While weight is far from the most important signifier of health, weight loss is still a goal for many of us on a journey towards better health. But weight loss can be a struggle for a variety of factors, and not all of them are obvious.

What are some of the most common reasons our bodies prevent us from losing weight?

Insulin resistance
When our blood sugar is too high over a long period of time, our bodies can develop a resistance to insulin. Your blood sugar might be elevated by a high glycemic diet or chronic stress, which can both increase glucose levels.

There are ways to address your body’s insulin resistance though! First, an elimination diet could be of assistance. Eliminating sugars and sweeteners, as well as grains (at least temporarily), can put your body back on track to processing sugars in a healthier way.

Eating a breakfast that’s high in proteins and healthy fats, and front-loading your caloric intake each day in the earlier hours of the day, can also revitalize your body’s glucose levels and kick-start weight loss. Try eating at least 10-15 grams of protein at breakfast and consume about 80% of your day’s food by mid-afternoon, and try some light fasting at night.

When your thyroid is sluggish, you might feel it in your body and see it in your body’s ability to lose weight. To see if hypothyroidism is to blame for your challenges, ask your doctor for a full thyroid panel—ISH, Free T4, Free T3, Reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies (TPO and TG) to look for various types of thyroid function.

Sex hormone imbalance
A dominance of estrogen or a deficiency of testosterone, in both men and women, can prevent your body from losing weight.

Too much estrogen often leads to heavy cramps, PMS, difficult periods, and weight gain. Estrogen dominance is often caused by blocks in estrogen metabolism or clearance or increased estrogenic load from consuming endocrine disrupting chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides, parabens, or phthalates. Try switching your personal care routine to entirely natural products, and eat organic as often as possible.

Testosterone might be low because of stress, excessive estrogen exposure, or excessive alcohol intake and it can lead to low motivation, irritability, insulin resistance and weight gain.

Stress and anxiety 
Stress can be the underlying cause of every dynamic already discussed, and can be itself a huge cause of excess weight. The hormone cortisol is released when our bodies are stressed, and it breaks down muscle to generate blood sugar and increase insulin resistance. High stress also reduces thyroid action. Stress levels can be elevated by emotional stress, ongoing physical trauma or chronic pain, excessive exercise, chronic dieting, lack of rest or sleep, too much stimulation, or exposure to allergens or toxins.

Food sensitivities
Consuming foods we’re sensitive to can cause inflammation and weight gain. To address potential food sensitivities, try an elimination diet removing gluten and dairy for 4 weeks.