Why Many Women Can’t Reach Their Goal Weight

Obese women

Why Many Women Can’t Reach Their Goal Weight

In pursuit of goal weight, many women spend a significant amount of money, time and effort on trying to lose weight. Nevertheless, some seem to make little progress. Several factors influence your ability to lose weight.

Health Conditions

Certain diseases or disorders can make weight loss extremely difficult, including:

  • Lipedema: Believed to affect nearly one in nine women worldwide, this condition causes a woman’s hips and legs to accumulate excess fat that is extremely difficult to lose. It often also causes easy bruising and pain .
  • Hypothyroidism: Low levels of thyroid hormone lead to a slowdown in metabolism that can impede weight loss efforts.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): This condition is characterized by insulin resistance and hormonally driven fat accumulation in the abdomen. It’s believed to affect up to 21% of reproductive-aged women.

Dieting and Weight Loss History

If you’ve lost and regained weight several times in the past, or yo-yo dieted, you’ve likely found it more challen

goal weight

ging to lose weight with each subsequent attempt.

In fact, a woman with a long history of yo-yo dieting will tend to have greater difficulty losing weight than one whose weight has remained relatively constant.

Research has shown that this is mainly due to changes in fat storage that occur after periods of calorie deprivation.

Essentially, your body stores more fat when you begin eating more after a period of deprivation, so that it has a reserve available if calorie intake decreases again.

In addition, a recent animal study suggests that yo-yo dieting may cause an immune response in fat tissue that makes fat loss more difficult .

Gut bacteria may play a role too. Repeated cycles of losing and regaining weight seem to promote changes in gut bacteria that lead to increased weight gain over the long term .

Age

Aging presents many challenges for women, including making it harder than ever to lose weight.

Moreover, women who have never been heavy in the past may struggle to maintain their usual weight as they get older, even if they eat a healthy diet.

Most women gain about 5–15 pounds (2.3–6.8 kg) during the aging process due to a reduction in muscle mass and physical activity, which result in a slower metabolism.

Additionally, weight gain during menopause is extremely common due to the many hormonal changes that occur. Trying to lose weight during and after menopause can be incredibly difficult.

Gestational Influences

Unfortunately, your tendency to carry excess weight may be partly due to factors you have no control over.

One of these is genetics, but other, lesser-known factors include the conditions you were exposed to in the womb.

These include your mother’s diet and the amount of weight she gained during pregnancy.

Research has shown that women who gain excessive weight during pregnancy are more likely to give birth to large babies who become overweight or obese during childhood or as adults.

What’s more, a pregnant woman’s dietary choices may affect whether her child develops a weight problem in the future.

A recent animal study found that rats that were fed a “Western” diet while pregnant gave birth to babies that had slower metabolisms and that became obese at several points during their lifetimes.

SUMMARY:Many factors can affect your ability to lose weight, including certain health conditions, your dieting and weight loss history, age-related changes and your mother’s diet and weight changes during pregnancy.

Written by Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE at Authority Nutrition

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