You’re doing everything right. You’re eating healthier, you’re drinking more water, you’re exercising and getting 8 hours of sleep each night, but after a week you step on the scale and ...how can this be, you’ve actually gained weight! Despite all your hard work, you can’t button your jeans and you’re the furthest thing from putting on a bathing suit. What gives?
During my thirty years of educating people in health and struggling myself to lose weight and keep it off, I’ve been able to identify several key factors that cause a person to become weight resistant. The most important thing to remember about weight loss is that it is highly individualized and based on genetics and lifestyle factors. So no “one diet” will work for everyone. If you have been struggling to lose weight, take a look at my list, and see if any of these apply to you.
1. Eating processed foods — Processed foods are nutrient deficient, contain artificial ingredients, and often contain food additives and dyes that people are sensitive to. Over time these food sensitivities cause inflammation, first in the gut where tight junctions become loose (leaky gut) and then, as a result of these foods leaking through the intestinal barrier, systemic inflammation ensues, causing autoimmune disorders and degenerative diseases.
2. Consuming sugars & artificial sweeteners — Sugar is a toxin. It feeds cancer cells by providing them with their primary source of fuel. It is also an immunosuppressant. After eating sugar your body’s immune system is compromised for 2-4 hours. This is a great window of time for opportunistic infections and malignant cells to replicate. Eating sugar on a daily basis makes you crave more and more of the sweet stuff. Sugars, not fats, elevate triglycerides, the fatty substance that clogs your coronary arteries. The more sugar you eat, either from fruits, simple carbohydrates or sweets, the more insulin your body must produce. Insulin stores fat. If you don’t want to store fat you must keep your blood glucose levels within normal limits.
Artificial sweeteners and leptin resistance — Artificial sweeteners are one of the biggest contributors to weight gain. Think a diet soda will help you lose weight? Think again. Researchers have discovered that when ingesting an artificial sweetener, the brain cannot recognize the chemical. Your hormones leptin and ghrelin regulate your appetite. Ghrelin tells you to eat and leptin tells you when you’ve had enough. But when you ingest an artificial sweetener, the brain does not recognize it, and leptin never gets turned on, so you overeat. And artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than real sugar, so they cause you to crave more and more sugar and a vicious cycle ensues!
3. Food Allergies & Intolerances — This one’s tricky! The best way to uncover a food allergy or intolerance is to work with a nutritionist and do The Elimination Diet. The Elimination Diet is the gold standard in nutrition! You will need to be on an elimination diet for at least 3 weeks and it is very restrictive, but it is worth it. Food allergies and sensitivities cause a host of problems from leaky gut to rashes to inflammation and ultimately, to chronic, degenerative diseases.
4. Toxicity — Environmental toxicants come in many forms: heavy metals and pharmaceuticals in drinking water, mercury and thimerosal in vaccines, pollutants in the air, chemicals from pesticides like RoundUp sprayed on our foods and altering its DNA, flame retardants on pajamas, chemicals from substances like plastics that when entering the body mimic our own hormones, altering the way our body cross “talks” to cells. The list goes on and on... This is why detoxing the body is so important. Have you taken the MSQ? (Multi Symptom Questionnaire). Take the test here. If your score is greater than 10, you need a detox. Send me your questions regarding doing a detox as I have a certification and specialty training in detoxification protocols and would be happy to help you get started.
5. Leaky Gut — Leaky gut, also called gut dysbiosis or intestinal permeability, is a condition where the intestinal membrane has been so assaulted by some type of irritant that it begins to “leak”. There are a host of factors which cause leaky gut. Sometimes it starts as an overgrowth of yeast, or a parasitic infection. Sometimes it occurs from a food irritant like gluten or dairy. Common symptoms of leaky gut include gas, bloat, weight gain, and in in more extreme cases, abdominal pain, rashes, joint aches, and diseases like celiac disease, malabsorption states, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and cancers. *There is too much information on leaky gut to present here, but if you have any of the symptoms I mentioned and want to be tested for leaky gut I can help. I have a fantastic 6-week gut rebuilding plan designed specifically to help people with leaky gut. There are many nutraceuticals that can be used to heal a leaky gut: probiotics, colostrum, L-glutamine, aloe, marshmallow root, and licorice root (DGL) to name a few. But paramount is a good quality probiotic. They must contain the strains Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus, friendly strains common to our gut microflora. When healthy bugs flourish in our gut, they help keep our weight in check.
6. Hormonal Imbalances — Women who use birth control pills experience weight gain because the pill tricks your body into thinking it’s pregnant. This increases cravings, causes water retention, mood swings which often lead to “comfort eating”, and more. During the peri- and postmenopausal years, fluid shifts and hormonal fluctuations during the menstrual cycle cause many weight challenges as estrogen levels can swing widely. Estrogen dominance occurs frequently and causes breast tenderness, abdominal swelling, and fluid retention. If you suspect hormone imbalances, black cohosh, soy isoflavones, genistein, turmeric and resveratrol can help.
7. Thyroid Irregularities — Your thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate your body’s metabolism. It also controls heart and digestive function, muscle control, brain development and bone maintenance. No wonder you feel terrible when your thyroid is not functioning optimally. If you notice increased fatigue, extremities that are always cold, inability to build muscle, depression, constipation, dry skin, and weight gain, you may have an underactive thyroid. If you suspect hypothyroidism get your TSH, free T3 and T4 and thyroid antibody levels checked. Although the normal reference ranges are 0.4- 4.5, 90% of the population falls between 0.4-2.0. If you are over 2.0-2.5, you may have a “subclinical” case of hypothyroidism which your doctor may not realize or treat.
8. Too much cardio or high intensity exercise = Inflammation — If you exercise consistently at a heart rate of 70 percent or more of your maximum heart rate for at least 30 minutes, you can raise stress hormones that break down muscle and fatigue your immune system. One of the biggest problems I see is people trying to “out exercise” a poor diet. It won’t happen! Weight loss is approximately 80% diet, 10% genetics and 10% exercise. A small brownie is approximately 350 calories. You would need to run for an hour at a high intensity to burn that brownie off. Not a great plan.
9. Eating Too Frequently or Snacking — If you eat three meals a day and balance your plate with proteins, fats, and carbohydrates (primarily from vegetables and a small amount of fruit) you will keep your blood sugar from fluctuating, allowing your body to burn fat between meals. Studies prove that caloric restriction helps you lose weight and live longer. So skip the snacks unless you’re exercising strenuously.
10. Low Vitamin D Blood Levels — If you have never had your vitamin D levels tested spring is the perfect time. Our stored vitamin D levels get depleted in the winter months and will be lowest around this time. Ask your doctor to test a 25 hydroxyvitamin D (25 (OH)D). Optimal levels are 50-75ng/ml, NOT the 32 ng/ml that is listed in the normal reference range for vitamin D. Vitamin D receptors are found throughout our body’s tissues and play a primary role in immune function and inflammation cardiovascular health, and the formation and growth of strong bones. Since vitamin D helps our bodies fight inflammation, it indirectly affects weight homeostasis.
Many factors contribute to weight resistance, especially as we age. Learning to be kind to your body will help normalize your weight and help you age with confidence and grace.
Wishing you health & happiness <3
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