4 Types of Medical Conditions That Make Weight Loss Difficult

4 Types of Medical Conditions That Make Weight Loss Difficult

No one likes dieting, and many people loathe exercise. So when you commit to a plan for healthy living and still fail to get results, it's easy to beat yourself up. Before you embark on an endless cycle of self-loathing, though, consider how your health might be affecting your weight loss goals. Your doctor is always an ally in the battle of the bulge, but if you can't lose weight no matter how hard you try, his assistance becomes even more important. Here are some of the most common reasons people struggle to lose weight.

1. Endocrine system disorders

The endocrine system is sort of like the body's computer. It regulates just about everything, from reproductive health and fertility to body temperature. A host of endocrine system disorders can also undermine your weight loss goals. Polycystic ovarian syndrome, an endocrine disorder in women, frequently leads to sudden weight gain, while hypothyroidism can slow your metabolism such that you slowly and steadily gain weight. Be sure to ask your doctor for blood work to ensure your endocrine system's still working well.

2. Diabetes

Diabetes, which undermines the ability of your body to regulate blood sugar, can affect both your weight and metabolism. Likewise, your weight can actually increase your likelihood of getting diabetes, creating a vicious cycle wherein obesity leads to diabetes but diabetes makes obesity nearly impossible to eliminate. A simple blood test can determine whether or not you have this condition, which is highly treatable.

3. Pain syndromes

If you live with chronic pain, you're more likely to become overweight because the pain interferes with your ability to exercise. Though research is mixed on the topic, there's also some evidence that people with chronic pain are more likely to experience metabolic issues. Though any form of ongoing pain can lead to weight gain, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and similar conditions figure prominently into the equation. The good news is that, while exercise may feel daunting, it can actually decrease the severity of your pain over time.

4. Mental health issues

Mental health disorders are every bit as real as physical disorders of the body. These conditions can interfere with your ability to lose weight in a number of ways. Some common challenges include:

  • Depression – Depression can make exercise feel daunting, and may change your eating habits.
  • Anxiety – Chronic anxiety can undermine your metabolism, causing you to lose weight. Moreover, many people with anxiety disorders cope with prolonged anxiety by overeating.
  • Body dysmorphic disorder – BDD causes you to perceive your body differently than it looks. Many people with this condition believe they're overweight even when they're not.
  • Eating disorders – Eating disorders can dramatically alter your metabolism, causing your body to go into “starvation mode” and hang onto every spare calorie it gets.

Prompt treatment for these mental health conditions can prevent them from spiraling out of control, help you lose weight, and even improve your overall health.