February 16, 2019

I watch what I eat and exercise regularly- why am I not losing weight?

Chandler Obgyn Tamar Gottfried discusses weight management over the holidays:

As we prepare to enter the holiday season, many people are focusing on simple weight managment- i.e. not gaining weight between November and January. However, there are those already on  weight loss journeys, wondering how to achieve their goals. As I speak to patients in my office about nutrition and exercise a common question arises: Why am I not losing weight?

Although there a million different diet and exercise plans out there, the simple fact remains that in order to lose weight, a person has to burn more calories than she ingests. The most effective nutrition plans advise food journaling ( which means writing down every morsel eaten and weighing and measuring ingredients and portions for accuracy) and calorie restriction. Some people eat the right kinds of food, but eat too much of them due to misjudging portion sizes. While calories, as well as proportions of fat, carbs and protein, do have to be watched in order to have weight loss success, the total number of calories cannot be too high or too low. Many people who are trying to lose weight eat too little or too infrequently during the day. Then their bodies think they are in a starvation mode and hold on to every calorie. That is how someone can eat very little and still not drop weight.

There are many people who exercise daily and become frustrated when the scale doesn’t budge. Again, it is the calories in, calories out idea that can affect weight loss. It has been found that people who exercise regularly may also burn less total calories in the rest of their day, being more sedentary as a reward for having “worked out”.  If a person works out and then sits at a desk all day and comes home to sit in front of a computer or a TV, the total calories burned for the day may be low. Additionally, if a person is ravenously hungry after a workout and ends up eating more than usual at the next meal or snack, this will affect the total calories in for the day.

Unfortunately, there is no easy weight loss solution- magic pills aren’t so magic, the success of the HCG diet involves continuing to follow a low calorie diet, and exercise requires a daily commitment to personal challenge. However, in the simplest terms, burning more calories a day through exercise and incorporating calorie burning activities throughout the day, than calories taken in through eating, will eventually result in weight loss success. Luckily there are many more specific tools and plans like Weight Watchers, and the Body Bugg to help people achieve their goals.

As an Chandler Ob gyn physician who has personal experience with weight issues and lifestyle changes, I have a particular interest in helping women address their diet and exercise challenges. Contact my Mesa office for more information.

Tamar Gottfried is a Board Certified Obstetrician/ gynecologist  practicing  general Ob/gyn in Mesa Arizona and affiliated with Banner Desert and Banner Gateway Medical Centers. She can be contacted at 480-545-0059. This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be medical advice. See a medical professional before making medical decisions

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