Possible medical reasons for not losing weight The image shows a bowl of healthy foods, a notepad, and a stethoscope.

Possible medical reasons for not losing weight

April 26. 2023

If you are following a diet and regularly exercising but still do not see body weight loss results, there could be a medical explanation for that issue. There are many medical reasons for not losing weight, but most can be treated. Remember that in any weight loss journey, there is always room for improvement and progress.

You may be eating healthy, sticking to a low-calorie meal plan (such as the keto diet), and watching your food portion sizes. And even so, the weighing scale is not budging. Losing weight can be a real challenge; that is shown in the growing obesity epidemic. You have to commit to a weight-loss eating plan and exercise on a daily basis to achieve a weight-loss transformation. Sometimes, that is not enough; thankfully, there are different medical treatments individuals can resort to (such as Phentermine for weight loss). A medical program can give you the boost you need to reach your weight loss goals.

However, when you have tried it all, and nothing seems to work, it could be that medical reasons for not losing weight are getting in your way. From your body not absorbing nutrients properly to an underlying health condition, many things could be going on without you noticing they affect your weight loss ability. In this article, our healthcare professionals will talk about some of the reasons that could be the origin of your weight loss struggles.

Top 8 medical reasons for not losing weight

As mentioned, different health conditions could be stopping you from losing weight. The best way to find out if one is affecting your journey is to speak to your healthcare provider. Today, our weight loss clinic in Chicago experts tell you about the top 8 medical reasons for not losing weight:

Hormonal imbalance

A hormone disbalance is one of the main reasons why people struggle to lose weight. Why are hormones so essential to achieve weight loss? As you may know, hormones support many vital functions within our bodies, including our ability to maintain and grow muscle mass and burn body fat among them. Hormones also play a key role in your appetite, metabolism, and hunger sensation – all crucial factors when trying to lose weight. Besides hormones, neurotransmitters also are vital to managing weight loss. Do you know which two neurotransmitters have roles in appetite suppression? Serotonin and dopamine. A disbalance in those chemicals could also be affecting your weight loss goals.

These are some common hormone imbalance conditions that affect weight loss:


The thyroid gland produces hormones that help you regulate your metabolism speed. When this gland does not work correctly, it can cause rapid weight gain or loss. Your metabolism will speed up, and you’ll likely lose weight fast (generally, in an unhealthy way) if this gland produces large quantities of thyroid hormones. That condition is called hyperthyroidism. On the other hand, hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. When your metabolic rate decreases, your body uses less energy which means it will break down fewer calories to survive. That quickly leads to weight gain and prevents you from losing weight smoothly. This condition can also make you retain fluids and salt, causing inflammation. Inflammation and weight gain go hand-in-hand; water retention will show up on the scale as extra weight.

Cushing’s syndrome

You develop Cushing’s syndrome when your body’s adrenal glands produce too much of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone; this hormone production increases when we are under stress but decreases again when the stressful situation is over. In individuals with Cushing’s syndrome, cortisol production is always at its peak. That can happen because the body naturally produces too much cortisol or due to taking medications that mimic the cortisol hormone. Progressive weight gain, high blood glucose levels, and increased heart rates are some of the symptoms of high cortisol levels. If you have this syndrome, you can experience weight gain on the face, neck, and abdominal fat. If this is your case, Lipo C injections have been proven to be highly efficient in promoting abdominal fat storage burn. Besides, too much cortisol can also cause an appetite increase and cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods.

Polycystic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) occurs when there is a disbalance in the female hormones. Women with this condition produce more male hormones (androgen) than usual. Even the smallest increase in androgen can change how your ovaries function. In addition, PCOS can cause insulin resistance, which increases your insulin production. That causes your cells to take up extra sugar from the blood and store that excess energy as body fat.


Weight gain is one of the most common symptoms of diabetes; diabetic patients often struggle to lose weight and keep the extra pounds off. Almost any type 2 diabetes treatment includes exercise and healthy eating as part of its plan. The goal is to keep glucose levels low and maintain or reach a healthy weight. When diet and exercise are insufficient, your doctor may recommend an insulin treatment. But the excess insulin can lead to weight gain, which is a sign that the treatment is working, but it also causes a lot of patients to feel discouraged.

If that is your case, you can talk to your primary healthcare provider about how to overcome this obstacle – with a new diet and exercise regime or a new medical treatment. If you have type 2 diabetes, with a body-mass index of 30 or higher, you are eligible to take Ozempic. Ozempic and weight loss are all over the place; this drug was proven to deliver outstanding weight loss results in people with and without diabetes.

Sleep apnea

There is a well-known link between sleep apnea and being overweight. Sleep apnea is a potentially serious condition in which you stop breathing or have almost no airflow while you sleep; this happens several times throughout the night. Most people with this condition do not realize they have it; they stop and start breathing in their sleep without noticing it. If you sleep enough hours through the night and still wake up tired and are overweight, maybe you suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can cause low energy, chronic fatigue, slow metabolism, and hormonal changes. All factors that can be sabotaging your weight loss efforts.

Chronic Stress

High levels of anxiety or stress can have a toll on your weight loss efforts. The connection between stress and weight gain is strong; a stressful situation can prevent you from losing weight. Your body starts producing high levels of the cortisol hormone when you live with excess anxiety and stress. As mentioned above, when talking about Cushing’s syndrome, cortisol makes your body more likely to store fat, especially around tricky areas. Besides that, when your body is under too much stress, it wants to hold on to fat so that it can save more energy. Chronic stress can also cause constipation. Does constipation cause weight gain? Weight gain and constipation are deeply intertwined. If you are bloated, that will lead to extra pounds when weighing yourself.

Not being able to lose weight despite your best efforts can add more stress to your current situation. You can resort to activities such as journaling or meditation to lower your stress levels. Or you can contact a health care specialist to receive professional help to overcome this roadblock.

Perimenopause or menopause

During menopause and perimenopause – the period that leads to menopause – women tend to gain body fat and find it challenging to lose weight. That weight gain mostly happens due to the drop in estrogen levels and some other regular, age-related changes in the body. For example, as you age, you start losing muscle mass which leads to a slower metabolism. Lack of good quality sleep, also very common as we age, can mess with your satiety signals and appetite leading you to feel more hungry and eat more than usual. Although losing weight during this transition can be challenging, it is not impossible; there are various effective methods you can use. Intermittent fasting for women over 50 has been proven to work for weight loss and also provides many other health benefits.

Certain medications you are taking

Some medicines can cause certain individuals to put on some weight. That can happen because some medications can make your body retain water, leading to weight gain. Other drugs can slow down your metabolism, and others can cause an increase in appetite. Some medications that can potentially cause weight gain are medicines for diabetes (such as insulin), antidepressant medicines, steroid hormone treatments, epilepsy medication, and blood pressure-reducing medicines. How to deal with this extra weight can vary; your doctor can switch you to a new medication, or you try on new weight loss diets.

It is vital to point out that not all the medications we mention have the same effect on people. If you think your medicine is preventing you from losing weight, you should schedule an appointment with a professional to confirm it.

Not choosing the right medical weight loss program

There exist many different medical weight loss programs, and new ones are included in the list as time passes. While most of those treatments are efficient and will promote weight loss, choosing the right one is what really makes all the difference. Your specific needs and goals will determine which medical weight loss program is more suitable for you – and will bring faster and better results. Staring a medical treatment without professional supervision, like buying over-the-counter diet pills, can also be the reason why you are not losing weight. It is recommended to follow a medical-backed-up program under the supervision of a healthcare professional. Most treatments also require habit adjustments, such as including weight loss diets into the mix. A weight loss expert will know that and help you succeed.

What should I do if a medical reason sabotages my weight loss efforts?

The first thing to do if you experience unexplainable weight gain is to see a doctor. The same rule applies when you work hard to lose weight without getting results. Doctors and health care professionals are the most qualified individuals to diagnose medical reasons for not losing weight. And once you know the root of the problem, you can start working on resolving it.

Starting a medical weight loss program may be necessary if diet and exercise are insufficient—or perhaps habits and diet changes. Maybe you follow a trendy weight-loss meal plan, but those diets often lack sustainability and are not scientifically backed up. A nutritionist can help you craft the perfect diet for you, your medical condition, and your goals.

Final thoughts

Are you aware of the many medical reasons for not losing weight? Despite your best efforts, does attaining weight loss seem impossible to you? There may be an underlying condition making it extra challenging. The good news is: you can turn almost all those situations around. With the help of a weight loss program or a healthy diet developed to your needs, you will be back on track in no time. Do not let anything get in the way of your weight loss goals; we can help you achieve real results. Schedule a call with us if you think this can be your case. Our team will help you to manage any medical issue that prevents you from losing weight.

Nurse Walton


Nurse Walton

Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Chanay received her Practical Nurse licensure and went to work in clinical specialties such as Home Health, Assisted Living, Long-Term Care and Dialysis Centers. Through this work, she realized the importance of diet, nutrition and weight loss among her patients. This led her to open A Better Weigh, Inc. Medical Weight Loss Center in 2009.

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