Little-Known Facts About Weight Loss

I’m always hesitant to write about weight loss, as it’s a topic that has been overdone and which seems to attract many wacky, Scale and Weight Loss Titleover-the-edge perceptions that have no foundation in science. It is also a topic I receive many questions about. My goal in this article is to share facts that will surprise anyone who believes calories are the only factor to consider when trying to lose weight.

Let me state very clearly that weight loss is not a healthy goal. I recommend setting goals that focus on improving your health and feeling better. Steps taken to achieve those goals typically lead to the desired loss of inches. Weight is a very finicky goal, so I also encourage my clients to take measurements before making changes to their lifestyle and eating habits. That way they have more than one metric to use to gauge how their body is responding to the changes they make. Aim for health and forget about weight. Improving lifestyle and eating habits will have the result you want.

I’ve shared a few surprising facts about metabolism and weight loss in the paragraphs that follow:

  1. If you are eating healthy foods, eating less and moving more, but still can’t lose weight, chances are you have a metabolic imbalance. Metabolic imbalances may be caused by one or more of the following:  excess toxicity, insulin resistance, leptin resistance, insomnia, a thyroid imbalance, adrenal fatigue (often caused by excess stress), one or more prescription medications, malabsorption and nutritional deficiencies, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a reproductive hormonal imbalance, etc.  It is imperative to find a practitioner who will take steps and use assessments to identify the true cause of weight gain and who will then work with you to address that cause. For more information on this topic, please read: The Top 7 Reasons You Can’t Lose Weight.
  2. Your body does not metabolize all calories the same. It is a myth that weight loss is a simple equation involving calories consumed vs. calories burned. That myth ignores scientific facts about metabolism and digestion. Our body reacts to different types of foods in different ways. Foods with different chemical structures, pesticide residues, etc. will affect our hormones and metabolism differently.
  3. Short term diets can cause harm. Healthy, long-term weight loss requires a lifestyle change and may require emotional work related to how we view food. Fad diets may cause a temporary loss of weight, but the long-term consequences of an extreme eating style involving a lack of nutrition and calories can negatively affect metabolism and may cause long-term health problems. The long-term effects are not worth anything perceived as a short-term benefit.
  4. Eating too few calories causes our metabolism to slow down. Subsisting on 500-1,000 daily calories will literally cause your body to go into a status where it slows metabolism to a halt and refuses to burn fat. Some would call this “starvation mode.” Fasting for a few days or doing a crazy fad diet may cause rapid weight loss for a few days, but extending it beyond a few days is dangerous. The prolonged lack of nutrition and calories will negatively affect every body system and will cause your metabolism to dramatically slow down. The end result is that extremely rapid weight gain will occur once a normal eating style is resumed.
  5. It is impossible to achieve a weight loss goal using only eating changes (diet) or only exercise. Weight loss requires a change in eating habits and an increase in movement. It is a simple fact that long-term weight loss and improvements in health require long-term lifestyle changes. Programs designed to sell supplements may promise fast results, but those results will not last very long. Exercise is essential, as it encourages the body to burn fat, improves insulin and leptin sensitivity, assists with toxin elimination, improves cellular oxygenation and builds muscle. Exercise requires “fuel” in the form of healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates, so it is essential to combine a healthy eating style with gradual increases in exercise and muscle-building activities to lose weight and maintain the loss. Building muscle is important because muscle mass is a determining factor in metabolic rate. The more muscle we create through exercise, the faster our metabolic rate will become. Good nutrition is essential to maintaining the metabolic boost, so increasing movement and adopting a healthy eating style are both essential to weight loss. Please note that some eating styles designed to eliminate a medical problem may result in temporary weight loss, but that exercise is still necessary to continue improving health.
  6. There are no “quick fix” options for healthy weight loss and health improvement. There are a few supplements that may assist the body with balancing metabolic imbalances, but the supplements cannot be used by themselves. They only work when combined with better eating habits, exercise, and an increase in healthy lifestyle habits. For more information on two popular supplements, please read:  Green Coffee Bean Extract and Raspberry Ketones:  Truth or Hype? 
  7. You are not a cookie, so please don’t rely on cookie-cutter diets. We are each wonderfully unique with very unique personal needs related to nutrition, lifestyle and exercise. There is no such thing as a single style of eating or exercising that is perfect for everyone. What worked for one person may not work for us. That’s ok. It is unrealistic to expect changes someone else made to affect us exactly the same way. Our metabolic and nutritional needs are unique and should be celebrated.

If you are ready to move forward and receive coaching to achieve your health goals, please join me for the E.N.E.R.G.Y. Life Revitalization Program! Click the link to learn more about this innovative 12-week program and receive a special discount.

If you need to lose weight and want to improve your health without joining a program, please find a practitioner who will work with you and who will help you identify and address potential metabolic imbalances. One of the best approaches to losing weight and improving health is to reduce consumption of high-glycemic carbohydrates and to engage in a combination of aerobic and muscle-building exercise each week. Set small goals and celebrate every milestone you reach. You deserve it!

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Dr. Pamela Reilly is a Naturopathic Physician dedicated to helping people improve their health and eliminate symptoms using natural, integrative methods. She has over 25 years of experience and has helped men, women and children improve their health using a holistic, client-centered focus. She sees clients in Indianapolis, does house calls, and also conducts consultations via Skype or telephone. Please feel free to contact her or visit her Consultations page for more information. Dr. Pamela speaks nationwide on a wide variety of health topics and welcomes speaking invitations.

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4 Responses to Little-Known Facts About Weight Loss

  1. DCat says:

    I am a 45y/o mother of 2, in the medical field, and have had 5 back surgeries in the past few years. The fourth one was an I&D of my L-Spine due to the rupture of 2 occult infected cysts inbetween L4/L5. The rupture created a hole in my dura and as a result, I was in serious to grave condition with bacterial meningitis and sepsis. Although given a poor prognosis, I survived with some STM and word retrieval. I was on strict bedrest while on a ventilator and while I had several drains coming from my back post-op, and needed to be still in hopes the patch over the dura would “take”. From that hospitalization, I got DVT’s in both legs, with the right leg starting at the femoral vein in my groin. The reason I give you this history is because I learned I had Factor 5 and am on Coumadin. I also suffer from prolonged paresis, immobility, and caustic lassitude, I gained around 80lbs, but was over my normal by 20lbs at the start. I need to lose 100lbs. I have taken supplements in the past, but I worked out 5x/wk, weights,cardio. I would like to know if there has been ANY fairly reliable test revealing if green coffee beans would work antithetically to my Coumadin regime. I thank you if you have found out anything new on this topic. I am 3 mos post op caging up my L Spine, with also using about 14 screws. I am slow and tired, but ready to accomplish some goals. I am understanding that “why use supplements at all?”, but sometimes you need to fake yourself out and do it your way…like a custom “old school.”

  2. Anna says:


    I agree with most of what you say in your article. However, I can’t agree with point 5: “It is impossible to achieve a weight loss goal using only eating changes (diet)…” – it is possible and I’m an example. Due to my candida I went on SCD diet (specific carbohydrates diet) which healed my gut, but “side effect” was that I lost 5kg by just ajusting what I ate, wthout doing any exercise. Keto and GAPs diets are another ones that may result in weight loss without exercise – they are not fad diets, but “back-to-the-roots” nourishing diet.

    Thank you,


    • Anna – Congrats on the weight loss! Following a medically necessary eating style is not following a “fad” diet. Candida is known to inhibit weight loss and impair metabolism, so you lost weight because you addressed physical imbalances. That is why you were able to lose weight without exercising. My hope is that you will soon combine mild exercise to further improve your health. Keep up the great work!

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