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Why Do Some People Have a Hard Time Losing Weight?

By Erin Beck ; Updated July 18, 2017

Dieting is hard work. Even if you're cutting calories and exercising, the extra pounds may still cling stubbornly to your body. Certain medical conditions, lifestyle habits and dietary choices may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Talk to a doctor or dietitian who can help you make an eating and exercise plan. If you still don't lose any weight, consider other reasons why the pounds won't come off.


Body weight has a strong genetic component, according to Dr. Melina Jampolis, a physician nutrition specialist. Hundreds of genes play a role in weight control. Many of these genes are meant to ensure survival when food is scarce, making it difficult to lose weight when food is plentiful. Take a look at your parents and grandparents. If being overweight tends to run in your family, excess weight may be in your genes.


Make sure you're getting all the nutrients your body needs. Poor diet can result in cravings and a sluggish metabolism, according to "Psychology Today." Also consider food intolerances. They can lead to bloating and water weight gain, and affect as many as one in 10 people, according to CNN. The most common food intolerances are to dairy, gluten, eggs, soy, corn and nuts. Common symptoms include bloating, gas, diarrhea and constipation.


Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain. Sleep triggers growth hormone production, which stimulates fat-burning muscle. Sleep also improves insulin sensitivity, which decreases the body's tendency to make fat, and regulates appetite-controlling hormones leptin and ghrelin. Persistent stress can also lead to weight gain. The stress hormone cortisol may promote the storage of excess calories, particularly in the form of belly fat. Beat stress by exercising regularly and practicing stress management techniques like yoga and deep breathing.

Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions increase the risk of being overweight. Many people with hypothyroidism are overweight. They may also experience fatigue, cold intolerance with low body temperature, achiness and poor mental function. Over 26 million Americans suffer from hypothyroidism, and fewer than 1/3 of them are properly diagnosed or treated, according to "Psychology Today." Fungal, also known as Candida or yeast, overgrowth may lead to both sugar cravings and weight gain. Insulin resistance is also associated with being overweight. Insulin resistance is associated with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition in which a woman's ovaries produce an excess of male hormones.


Talk to your doctor about medications you're taking; some medications can cause weight gain. Schedule an appointment with a internist to run a thyroid-stimulating hormone screening if you believe you suffer from hypothyroidism. If you think you may have polycystic ovary syndrome, ask your doctor to check your levels of sex hormones for an imbalance of testosterone, progesterone and estrogen. Try an elimination diet if you think you may have food intolerances. Elimination diets involve removing possible food allergens from your diet gradually.

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