What Biological Elements Might Be Hindering Your Weight Loss Progress?

Losing weight is often more challenging than commonly assumed, with misconceptions like the idea of linear progress or solely focusing on calorie deficits prevailing. Many individuals encounter struggles, plateaus, or difficulties in sustaining weight loss efforts. While diet and exercise are crucial components of weight management, other factors contribute to the complex issue of weight. Research indicates a blend of biological and environmental elements influencing both weight gain and loss.

Here are several biological aspects impacting weight:

Appetite Regulation:


Hunger and satiety are not solely psychological or physiological but a combination of both. The hormone GLP-1 plays a significant role in signaling fullness to the brain and slowing stomach emptying, prolonging the feeling of satiety. GLP-1 agonists, medications mimicking GLP-1’s effects, are gaining recognition for weight loss and diabetes management.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR):

BMR reflects the energy expenditure for essential bodily functions. A higher BMR, coupled with physical activity, leads to increased energy usage. Age, biological sex, and lean muscle mass affect BMR, influencing energy expenditure.

Hormonal Influence:

Various hormones, including insulin, leptin, cortisol, and ghrelin, impact hunger, satiety, and fat storage. Factors like diet, stress, and sleep affect hormone levels, potentially leading to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.

Adipose Tissue:

Excess fat accumulation, especially visceral fat, poses challenges for weight management and increases the risk of health complications. Sex hormones influence fat distribution, contributing to differences in weight loss challenges between genders.

Mental Health:

Biological factors such as genetics and neurotransmitter imbalances intersect with mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, affecting weight management. Lifestyle changes, medication side effects, and sleep deprivation can further hinder weight loss efforts.

Featured image: jacoblund/iStock