Are You Weight Loss Resistant?

How many people have tried a “fad” or crash diet and failed to lose any weight?    Have you been exercising and the scale just stays the same?  Are you destined to be fat?  Is there any hope?  If this describes you, more likely than not, you are weight loss resistant.

Why Do Diets Fail?

Sixty-five percent of the population is overweight.   Heart disease, strokes, diabetes, certain types of cancer and many others have been associated with excessive weight gain.  There is evidence that states all chronic diseases have a nutritional component.  Yo-yo dieting has also been associated with excessive weight gain.

There are many reasons why diets fail.  From my personal experience, patients want to only have to diet for a period of time and then revert back to their previous lifestyle.   The problem with this outlook is that their poor lifestyle caused the obesity!  Other factors that I have observed in my practice include failure to identify the underlying causes, repeated attempted to diet cause damages the individual’s metabolism, and/or failure to address the behaviorial/psychological component.   If you want to be lean, then you have to live like you are lean! 

What is Weight Loss Resistance?

 Simply put, weight loss resistance is the inability to lose weight.  According to research, ninety-five percent of people on a “diet” will gain all the weight lost within five years.  Weight loss resistance encompasses so much more than counting calories.  In fact, there is some research that states counting calories is detrimental to weight loss.  The inability to lose weight can be caused by a number of factors.   They are abnormal increased stress, an inability to get quality sleep, neurotransmitter imbalances (which can cause food cravings), food sensitivities and intestinal issues (which can cause an inability to properly digest food), insulin and leptin resistance (interferes with carbohydrate metabolism), thyroid disorders (the thyroid is the “general” of metabolism), toxic burden (increased levels of toxins can slow metabolism and increase fat retention) and hormone imbalances.   In addition, co-morbid conditions, such as diabetes, will affect the ability to metabolize fat and gain lean tissue.  Many, if not all of the factors, are brought on by our quick fix, fast-paced, work until you drop society.  However, there is hope!

How Do You Know if You are Resistant?

In my practice, I take a comprehensive approach to weight loss.  The initial visit includes a personal health assessment, anthropometric measurements and diet history.  Once suspected areas of resistance are established, lab testing will be ordered to confirm the assessment.  Goals are set based on the unique needs of the individual.   The lab testing may include a traditional laboratory workup or a functional work-up.  Functional lab testing looks at the individual’s metabolism and how each step is working in relation to the others.     Every patient is unique, therefore, an individualized treatment protocol is developed and implemented.

Why test?

Laboratory testing is an objective measurement of weight loss resistance.  Every person has a unique metabolism and has a unique set of stresses.  Specifically, functional lab testing includes one or a combination of the following:  (1) mitochrondrial and energy metabolism- mitochondria are the energy producers of the cell (If these are not working properly, the body will store fat to be used as energy); (2) functional vitamin status- vitamin status based on the specific nutrient requirement of the individual; (3) carbohydrate and fatty acid metabolism-if these are not functioning optimally fat will be stored; (4) food intolerances-either immediate or delayed reactions to a specific foods; (5)  leaky gut-an inability to properly digest foods which can lead to nutrient deficiencies and food sensitivities; (6) essential fatty acid balance- omega-3 to omega-6 balance, (7) inflammation potential- the more inflammation, the more difficult it is to burn fat, (8) oxidative stress-body fat is a direct indicator of oxidative stress ; (9) detoxification- the more toxic chemicals ingested, the tougher it is for your metabolism to function optimally; (10) neurotransmitter and catecholamines balance-cravings and imbalance of stress hormones can create excess storage of fat.   As you can see, without lab testing would be like shooting in the dark!

How do you heal these areas?

It all depends on the area(s) of resistance.  Some of the treatment strategies include specific targeted supplements, specific exercise protocol, stress management, sleep strategies, trading toxic chemicals for non-toxic alternatives, behavior modification, and psychological strategies.  Again, each patient is unique, one or a combination of strategies can be used depending on the initial assessment.   In following articles, I will discuss in detail what can be done about each area and what modification/strategies you can easily implement to get on the road to a leaner and healthier lifestyle.


Dr. Scott Schreiber has been practicing in Newark, Delaware for over eleven years.  He is a chiropractic physician that is double board certified in rehabilitation and clinical nutrition.  He is also a certified nutrition specialist and a licensed dietitian/nutritionist.