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Diet & Exercise But Still Can’t Lose Weight? 5 Possible Reasons

Diet & Exercise But Still Can’t Lose Weight?   5 Possible Reasons

This is the battle cry for far too many people. As we near the end of our Holiday Challenge, I wanted to address anyone out there who has played by the rules yet failed to reap the fruits of their efforts. This blog exists to support healthy habits and help teach you how to navigate some of the tricky decisions and dilemmas that await us in today’s synthetic world. We tend to focus on diet, exercise and other more holistic practices but I would be doing you a disservice if we didn’t stop to address some of the metabolic issues that often get in the way of maintaining a lean body. 

There are five major issues that can derail any attempt to lose weight: 1. Insulin resistance, 2. Adrenal stress, 3. Thyroid abnormalities, 4. Hormone imbalance, 5. Sleep. 

Yes there are many other elements that can effect weight loss but these are the major categories. Check your status in each of these areas and you will advance your health while reducing your pant size. Let’s get started.

1. Insulin resistance
If your fasting blood sugar is above 84 then you are trending into the waters of insulin resistance and eventually toward full-blown diabetes. For every point above 84 on your fasting glucose test, you are 6% more likely to become diabetic. If your fasting glucose is 92 then (do the math) you are 48% more likely to become diabetic and your vessels are already incurring destruction by plaque formation.  

Insulin resistance is a pre-diabetic state that means your body’s ability to remove sugar from the blood and place it in the cells is compromised, resulting in a higher insulin level.  Insulin sends the signal to all cells to STORE FAT.

Lack of exercise, eating high glycemic foods like bread, rice, potato, pasta will drive glucose up rapidly and with it goes insulin. Many of us are in this category yet may be painfully unaware. The good news is that this is a reversible state and can be remedied by lifestyle and diet changes, along with a few simple nutritional adjuncts like magnesium and a mineral called chromium. Making your insulin receptors more responsive will reverse this trend and aid your efforts to lose weight.

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[79 Comments]  [79 Comments] 


79 Responses to “Diet & Exercise But Still Can’t Lose Weight? 5 Possible Reasons”
  1. Jessica says:

    Cool post. Thanks for sharing

  2. Helen says:

    Excellent information. Thank you

  3. Janet says:

    From your information, regarding the difficulty to lose weight if you are insulin resistant, this question arises. Can this be the main cause of my High Cholesterol? I have known for a long time that I need to cut back drastically on carbs in order to lose weight.
    I have Fredericks type 2 genetic disposition to high cholesterol. I have been put on many different statin drugs. The only one that gets me below 200 is 80 mgs per day of Lippitor. DIET ALONE HAS NEVER WORKED FOR ME. I a presently taking Red Yeast Rice to help since, at this time, I (a Senior) cannot afford Lippitor.

    • Helen Wenley says:

      Hi Janet,
      Insulin resistance means that you do have to go a low glycemic diet for life! And the side-effect is that your cholesterol may go down. I have started reading a book called ‘The PH Miracle’ by Robert O Young – if you are serious about improving your health than this book may be an inspiration for you. If you follow this plan the side-effect is losing weight and regaining health.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Janet,
      The devil is in the detail. Often times the “diet” most people try to reduce cholesterol is a low fat diet which often does not work since that is not the primary mechanism causing their lipids to rise. The glycemic component of your diet or “carbs” play a significant role in stimulating insulin production that turns off your fat burning capacity and stimulate your LDL production.

      Red yeast rice may help as it works via the same mechanism as Lipitor and has been shown in clinical studies to work when tested against statins. I think there are probably other metabolic factors that need to be explored. Ask your doctor to check your CRP-HS and order a Berkeley Heart Panel to evaluate your genetic markers such as KIF6 gene and ApoE gene. Treating hyperlipidemia is more than just using statins to lower LDL. 75% of people who have a heart attack have normal cholesterol so we can’t sit and believe that just lowering LDL will fix our problems.

      Keep searching for the right answers and if your doctor needs a hand then I would be happy to offer assistance.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  4. Mike says:

    Great article! One other reason you may not be losing weight is that you are simply consuming more calories than you think you are.

    I would suggest you count calories for a month or so. It is a pain but can be very helpful for you to get a better understanding of what your body is doing. You can review more about that here:

    • christins says:

      I have to say, the calorie in- calorie out doesn’t work for MOST people. Trust me, I was on a strict 1200 cal diet for over a year. I exercised and everything. Guess what? I gained weight.

  5. Jay Smith says:

    I could not agree more. I have noticed that if I get poor sleep, I am irritable the next day. Eating then calms me. I have recently switched to a diet of meat, beans, lentils, leafy greens, and other vegetables and fruits. I eat no bread, wheat products, or grains. This diet seems to calm my body and mind, and I sleep better as well. I’m not worried about weight loss as I started going to a gym, and am adding muscle mass as I lose body fat. My belly fat pinch is getting smaller. All is well, and your articles have helped me a great deal. Thanks.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Jay,
      Glad to be of help and thanks for sharing your experience and practices as others like you will benefit from reading your words and following your example. I hope your getting plenty of water as well. And just a reminder that water is water and nothing else is. Tea and pop and juice and Crystal light are NOT water. Shoot for 80 ounces or more per day. Seriously!

      Keep up the good efforts Jay . . . I want a picture of your six-pack by summer.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  6. Sandra says:

    I can’t find an answer to why I cannot lose weight. I have always eaten small amounts (1500Cal a day) of nothing but fresh Veggies, fruits and 3 ounces of baked, broiled meat or fish. I eat no grains, or pasta and no bread ior bread products.
    My breakfast is a small portion of Steel cut Oats and 1/2 a grapefruit, lunch is usually Tuna and a veggie. At night it is a small portion of whatever meat I fix my Husband and salad or veg.Ocasionally I have a small dish of sugar, fat free pudding with Walnuts in it.
    I walk 1/2 hr on the treadmill every day and do weighs and floor exercises.
    This is my everyday routine I am retired and devote all my time to my health.
    I recently had a Thyroid test which was normal ad I am currently trying the Iodine-Iodide thereapy.
    WHY will the weight not come off?? I gained 30# during Chemo thereapy and Celebrex treatment and I cannot get it off!!.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Sandra,
      On paper it all looks pretty good. I don’t see any protein with your breakfast so please try to get 15 grams of protein in the morning either with eggs, meat, protein shake or other source. This has a big effect on your initial insulin production that effects the rest of your day. Also make sure that you are drinking adequate water as even mild dehydration will reduce you ability to burn fat.

      I hope your doctor did a complete thyroid evaluation including a freeT4 and freeT3 measure. We can not simply look at TSH and say what the health of the thyroid is.

      Now for the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Chemo? You had chemo? The question I can’t begin to answer is what did the chemo do to your metabolism? That is a gigantic stressor on your body and it can damage organs, alter metabolic pathways, and leave toxins behind that effect your health. This is where you need to spend some time investigating or seeking help. Chemo like cisplatin leaves large volumes of heavy metal in your body. Chemo can cause damage to detox pathways in the liver and kidneys or cardiovascular deficit that alters function. Not to mention the shear stress of going through that ordeal will alter adrenal and cortisol function. Somewhere in that jumbled mess lies some of your answer.

      This is not something we address in a simple blog, I strongly advise you to seek integrative assistance in unraveling the effect of chemo and cancer on your metabolism. You are dedicated to your health so this will not be a long term problem, simply a new direction for you.

      My office is open to you and we have dedicated weight loss programs as well as full integrative care options, or go to “IFM” (Institute of Function medicine) website for a list of integrative care physicians.

      Dr. Gary Huber

  7. Sandra says:

    Thank you Dr. Huber-I had done extensive research in to various aspects of my problem trying to reach some sort of an answer. I think you only validated the conclusion I had already come to. I have had Chemo twice for two unrelated Cancers plus 2 Hip replacements. I also have mild Lymphodema

    The problem is I live in a tiny town where if you say you can’t lose weight, the Drs say, eat less and don’t believe you when you tell them how you eat and exercise.
    I would have to travel 50 mi. to find an intergrative care Physician and I am sure my Medical Ins would not cover the cost. Since I am retired and 70 cost becomes an Issue.
    I run every day in the summer with my dog and I feel good, I guess I will have to be content with that.
    I appreciate your response………

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Sandra,
      Then follow through n the things you can control. Have your doctor do a freeT3 and freeT4 and antibody test as this would be covered by your insurance. If it is suboptimal then this can be corrected. Be sure to get the protein breakfast and water intake discussed above. Make sure than your diet has a high proportion of vegetables. Half of what you eat in a day should be vegetable and half of that should be raw. Avoid processed foods. Please try these simple actions and let me know your result.

      You have platinum in your body as a result of your chemo and yes chelating metals is not cheap but if it is something that is important to you I would be happy to assist in that endeavor.

      Good luck,
      Dr. Gary Huber

  8. Lisa says:

    I am 44 years old. I had a complete hysterectomy in January 2008 and take the following meds: synthroid & cytomel (thyroid), estradiol (HRT), Seroquel, Prozac, omeprazole and an currently taking vitamin D tablets once a week for 12 weeks. I exercise (30 min cardio, 30 minutes circuit training, 15 minutes abs) 4-5 times a week and eat relatively healthy, but I crave carbs, sugar and salty foods. I am 5’10″ and weigh 198. I try so hard, but I cannot lose any weight! I have a lot of belly fat. Is there anything else I can do to lose the weight? Thank you.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Lisa,
      You present a very typical scenario that women struggle with. With your permission I would be happy to delve into your case but I would love to do it in a way that would benefit all the readers of this site. Are you game? If no, it’s OK but you’ve come this far and put all your goodies on display for all to see so why not engage just one step further. With your permission I would like to make a formal post of this question and break it down in detail.
      Give me the thumbs up if your game.
      Dr. Gary Huber

    • Lisa says:

      Dr. Huber,

      Yes, absolutely! If this can help other women, I would love for you to post it for all to see. Thank you so much!

      Also, after having my labs run recently (to check thyroid levels), my doctor said my levels are ‘all over the place’, so he had me stop both the cytomel and synthroid and I’ll have my labs done again in 6 weeks. Don’t know if this makes a difference. Thanks!


  9. Ashley Eckard says:

    Hi, I’ve been diagnosed with PCOS and i know i have insulin resistance and high cholesteral. Despite being put on metformin, excersising, and dieting i still can’t lose even a pound! We checked my thryoid several times and its come back normal. I’m 23 and was diaganosed at 19. I had lost the weight once before but after having a little girl almost a year ago i gained 50 lbs during pregnancy and only lost 10 lbs since (that 10 lbs was directly after child birth so i’m assuming it was from delivery)

    Any other readings that may help? Or a point in the right direction?

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Ashley,
      The devil is the detail. Metformin is a good drug for women with PCOS but you have several issues similar to Lisa’s (above). Metformin depletes coQ10, B12 and folic acid so replacement becomes important. Is your blood sugar tightly controlled? Has a 2 hour post sugar ingestion insulin level been checked? Just because Metformin is being used doesn’t mean that insulin is “completely” under control and insulin will limit your ability to lose weight.

      A recurring theme for many of my patients is they say “my doctor checked my thyroid and said it was OK”. This is often followed by a review of their past labs to discover that the only thing checked was a TSH. If that is the case then you need to look deeper. There are may elements that may interfere with proper thyroid function.

      Lastly, if you truly have PCOS then you have very little progesterone and the resultant estrogen dominance that results will lead to weight gain. Your hormones need to be balanced, and no a birth control pill does not do that. Birth control pills actually contributes to further weight gain.

      At age 23 if you are not able to lose weight then there is something about your metabolism or lifestyle that is interfering. You need a complete evaluation to address this issue. Many of the diet and exercise articles on this site will point you in the right direction. High protein breakfast and low starch diet is a good start. But with PCOS you may need some hormonal assessment.

      If you haven’t already, Read the 2-part series “Why Can’t Lisa Lose Weight?” for some additional info. If after reading that you have further questions that you would like to explore then you will need to find a physician that understands these issues and get some real help. My office is happy to help you if you struggle to find answers. Thats what we do day in and day out.

      Take care Ashley and please know that there are solutions to the problem you face. If you are stuck then seek better help.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  10. Crystal says:

    Hi. I’ve been relatively healthy my whole life. I had a baby 01/10 and have not been able to take off an ounce of the weight! I actually weigh more now than when I was pregnant. I eat paleo which forbids grains and unrefined sugars. I consume under 2000 calories a day. I excersise at least 5 days a week which includes weight lifting and 2 days of Thai kickboxing. I did have gestantional diabetes when I was pregnant but was able to easily keep it under control with diet and exercise (I gained only 17 pounds during pregnancy). I just turned 30, am 5’5 and weigh 197. I have had my thyroid, hormones, and insulin checked and all were normal. I did test positive for sleep apnea and have a sleep study scheduled for next week. I just have a hard time imagining that sleep interference is making me fat!! Is there anything else I should be getting checked for??

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Crystal,
      Sleep is a huge element that can contribute to weight gain, insulin resistance, fatigue and adrenal stress. Our bodies need to repair at night while we sleep and if we are unable to fall into a deep undisturbed sleep pattern then this will eventually lead to other changes and degenerative disease. The sleep study could be a big step forward for you.

      The statement that you have had your hormones, thyroid and insulin checked is reassuring that at least you looked for grossly abnormal issues but I have seen hundreds of patients who have made that same statement and upon further inspection either showed only cursory screening tests without a detailed analysis, had the wrong tests done, or simply had an interpretation of those lab results that was not geared toward wellness and proactive health. Allow me to explain. In medical school we are taught how to treat disease with drug and surgical therapy. We are not taught “health” and how to lead someone to good optimal health. If you lab results was in the “normal range” then you are declared normal. Even if your number is at the bottom of the normal range with appropriate symptoms. When I was in school I was taught to listen to the patients complaint but only use the lab to guide decisions. The way you feel is more important than what some lab test might declare. For example many people suffer with “subclinical hypothyroidism”. This is where you thyroid test may be in the low end of the normal range but you have many or even all of the symptoms of hypothyroid and your body just functions better when your thyroid is better supported.

      The same is true for insulin. We are not taught in traditional medicine to do anything regarding blood sugar until someone is squarely diabetic with a sugar above 126. Thats inadequate in my book. The insulin can not be allowed to rise too high as this will trigger weight gain and inflammation long before you hit diabetic numbers. So it is the degree of scrutiny that your clinician uses in evaluating your lab result that may determine whether it is truly “normal.”

      Get your sleep study done and secure a good nights sleep every night. Ask your doctor to review your freeT4 and freeT3 and insulin numbers with you so you can see where you fall in the whole range of normal. Explain to him your concern with weight gain and the need for assistance. He/she should be able to help you. If you hit a brick wall then call my office and lets get you the help you need.

      No one needs to go thru life frustrated with their weight and body image, especially a kickboxing workout animal like you Crystal.

      Keep probing for better answers,
      Dr. Gary Huber

  11. Marion says:

    Hi. I’m diabetic and have high blood pressure. Of course doctors have been saying to lose weight. So I joined Weight Watchers a year and a half ago and at first it was going well. I started off at 280 and I lost 25 lbs. In the late spring I was diagnosed with GERD and since then it seems like losing weight for me has been impossible. And with the added trouble of acid and heartburn, I’ve been eating less. I gave up fast food altogether, and I’ll eat something fried or some kind of junk food once every blue moon. I usually make breakfast my largest meal and dinner is my lightest because I don’t want to eat after 7 or I will end up with horrible heartburn when I go to bed which includes gas that seems to get trapped on the right side of my chest and around my arm pit which is not only uncomfortable, it always makes me worry that it’s something heart related (fortunately, I’ve had a stress test done and EKG’s 3 times over the last year and all have turned out pretty much normal so it makes me a little less stressed out). I also exercise 3 days a week at the gym and most of the time my job keeps me going up and down stairs and walking down hallways carrying around computers.

    However, I have not lost a pound since October and I’ve actually gained about 8 lbs since that time. Normally my breakfast consists of something like 1 cup of cereal with fruit in a cup of light soy milk or 2 slices of ezekiel bread and a piece of veggie sausage and half a grapefruit. Lunch is usually a piece of fruit and a Lean Cuisine or crackers with light cream cheese or something. Dinner is usually some kind of vegetable or salad and some kind of baked or grilled protein.

    Because of GERD I have a hard time sleeping. Sometimes I wake up with my heart just pounding which is usually due to my stomach starting to feel that burning. Then I end up having to stay up until it subsides. It’s a luxury when I get 6 uninterrupted hours of sleep.

    A lot of weight seems to settle in my stomach area and I’m sure that contributes to my GERD problems. So I’m really working hard to lose. But after these past 5 months of nothing, I’m at a loss as to what to do. After reading this article, I’ll definitely have to try the chromium and magnesium and I could use some melatonin. I have to make my next doctor’s appointment next week. I haven’t had a thyroid test in years and it turned out normal then. But I guess I have nothing to lose by talking to my doctor about getting one now.

    Anything else you could suggest would be appreciated.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Wow Marion,
      You just laid it all out there didn’t you? A complete response to your dilemma would take me a 3 pages (or more). First of all take a deep breath and know that there are reasons and answers for your present situation. It can all be made better but of course some things will need to change. Some of your answers lie in some of my earlier responses to other questions above. Some of this information is covered in the two part response entitled “Why can’t Lisa lose weight”. And of course other articles on this website hold pearls for you as well. If you are new to the site then please take time to poke around for other insights that will help you. But allow me now to address a few starting points.

      Weight Watchers has been around for a long time and remain an institution in the this country forever. People go there to learn “calorie restriction” dieting which means you lose weight by eating less. Studies in the scientific literature will tell you that this is a very ineffective method for securing LONG TERM weight loss. These are not my words, I am simply quoting the studies. My concern with this type of weight loss program is that you are not being taught HOW TO EAT. On weight watchers you are allowed starchy carbs and cookies and cake as long as you stay in the point system. Well self deprecation can only sustain itself so long before you say “enough” and go off the diet. And when that happens you are left still not knowing what is appropriate to eat. You have been taught that cakes and cookies are OK but now you are not in the point system so weight comes back on.

      I want you to do a little test. Go look at all the food labels of all the breakfast items you eat and add up all of the sugars and all of the carbs and all of the protein. Here is what you will find – “Gee, I eat an awful lot of carbs and very little protein for breakfast.” Carbs are sugars and sugars cause diabetes. Here is where you need to begin to make changes: Breakfast needs to be 15 to 20 grams of protein with some fruit or vegetable. NO GRAIN of any kind. NO CEREAL ever. Get away from the processed foods as much as possible. Learn what the glycemic index is (there are articles on this website that discuss it) and live by it. I’ll give you a brief summary: no pasta, potato, rice, bread or grains. That lunch selection needs a little help as well. How about a large salad with protein to get more fiber and less processed food in you? Lots to work with here but just start slow where you feel comfortable and keep making advances over time.

      The GERD will improve with the avoidance of grain and the loss of weight. Your medicine is lowering acid but doing nothing to help the gut to heal. You need a high quality supplement of zinc carnosine, glutamine, curcumin, probiotic and possibly an anti-fungal treatment to reverse your disease.

      Your diabetes can be more easily treated with the addition of chromium, magnesium, and fish oil. Along with a low carb, low glycemic diet, exercise, good sleep, and stress management.

      Lots of stuff going on there Marion but please explore this site to start putting more information into your solution. I truly feel that with the complex nature of your problem that a consult with me in my office could greatly help. I can feel the frustration in your words and I have seen this type of issue play out in a 1000 other women. Find the help you need from someone qualified to explore all of your factors.

      If you want to speak with a qualified dietitian then I recommend Katherine who works in my office and can speak with you about the diet and help you make some better choices. She’s fantastic and down to earth in her approach. She’s keeps it simple and just find solutions for every person as an individual.

      The march starts now Marion, you have a few starters so begin to assemble your better life and don’t stop until you have the results you want,
      Dr. Gary Huber

  12. Melissa Testerman says:

    I am a 27 year old female social worker. I currently am 5’5″ and 196 pounds. On 02/11/2011 (6 weeks ago) I started Weight Watchers and a new exercise regimine. I have only lost 4 pounds in these 6 weeks despite the fact that I have followed my points EXACTLY and have worked my weight up to exercising 45-60 minutes six days a week. During the week I do circuit training, yoga, box-fit and/or the elliptical. On weekends I try and go for a long hike, play golf, or other more intense and lengthier exercising. In terms of eating, I am making healthy choices, not just eating the right amount of points per day. I sleep 8 hours each night and drink tons of water. I have cut out alcohol and do not smoke.

    6 months ago I had blood tests done for my thyroid. My TSH was 1.04. My T4 Free was 1.12. After reading your article, I am considering asking to have the antibody test done. In addtion, my fasting glucose was 68. I have struggled with carpal tunnel syndrome in the past, headaches and migraines, anxiety and depression, hair loss, dry skin, cold extremities, tiredness and sluggishness and of couse…weight gain. I do take 20mg of Celexa to help with anxiety and dealing with the stressors of a difficult job. I also recently went off of the birth control pill thinking that might eventually help as well.

    Oh my….if you have any suggestions that would be wonderful!! I have been pouring everything into this latest endeavor and it is so hard to see such pathetic results.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Melissa,
      Hats off to you!! You have made some great strides and have embraced many great habits. You just haven’t seen the results you seek . . . yet. Let me offer a few quick thoughts. Love the sleep, water and exercise habits. I am not a huge weight watchers fan, not that it’s a bad program but it does not teach you how to eat properly. Try reading “Living the Low Carb Life” by Jonny Bowden or “Sugar Busters”. These are nice general texts that are easy to read and will start your understanding of food physiology. If you want to jump start your education then set an appointment to talk with my dietitian, Katherine (513-366-2111). She can lay out a program and begin teaching you the principles that you need for a lifetime of good nutrition.

      Your thyroid studies look normal but I would still like to see a freeT3 and antibodies. Ask you doctor to help you explore that more deeply.

      Birth control pills were also a negative influence but you have removed those so we will assume that it is not an issue for you presently.

      Now for your real issue . . . the gut. The gut or bowel or intestinal tract is home for your immune system. The immune system in the bowel has tremendous influence over your brain. In fact the bowel has more nerve function than the central nervous system. The bowel and the brain are in direct connection with each other and problems in the gut will cause problems in the brain. You state that you have headache, anxiety and depression and take medication for these issues. I would bet that there is some bowel issue you harbor which is complicating your ability to lose weight. You go on to say that job stress is high and this brings cortisol into the picture. Cortisol is very disruptive to the bowel, brain and insulin function. It may be creating insulin resistance which I also assume you have to some degree and can be determined by a 2 hour post prandial glucose and insulin test. That means you consume 70 grams of sugar and then check glucose and insulin levels 2 hours later. Your doctor can order that for you.

      You may have food allergies as well but without further history this is simply a left field guess. I would be suspicious that your bowel function is either sluggish (constipation) or even alternating between diarrhea and constipation. Do you have reflux (heartburn) or bloating with gas? I can tell you that I have never met a person who had bowel issues that did not also have some brain issues such as anxiety, depression and headaches.

      1. see your doctor for the thyroid and insulin tests.
      2. Investigate the health of your bowel. Maybe start a probiotic but preferably under the guidance of a qualified health care provider. Your doctor may or may not be the expert here.
      3. Evaluate your stress and cortisol levels to see how significantly these are affecting your overall health.
      4. Get your diet right. Learn about foods and their huge impact. It”s more than just calories in and calories out and it is certainly more involved than just adding up some “points.”

      You are much too young to have all of this issues. There are answers, just keep asking questions and explore. As always, my office is here to help if you get stuck.

      Go get ‘em,
      Dr. Gary Huber

  13. Sarah says:

    I am 18 years old, and I know everyone always says that i am too young to worry about things like this, but I cannot lose weight. I have been big all of my short life and have never been successful with losing weight. I am approximatily 5’8″ and right now i weigh about 203lbs. For the past 2 years I have been completely commited and devoted to my health. I work out constantly, 6 days out of the week and its always vigorus workouts that work every inch of my body and excellent cardio. And my diet is what I thought was healthy; I drink water all the time, water is primarly what my daily liquid intake consists of, I never drink sodas, occationally i will have some black or green tea, and of a morning i have 1 or 2 cups of coffee. I usually will have a bowl of raisin bran or some other kind of whole grain cerial for breakfast and then at around 9 or 10am i will have a small snack of yogurt or some kind of fruit, lunch is usually a lean turkey sandwhich on whole grain bread or something similar and some kind of fruit and vegetable, then i might have some plain crackers and baked chicken or fish for dinner….. I just dont understand….. I feel that i should have more results than i have gotten, for someone who is as health conscious and physically active as i am. I do realize that muscle weighs more than fat, and i am very muscular, but it seems to me, and this may sound crazy, but it seems that the more i workout and diet.. i gain all of this muscle, but the fat is just staying ontop of the muscle, I know that sounds kind of weird, but i’ve only gotten bigger, my clothes have all gotten too small for me since i started working out, the fat will not go away and i dont know what to do anymore, im getting married in 3 weeks, and i have worked so hard to lose weight so that i can fit in my dress, and i just cant. It becomes very disheartening at times. And i dont know if i can go to see a doctor, i dont have any kind of insurance, and i dont know if i could afford it…. please give me some advice on what i should do to solve my weight problem

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Sarah,
      You might want to review some of the details discussed above. You name sugar, sugar, sugar, and sugar as part of your diet and then feel confused as to why you have not lost weight. There certainly can be many issues that limit weight loss but we must start with the basic and work outward from there. I am going to repeat the short list of foods you mentioned above: cereal (whole grain or whatever) = sugar. It’s a “processed grain” and turns to sugar in 8 seconds. Next was raisin bran = more sugar. Processed grain with added raisin for added sugar. Read the label and you will see that sugar is added on top of the sugar in the raisin and the fast glycemic index carbs from the flakes. Next was yogurt. You didn’t mention the brand but check the label. MOST yogurts offer a hefty portion of sugar, as much as 20 to 30 grams in a small serving. Next came crackers = SUGAR. Crackers are processed grains and turn to sugar. So where do we go from here?
      1. Go read every article on this website regarding weight loss, sugar, yogurt and glycemic index. Study and learn.
      2. Go read the book “Sugar Busters”
      3. For a nutritional make over call my dietitian Katherine (513-924-5300) and make an appointment to review your diet and have her get you on track. You will not starve or go hungry and you will eat tons of delicious foods but it won’t be SUGAR and refined carbs.
      4. Watch your workouts, you may be overtraining. Talk with a qualified trainer who can guide you.
      5. How is you sleep? Planning a wedding is stressful. Sleep is critical.

      You mentioned not being able to afford a doctor but if you don’t see the right clinician to take care of this issue then diabetes, cholesterol and heart disease are in your future and I am here to tell you that those things are 1000x’s more expensive and 100x’s more painful than what you are presently experiencing. Whatever you have on your wedding gift list might be exchanged for some intelligent guidance on how to manage your health. You can do this but if you have been running into dead ends then it is time to move in a whole new direction. Do not give up but please start reading the articles on this website and let me know if you remain stuck.

      Happy nuptials,
      Dr. Gary Huber

  14. Rob says:

    Im a 27 yr old male student, and I just cant seem to get rid of excess fat Ive always had. Im pretty active, Ill spend and hour or so in the gym lifting pouring out sweat, and run for about 15 mins on the treadmill, but it seems like no matter what I do the fat wont leave. Ive had it as long as I can remember. I have coffee with about 3 teaspoons of honey, eat a full bowl of oatmeal with a handfull of raisin bran for breakfast. Have another coffee with microwaved veggie boca burger with wheat bread for lunch, and have rice and maybe salmon or chicken for dinner with no added fat. Im 6ft, I weigh 205. I have not eaten till Ive been “full” in ages. I never get full, sometimes in public, I look for someone my size to judge how much I should eat. I do know that I dont over eat based on portions and calories. Sometimes I get constipated where I do not feel the need to go for a day or 2 hence all the oatmeal and raisin bran. I feel the fullness in my stomach, but just not the urge to go, and even when I finally do, its usually just because I sit to do it, not because I really need to. I dont believe I had this problem growing up. Hoping something was wrong a year or so ago, I did a complete blood test, and everything was normal. Not just that, everything was in the middle of the normal range :(

    I weighed 286 at my max, and I worked really hard running, and cutting down on food, and went down to 180 at my lowest, I looked skinny, too much for my body (cachectic-like) on my arms and neck, but my body on my back, stomach, breast area (might i remind you im male) was still hanging onto the flab so I got a little sad b/c of that and gained some back. I look decently healthy on the outside, but I have never in my life been able to take my tshirt off in public. I have tried to remain positive about it, but this has definitely defined who I am, and am constantly thinking about it.

  15. Dr. Gary Huber says:

    Hi Rob,
    I want you to read Sarah’s post which is just above yours. I’ll wait . . .

    Did you notice some similarities? Crackers, cereals, bread, muffins, processed grains of any kind are NOT what you want to eat if weight loss is your goal. It sounds like you have done rather well going from 286 down to 180 pounds. If you are getting enough protein and lifting weights then your body should be able to build muscle. Are you getting at least 100 grams of protein a day? Is your digestion an issue? An inability to digest and assimilate the protein could be part of the problem.

    I am not sure I follow you on the whole “shirt off” issue. If your weight is down to 180 then I can’t imagine your physique being a huge issue but that is the limitation of this format, I can’t see you. Perhaps there is a hormone issue that could be contributing to your issues. For example, an excess of belly fat in males will convert testosterone to estrogen and this can contribute to gynecomastia (male breast growth) and the lack of testosterone may contribute to lack of muscle growth. Your doctor can easily measure these two lab parameters to give you better insight.

    I offer you tremendous cudo’s for dropping over 100 pounds!!! Nicely done Rob.
    Dr. Gary Huber

  16. Linda says:

    I have always believed that a calorie is a calorie no matter what it is from. The key to weight loss is reducing your calories and increasing your exercise. Would you disagree that eating a 1200 calorie diet of anything I want and exercising daily (lets say an hour or so) will not get the same results as eating a diet of 1200 calories from some special kind of diet eating only certain “acceptable” foods and the same amount of exercise???? I realize that sometimes health and other factors keep you from losing weight, but as far as what i eat for that calorie doesnt seem to make any difference as long I don’t eat too many calories or stop exercising. In other words, if I choose to eat a bowl of ice cream with 500 calories for my evening meal and it doesnt put me over my 1200 calories am I really going to lose weight slower than the person who ate 500 calories of lean poultry. Not trying to b smart here, I truely want to understand why it makes a difference. I do not make it a habit to eat poorly by any means, I just don’t understand how I can lose more weight eating eggs for breakfast vs cereal if they are the same amount of calories.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Linda,
      You bring up an age old thought that on the surface seems logical but the body operates by many complex systems and despite our desire for a simple paradigm such as the one you propose, the truth is that it just isn’t correct. We know this to be the case with certainly based on medical studies, sociological and cultural studies, as well as the study of human physiology and biochemistry.

      For example, one study looked at your idea that calories in = calories out and they balanced the caloric intake of study subjects with their daily activities such that they ate 1500 calories and expended exactly 1500 calories. They than had these same people increase their calories to 2000 and increase their activity to match 2000 calories out. These people gained muscle and lost fat. They then were limited to 1000 calories of food and reduced activity to 1000 calories expenditure. The result is that they gained fat and lost muscle. Calories in = calories out yet the body physiology changed dramatically.

      A recent look into childhood obesity was expected to discover that kids eat too much and that why they are gaining weight. But what was found shocked the researchers as the amount of calories ingested was actually less than what was being consumed 20 years ago, but the types of food (just as you suggested above) was very different and was contributing to insulin resistance and weight gain.

      The body can adapt to almost any situation but the chemical signals we give our body is tremendously influenced by the foods we eat. We can turn our body into lean fat burning machines or fat storing machines based on the type of calories we choose. Protein foods are thermogenic and the body will burn roughly 30% of the ingested calories of a protein meal just in the digestion process of that meal. A high carb starchy meal in contrast will ignite an insulin surge that sends chemical signals telling our body to store fat as quickly as possible. Despite that these meals hold the same number of calories.

      I can understand your logic but the stark reality is that the body is too complex to be reduced to a simple equation such as the one you offer. I have a patient that was reduced to tears when her lack of weight loss result were met with a cold retort from her primary care doctor. He simply wrote “calories in = calories out” on a piece of paper and slid it across the table to her. She felt helpless and confused and interpreted the note to say “I don’t believe you, you must be eating cake.” The story ends on a happy note though as she came to our office and proceeded to lose 160 pounds and is now a personal trainer . . . with a huge heart. She gets it and she conveys that message to her students.

      To everyone out there with this idea in mind – please dispel the myth of calories in = calories out and begin to read and understand that the type of calories you eat and when you eat them is critically important to your health, your weight and your mood and spirit. The average person will eat 60 tons of food in their lifetime and that food is sending important chemical signals to your entire body. Be selective in what signals you send.

      Thanks for the question Linda. Excellent topic. Now put down the ice cream and go grab an apple.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  17. Jennifer Page says:

    Dr. Huber,

    I was diagnosed about 8 years ago with PCOS at the age of 18 and was immediately put on Yasmin and Metformin. No 2-hour insulin test was done and all my hormone screens came back normal at that time. I was around 240 lbs,, had irregular periods and was an active kid in high school. I can’t remember what my diet was and quit taking Metformin after a few months because it was making me sick, but at the end of college, I weighed around 160 lbs (which is still about 30 lbs. too much for my small bone frame).
    Ever since then, for the past 3-4 years, it has been an even bigger struggle to loose weight. To get below 170 lbs,, I have to work out 5-6 times a week and eat 1000 calories or below. I eat a very low-carb diet, because I always thought I had PCOS, but my nutritionist put me on a 1400 calorie diet about 3 months ago and I have gained 12 lbs. while still exercising 6 times a week. I have also has an RMR test that said I need at least 1600 calories at rest, which is entirely too high for my body.
    I recently went to an endocrin and they told me I probably don’t have PCOS now. That non of my symptoms match except for an irregular period. I have also stopped my bc, as I have heard very negative things about Yasmin and started taking natural progesterone if I am indeed estrogen dominant.
    The point is, I cannot loose weight, and more distressing as a otherwise healthy 26 year old, if I eat more than 900-1000 calories, I will gain weight. Doctors I talk with just assume I have PCOS and don’t seem to want to delve further. I have asked for more extensive testing of my TSH and other tests from studies I have read, but they ever seem to think that will help as my preliminaries always come back normal. What tests should I absolutely insist on as an informed patient who is tired of being told to make “lifestyle change”? After working with a nutritionist and personal trainer, I’m afraid I can’t make it any more by myself. Thank you for the article and any help you can give.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Jennifer,
      Your path is all too familiar. Lets start with the PCOS component. Simple way to determine if that is an issue is to get a pelvic ultrasound done and get a blood test to measure testosterone and DHT. You can’t make a diagnosis, nor can you rule it out, without getting these simple tests. Beyond the actual diagnosis, insulin resistance is the key to PCOS. It’s the insulin that is driving the elevated testosterone in most PCOS cases. If you have trouble with excessive acne and unwanted hair growth then this may be the result of excess testosterone.

      Studies have shown that losing weight and lowering glucose will often reverse PCOS. So where do you go from here? If you have read my other articles on this site then you know that grains, breads, pasta, white rice, potato and other starchy carbs are not your friend. I assume you have removed these from the diet with extreme bias. None. Next, return the insulin receptor to optimal functional capacity by employing appropriate doses of magnesium, chromium, alpha lipoic acid, omega 3 fish oil and potentially other supportive nutrients such as taurine. As many as 40% of all people that try metformin develop side effects so severe that they must stop the metformin. What few doctors realize is that you can give metformin via a topical cream that bypasses the G.I. tract entirely and goes directly into the blood. You can use a 10th of the oral dose and get an outstanding result. If you have PCOS then metformin has been found to be a very beneficial agent.

      Delighted to see that you have dropped the birth control pill in favor of progesterone. The appropriate dose for you is likely in the 20 mg range but have your doctor help you with this and if your doctor is unfamiliar then find a physician who can help orchestrate this for you. My office does accept new patients but I want you to work with whomever is most easily available and knowledgeable in your area. I do operate a formal weight loss program in my office for people such as yourself who have struggled with other diets and failed. You are certainly not alone.

      All dietitians are not created equal. I respect the field tremendously and have met many wonderful dietitians but I have also seen some poor advice being handed out in the name of dietetics. So without knowing who is guiding you with your diet I am at a loss to offer specific guidance other to say a 2 hour glucose tolerance test is needed. You are most likely insulin resistant and trending toward diabetes.

      So to sum up:
      1. Get Testosterone, DHT, 2 hour post prandial glucose, freeT3 and freeT4 as well as thyroid antibodies.
      2. Pelvic ultrasound to look for polycystic ovaries.
      3. Remove all starchy carbs from the diet and rely on a heavy proportion of vegetables along with 2 pieces of fruit, nuts, seeds and protein such as fish, chicken, beef and pork to support you. It’s not so much the calories but rather the food source that counts. Eat whole foods and remove all processed foods from your diet.
      4. Drink 90 to 100 ounces of water a day from stainless steel bottle that were filled at home from your filtered water source. No plastic bottles.
      5. Get your progesterone level managed by someone knowledgeable.
      6. Supplement your body with appropriate support for your insulin receptors.
      7. Keep exercising.
      8. Get 7.5 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night and if you can’t do this then find out why and correct it.
      9. Get professional assistance with weight loss if you can;y figure the puzzle out yourself.
      10. Let me know your progress.

      I look forward to hearing from you Jennifer.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  18. Michelle says:

    Hello Dr. :)
    I am a 44 year old women… I am 5’6″ and 162 lbs. Last year I had some blood work done because I was feeling yucky all the time, my Dr. found I had double the amount of insulin in my blood and sent me for ultra sound in search of perhaps Pancreas Cancer…. came back clear so off for a GTT test I went….. I have HYPOGLYCEMIA. I always knew I did as I would get all the symptoms I guess it just got completely out of control. A friend gave me the book Hypoglycemia: a better approach by Dr. Paavo Airola… amazing book!…. this painted such a clear picture of understanding that I could finally eat the way my body should be fed. I have in general, always been around 136 to 146 in my 30′s….. a few months ago I got to as high as 169 lbs and went on a diet. I have lost 7 pounds in 2.5 months…. I can’t lose weight. I am power walking 3 to 4 times a week on average and am on a 1200 calorie diet. I am very careful with eating food that is low on the glycemic scale and work hard to keep away from sugar. I am taking chromium once a day along with a multi vitamin with 50 mg of magnesium…… I am getting so discouraged :( I was on the Herbal Magic diet a couple years ago and lost 19 pounds only to gain it all back. The diet worked for me as it was low on the glycemic scale. I am using that plan (some what) but to suit my Hypoglycemic needs…… I eat approx every 2.5 hours or I will crash terribly but I am eating protein 3 times daily, low fat everything, I hate drinking water though… I must confess. I also have to eat around 9pm or my sugar starts to crash so I eat 30 baked chips,….. this is my one vice. Any thoughts on what I am doing wrong? It is taking me 2-3 weeks to lose one lb and I am consuming 1200 cal….. ugh!
    Thank you for taking the time to consider my question :)

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Michelle,
      Your are quite simply insulin resistant. Your need to eat every 2.5 hours, your hypoglycemia and your “crashes” are telling me that your insulin is too high and insulin does not allow you to burn fat. Hypoglycemia which is low blood sugar is always secondary to a crashing blood sugar that was high just minutes before. Bottom line, your sugar is unstable and is a precursor to diabetes. There are things that can aid your insulin receptor function as outlined above.

      Certainly there may be more than meets the eye as you say you felt “yucky” all the time and so a exploration into your bowel health might yield some results as well. At age 44 you are also experiencing some hormonal change.

      Your low glycemic diet and exercise should help the insulin component but obviously there is more work to be done there as your problem persists.

      My office does offer a dedicated weight loss program that is very effective if you have exhausted (and it sounds like you have) other options. I hate to see women struggle with such issues when there is inevitably an answer. We may just have to dig a little to find it.

      Dr. Gary Huber

  19. Michelle Rogers says:

    thank you Dr. Huber for your responce. Please tell me about your weightlose program, I would be interested in learning about it.
    Thank you
    Michelle Rogers

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      My clinic’s office website “” offers a description and some details of the diet plan. It is truly a Balanced approach that targets lifestyle habits and incorporates all aspects of good health, not just food. The diet is a whole foods approach with a low glycemic emphasis. Exercise and water consumption are requirements but we help guide you through these elements. My goal is to teach you what you really need to know to lose weight and keep it off forever. I would not consider weight loss a success unless my patients are able to keep it off permanently. The only way that can happen is to redefine your lifestyle and nutritional habits and thats exactly what we do. We reinvent you with different ideals and goals.

      Thats what Healthy Alter Ego is all about as well. Change peoples health through education so they can understand what is going on with their body. People who know better, do better.

      If you or anyone is interested in my Balance Program simply call my office at (513) 366-2111 and ask Kerry to for an initial assessment. She can offer further details of the program and set a time for a free consult to see if the program is right for you.

      Keep searching for answers Michelle but keep your mind open and don’t be afraid of change. You may need to redefine some of your habits to move in a new direction but it can be very rewarding.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  20. Deven says:

    Hello Dr! I love your article, but I do not think my problem is associated with any of the solutions you listed. I would like to ask you, can a past Eating disorder effect your ability to lose weight? I have recovered from Anorexia/Bulimia 2 years ago, but since late last year I have been gaining weight while remaining on my healthy regime. I was on a balanced 2000 calorie diet, but since last year I have gained 30lbs, on top of already being a healthy weight at the time. I am by no means underweight or even at a healthy weight, right now I am 5’3″ and a hefty 160lbs and only 20 years old…I have been on a balanced 1300-1500 calorie a day diet since January and have not lost a single pound. I am doing everything right, and am so frustrated that I destroyed my body like this. Is there anything I can do?

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Deven,
      Yes, your history may have altered your metabolism secondary to extreme nutrient depletions. You may require higher B vitamin intake to reopen some of those pathways but this is a guess and hard to determine without further inquiry. Anorexia and bulimia are a huge stressor and likely led to excess cortisol production which increases risk for insulin resistance, thyroid abnormalities, and a continued pattern of cortisol excess that contributes to weight gain. Just because you have successfully rid your body of that past behavior doesn’t mean that is automatically snapped back to normal function. Your body had to function under the “red alert” phase of bulimia” and it’s likely still doing so. This means that your brain is still heightened in the sympathetic drive state that will stimulate your adrenals to over produce cortisol.

      Best solution is to see an integrative care physician who understands these dynamics. Your primary care doctor may or may not fully understand this implication. Speak with him/her first and if no recognition is identified in their response to your inquiry then pursue an opinion specifically trained in adrenal fatigue and metabolic issues.

      In the mean time start calming your sympathetic response through exercise and meditation. Make sure to get a full 7 and preferably 8 hours of sleep each night and make that a priority in your future health. If sleep remains elusive then find a solution. Make sure to remove all stimulants form your diet such as aspartame, MSG and other processed food chemicals. Whole foods and preferentially high magnesium foods such as vegetables, nuts, seeds, fish and beans should be regular items on your plate.

      If you have never meditated then let me recommend my new favorite book called “8 minute meditation”. Guess how long it takes? It’s a simple approach for beginners and it’s wonderfully easy way to start.

      Let me know of your progress and if you struggle to find the right doctor then call my office for assistance. We are here to help.
      Dr. Gary Huber

    • Deven says:

      Thank you Dr. Huber for your response!

      I have actually just recently started taking multiple vitamins as my Doctor has suggested, I am taking B-12 and B-6 with Folic Acid and DHA, with Calcium and vitamin D, E, and K. As well as 65mg of Iron a day because I have Anemia. I did put on an extra 5 pounds since taking the vitamins 2 months ago but I’m not sure if the vitamins are to blame or if it’s extra water weight because of it.

      I have never heard of a physician who specializes in metabolism, when I see my Doctor next week I will ask him about it. I have cut down on Aspartame considerably, as it used to be a staple in my diet when I was struggling with my disorder (everything I consumed was ‘sugar free’). Now I use agave, honey and stevia to sweeten my food & drink. Sleep is not a problem for me anymore, I get a full 8 hours every night. I do not meditate at all though, but it seems like a very good idea! I will try out the 8 Minute meditation as soon as possible.

      Thank you for your response I will notify you on any progress I make and will be contacting you if I am having trouble!

  21. Nicole C says:

    I am 31 years old and have always had to work out regularly and watch my diet to maintain a healthy weight of 138 lbs (I am 5’4). I have had 2 children (my youngest is almost 2) and I was able to lose all my pregnancy weight within a year of their births. However, these past 2 months I have gained 5-6 lbs rather rapidly (within about 3 weeks time) and cannot get rid of it! There is no explanation for it…it just showed up! My belly feels a sense of fullness all of the time, even if I haven’t eaten. My docs did a blood test to check my thyroid and said everything came back normal. But I know something is wrong. I am very in tune with my body and I don’t know what to do. I get about 7 hours of sleep, drink a ton of water, exercise 5-6 times a week, and eat a fairly healthy diet. Can you help? I have started taking omega 3-6-9 pills and chromium picolinate (plus a multi vitamin) daily as a friend recommended that regimen to me. I am at a loss. So tired of trying to lose this weight and getting no results.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Nicole,
      Sounds suspicious for leaky gut syndrome or dysbiosis. Without getting too long winded, the bowel function can become disrupted by many elements such as birth control pills, antibiotics, chemicals in the food we eat, pesticides and herbicides, stress and of course too much sugar. Our body will try to compensate but over time weakens and as it does we often develop food sensitivities or allergies that go undetected. Feeling full all the time is a sign of bowel distention and is often secondary to excess gas produced by bad bacteria or yeast in your bowel.

      Do you get frequent sinus congestion, post nasal drip or find yourself clearing your throat more than normal? Are milk, dairy, or wheat containing foods causing you problems? Are bowel habits becoming more difficult with either hard stool, loose stool, or constipation? Are you feeling fuzzy headed or having more headaches than in the past? All of this and more may reflect bowel irregularities that are part of inflammation in your intestines. This inflammation may easily lead to excess fluid retention causing your 5 pound weight gain. If you get hit in the arm and develop a bruise then you would understand that swelling right? Well inflammation in the bowel is similar. Your intestinal lining is thickened and holding water just like a swollen bruise.

      A thorough history may uncover why this has developed now but it is far from being unusual. Most people develop food sensitivities over time but they can be reversed if recognized and properly treated.

      Find some of the other articles on this website discussing bowel health. This is a very important topic and one that could also affect your kids. A simple start is to get a good probiotic but be cautious as there are many suboptimal ones in the marketplace. I like Kyo Dophilus from Wakanaga as well as other options from Pure Encapsulations, Douglas, Vinco and Thorne. These are quality manufacturers and can be trusted. Certainly the best strategy is to consult a physician knowledgeable in these matters. Start with your own primary care doctor but don’t be too surprised if these concepts are foreign to him. As probiotics are not drugs, doctors are not taught about such beneficial elements in medical school. Contact my office if you get stuck but I suspect this could be a very simple issue to unravel if placed in the proper hands.

      Good Luck,
      Dr. Gary Huber

  22. Angela says:

    Hi, I am 5.1 135 pounds, I was diagnosed with PCOS when I was 15 y/o. They prescribed me birth control pills (Diane 35) which I took for many years. I have struggled with weight loss all my life, and have done every diet imaginable. I’m now 34 and planning to have a kid, so my current OB/GYN prescribed Metformin 500mg 2x/Day about 4 months ago as well as getting off the birth control. During that time, I am one of the unlucky few who actually gains weight on Metformin. I have gained about 8 lbs during that time. I am doing the insulin resistance diet, eating as healthy as possible, and exercising regularly 3-4 times per week with no results. My doctor said my thyroid was fine and give more time for the Metformin to work. But I’m afraid it won’t work and I will just continue to gain more weight while eating less. It all seems pointless and I really need some help or guidance. Thank you in advance…Angela.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Angela,
      How much and what type of B vitamin replacement have you been on? Both your years of birth control and your Metformin use deplete valuable B vitamins and you need to replace these before attempts to get pregnant so that you avoid potential birth defects. Birth control use typically causes weight gain given the number of other nutritional deficiencies it causes. Things such as magnesium, selenium, tyrosine, zinc and vitamin C are subject to excess loss and this effects proper metabolism. Metformin depletes CoQ10, B12 and folic acid. So start with a simple replacement of these valuable nutrients from a reliable supplement manufacturer.

      I have seen it over and over again with regard to thyroid function. Patients have symptoms of low thyroid and often go undiagnosed of subclinical function. I had a women just yesterday that had a normal TSH which is a screening test for thyroid function and it was very normal but further investigation showed that her active thyroid hormone (freeT3) was grossly deficient. So until a doctor has checked your freeT3 and antibody levels you don’t know what your thyroid is doing. I hope your doctor did these important tests but I can tell you that most do not so ask your doctor if this was done and request a complete evaluation.

      What is your diabetic diet? Again I hear patients report all the time “I am eating a good diet” and then they go on to list many foods that are high glycemic, to much starch, and a number of foods that are problematic. Get rid of dairy products, grains, and starchy foods like potato and pasta. Go reference my article on “Health Foods That Aren’t”. More importantly if you really want to ensure that you have a clean diet that is healthy, contact my dietitian Katherine, and set an appointment to review what you are eating and get a clear picture of what a really good diet looks like. She can provide a phone consult if you live outside the Cincinnati area. She is outstanding, understanding, and talks in real world language to address your particular needs. (Phone# 513-924-5300). She will practical examples and recipes and give point by point direction.

      I lecture on PCOS and I can tell you that the research shows that weight loss and controlling insulin resistance is the best avenue to resolving your PCOS issue. Keep exercising, learn about proper diet, stay on Metformin as it is a good medication for PCOS, but definitely replace your B vitamins and other nutritional deficiencies as noted above and if you still struggle then see a physician knowledgeable in these matters to unravel issues related to cortisol and stress, issues of hormonal balance (you may need progesterone), thyroid function, and insulin resistance beyond simple Metformin. I assure you there are answers.

      Do not attempt pregnancy until you have adequately replaced B vitamins in an aggressive fashion for 3 months.
      Take care,
      Dr. Gary Huber

  23. Nicole C says:

    Thank you Dr. Huber. I will need to research those topics on your website. I need this issue to go away! As for your questions to me, I do not get sinus congestion or nasal drip. Fortunately I do not get many colds. And dairy, wheat, and milk don’t bother me either. I really can’t figure it out. Without getting too graphic, I have always struggled with bowel movements. My stools have always been hard and small, for as long as I can remember. I was treated for IBS in my early 20s but then the docs realized that wasn’t what I had (the meds never worked). However, since having my two children, my bowel movements have been much more regular. I take fiber supplements and drink hot green tea every morning and that seems to help me go. So I don’t believe I am constipated as I go every day. But maybe I still have some sort of inflammation? I will start to take the Probiotic and see if that helps. I do feel fuzzy headed all the time, although I started to feel that way after childbirth and just assumed it was because I am so busy with my kids. No regular headaches though….although I did have 3 migraines + vertigo the year after my 2nd son was born and that had never happened before to me (the last one was 8 months ago). I have also had 2 ovarian cysts since his birth in July 2009 (and I am on the pill, so the docs aren’t sure why they developed) and had to go to the ER both times because the pain was so horrible as they were bursting. The most recent one was in April, and that’s what I attributed the weight gain too. However, the cyst is long gone and I am still 5 lbs heavier, mainly in my abdomen and hips. Hope this detailed info helps. I really hope you can help me! Also, I have been to my primary care doc twice and he just says that I am probably constipated and need to drink more water! Is he serious?! And went to my OB 2 weeks ago and he didn’t find anything abnormal.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Thanks for the update. Taking a stimulant like your green tea to enable a bowel movement does not constitute a healthy bowel necessarily. Your history of small hard stool suggests suboptimal bowel function as I suspected and I would continue to pursue that issue as a key to your improvement. A probiotic and further investigation into bowel health issues will likely net some movement in the right direction.

      Don’t get too frustrated with the medical system that can’t identify your issue as we were never taught how to fix such problems. Your issues are dealing with metabolic pathways in your body that have more to do with lifestyle, diet and the effects of toxic exposure and these are not topics of interest in traditional medicine.

      Your doctor’s have been taught to recognize diseases and treat them with drug therapy. Your symptoms are not a singular disease. You have bowel irregularities but not a true colitis. The fuzzy headed feeling is all too common but has a myriad of sources ranging from yeast overgrowth in the bowel which in your case is likely, but traditional medicine is still confused and arguing over whether yeast overgrowth is even a real issue much less how to treat it. Your weight gain is not something that is easily treated by a drug so most doctors have no approach or solution. The system has failed you.

      If you are presently on the birth control pill then this is creating a deficiency of B vitamins as well as selenium, tyrosine and magnesium. Magnesium lack can contribute to constipation and the B vitamin deficiency effects energy production and carbohydrate metabolism. You need to restore these nutrients.

      Keep reading to broaden your understanding but again if you find yourself stuck then contact my office so we can engage in a more formal directed therapy.

      Take Care,
      Dr. Gary Huber

  24. Raka says:

    I am 35 years old, 5’8″, 205 lbs male. I keep on putting 3-4 lbs every year. I don’t have any sugar problem. My fasting sugar level is 80. I have tried almost everything. I eat around 1400 – 1500 calories everyday. I run 2 miles 4-5 times a week. I always have liked to play sports like soccer, tennis, volleyball etc. I still do that whenever I can. My weight doesn’t use to bother me a lot but nowadays it does bother me. I have gained almost 30 pounds in last 7 years. I am unable to understand why I keep gaining weight inspite of working out and sports that I play. I talked to my physician and he suggested me to go for thyroid check but it came normal. I got this done a year ago. He said that my thyroid is OK but my B12 is less than normal. He suggested me to take multivitamin so I started taking that but I still don’t see any improvement. I read your artical and then I realized one problem that I have and I am sure about it now. Whenever I work out, I can’t sleep. I can’t sleep sometime for 4-5 days. I will be yawning all day but can’t fall sleep. The sleep disorder goes away if I stop working out but it comes back as soon as I start again. I will be tossing and turning all night but just can’t fall sleep. Now my condition is bad because I need to exercise if I want to loose weight but then sleep disorder kicks in and either I put on more weight slowly or hardly able to just maintain the same weight. As soon as I stop working my weight just shoots and seems to settle down somewhere higher than where I started.

    I am not sure what to do and what kind of doctor I should see. Should I see sleep disorder specialist or should I go to dietician or should I go to my normal physician? I don’t know whom to see for my problem. It almost seems that the primary physician won’t take this problem seriously?? Please suggest me what to do?


  25. Dr. Gary Huber says:

    Hi Raka,
    There was a study done on sleep thats showed if you slept 5 hours a night then your risk of becoming obese was 73%. Sleep is critical in proper health and particularly in controlling weight. Lack of sleep is a stressor to the body and leads to excess cortisol expression. Cortisol in excess will contribute to insulin resistance and weight gain.

    You mentioned that you run 4 to 5 times a week and after you run you can’t sleep for days so according to your report you never get proper sleep. The time of day that you run may play a part. Exercise in the late evening will lead to a cortisol surge and this can cause sleep disruption. It is best to exercise in the morning or early afternoon.

    How was your thyroid checked? As you read all of the above comments you now know that there are different degrees of “checking.” Also as a man you need to be curious about your testosterone level. It is an easy blood test but tells volumes about your hypothalamic and pituitary function. I have at least a dozen guys in my practice who are in their 30′s who have low testosterone. One gentleman referred to his correcting of testosterone as “life saving.” He actually stopped me in a parking lot to thank me for saving his life as a result of correcting his hormone imbalance. Get it checked.

    If your doctor doesn’t understand these issues or have answers to correct your imbalance then contact my office for help. These are intricate issues that require a well rounded approach that incorporates lifestyle, sleep, exercise, diet, and yes traditional medical testing.

    Start with moving your exercise to an earlier time in the day. It sounds like your cortisol may be the issue and “stress” needs to be addressed to correct the sleep issue. A simple sleep aid that reduces cortisol may be in order and no I’m not suggesting a drug but rather something that will actually correct your abnormal biochemistry and work to restore your body’s natural rhythm. Melatonin may be a simple starting point for you. Is your brain properly nourished to allow sleep? This requires omega 3 fish oil.

    If you need further assistance then seek an integrative physician in your area or reach out to my office. Happy to help.
    Dr. Gary Huber

    • Raka says:

      As suggested by you, I took an appointment with endocrinologist. Went through various initial test. My TSH came out to be 4.5 and my testosterone level was around 150… less than normal range. My doctor says that my TSH level is within normal range and removed thyroid as a reason for my weight gain. Another blood test for free testosterone was done and my doctor says that my although my total testosterone is low but my free testosterone is within range and also removed this as a reason for weight gain. I kept telling him that normal range for TSH should be less than 3.0 but he said no good doctor will give thyroid medicine unless TSH goes beyond 10.0 or so. So, we went for another blood test for ACTH plasma which came out on higher side. He said higher ACTH might be related to cushon syndrome (Pituatory disorder) which might lead to higher production of cortisol. He asked me to go for 24 hour urine test for cortisol. I went for that test and after a week I got a call from doctors office saying the cortisol level is within the range. After going through bunch of tests which all came to be in the normal range according to my endocrinologist. He now suggested me to eat Vitamin D. He says your vitamin D is low. He told me to start eating vitamin D and schedule an appointment after 3 months.

      Vitamin D..??!! I looked at my blood report that my primary physician did 3 years ago and compared the number and the number looks same. I wasn’t gaining weight that faster 3 years ago as I am gaining right now. I don’t feel vitamin D is a problem. But still I started taking those and after 6 weeks … I have gained 2 more pounds.

      I am angry that way doctor gave up so easily on me. My symptoms are still there but because the number looks in range….. NO MORE TREATMENT. go home and keep suffering….. I guess thats what is meant. I am surprised and angry.
      The question is what next???


  26. chad louis says:

    hello! i have hoshimotos, doctors been bouncing my levothyoxine around 125-175 mcg for about 3 years now . yet the weight still increases which is making more problems physically sore muscles all the time ., head aches cramps and just plain being down , so i dont know if the medication are really helping, before this hit me i was 6 ft 175lbs and fit as an ox now im 6ft 300lbs and very unhappy, what should or can i do !

  27. Dr. Gary Huber says:

    Hi Chad,
    Hahimoto’s thyroiditis is your body’s immune system attacking your thyroid. Why? Why would a nice guy like you deserve such a fate? Well the answer often lies in looking for the “stimulus” that irritated your immune system in the first place. Often it is secondary to either food allergens that cause an overactive immune response or the presence of heavy metals such as mercury and lead that have entered your body and have caused immune disruption. These issues are rarely addressed by most traditional medical doctors. In fact most doctors feel that once you have antibodies being formed that you can;t do anything about them and they are left alone to eat away at your thyroid. Well fortunately there is much that can be done to address immune reactivity but the fact that the treatment does not involve the use of drugs takes it out of the hands of traditionally trained physicians. If the treatment does not come from a pharmaceutical company then doctors aren’t traditionally trained in it.

    Taking thyroid medication like levothyroxine is a part of the treatment as this replaces your inability to produce thyroid hormone but it does nothing to correct the immune problem. Now here is the big catch that directly addresses your question . . . you are taking thyroid hormone that is referred to as T4. What does T4 do in the body? The answer is NOTHING !! T4 is not an active compound in itself. It has “potential” to become T3 but by itself it does nothing. T4 needs to be acted upon by enzymes to remove one of its iodine molecules to be converted into T3. T3 is the compound that has all of the benefits of thyroid hormone. So the big question becomes “are you converting T4 into T3 ?”. Most patients never have this tested.

    Here is a short list of some of the things that can block conversion of T4 into T3: blood pressure medication such as beta blockers, SSRI’s or antidepressants, opiates or pain pills, excessive intake of iodine, lithium, phenytoin which is an anti seizure medication. How about stress? Yes these conditions block conversion: Stress, excessive cortisol, aging, alcohol, obesity, diabetes, surgery, smoking, radiation treatment, kidney and or liver disease. And a deficiency of the following nutrients can reduce conversion of T4 into T3: selenium, zinc, chromium, iodine, vitamin A, vitamin B2 B6 and B12, vitamin E, iron, copper.

    Now if you are producing T3 does it get into the cell? Looking at your level of reverse T3 will help decide that. The fact that you have Hashimoto’s means that you are producing an antibody called TPO and this antibody will interfere with the ability of T3 to enter the cell.

    Bottom line is – how much “free T3″ are you making? Has it ever been measured? Have these other issues been addressed? I see this problem all the time. You may benefit from taking a T3 medication in conjunction with your levothyroxine so ask your doctor if this would be appropriate for you.

    You are in a fight for your life Chad. Being 300 pounds is uncomfortable, I know. But it also places tremendous stress on your heart, liver, blood vessels and other organ systems. So talk with your doctor about this critical issue and get it resolved. Ask for a freeT4 and freeT3 level as well as a reverse T3 and TPO level to be measured. Correct adrenal issues and make sure that you secure a good sleep habit to aid recovery. Get you heavy metals tested or explore food allergens as a way of correcting your immune reactivity. If you struggle with any of these tasks then contact my office as we deal with these issues every single day and we see tremendous change. Weight gain is not just a nuisance, it is a true life threat and there must be a serious plan in place to correct it. Just saying “eat less and exercise more” isn’t good enough for patients so if you don’t receive better options then seek out better help.

    Dr. Gary Huber

  28. connie says:

    Hi. I am 41 years old. I was diagnosed with Graves Disease in 2007 and had radiation in 2008. I take Levothyroxine .137MG tablet every day. I am 5’5 and weigh 213 now!. This is huge for me. I used to be thin and even if I gained a few pounds, I could easily lose it with just a little effort. Not any more. I can’t lose weight. I drove to work crying this morning because I went to the gym to meet my personal was the day to get weighed. I had worked out everyday but Sundays for 2 weeks. Intense exercise. Weights, cardio, even 2 boot camps. I pay for a personal trainer to help me. After 2 weeks my weight was exactly the same as my start date. I admitted to skipping breakfast alot and I admitted to drinking diet sodas throughout the day so she has asked me to iliminate the diet sodas altogether and never skip breakfast again. She said she sees how hard I’ve been exercising and unless I have doubled my food intake I should have lost some weight. I have not only NOTdoubled my food intake but I have cut down on food and I have been watching everything I eat and drink. I have eaten salads and other veggies and protein bars and fruit and chicken and fish and thought I would really see results. Intead, I haven’t lost a pound. Would drinking diet sodas and skipping breakfast really keep me from losing weight? My director at work is into fitness and he is thin and he said he never eats breakfast. Whats wrong with me?

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Connie,
      Hey your director has different habits and is thin but please don’t copy his “no breakfast” plan. We are all different and to begin comparing yourself to others without knowing ALL of their habits is a recipe for disaster. So let’s focus on you and realize that what we see in the mirror is a reflection of all of our habits and our unique path thru life. A stressful event 10 years ago could be affecting your cortisol and hormone balance which may be impacting your biochemistry. That may be the source of your frustration.

      First of all we need to explore your thyroid function. You take levothyroxine (T4) but are you converting it to T3? See Chad’s story above.

      I agree with the diet soda decision. Get rid of diet soda as studies have shown hat it contributes to weight gain. Your breakfast should have 20 grams of protein in it . . . right? Read then entries above and then tell me what protein are you getting. No starch for breakfast. Is this reflected in your habits? I trust that it is.

      Are you sleeping? Really? Uninterrupted, no bathroom trips, more than 7 hours each night? Another key habit.

      You have a trainer which is excellent but I have said it before and I will repeat it now, “no one can out-train a bad diet”. So I suggest a dietary consult to review everything you are eating and get on the right track. I see an endless procession of people who tell me “I eat a really good diet” and then proceed to report a list of bad foods. See my article on “Health Foods That Aren’t.” Get the facts and then move forward with a better plan. Please talk with Katherine, my dietitian. She can sit with you on the phone and perform a diet consult to review everything you are eating and help direct you to a sound program that works. As she says, “not a diet, but a good eating program” that is full of whole foods that are delicious. Get rid of any and all processed foods and starches until you see a change in weight and then in time decide if any of those old foods warrant a re-entry back into your life.

      My medical practice includes a diet program for people such as yourself that struggle. It changes lives so if you have hit a dead-end and need help contact me for further guidance. For now, go get your freeT3 checked and talk with Katherine to review your diet.

      There is nothing inherently wrong with you we just need to explore your habits.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  29. Jennifer says:

    Dr. Huber-
    Thank you for your article. I am 41 and should be in the best shape of my life. I exercise 5-6 days a week including running, yoga, pilates, strength training. We lead an active lifestyle and typically outside hiking, walking or bike riding. While I FEEL in shape and can push myself harder each workout without getting tired, I am still carrying about 20 extra lbs. I am 5’10 1/2 and I weigh 180. I have been on fertility drugs since 2004, I had a baby in 2008 and went right back on fertility drugs 3 months after. In feb of this year, I went of the drugs all together and feel wonderful. I knew that my hormones would be out of whack so I started eating a strict diet excluding dairy, red meat, alcohol and gluten. I also taking daily supplements in an effort to re-set my body. My calorie intake is about 1200 a day and includes a lot of fruit, veg, fish and brown rice. I recently had my thyroid checked and everything is fine. I write down every thing I eat and calculate calories in and calories out. I SHOULD be seeing results. My husband is on the same plan as me and has lost 30lbs. I have lost 7lbs in 5 months. HELP!! Do you have ANY advice on how to reset your hormones and get them back in balance?

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Jennifer,
      Well you certainly are exerting great effort in many directions. The fact that fertility drugs were needed in the first place tells me that your hormones were never right. Why? That is a question that is all to infrequently asked in modern medicine? Why is it the way it is? I will make a bold assumption that progesterone was one of the hormones given to you. Many women struggle to get pregnant when their progesterone levels are insufficient. The ovaries ability to produce this basic yet essential hormone can be due to a problem at the ovary itself such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or it can be due to a problem in the brain hypothalamus/pituitary) that stimulates the ovary to work. These problems can range from head trauma years ago, heavy metals such as mercury or lead that affect brain function, overexposure to other toxins such a plastic residues or chemicals in our foods and environment, and the list goes on. The result is a women who over produces estrogen relative to progesterone. If the problem is PCOS then insulin becomes a part of the equation as well.

      The first thing is to have a competent physician who understands hormone balance to measure your hormone levels. Discuss your cycles and any issue such as PMS, headaches, breast tenderness and cramping to understand if true balance exists. Estrogen excess does contribute to weight gain.

      Then look at the diet and talk with a dietitian who truly understands weight loss and body physiology. Did you know that the American Dietetics Association has an agreement with Coka Cola? Not all physicians are looking at the same data and not all dietitians are accomplished in their understanding of human physiology so be sure to find someone with a solid track record. I recommend by personal dietitian Katherine. She has guided all of my patients toward successful eating plans and has the results to back up her recommendations. (Phone# 513-924-5300 and ask for Katherine).

      To “fix” your hormone issue I would perform a heavy metals urine challenge test with provocation, measure estradiol, estrone, progesterone, testosterone, and insulin with glucose. There are herbal treatments to help “re-set” your hormone rhythm but that is premature until your lab results and history is obtained.

      Please let me know what these recommendations net you in terms of movement toward a solution.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  30. Kristen says:

    Regarding the information about insulin resistance, I am wondering if I am at risk for diabetes. I seem to have many of the symptoms associated with diabetes/pre-diabetes and recently had blood work done. My Comp. Metabolic Panel said that my fasting (I fasted overnight) glucose, serum result was 93 mg/dl. (The reference interval was 65-99 so it did not flag it as high) Does this mean that I am pre-diabetic or insulin-resistant?

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Kristen,
      There was study a couple of years ago out of the Kaiser system in California that followed 46,000 people for 10 years and monitored their fasting glucose levels. Simple concept. Which of these non-diabetics will get diabetes in the next 10 years. What they found is that for every digit above 84 on a fasting glucose test, you are 6% more likely to become diabetic in the next 10 years. So if you blood sugar was 93, that is 9 points above 84 so 9 x’s 6 = 54%. You have a 54% chance of getting diabetes in the next 10 years.

      Now in the American tradition the American Medical Association and your local medical school teaches doctors that you are not diabetic until your sugar reaches 126. And if you read WebMD they will tell you that there is no such thing as a diabetic diet. If you talk to a diabetic educator at your local hospital they will teach you that eating bread and pasta is fine for diabetics as long as you calculate the proper dose of insulin injection. In the mean time people are dropping dead left and right from heart attacks as a result of diabetic complications. The system is nuts. The term “Health Care” has lost it’s meaning because there is very little thought being placed on real Health and the system does not Care.

      Your blood sugar of 93 is not optimal. I deal with optimal because I believe in the quality of life. To simply breath and poop does not mean that you are fully alive. I want more for myself, my family and for you. I want your blood sugar below 85 on a fasting test in order to tell me that your system is producing and using tiny amounts of insulin in an efficient manner. The lower your insulin level is on a daily basis, the longer you will live and the less degenerative disease you will experience. You will have a lower risk for cancer and heart attacks. All from lowering your glucose and subsequently your insulin.

      So eat low glycemic WHOLE foods. Get rid of starchy carbs such as bread, pasta, white rice and white potatoes or at least eat them selectively and not daily. Eat tons of vegetables and some fruit. If it comes in a box or bag or can then read the label and see how much carb and sugar has been added. MOST of your food should not come in a box, bag or can. MOST of your food should not have a nutrition label. Exercise lowers insulin requirement in a significant way. Sleep plays an important role. The lack of sleep has been shown in studies to raise insulin needs in young healthy adults so if you sleep is being sacrificed for late night TV or other reason, please rethink how you can improve it.

      Manage you stress as this will kill a good plan. Stress increases cortisol which increases insulin and blood sugar. Meditation, sleep and exercise all reduce stress.

      So start your own Health Care plan and begin to examine your diet and ask yourself a simple question “how much diabetes am I willing to accept into my life”. If the answer is “none” then your diet and habits need to change. If your answer is “I don’t mind a little diabetes” then realize that the average type 2 diabetic spends $12,000 on medication and doctors visits and other health related issues. So start saving.

      Kristen, you are smart to question your lab numbers. Keep going.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  31. Stephanie says:

    Hello, Please help me. I was never overweight as a kid or teen. I have had some hard times in my life (2 divorces – one abandonment and one abusive alcoholic), twins, natural disaster, mother committed suicide – I could go on. I work full time and am a full time college student and my twins are teenagers now (and girls). I know I have cortisol induced belly fat. My life is not as stressful as it once was, but there is still some stress. I am a nutritionist and seeking a kinesiology degree! I eat great – whole grains, fish, no meat, no soda, limited healthy sweets, wine only on weekend with food, no caffiene after 10am, LOTS of veggies, fruits, I read labels religiously and I have been eating WAY less than I used to. I eat every 2-3 hours and have pro-cho and good fat each time. I have a desk job but I have made it a point to take a walk no less than once an hour and I wear a pedometer and aim for 10,000 steps per day. I get cardio at least 30 min 5 days a week and strength train every other day, I do yoga a minimum of once per week. I have noticed improvement with the strength training – I have gotten stronger, but no weight loss. I am on low dose synthroid, I actually had to reduce my dose because I was having symptoms of too high a dose. I use progesterone cream twice daily for 3 weeks a month. (I have been told my testosterone is low and have symptoms of estrogen dominance). I have a bedtime routine I stick to 95% of the time and have been sleeping better since starting the progesterone, so I feel my sleep is adequate. I do have sluggish digestion. I have been drinking about a 2 liter of water a day in addition to unsweetened green tea. I avoid chemicals and plastics when possible. I cannot lose any weight at all. I would be happy with 1 pound a week. I lose ounces, only to gain them back. HELP! Where do I turn next? I am 39 years old, 68″ and 190 lbs, I do not look like I weigh this much (although I still look overweight), but many fitness jobs won’t hire me if my BMI isn’t where they want it and my livelihood depends on my losing the weight. Not to mention it is making me extremely depressed. Thank you so much for taking the time.

  32. Dr. Gary Huber says:

    Hi Stephanie,
    I will help you. Your string of past stressors compels me to help you. We will have deep discussion regarding your metabolism but first . . . This website is dedicated to teaching and when I saw you letter I got excited. You are a nutritionist? Now does that mean a registered dietitian? If you are game then I would like your help in exploring something. If you are not up to it then thats fine I will still help you but here is my proposition: can you explain to me why we are taught that whole grains are so good for us?

    Here is my point and you can add your counter-point. Vegetables are better source of fiber, minerals, phytonutients, and anti-oxidants than grains so why eat grains? Grains contain high levels of proline which block our natural proteases (enzymes) from working and greatly contribute to heartburn, acid reflux and a need for medicine so why eat whole grains? Whole grains are still carbs that contain a good sized load of sugar and are typically on the higher end of the glycemic scale which makes them contribute to diabetes and weight gain so why eat whole grains?

    Can you give me a counter point to this issue because I can’t figure out why everyone is so convinced that whole grains are good for you? There isn’t one nutrient from whole grains that we can’t get from another source in greater amounts or with less problem. I am sure that I’m wrong but I need someone to show me why and put me in my place. So go Stephanie go – nail me to the floor.

    I can’t wait for your response and then we will address your original post.
    Thanks for playing along.
    Dr. Gary Huber

  33. Ros says:

    Hi i am 51 with grown children and have been struggling with my weight for 20 years when i started to suddenly start gaining weight, about the time i started being treated for fybromylgia, i have eaten right and exercised but instead of lossing weight i have gained 30 kg. i have fybromylgia/CFS treated with celebrax (have taken a 2 week dose of predisone and gained 6 kg never to lose), treated underactive thyoid, insulant resistance treated with metfomin, arthristis, migraines and chronic headaches, high blood pressure, gord. the more i try to lose weight the more i put on, i have found that as long as i eat the same and dont exercise my weight is stable but i worry i am becoming very unfit and it is only going to get harder .i have always been very active but i have become too scared to exercise anymore, when i do i gain more weight i cant lose. i eat eggs and veges for breakfast, sandwich for lunch and protein and veges/salad for dinner, 2 coffees in the morning with sugar, this is my biggest intack of sugar for the day and maybe some sm snake between meals, often it is fruit. i drink 1 1/2 -2 ltsof water a day. i have been eating sm amounts for so long i cant eat a big meal anymore. From reading your notes i think the problem to most of my problems is i havent had a full nights sleep in 20 years. i go to bed around 9.30 and get up about 6.30 but spend the night waking rolling over and going back to sleep. i dont lay awake i just dont stay asleep. i am always wake tired, my first thought in the morning is when can i go back to bed. can you give me some advice on how to get a good nights sleep. i have done a sleep study and i dont have sleep aponea. or anyother advice would be wonderful. i have complained to my dr so much but he has no anwsers. i cant even find a drug that will put me to sleep for more 3 hrs. Help

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Ros,
      That’s quite a history you have. There are so many metabolic issues in your history any number of them could be contributing. The two that stand out are the diabetes and the low thyroid function. One medication, Metformin, depletes B vitamins, particularly Folic acid and B12 as well as coenzyme Q10. Without these you will struggle to properly metabolize carbohydrates and this will contribute to fatigue. You need adequate vitamins to convert your thyroid medicine to its active form. I would take a wild guess that thyroid function is not optimized and yes here is a difference between basic treatment and true optimization. I would recommend that you speak with your doctor and ask to have freeT3 and freeT4 levels checked and I would not be satisfied until the levels are near the top of the normal range, not just within the normal range.

      Your sleep is critical as you intuit but all of your metabolic issues are creating excess cortisol that keep you stressed. The microglial cells (wikipedia research) are likely inflamed and will not calm. There are numerous natural products that could help but the simplest things I would start with are magnesium (400 to 600 mg daily) and omega 3 fats (800 mg of DHA daily). To that I would add Relora during the day and likely melatonin at night. At your age progesterone is a thing of the past and I would make a request of your doctor to supply you with 100 mg of Prometrium to be taken nightly. This is a bio-identical progesterone and will greatly facilitate sleep. Of course all of this must be managed by your doctor or a physician trained in integrative care to assure that there are no contraindications, plus all of my advice is clearly suspect as I have never met you and don’t know your complete history so please coordinate these recommendations with a proper health care provider.

      The good news is that I see women just like you every day in my office and there are answers and there is relief. You can sleep and you need to find some help doing so if you are ever to ease your fibromyalgia and begin to lose weight. Find a doctor that can help you or come by and visit me. I noted that you used Kg to denote weight so I’m guessing that you are not in my neck of the woods but we do engage in phone consults and I would be happy to speak with your doctor who is probably as frustrated as you are. It sounds like he is desperately trying to help you but traditional medicine has so many limitations that he may just be lacking all the needed tools to finish the job. Keep working Ros and explore the ideas I suggested.

      Good luck
      Dr. Gary Huber

  34. Dara says:

    Hi Dr,

    I read your article and the posts from other people and have a question. I had my daughter in October of 2004 and had gained a whopping 75 lbs. and landed at 205. I had serious delusions that I would miraculously come home and the weight would melt off. I did get down to 165 lbs on my own, but couldn’t seem to lose anymore after that. So, I started the diet pill Phentermine (at that time I could get in over the internet… stupid I know) and I lost the rest of my weight and more. I got down to 115 lbs (I’m 5’7″). I gained some of that back to land on 125 lbs for 4 years all the while taking the diet pill off and on. But now with no diet pill, I have gained 30 lbs. I thought all I need to do was diet and exercise and I would easily lose the weight. Wrong!! I’ve tried everything and can’t get below 158. I’m on the Medifast diet and follow it closely for the last 2 weeks and am still stuck. I have been diagnosed with PCOS, but that was 4 years ago while I was thin and it has never affected anything except my menstrual cycle. My question is… could I have damaged my ability to lose weight by taking the Phentermine for all that time and can I reverse that and how?? I’m am getting so discouraged every time I step on the scale only to see it say the same thing even after I’ve been trying so hard.

    Your suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Dara,
      Scary story. I guess I shouldn’t be amazed that you could get a controlled substance on the Internet but that is very scary. I don’t think you have damaged yourself but I have no idea what you calorie intake was while on the medication and it is likely that you have severly altered you metabolism such that as you add calories you body, which thinks it exists in a famine, is now happily storing everything you feed it.

      I would recommend a dietary consult from someone truly qualified to deal with such matters. A solid history of your past diet as well as a diet log or diary would be a great start. My dietitian Kaherine is outstanding and I would whole heartedly recommend her – phone (513) 924-5300.

      If you have PCOS then you likely have insulin resistance. For you I would recoomend a low carb diet. I would avoid all grains and high glycemic foods and focus on getting in 8 to 10 vegetables daily. Limit fruit to one or two servings a day. Aim for 80 grams of protein daily and 128 ounces of water. Avoid diet sodas and artificial sweeteners. Of course exercise is an important element as well but until the diet is examined we are both fumbling in the dark.

      Make a move and find a dietitian or call Katherine.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  35. angela says:

    I am 32 years old. I am 5’5 and 170. I was slim as a young adult but have had some overhang issues. I had an ovary burst and was removed at age 14. At age 22 I gained 40 pounds in a matter of months from 130-170. My cholesterol was high and I was diagnosed with high blood pressure which I still have. I went to every specialist u could image and eventually was diagnosed with pcos. I was put on some birth control, and did accupucture and Chinese mere for 6months. I got better. I quite the pill.for years with no probs but the high blood pressure remains around 130/90 A few years agoi got pregnant and had a baby Pregnancy made me retain fluid bad but it went away after delivery. I got down to 150 pounds and then when my daughter was 18 months I quit weight in just a few months has crept to 175. I exercise brisk walking, yoga, and hill climb a hour a day. I eat fish or lean chicken lunch and dinner. The only other foods I eat are veggies, fruit low sugar fruits, two serving a day before two , and non fat, sugar free yogurt. Still can’t lose weight. Very grumpy, really painful periods….birth control made it worse this time so I’m not taking it. Please help. Oh, doc says lab screens were fine. I do have a kidney only functioning at 25 percent

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Angela,
      As you read all of the correspondence above I hope you see some of the common threads in your story that have already been covered. The use of birth control pills typically leads to weight gain. Part of the problem is the significant nutrient depletions it causes such as B vitamins, selenium, magnesium and zinc. These are important nutrients that when depleted cause wide spread metabolic issues. Since birth control pills arrest all production of progesterone some of your symptoms could be due to this. I wonder how restful your sleep cycle is and how that might be contributing to weight gain.

      You are 32 years old and so an aggressive exercise program would likely be something well within your abilities. Walking and yoga are nice but recent studies are confirming what older studies suggested which is that high intensity interval training, or high intensity functional training are the best ways to burn fat. When losing weight the equation is 80% diet and 20% exercise so understand that you can;t out train a bad diet but the intensity of exercise can play a big role. I discuss this with my patients and offer instruction on Tabata intervals, and different types of functional training where you work hard for 45 seconds and only rest for 15 seconds at a time.

      I have recently begun a diet program at my office that serves patients remotely. We are extremely successful at weight loss in our office as we have all the tools patients need to unwind their metabolic chemistry. But many folks such as yourself may not find our office within easy driving distance from your home. If you want to engage in our long distance program simply call Katherine my dietitian and she will set you up with everything you need. (513-366-2123).

      In the mean time take an inventory of everything you eat on a daily basis. Write it down. Make sure you are getting 20 grams of protein for breakfast and avoiding grains, starchy carbs, cereal, bread and other high sugar foods.

      Read the other weight loss articles that appear on this website as there is plenty of information for most people to really get their body’s moving in the right direction. And with regard to your lab, until I see them for myself I have no idea if they are truly normal. Not all physicians seek to “optimize” your physiology, many are satisfied with simply seeing you in the normal range even if it does not reflect true health.

      Call Katherine and get moving forward.
      Dr. Gary Huber

  36. Linda says:

    I am a 28 year old woman. I’ve been active duty military for 10 years now. A little over 6 months ago, I miscarried. It was a difficult time, but I’m moving on.

    Prior to the pregnancy (I was about 3 months in), I had a fairly active life style. Since then, I have become all the more active. I do a minimum of 60 mins straight of cardio 3-6 times a week. I’ve even trained, for the last few months, in a high altitude chamber. I have been on a low carb diet for quite sometime. The only thing that has happened is that I have continued to gain weight. My body fat has also been consistant with my weight. I’m pulling my hair out, because I’ve never had an issue losing weight in my life. Everytime I speak to a doctor, they give me some nonsense about dieting and exercising and then tell me about some emotional stress. I am becoming emotionally stressed about this weight. Is this weight gain really normal?

    • Dr. Gary Huber says:

      Hi Linda,
      There are many factors that impact your ability to lose weight. Your exercise is OK but might be improved upon with the use of intervals and functional training instead of steady state aerobics. Having said that, changing your exercise might help but it is not the reason you keep gaining weight. You obviously have something else going on that needs to sorted out. so how to start?
      1. Low carb diet: no bread, grain, rice, potato or pasta. Write down everything you eat in a three day period and review it with my dietitian Katherine. She will find anything that is potentially problematic and help fill the void with a better option.
      2. Drink 80 ounces of water per day and maybe more if you exercise.
      3. Exercise: interval training should be a cinch for a 28 year old military gal like yourself.
      4. Secure a good sleep cycle of more than 7 hours without interruption. This is key to success and yes I mean NO INTERRUPTION. If you are awakening in the night then we need to figure out why.
      5. Have thyroid, adrenal and insulin resistance tests done by someone qualified to interpret them. Not every physician understands weight loss. If they did then we wouldn’t be the most obese country on the planet.

      There is a reason for your weight gain and the above list is a start toward figuring it out. If you reach a dead end then contact my office and I will arrange a phone consult to explore this with you. LaValle Metabolic Institute 513-924-5300.

      Dr. Gary Huber

  37. Helen says:

    hi, I’m 15years old, and i have been chubby for as long as I remember… nothing ever works. i am actice, i play volleyball in thr summer and fall. I also play fastpitch furing the spring and summer, so i am plently actice and i have been playong ever since i could. I eat healthy, skim milk limited breads, lots of veggies and fruits, i get my proteins during dinner… i really dont know what to do, I am really tired of being chubby. one thing that i dont do a whole lot is drink water.. i probably drink about a whole water bottle during volleyball, but usually none during school. i also dont get a whole lot of sleep because i have so much homework… please help.

  38. Lauren says:

    Hi, thanks for your article, but I am concerned with how much time and money it would cost me to get everything looked into to find the cause for my being unable to lose weight. I just turned 27, and when I was younger (between 9-13 years old) I was very overweight if not obese until about the time I decided to work out & eat better around 13-14 years old. I lost a lot of weight, but have never been able to really lose what I wanted to. I have worked out consistently by doing everything from running between 4-7 miles a day, to using weights and interval training, to doing weight loss mode on machines for 45 minutes. I also have tried every sort of “diet” out there from no carbs which I didn’t like as much because it wasn’t focused on having fruits and vegetables (which I believe I got the best results from), to eat right for my type (O -) and now I am back to being a vegan just based off knowing how meat processing affects the environment I feel if I can’t lose weight anyways and get my body the way I want it to look, maybe at least I can help the environment. I have had my thyroid checked before (full screening) TWICE! The second time there was a slight sign of hypothyroidism, but I had also been ill 3 times in the last 6 months which the doctor said could have very well affected my body, and because getting labs is so expensive I never was able to go back to get it all rechecked. Is there anyway to more clearly pinpoint an issue of weight gain or is there somewhere to go that will check all of those matters on site?

  39. Chloe says:

    Hi Dr. Huber,

    I am a 37 year old female and I am 5’3″ tall and weigh 179 lbs. That is a alot of weight on my small frame. I have always struggled with my weight but always managed to lose it when I needed to and always managed to put it back on plus some. This is the most I’ve ever weighed. I have been on a strict 1200-1500 calorie a day diet and have been working out 5-6 days a week with the Jillian Michaels DVDs. I do take Seasonique for birth control and have only lost 10 lbs since 8/3/11. I have to assume that a few of those pounds were water weight. My weight will not go down any further, I feel like I’ve plateaued for the last 3 weeks. Can you give me any advice as to what I am doing wrong? I am also a vegetarian and do not eat eggs. For breakfast I have special k cereal with almond milk and coffee. I have almonds as snack. For lunch I eat tofurkey with low fat cheese on an arnold sandwich thin with baby carrots. A snack before I exercise is usually a Fiber One bar. For dinner it’s usually morningstar veggie burger or whole wheat pasta, or chili, or lentil soup. I do eat ALOT of vegetables, but what am I missing here?

  40. Jamie says:

    Hi doctor. I am 18 years but I’m chubbie as hell. I follow a strict diet but keep it above 1000 calories. I do shuttle sprints for 30 seconds and rest 30 seconds and repeat 5 times. For weight training i do decline push ups, bicep curls , crunches , squats, push ups, leg raises, tricep dips, calf raises, diamond push ups and end with skipping to cool down then stretch. I usually get more sleep but i sleep during the morning and wake up at 1 pm. I usually dont take alot of protein and i was wondering if thats the reason i dont burn fat.

  41. Rosa says:

    Hi! Doctor Huber! how are you?
    I am a 32 years old female that weights 198lbs and has a height of 5’5. I have struggle with my weight for the past 10 years it all started with depression, anxiety and a chemical dis-balance in my brain which has cause me to be afraid of everything. Six years ago I got married and now I have a five year old daughter, which cause me postpartum depression and also I gained 60 lbs during my pregnancy. I do exercise 5 times a week and eats 1000 to 1200 calories a day for the past 4 years and I can’t lose the weight on the contrary I gain and gain the weight. in the past I had and ultrasound and discover to have lots of small fibroid’s in my uterus but the doctor did not give me anything I also notice I have a patch of darker skin on the back of my neck and also my wrist, lots of hair is falling and my hair is thinning. I also have pimples on my face. I feel tired all the time and I do things because I have to without any energy, I can’t think clearly its like my brain is asleep. I have no libido doctor! I have gone with numerous doctors but no one pays attention to me on the contrary they think I don’t do anything to help me lose the weight and I am so frustrated! please help me doctor! I get my period regularly every 28 days for 8 days each month with lots of P.M.S. I have the IUD but I want to have another baby next year, if possible. I sleep for 8 hrs or more a day. please doctor help me or give me advice on what to do your my last hope. thanks in advance, Rosa

  42. Anna says:

    Dr. Huber where do I begin. I’m 5’3 145 now. I recently put on weight do to taking anti depressions. I gained about 25 pounds. I wad put on them because I’m always tired and sluggish. But I’ve been off them for about 3 months now. I’m trying to lose weight but I can’t no matter what. I did have a baby 2 1/2 years ago. And lost a lot of weight with the help of fat burners. But now I’m trying to lose weight on my own. I workout hard 5 days a week a eat egg whites and oatmeal for breakfast protein shake for lunch and salad with veggies and chicken with a light dressing and a slice of wg bread then another protein shake for another snack then dinner is a salad and chicken with veggies and light dressing. I can’t lose a pound. I do cardio and weights. Cardio is just 3 days a week. By bf is a personal trainer and just can’t seem to understand why o can’t lose anything. Oh I have a half cup of coffee in the morning. And I only drink water. I don’t understand I’m extremely frustrated and want to give up. Please help

  43. Sandi says:

    Hi Dr. Huber,
    I pray that you can help me. I HOPE! Wondering if we can schedule a phone consult? I am in NYC. You are in Ohio?
    I am 31, female, weight varies between 168 and 163 and I am 5’8″ tall. Been on birth control for 16 years – never really noticed any side effects, i take Tetracycline for acne, I was on Ativan – but am weaned off of it now for 3 months, I take Tylenol PM or Melatonin at night because I am an insomniac and hardly sleep.. on average I get about 4 sporadic hours a nite.. I have very frequent urination, earlier this year I had a Cardiac Abalation for my SVT Arrhythmia. I am always fatigued, depressed, pale, and COLD. I have complained about my being cold to my internist and neurologist for years and noone has ever given me an explanation. Last year I did Weight Watchers and lost 21 lbs over a 9 month period of time.. I have gained it all back. about a month ago I started Weight watchers again and joined a gym, am doing kickboxing classes, Zumba classes, aerobics – about 4 times a week. I also walk a half hour a day for commuting purposes. I have not lost 1 lb. In fact the first week I started dieting and working out I gained 8 lbs, I am begging you for help. I have dramatically cut my calorie intake – and I would think adding excecise would not make me gain not even lose 1 lb is incredibly distressing. I feel like I need to be checked for diabestes, insulin resistance, my hormone level, my thyroid? What else? how can I ensure that the endocrinologist I see REALLY checks for all of this? My parents are very overweight and my father had thyroid cancer, had surgery and radiation and is fine now but very very overweight despite being on synthroid. I am desperate for some advice because I am ready to starve myself but then people say you wont lose weight that way because your body shuts down. I try to drink alot of water but because of the frequent urination I stop drinking as much as I was. Also if you knew the things I eat you would see that I am a person that eats healthy foods. Can we talk? Would appreciate it more than you could know. Thanks!

    • DEAR FRIENDS OF HAE: Thanks for the numerous emails and comments about this very important subject. While Dr. Huber wishes he had the time to personally answer every comment, there isn’t always the time. If you haven’t found the guidance you need in the multiple posts or any of the replies to the numerous comment threads, please feel free to call Dr. Huber at his clinic, the LaValle Metabolic Institute: 513-924-5300

      Tell them Healthy Alter Ego sent you!

  44. Milena says:

    Dr. Huber,

    I weight 136 pounds and I am 5’1, I been trying to lose only 10 pounds and nothing as of yet!. I a been a runner for 5 years now, lately I been running 5 miles everyday and that is about 500 calories a day, I eat well always in portions and I stopped drinking soda about 2 months ago!!!!!! so frustrating that I am still at 136!!!!!. Please Dr. Huber can you tell me what am I doing wrong? I do drink water and cold tea with no sugar. Thanks so much!

  45. Truman Thaniel says:

    OMG! I must say, your blog has to be among the very best written blogs that I’ve viewed in a lengthy time.What I wouldn???¨º?¨¨t give to be capable of publish posts that are as mind grabing| as yours. I guess I???¨º?¨¨ll must keep reading your articles and pray that some day I can write on a topic with as significantly understanding as you’ve! Bravo!!

  46. Kelsie says:

    I just had a baby about 9 months ago and I cannot lose weight for anything! I was checked for thyroid problems in the past and I did have a low thyroid but they never did anything about it and i currently dont have a doctor right now & i cant find one that can help me. Could this be the problem now as to why i cant lose weight? I only gain weight and i have all the symptoms listed above i feel so sleepy and sluggish all the time and im constantly hungry even when i just eat..plz help??

  47. DEAR FRIENDS OF HAE: Thanks for the numerous emails and comments about this very important subject. While Dr. Huber wishes he had the time to personally answer every comment, there isn’t always the time. If you haven’t found the guidance you need in the multiple posts or any of the replies to the numerous comment threads, please feel free to call Dr. Huber at his clinic, the LaValle Metabolic Institute: 513-924-5300

    Tell them Healthy Alter Ego sent you!

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