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I tried everything but I can't lose weight

Keeping FIT

Monday, May 21, 2012    

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Dear Donovan,

I am a woman who wants to lose weight. I am five feet five inches tall and I weigh 198 pounds. I had a baby one year and five months ago. I am trying very hard to lose the weight but it will not go. I tried dieting, exercising, pills, shakes and walking, but nothing works. My doctor said that my average weight should be 130 to 140 pounds.

I started putting on the weight when I put in the five- year birth control. I took it out eight months after I discovered that it made me put on 30 pounds in that short period of time. I am uncomfortable and want to lose the weight and keep it off. Can you help?

— Charlene

Dear Charlene,

I know it is very frustrating when you are doing all you can and are still not getting the results you want.

The connection between hormonal contraceptive methods and weight gain has been the topic of a number of researches. One of the main conclusions of these studies is that some birth control methods like the pill, are able to lead to weight gain in more than one ways. According to several studies with birth control pills and contraceptive shots such as Depo-Provera and other hormonal methods, contraceptives can have weight gain as a side effect.

Studies have shown that the average weight gain over one year for contraceptive pill users was 5.5 pounds, while for contraceptive shot users, the average weight gain was 6.6 pounds over this same period. In addition, birth control based on oestrogen also leads to water retention. The amount of fluids that is retained depends on the amount of oestrogen found in these pills because oestrogen directly stimulates several compounds in the kidney, which leads to water retention.

Some hormonal contraceptives are also known to elevate insulin levels. When this occurs, the glucose from carbohydrates is sent to the fat cells and this prevents weight loss, even sometimes when a diet is followed.

Two measures to minimise weight gain when on hormonal birth control is to use a method which contains as little oestrogen as possible and reduce your carbohydrate intake if your insulin-resistant level is too high or you have an abnormal glucose situation.

I believe that it is possible for all persons to lose weight. It is just a matter of finding a programme which works for you. In your case, you have a young child, but in any weight loss programme, you have to make sure that you cut your food/calories so that the body is forced to use from its reserve. Also take time out to make a listing of the foods you eat on a weekly basis and cut your food portions in half, by eating from a smaller plate, for example.

In addition, try to incorporate more fruits and vegetables and juices in your diet. It is not only about losing weight, but being healthy for your baby.

Assuming that you are no longer breastfeeding, you could also do a detox programme that could help your tummy to go down. You can also tweak your exercise programme, so that if you are doing half an hour per day, you can do 45 minutes or an hour. Try and do more cardiovascular exercises rather than muscle building. Try these suggestions for one or two weeks and see if anything changes. Good luck.

We will answer your weight- related questions

Are you struggling to lose weight or just need some advice on living a healthier life? Tell us about your health issues and we'll have nutritionist and wellness coach Donovan Grant answer them for you. Grant has over 12 years experience in the fitness industry and is the owner of DG's Nutrition and Wellness Centre, Suite 16, 39 Lady Musgrave Road, Kingston 5. Send your questions to



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