(Newswise)–Countless Americans, exhausted after adhering to a strict diet and exercise regimen for scarce results, have asked themselves: Why am I not losing weight?
The question is a logical one. New fad diets and exercise plans make big promises, but progress is never as easy as the hype suggests. Dr. Vijaya Surampudi, a physician with the Risk Factor Obesity Weight Management Program at UCLA Health, advises earnest, but unsuccessful, dieters to examine four specific aspects of their daily life.
The first is food consumption – true food consumption. Surampudi advises people to begin logging everything they eat and drink. That means everything.
She concedes that such note-taking isn’t the most convenient task, but it’s vital to understanding a person’s issues with weight.
“I get it; logging everything you eat can be a chore,” Surampudi says, “but in almost all cases where a patient is struggling with weight loss, they’re simply consuming too much without actually realizing it.” A food log will identify the source of those hidden calories.
The second aspect is body composition. Surampudi recommends that people get a good measure of their body composition, that is, which percentage of their weight comes from fat, muscle and otherwise. People who are exercising but not seeing changes on the scale may be losing fat but gaining muscle, which weighs more than fat.
Once dieters have sufficiently logged their food and drink intake and monitored their body composition, they’ll be better able to pinpoint the source of their weight loss problem. Those still unable to lose fat – even when expending more energy than they’re consuming (another important analysis) – should explore a third aspect: the possibility of a thyroid problem or hormonal imbalance.
At that time, Surampudi says, a physician’s assessment is required.
Finally, Surampudi calls for patients to realistically put health first. This fourth aspect may be the most important.
“You may not be able to reach the weight you were in high school, but if you don’t have high blood pressure or high cholesterol, you can still be healthy, and that’s a win.”