I think it goes without saying that the collective understanding on how to lose weight is to exercise, eat your vegetables, and avoid junk food, right?

Ok, but hang on… if it were that easy, wouldn’t all of us be beach body ready whenever we wanted?

Truthfully, that’s because it’s not so simple. The age old strategy of eat less, exercise more, calories in and calories out are behind the times.

Extra weight is the “teacher” and it’s asking us take a closer look and listen. Here are some of the reasons that are stopping many of us from reaching our fitness goals that goes beyond the food on our plate:

1. Metabolic issues: years of caloric restriction, and yo-yo dieting can force the body to slow down and make losing weight much more difficult. There are ways of reversing the damage. Start by reducing sugar intake, and increasing fats from olives, avocados, eggs, fish, nuts and seeds.

2. Environmental toxins: Chemicals in our everyday products have been linked to obesity, particularly the endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), which include bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, found especially in plastics and personal care products. Switch to glass or stainless steel water bottles, and choose only natural beauty care products, and organic foods whenever possible, including grass-fed, hormone-free meats.

3. Poor gut health: Experts have established a close relationship between the gut microbiome (aka the environment of bacteria in your insides), obesity, and insulin resistance, with hopes that further understanding will help fight this epidemic. Avoid artificial sweeteners and processed foods, consider taking high-quality probiotic supplements and consume probiotic rich foods like sauerkraut and kimchi to help support the good bacteria in your gut.

4. Lack of sleep: The authors in this study found that compared with individuals who slept seven to nine hours per night, individuals who got six or fewer hours of shuteye were more likely to be obese and have abdominal obesity. Work on establishing a night time routine, electronics-free. Reading a book and a warm bath and dimming your lights helps your body begin to unwind.

5. Use of prescription drugs: Weight gain is, among others, one of the side effects of many prescription drugs. In fact, up to one-quarter of people who take antidepressants gain at least 10 pounds. Other drugs that may contribute to weight gain include beta-blockers, corticosteroids, diabetes medications, and mood stabilizers. Talk to your health care provider about alternatives to prescription antidepressants you may be taking.

6. Chronic stress and cortisol: Stress from your relationship, work, job, family, negative thinking, etc plays a toll on your health and raises your cortisol levels (your stress hormone) causing your body to increase your appetite and hold on to fat. Practice stress management techniques like deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, or meditation.

7. Emotional factors: similar to reason 6, locked in anger, grief, depression, betrayal, lack of forgiveness, etc, causes your body to hold on to excess weight. Consider working with a therapist to help identify and break free from any negative emotions that are holding you back.

As you can see, it’s about having our mental, physical, hormonal, sexual, and digestive systems working in harmony.

I’ve worked with a number of clients to help get to the root cause of their symptoms, and after establishing a custom nutrition and lifestyle coaching program with me, their weight loss efforts became almost effortless the longer they stuck to my program.

And maybe you aren’t trying to lose weight, but building muscle or losing the last little bit of stubborn fat may be the challenge. All of these are a call for investigation by a Certified Nutritionist to help discover the solution.

Invest in a nutritional package with me and let’s work together to help you achieve your fitness goals for good.