“I’m not losing any weight!” my friend whined to me the other day. Then, pinching that little bulge on her side, she added, “And my love handles aren’t coming off.”

My friend and I are not alone in our “pesky love handle” problems [if you’re wondering what love handles are, they’re the fatty humps in our midsection]. Millions of women across the world face the same dilemma. You religiously followed your exercise routines every single day. You watch what you eat. But then, you just can’t seem to shed off those unwanted pounds and get rid of those bumps.

I learned on my journey to overcome my weight difficulties that sometimes, it’s not YOU who’s at fault why you’re not dropping those extra pounds. There may be other reasons why you’re not losing weight. Below are 6 of these surprising weight loss hitches.

  1. You may have a physical illness that you don’t know.

Not losing weight even when you’ve done everything could be your body telling you that you have a physical illness that you don’t know. Hypothyroidism [low thyroid hormone production] and Cushing’s Syndrome [tumor in your pituitary gland] are just some of the maladies that cause their sufferers to gain weight. More specifically, a person who has Cushing’s has a fuller-looking face and a bulging midsection but thin arms and legs.

  1. You are dehydrated.

Not drinking water enough for your body’s needs may be the culprit why you’re not shedding your extra pounds despite the efforts you’ve exerted. According to experts, water…

  • Helps in giving that feeling of fullness after every meal,
  • Maintains the temperature of our body, and
  • Gives us energy.

On the other hand, not drinking enough water results in weight gain because…

  • Our body compensates for the lack of bodily fluids by subconsciously telling us to eat more food, and
  • Our body will conserve water to keep itself going resulting in water retention, and water retention means an added number on the weighing scale.

And since we’re on the subject of water, one weight watcher advised me to drink two cups of water before every meal as this helps hasten the weight loss process.

  1. You’re overindulging on healthy foods.

Just because you’re getting your fill from healthy foods doesn’t mean you can overeat. Nutritious food fares like oatmeal, avocados, natural nuts and nut-based butter can still be very fattening when eaten in excess.

  1. You’re scrimping on your sleep.

A good night’s sleep and weight loss work hand in hand, according to bestselling author Tom Rath in his book Eat Move Sleep. Getting enough sleep at night makes it easier for you to shed off the extra pounds. On the other hand, your sleep troubles – like insomnia – lessen significantly when you lose weight.

  1. You’re feeling the blues.

If you’re suffering from depression and are taking anti-depressants, your medication may be the reason why it’s hard for you to lose weight and are gaining more instead!

“Expect to see a 5 to 15-pound addition on your weight after a year of taking anti-depressants. And the number could pile up over the years,” says one psychiatrist.

Moreover, if you’re depressed but not taking pills, your blues may cause you to unconsciously reach for fattening comfort foods or cut back on physical activities which results in the same thing – weight gain.

  1. You are getting older.

Your body starts to lose muscle mass when you reach 30 and onwards. This results in a slower metabolic rate.

“Once our body’s metabolism slows down, we gain weight. This is most true if we continue to consume as much food as when we were younger,” says one diet expert.

I’m in my early 30s, and I’ve long accepted to myself that I can never contend with my age. But having a healthy lifestyle is more than just losing weight for me. I want to be healthy and live to enjoy life longer. And if I lose these extra pounds and love handles on the way…well, awesome!