Part One of Two
It’s not always your fault you can’t shed those extra pounds.
If you are like most people, this isn’t your first weight loss rodeo. You’ve exercised, counted calories, cut out fat, then cut out protein, and now even carbs. Maybe the weight came off, but chances are you’ve regained most, if not all, of what you lost.
I want to encourage you: YOU can lose the weight, and keep it off. As you begin this journey, I want to give you a key principle to remember – it’s not what you do once in a while, it’s what you do every day that has a lasting impact. Good health won’t be achieved on a short-term diet alone; it’s a lifestyle.
My mission for over 40 years now has been to help people find their hidden causes of disease and weight gain. I have helped countless people reach their health and weight loss goals, and now it’s your turn. In this 2-part series, I want to share with you my top ten reasons why you can’t lose weight, and at the end I’ll give you an action plan for what you can do about it. Let’s get started!
1. Unhealthy Fat Intake
Fats are the most maligned and misunderstood macronutrient in the world. Many well-intentioned dieters, confused by the contradicting information available, have a fear of eating fat. Because it’s hard to decipher which is the good and which is the bad, they avoid fat altogether.
Let’s keep it simple: essential fats are fats your body can’t manufacture – they have to be eaten in the diet to get into your body. Why can’t you live without them? Every cell in your body is surrounded by a protective membrane made primarily from fat. Even your brain is 60% fat. This explains why your body craves fat when you eat a high carb, low fat diet – your cells are crying out for it!
What Fats Can Do For You:
- Help you lose weight (Yes, you eat fat to lose fat!)
- Build strong, healthy cell membranes to resist disease
- Carry fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K through the bloodstream
- Activate the flow of bile for healthy fat digestion and elimination of toxins
- Help your body conserve protein
- Slow the absorption of carbs to balance blood sugar levels
- Provide building blocks for estrogen, testosterone, and other hormones
- Help you produce the feel-good hormone serotonin, which also helps you control cravings.
- Tame the hunger hormones, and signal you to feel full
Introducing the Good Guys
Omega-3 fats boost your metabolism, lower triglycerides, and help flush water from your kidneys. My favorite source is chia seeds. Adding these to your daily smoothie or breakfast beverage is a great way to get them in your diet.
Omega 6 fats boost your metabolism, stimulate your thyroid, and activate your Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT) to burn fat, rather than storing it in your white adipose tissue. My favorite food source is hempseed oil. Gamma Linolenic Acid (GLA) is found in borage oil, evening primrose oil, and the most balanced form of all – black currant seed oil. Conjugated Linolenic Acid (CLA) comes through grass-fed meat and full-fat pasture raised dairy products. If you have a busy lifestyle, I highly recommend supplementing these oils rather than trying to get them into your daily diet.
2. Waterlogged with False Fat
Your body is, on average, 60-70% water. This water is essential; about two-thirds of it is in your cells, and the rest is in blood, body fluids, and in the space between cells. However, many people carry an extra 10-15 pounds of water, which contributes to abdominal bloating, cellulite, facial swelling, and puffiness around the eyes. This excess water is what Elson Haas, MD refers to as “false fat” – excess weight that isn’t fat.
Sources of this excess water weight include:
- Not drinking enough water
- Not eating enough protein
- Hidden food sensitivities
- Hormone imbalance
- Some medications
The best plan to shed this excess water starts with identifying your cause. Drinking more water and eating more protein are fairly straightforward. Saliva hormone testing can shed light on your hormone woes, but finding hidden food sensitivities can be a challenge. Sensitivities can cause a delayed reaction, making it difficult to pinpoint which food is the offender. The four main offenders are wheat, milk, sugar and yeast. Doing an elimination diet will help you target which foods are a problem, and starting with the top four offenders, removing one at a time, is likely to yield the best results for you.
3. Your Liver Is Tired and Toxic
Your liver is important. It performs nearly 500 jobs, including cleansing your system of toxins, metabolizing protein, controlling hormone balance, and producing immune-boosting factors. When your liver is sluggish, every organ is affected, and your weight loss efforts are blocked. Nothing you do to control your weight is as important as keeping your liver healthy. Your liver is your main detoxification organ, and diet without detox does not produce lasting results.
If you have:
- Weight gain, especially belly fat
- Abdominal bloating
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Mood Swings
- Skin rashes
Then you have signs of a tired, toxic liver. A toxic liver causes a cascade of health issues, which end in electrolyte (mineral) imbalance, blood sugar imbalance, estrogen and other hormone imbalances, inflammatory immune responses, changes in blood vessel tone causing restricted blood flow, and inability to efficiently burn body fat. Autoimmunity and diseases like diabetes and hypertension may develop as a result.
Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Liver
The health of your lifestyle determines the health of your liver. But, aside from the sage advice to limit or eliminate alcohol consumption, most people don’t know which lifestyle factors to modify. Let me help you – limit or eliminate sugar, trans fats, commercial vegetable oils, and caffeine; check your medications to see if they are metabolized in the liver and have your doctor reduce or eliminate as much as possible; get enough fiber in your diet. Increase bitter foods and herbs, especially dandelion root. Add herbs the liver loves, including milk thistle and turmeric. Finally, consider a bile-building supplement for a tired, toxic liver – especially if you’re missing your gallbladder.
4. Diabetes, Insulin Resistance, and Inflammation
I am so thankful dietary fat came out of the doghouse and into the spotlight as the new hero. The low fat, high carb diet, which is high in sugar, did us no favors when it came to weight loss or overall health. Simply put, when your body gets more sugar than it needs, it stores it as fat. Insulin is the hormone behind this process, shuttling sugar to its intended destination, whether it’s into the cells or to be converted and stored as fat.
Both sugar and insulin are inflammatory to your body in large amounts. When blood sugar is released slowly into the bloodstream, insulin is equally controlled. But when your diet is high in carbs, blood sugar cycles up and down all day, and insulin follow suit at first, but eventually just stays high. The cells become less receptive to insulin and refuse to store the sugar as fat. This is insulin resistance, and when this happens, sugar that can’t be converted into fat stays in the bloodstream, causing problems in downstream organs like the heart, kidneys, and eyes, plus the nerves and blood vessels.
Just Say No – to Excess Carbs
Restore equilibrium to your diet. While simple, refined carbs aren’t healthy for you, complex carbs are a welcome addition to a nutritious diet. Avoid the inflammatory carbs like gluten-containing grains and refined “junk foods.” Opt instead for vegetables and ancient grains like quinoa. Supplement with vitamins A, C, and E, plus magnesium, zinc, and chromium, to boost your body’s insulin action or regulate glucose.
5. Stress Makes You Fat
Stress has become a normal, accepted part of living in our society, but in reality, it’s at the root of almost every disease. Stress affects every part of your body, especially your brain. Cortisol, your main stress hormone, activates enzymes to store more fat.
If you have abdominal fat, then you likely have stress as a contributing factor to your weight gain. And the deep layers of belly fat have 4 times more cortisol receptors than the fat cells right underneath the skin. This means cortisol is drawn to this area, which signals your body to make more storage area there, leading to easier weight gain. It’s important to avoid caffeine, sugar, and alcohol, the “triple threat” of cortisol boosters.
The type of stress we experience in modern society is different from the stress our ancestors went through, yet your body responds the same physiologically. Getting stressed about a test produces the same stress response as being chased by a bear. The problem is your natural “fight or flight” response isn’t satisfied by taking the test, like it was when you ran from the bear. In today’s modern world, we stay anxious, depressed, sick, tired and overweight, in no small part because the stress we face never ends.
In addition to avoiding cortisol boosters, it’s good to avoid drugs like prednisone and other potent, synthetic corticosteroids that are even more powerful than what your body produces. Keep blood sugar and insulin levels steady, making wise choices in complex carbs. Get enough healthy fats to feed your brain and your nerves. Get enough good quality, restorative sleep and moderate exercise. Finally, consider stress-relieving techniques like meditation, visualization, prayer, and hands-on healing modalities like massage to relieve stress and tension and help you focus peacefully in the present moment.