Weight loss can be a complex experience for many people. Being bombarded with different diets and struggling to lose weight can make us feel deflated and exhausted.
You may want to lose weight to feel healthier, improve your energy levels and prevent or manage illness. You may dislike your body shape and struggle with poor body image, and want to lose weight to feel more comfortable within yourself.
It is important to consider your reasons for wanting to lose weight and the steps you can take to ensure that you lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way.
On this page, you can find out more about psychological and nutritional reasons why you may be struggling to lose weight, and how treatment can help you achieve your weight loss goals and lead a healthier and happier life.
DO YOU STRUGGLE TO LOSE WEIGHT?
Feeling fat and heavy, struggling to lose weight, a sense of deprivation when you diet, and poor self-worth are all aspects of obesity. For many people it is not so easy to just follow a calorie-restricted diet and exercise more. We have so many emotional, relational and behavioural associations to eating, which can make it feel impossible to lose weight. Our headspace, habits and emotional soothing are all connected to how and what we eat.
Do any of the terms on the graphic below resonate with you? How long have you struggled with your weight? For some, obesity and weight issues start in adult life, but for many weight has been a struggle for most of their life. We will help you unpack the associations, messages, decisions, patterns and beliefs that keep you trapped in a continuous struggle with your weight.
Below we will explore some of the factors in this graphic that may be impacting your weight loss journey, including both psychological and nutritional experiences.
PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS IN WEIGHT LOSS
Sometimes our relationship with food and eating can affect our weight loss journey and hold us back from achieving our goals.
INNER CRITICAL VOICE
When we have unsuccessfully tried many times to lose weight, we may start to internalise our failures as being a part of our personality.
Over time, we may have developed an inner critical voice, which tells us that we are useless, worthless and will never succeed in losing weight. We may think to ourselves ‘what is the point?’ and lose motivation to achieve our goals.
This inner critical voice might cause us to self-sabotage attempts to lose weight. We may find ourselves overeating on sugary foods, or eating secretly away from other people. This forms a vicious cycle of self-loathing, moving us further away from our weight loss goals.
Sometimes we turn to food to escape from challenging emotions, and this can affect our weight loss journey.
Stress, anxiety and low mood can affect our food choices. After a difficult day at work or an argument with a loved one, we may find ourselves comfort eating. We may choose to eat foods that soothe us, such as cakes, biscuits and sweets.
Emotional eating can make us feel numb or ‘happy’ in the short-term, but inevitably leads to feelings of guilt and shame, and the emotions we wanted to avoid feel more challenging and overwhelming.
Our therapy team can support you in working through your emotional triggers and help you build new ways to work through your feelings without reaching for food. Many of our clients find this an important exercise that supports long-term weight loss and maintenance.
NUTRITIONAL FACTORS IN WEIGHT LOSS
In addition to psychological factors, our food choices and the way that we eat can affect our ability to lose weight.
There are many different hormones that play an important role in influencing how we store body fat, and can complicate our weight loss journey.
High levels of our stress hormone cortisol can increase appetite and affect the way our bodies deposit fat, increasing more visceral fat storage inside our abdomen around our organs.
Extreme calorie restriction is linked to increased levels of cortisol, which can cause our body to retain fat for survival.
Imbalances in our levels of the sex hormones oestrogen can influence factors that lead to weight gain, such as insulin resistance, irregular metabolism and increasing blood sugar.
Functional testing can help you learn more about your balance of hormone levels, and our nutrition team can create a structured diet and lifestyle plan to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
BALANCING BLOOD SUGAR
Do you ever feel sluggish and fatigued after meals, and find yourself unable to concentrate?
When we have sugary or starchy foods, our blood sugar levels increase too quickly. We may experience a ‘crash’ afterwards where we feel tired and hungry. This happens because we release higher levels of insulin in order to lower blood sugar levels down to normal levels.
Over time, binge eating and regular imbalances in blood sugar can result in insulin resistance, causing blood sugar levels to remain high. This promotes greater weight gain, and requires a tactical approach to diet and lifestyle.