Not Losing Weight? Poor Digestion Could Be to Blame

By Marcie Vaske, MS, LN
September 3, 2019

In this five-part blog series, our nutritionists explain five causes of stalled weight loss and tips on how to combat these issues. For more in-depth information, and even more surprising culprits, join us in our next Nutrition 4 Weight Loss series, starting the week of January 13, 2020.

constipated.jpgChances are if weight loss is one of your health goals, you’re thinking food and exercise are your keys to success. And while those are important, actually let me correct that to say food in particular is crucial, there are a lot of other factors that may be stalling your weight loss. One of those culprits is poor digestion, sometimes called poor gut health. 

I’ve had countless clients come in for nutritional counseling who struggle with digestive issues. For instance, one 60-year-old woman with a history of compulsive overeating came in suffering from gas, bloating, unable to stabilize her weight, gallbladder pain and constantly feeling full. Another woman, 50-years old, came in struggling with diarrhea, bloating and gas. None of these symptoms are desirable, and both women were almost afraid to leave the house due to the fear of needing a bathroom, fast. Can you relate? I’m thrilled to report that both of these clients completely turned their digestion around, (including the freedom to travel whenever, wherever) due to many of the tips below and more that are shared during Nutrition 4 Weight Loss Series.

How Poor Digestion Slows Metabolism

For my clients, and most of the population, a main culprit of poor digestion is long-term use of acid blockers or a proton pump inhibitor (PPI). These medications decrease the amount of stomach acid our bodies can make, which in turn greatly reduces our ability to digest food.  Therefore, we can’t properly absorb the nutrients in our foods, resulting in less energy and more digestive problems. Without proper nutrient breakdown, our energy production will be slowed which equals a slower metabolism. 

Culprit number two is an unhealthy intestinal tract, which leads to poor digestion and can be caused from toxins in food, food sensitives, excess sugar, alcohol and processed foods. When bad bacteria outpace our beneficial bacteria, we’ll have an increase in sugar cravings, and eating more sugar inflames the gut. Once this happens, we again don’t fully absorb the nutrients we need to fuel our bodies, which leads to a decreased metabolism. 

As you can tell from both of these examples, it’s a vicious cycle that if uninterrupted can lead to severe digestive damage.

Indicators of Poor Digestion

  • Diarrhea/constipation
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Flatulence
  • Bone thinning
  • Headaches
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Brain fog

There is much we can do through nutrition to support and even solve your digestive issues, which will also help to heal your metabolism (plus many of those indicators above!). Here’s just a sampling of the ideas we share in Nutrition 4 Weight Loss, along with other bonuses to expect from the class: 

  • Often there is a particular food or too many processed foods that need to be identified and eliminated from the daily diet. Your Nutrition 4 Weight Loss nutritionist (you get two one-on-one appointments with a licensed nutritionist with the entrance to the series!) will work with your likes and dislikes to put a meal plan in place; something realistic is key.
  • Cut back on stress, because it has a direct impact on the gut. Chronic or acute stress can change how our gut works, resulting in either constipation or diarrhea.
  • Creative and passionate teachers who encourage you every step of the way along with the Nutrition 4 Weight Loss Community to support you in person and online.
  • Look for supplements that can help heal the long-term damage the gut has sustained. My favorite digestive supplement for clients to start with is Bifido Balance, to help stabilize our gut health. I recommend 1-2 capsules 10-15 minutes before each meal.

To learn more tips and tricks for better digestion to unlock better weight loss, such as how bone broth helps digestion, key supplements that many of my clients have found beneficial, and more – join us for the next round of Nutrition 4 Weight Loss. Our online Nutrition 4 Weight Loss series is always a convenient option, too.

Plus, Nutrition 4 Weight Loss (both in-person and online) comes with a private one-on-one nutrition consultation to find an individual plan that works for you.

Here’s to better digestion and health goals achieved. We hope to see you soon!

About the author

Marcie truly understands the healing power of nutrition having once suffered from anorexia, obsessive-compulsive exercising and anxiety, all of which led to chronic and complex digestive issues for her. She credits good nutrition in playing a critical role in her recovery from anorexia, diminishing anxiety, and helping to heal her digestive tract. She joined Nutritional Weight & Wellness in 2011, completed her M.S. in clinical nutrition from the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut, and is a licensed nutritionist through the Minnesota Board of Dietetics and Nutrition.

View all posts by Marcie Vaske, MS, LN

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