“Why can’t I lose weight?”  I hear it over and over again from my closest friends and women clients. 

Losing weight doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to follow a strict set of diet rules or run 10 miles a day to feel good in your skin. What works for Amy may not work for you. And what works for you probably won’t work for Amy. 

We need to stop outsourcing our intuition to the latest product, exercise, or plan that Instagram shows us. We need to start listening to ourselves. 

The thing is, no matter how many pounds we lose, chances are we still won’t love our bodies until we actually connect and understand them. In this article, I’m sharing the 5 things you don’t have to do to lose weight that probably someone has told you to do. You’ll learn how to avoid the noise and get in touch with yourself, to foster a body you love and support. Without further ado, here is what you can finally stop doing to try and lose weight. 

Why Can’t I Lose Weight? 5 Things That Aren’t Helping 

Doing Cardio/vigorous exercise you hate 

Killing yourself with cardio and vigorous exercise? I’ve got bittersweet news: Doing what you hate will not get you the results you crave. There are a couple of reasons why. 

For starters, when you stress thinking about or doing an exercise, your body releases tons of cortisol, our stress hormone. Overtraining, especially physically demanding cardiovascular activities, will also increase the stress response. Too much stress can lead to hormone havoc and weight gain. 

This is not to say that cardio is a bad thing and isn’t beneficial. But if you hate it, then it’s just not worth it. Dancing is a great cardio alternative that can boost not only physical health but also mental health! 

You can also incorporate resistance training and weight lifting to help build muscle that will burn more calories. 

Cutting carbs 

Sure, cutting out gluten and processed carbohydrates will help lower inflammation and reduce your toxic load. But when signaling out carbs, we need to remember that fruits, vegetables, beans, potatoes, and healthy grains are carbohydrates. We’re not just talking about bread and cake here. 

If you were to cut all carbs, you’d be missing out on tons of vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber that are necessary for a well-functioning metabolism. Not to mention, cutting carbs drastically can increase cortisol, our stress hormones, which, as we learned, can lead to weight gain. Not only does this trigger low blood sugar, but it also wreaks havoc on hormones.

While diet is surely individual, reducing your intake of pastries and chips and increasing your consumption of healthy fats, proteins, and carbs can support a balanced weight.  

Load up your plate with a ton of veggies/complex carbs, add in some protein and healthy fats, and viola: a balanced meal. And remember, don’t fret about baked potatoes, beans, and GF grains.

Intermittent fasting 

Here’s the deal with intermittent fasting: yes, it can work wonders for men, but for women whose hormones are constantly in flux, intermittent fasting may do more harm than good. 

For women, especially those already suffering from hormone imbalances and adrenal fatigue, intermittent fasting can increase symptoms, including weight gain

So if trying to make it until noon to eat something feels impossible for you, that’s ok. Eating breakfast can help rev up metabolism and give your brain and body the fuel it needs—like, for beneficial movement (; 

Going keto 

If adding two tablespoons of butter to your coffee and a cup of cheese to your broccoli doesn’t sound or feel right to you, it probably isn’t. 

A lot of women who adopt the ketogenic diet either don’t see desired results or hit a plateau. A lot of this has to do with hormones. Naturopathic doctor Natasha Turner says that she sees a lot of patients who adopt the buzzy eating plan and then end up developing signs of adrenal fatigue, which we know can lead to weight gain. 

A 2018 study also found that male mice on the ketogenic diet lost weight while female mice gained weight. The study also found that the female mice developed impaired glucose intolerance, a sign of pre-diabetes. 

If we want to lose weight and stay balanced, we can’t mess with our blood sugar levels or hormones. And as we’ve learned, cutting carbs can cause negative shifts in hormones. Complex carbs are necessary to keep our hormones and blood sugar levels in check. For women, this is especially important. 

Abstaining from Fruit 

While the ketogenic diet says that fruit is the enemy—here, it’s not. Fruit has tons of antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals that can help increase effective detoxification and support a healthy weight. For starters, most fruits are extremely hydrating. If you are looking to lose weight, staying hydrated is absolutely essential. 

Opting for melons, berries, and citrus fruits are best when looking to lose weight. The fruits we need to look out for are the ones that are going to cause a spike in blood sugar. For the most part, fructose is absorbed slowly by the human body and does not trigger blood sugar spikes. The fiber in fruit is fabulous for digestion and absorption of key nutrients. Consuming healthy fruits, especially by themselves and on an empty stomach, can aid in weight loss. 

What you can do instead:

Get in the habit of asking:

  • What would feel nourishing to me right now? 
  • How can I support my energy best right now?
  • What does my body need? 
  • What does it want? 
  • What emotions am I feeling at this moment? Why? 
  • How can I ground and be more present?

Asking and answering these questions can help ground you and allow for conscious decision-making. If you are an emotional eater or tend to binge during difficult times, these questions can be extremely helpful. 

Many times (and especially as women), we are holding onto emotions and limiting beliefs that keep us from losing weight. Maybe you are holding extra weight around your belly area to help you feel safe. These are all subconscious. 

Getting to the root of why we can’t lose weight or why we can’t stick to a nourishing diet is necessary for this journey. Books like Within: A Spiritual Awakening to Love & Weight Loss and The Archetype Diet get into the nitty-gritty of this.

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