friends instead of just sitting around. Throw a Frisbee with the grand kids, enjoy a walk on the beach or a light swim, or just play with the grand kids in the back yard or at the local park. We are designed to move, so get out there, burn off a few calories and have some fun.

With a healthy mind and body, we feel great, display a glow on our face, and ooze energy and vitality to enjoy life!

A little extra help to lose weight:

  • Energy can be provided from the protein and good fats in your diet. Eat a high protein breakfast every day and protein at each meal. Eat 4-5 small meals per day and allow 4-5 hours between meals.
  • Support the body’s repair processes with natural anti-inflammatory nutrients (omega-3 fish oils and antioxidants), nutrients to help insulin work more efficiently( magnesium and chromium), and nutrients to feed the energy factory in the cells (carnitine, lipoic acid, Co enzyme Q10, and B vitamins).
  • Minimise carbohydrates (sugars, bread, potato, pasta, biscuits, chips etc), add protein to every meal and essential omega-3 fats (fish oils).
  • Essential fats in the cells need to be protected by adequate antioxidant nutrients (dark skinned fruits and vegetables). Taking an anti-oxidant supplement may help.
  • Add protein powder to breakfast or replace a meal with Pea protein (also reduces cholesterol). Ingested protein and fats can be broken down to provide energy in the absence of readily available sugars.
  • Take a probiotic to maintain bowel health, you need a healthy waste disposal system to lose weight.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol is a carbohydrate, adds calories, and puts stress on the liver.
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If you think you are doing everything right but still have difficulty losing weight any of these may be the cause:

  • Poor sleep – If you don’t get 6-7 quality hours sleep each night the body does not heal and regenerate. The stress hormone, cortisol, is produced in larger amounts to keep you going throughout the day. Cortisol breaks down muscle and promotes abdominal fat.
  • Stress – Most consider stress to be a situation that is uncomfortable, distressful, out of balance, out of control. Feelings of strain, anxiety, irritability, nervousness, insecurity and overwhelmed are terms often used to describe how someone feels in a stressful situation.

Small amounts of stress are desirable and beneficial to health. Positive stressors improve motivation and physical performance, and allow us to react to our environment. With a normal response, bodily stress causes fatigue; we compensate, recover, and get fitter, faster, and stronger. Problems occur when stress gets out of control. The adrenals stimulate adrenalin and cortisol in high amounts to survive.

  • Hormone imbalance – In women, a relative excess of oestrogen compared to progesterone can promote weight gain. Bowel toxicity or an over growth of bad bacteria can promote an enzyme that uncouples the link binding bad oestrogens to be excreted. They are then recirculated into the body increasing total oestrogen. Too many of the bad oestrogens can also cause breast cancer.
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The importance of good bowel health cannot be underestimated.

Bad oestrogens can also be absorbed from plastics particularly when using glad wrap on hot foods, microwaving foods in gladwrap or drinking from a warm plastic bottle.

Men who eat a high carbohydrate diet or drink a lot of alcohol which is still carbohydrate, inhibit the production of testosterone and increase oestrogens. They may develop ‘man boobs’.

  • Liver toxicity – Fat cells store toxins and these are released when fats are burned. If the liver’s ability to breakdown internal and external toxins is sluggish, you may feel nauseas, get headaches, or lose energy.
  • Inflammation – Any source of low grade inflammation will prevent weight loss, for example, tooth decay, gum disease, or an inflamed bowel.
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  • Food allergies – Reactivity to various foods can cause inflammation throughout the body anything up to 72 hours after ingestion. A large percentage of our population are unknowingly reacting to foods they eat. After removal of common reactive foods from the diet many have lost weight without even trying.
  • Constipation – If your waste disposal system is sluggish a backlog of toxic waste will recirculate throughout your body. Bad bugs, parasites or candida residing in the bowel all feed off sugars and starchy carbohydrates like potatoes. They want you to eat sugars so they influence your brain to crave sugars saying feed me, feed me! To rid your body of these nasty’s you can take antimicrobial herbs but at the same time it is a good idea to avoid sugars and grains in the diet.
  • Low Vitamin D – When the body has a low Vitamin D level, it goes into winter mode and increases fat stores. It is therefore difficult to lose weight with low levels. The optimal level is over100 nmol/L whereas the average range pathology screening says 50 is OK but it is not. You need 30 minutes in the sun naked each day to get enough vitamin D! Most people who work inside every day will be low in vitamin D even if you live in a sunny climate.

Here are some tips to survive the parties without the fallout:

  • Avoid those sugary drinks that contain on average 16 teaspoons of sugar per can. Drink either still, lightly sparkling water or soda water instead. Adding a little lime or lemon for taste helps to alkaline the body and counteract those acidic foods we eat too much of.
  • Remember to not drink too much liquid close to meal time to allow good digestion in the stomach.
  • Avoid going to parties hungry. Eat something light beforehand to reduce your chances of giving in to high carb party food.
  • Try to avoid pies, sausage rolls, spinach triangles, chips, corn chips, lollies, chocolates, cakes and slices.
  • Filling up on healthy fats such as butter and coconut oil and quality protein helps you feel full, leading to less risk of overeating.
  • Watch your portion sizes, don’t over fill your plate.
  • Avoid binge alcohol consumption, limit to 1 or 2 standard drinks a day or even better, stick to your flavoured mineral water to reduce your risk of harm! Most don’t realise alcohol is a carbohydrate and adds to the calorie content of your meal. Too much alcohol can set off a multitude of ills including weight gain, dehydration, diabetes, malnutrition, and diseases of the central nervous system and the liver.

*I do need to make an important point here. In my experience helping many of my clients lose weight, most have needed to avoid alcohol to lose weight. The liver needs to clean up. If the liver is sluggish you will not lose weight.

Are you experiencing trouble losing weight? What have you tried? What will you try next? Tell us below.