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Forum Name: Endocrinology Topics

Question: Inexplicable Inability to Lose Weight


 colonel_matt - Mon May 07, 2007 8:05 am

I have a problem that no doctors I have visited seem to have an answer for. For full understanding of the problem, I must give a small history first.
I have been overweight most of my life. By the time I finished high school, I was about 300 pounds. When I went to college, I decided to try working out a little and began swimming in the mornings, causing me to lose weight and I was easily keeping at 270 pounds without changing my eating habits. After two years of this, I decided to go all out and lose a bunch of weight if I could. I began severly cutting my food intake and was working out 10+ hours per week and drinking protein shakes to suppliment my weight lifting. I got down to 255 pounds and my body fat percentage was 21. I was happy with where I ended up, so I wanted to stay at that level. It was at the end of this intense workout time that I also tried taking a thyroid suppliment because I read that the tyroid controls the metabolism and I wanted to try and kick start my metabolism even more. After taking that suppliment (sorry, I don't remember the name, it was like thyrodyne or thyroxine or something similar) my thyroid swelled up. I took it a total of 5 days and thought it might be related and stopped taking it. A few months later, I tried taking it again for 4 days with the same swelling result and then I discarded the rest of the medication. Just a few months after this, I began gaining weight uncontrollably. In about 1 year and 6 months, while still working out 6 hours a week (though not on the intense diet as before, I was eating no more than 2200 calories/day) I gained 145 pounds. My weight gain was so quick and staggering that I actually had to curb my working out because my weight gain was making it difficult to continue working out as I was. I went to a doctor the first time and he tested my thyroid and found me to be somewhat hypothyroid. I took some thyroid hormone and it had no effect. I continued the treatment and when I ran out of my prescription, I was off it for a time and was checked again and my hormone levels were then normal.
That was over 5 years ago and, several workout regimens later, I still have not been able to shed a single pound. I have even used workout buddies and I have been faithful with my working out, but still, not a pound leaves my body. I worked out with a friend once and, while doing the exact same exercises for the same amount of time for two months and while eating a less than 2000 calorie diet, I watched him lose 10 pounds and I stayed the exact same. It baffled even him. I have lost a job because of my weight and now have daily back pain due to my weight. I have begun swimming 3 times/week trying to lose weight again, but still the same problem. Have any ideas? Here is some additional medical information.
Weight: 400 pounds
Age: 29
Sex: Male
Height: 6'1"
Frame: Large
B/P: 120/80
Cholesterol: 160
Maximum daily caloric intake: 2800 (average 2500)
Workout: lap swim (1/2 mile) 3-4 times/week (takes about 1/2 hour-45 min)
Medication: None
Family History: Only my brother struggles with weight, but he is still 80 pounds lighter than me. I am by far the heaviest in my family
Glucose: I am not diabetic but my last glucose tolerance test showed that I was in the early stages of insulin intolerance, but my blood sugar is normal
Thyroid: All my thyroid hormones are normal and my thyroid has not swelled since that episode 5 years ago. It went down after about 2-3 days.

What's wrong with me? Doctors keep just referring me to a nutritionist and say I'm lying because there's no way I'm only eating a 2000 calorie diet and exercising and not losing weight. I don't like being called a liar, especially when I've been trying so desperately to lose weight.
 Shana Johnson, CNA - Tue May 08, 2007 4:24 pm

User avatar Oddly enough, you say your B/P is normal. That intrigues me.
Anyway, since you say your thyroid tests are normal, maybe you are taking the wrong approach to weight loss.
Consuming to low amount of calories will cause your metabolism to slow down, making weight loss difficult.
I feel you should increase your caloric intake to help keep your metabolism working properly.
For a person of your height ans size, I woudl recommend consuming an average of 3100 calories per day. Increase slowly, adding a few hundred calories every week until you are at 3100. Also eat several small, healthy meals per day, instead of 3 large meals. Make sure they are balanced, healthy meals such as lean meats and plenty of fruits and veggies. Cut out all unhealthy beverages, such as soda. Try not to eat any refined sugars or prepackaged meals. The more fresh the food is, the healthier it is for you.
Combine this new eating plan with some exercize, and you should see weight drop.

A safe weight loss is 1-2 lbs per week, and if you consume 3100 calories per day, and combine with a good exercize program, you should be able to lose 1.5 lbs per week.

You may have damaged your metabolism when you decided to go all out and lose dramatic weight loss, and took thyriod suppliments, so you need to get your metabolism back into a healthy, working order.

I would also suggest speaking to your doctor, and getting a full panel of tests to see if there are any other causes for your weight gain. A nutritionist may also be better able to help you work out a meal plan and healthy eating habits to help you lose some weight.


Good luck
 colonel_matt - Wed May 09, 2007 2:58 pm

Thank you for your reply. I have another question also regarding this.

I read in a post elsewhere on the internet that having insulin intolerance will also make it difficult to lose weight. I have not seen much confirmation of this, but I wonder if you know if this is true? Since I do have insulin intolerance, perhaps if there is some medication out there to increase my body's ability to use insulin it will allow me to lose weight easier by metabolizing sugar more effectively.

Is there such a medication and is this a possibility?

Thank you for your time!

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