Why Aren't You Losing Weight?
Could a medical problem or medication be to blame?
By Carol Sorgen
Reviewed By Charlotte E. Grayson, MD
You're following a weight-loss eating plan. You're exercising almost every day. You're proud of the new healthy habits you've learned. Yet week after week, the scale barely seems to budge. What gives?
Chances are your food portion sizes have crept up (time to get out the scales and measuring cups again). Or your workouts may not be quite as intense as you think (start checking that heart rate).
But if you know you've followed your reducing plan religiously, there's another possibility: A medical condition -- or medication -- may be to blame.
"If you haven't been able to lose weight and you can't understand why, you need to determine whether there's a medical condition underlying your weight problem," says Peter LePort, MD, director of the Smart Dimensions Bariatric Program at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in California. "You need to cure that problem first before you can address the weight issue."
Medical Reasons for Weight Gain
Several conditions can cause weight gain or hinder weight loss, says Rebecca Kurth, MD, director of PrimeCare at Columbia-Presbyterian Eastside and associate professor of clinical medicine at Columbia University.
Among them, Kurth says, are:
Two other considerations: people tend to gain weight with age for unknown reasons, and though it's not a medical condition, drinking alcohol in moderate to excessive amounts can sabotage your efforts to lose weight. Alcohol (including beer and wine) is a refined carbohydrate, similar to sugar, candy, and white flour. Besides adding calories, alcohol may raise blood sugar and insulin levels, which can contribute to weight gain.
A Prescription for Weight Gain?
It's not only medical conditions that can add pounds. Some medications can also cause you to gain weight, or keep you from losing it, says Ken Fujioka, MD, medical director of the Scripps Clinic Nutrition and Metabolism Research Center in San Diego.
"It's ot only medical conditions that can add pounds. Some medications can also cause you to gain weight."
"It's very common for medications to cause weight gain," says Fujioka, noting that approximately 25% of his patients are on medication or have an illness that is causing them to gain weight.
Among the medications that may cause weight gain in some people are: