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Looking at calories in vs calories out, can be a good place to start because calories are important when it comes to weight loss. However, for some people they aren’t the complete picture and a calorie deficit alone is not enough to achieve weight loss. Looking at just calories can also have ramifications because its often a short term approach and doesn’t set you up to live a healthy life long-term and be able to maintain the weight loss.

With that being said, if the old energy in and energy out equation is not giving you results, what else could be at play? Read on below to find out the common hidden factors of weight loss.

Stress and Cortisol
When stressed, excess cortisol will mobilise sugars in the blood, which will then be stored for fat if not burnt off –reducing stress and cortisol can be an important factor for weight loss. This means, taking time out of your day to be mindful and de-stress and making sure to not overdo high intensity exercise and instead include restorative practices in your fitness routine.

Thyroid Insufficiency
Weight gain or an inability to lose weight are symptoms of decreased thyroid function (hypothyroidism) because our thyroid gland regulates metabolism and how much energy we burn. The less energy we burn, the more we can store as fat. If you have a family history of hypothyroidism, cold hands/feet, fatigue, dry skin or constipation and are struggling to lose weight (despite doing all of the right things), it may pay to get your thyroid hormones checked.

Obesity and inflammation are a vicious cycle and inflammation should be considered as part of a weight loss plan. This can be as simple as eating more anti-inflammatory foods such as plants, omega-3 fats, herbs and spices while limiting inflammatory foods such as trans fats, excess saturated fat and refined sugar. 

Low microflora richness and diversity has been linked to a higher incidence of obesity. There are certain species of bacteria which harvest more calories from food compared to other species. Having a higher percentage of this specie may result in a surplus supply of calories. To support good gut health, the number one priority for everyone should be plant diversity – aim for at least 30 different types of plants weekly.

Poor Energy Utilisation
Micronutrients are the key to metabolic efficiency, focusing on counting nutrients and not calories will help boost the overall nutrient density of the diet and not to mention lower stress levels. The best way to make sure you are getting adequate “micronutrients’ is to eat a diverse diet rich in bright colours plant foods such as veggies, fruit, spices, herbs, avocado, nuts/seeds and wholegrains.

The Right Mindset
Weight loss should be looked at as a marathon, not a sprint. This means it doesn’t happen overnight and we need to be in the right mindset before attempting to conquer our goals. If you are going through a divorce, moving interstate or dealing with grief, attempting to lose weight might add to your current stress load and you might be setting yourself up to “fail” before even getting started. Pick the right time when you can focus on your goal and when it will be more enjoyable to start this new lifestyle.

If you eat well Monday-Friday and then take the weekends off but wonder why you aren’t seeing results, its important to remember consistency counts. It is absolutely the key to successful weight loss. This doesn’t mean you cannot have a meal out or a piece of cake at a party, what you do daily for the most part is what counts.