Written by Switch Nutrition
It’s common place for people to blame themselves for failing to lose weight. Worse still, maybe their doctor or personal trainer blames them too. They say, “You need to exercise more and eat less”. Great advice doc… don’t you think I’ve tried that!!
This attitude sends a message that it’s your fault. Truth is… IT’S NOT ALWAYS YOUR FAULT!!
Sure, you need to take some responsibility. However, you can exercise as hard as you like and eat as little as you can, but your body still may not drop weight.
Why is this happening and what can you do about it?
There are many things influencing your metabolism, the rate at which you burn fat for fuel. One major disruption may be toxins. Our planet has never been more toxic. In fact, children are now born toxic. In 2004 the EWG (Environmental Working Group) conducted a study that showed more than 287 industrial chemicals in the blood of the umbilical cord which is supposed to deliver nutrients and oxygen to your growing baby. In fact, they found toxins that were known carcinogens (cancer causing), endocrine (hormonal) disrupters and neurotoxins (brain damaging).
Polar bears in the Arctic (that are supposedly isolated from humans and our chemicals) have been found to have brain related decline and hormonal disruption due to mercury toxicity. Scientists believe this has come from the burning of fossil fuel along with pollutants and chemicals humans are dumping into the ocean.
Toxins are a leading cause of inflammation and this chronic inflammation is leading to poor nutrient absorption and excessive water retention. Within days of starting an anti-inflammatory diet, participants may notice incredible weight loss and physique improvements due to a reduction of subcutaneous water retention that may result from detoxification.
So how does toxicity cause fat gain?
How do we remove toxins and balance our health?
It could be argued that stress is THE most toxic poison ever. Stress comes in many forms… physical, emotional, psychological and immunological. We are constantly under more and more stress and its incredibly difficult to remove. We need to learn how to manage stress and support our adrenals.
As a survival mechanism, when our bodies are under stress they hold onto energy (body fat) as a backup fuel. This is because historically when our ancestors were under stress (which was 100x less frequent than today) it was a clever idea to preserve energy as the stress was probably coming from famine or war.
How do we manage stress?
You may or may not have heard of the HPTA (Hypothalamus – Pituitary – Thyroid – Adrenal) axis. This is where one gland influences another to release or stop releasing a hormone. So, when we are under stress our adrenals pump out cortisol which causes weight gain, muscle loss and generally a slowing of your thyroid function.
The thyroid is critically involved in your metabolism (utilisation of energy for the maintenance of cellular life). In fact, your thyroid is your body fat thermostat. If its broken you can gain weight rapidly without changing your diet or exercise.
As you gain weight you are told to lower your calories (restrict your food) and increase your exercise (add more physical stress) which produces more cortisol and the process repeats so you continue to gain weight.
Cortisol steals the Pregnenolone which should be used to support your sex hormone production (see illustration below), resulting in lowered or imbalanced Testosterone, DHEA, Estrogen and Progesterone. These hormones help maintain lean muscle mass, bone mass, mood, energy, libido, fat burning and much more.
Then (ladies) we add in the pharmaceutical equation of the birth control pill. One of the most commonly prescribed medications on the planet. The contraceptive pill lists numerous major potential side effects including breast cancer, liver disease and blood clots that may lead to death. In addition, they mention carbohydrate and lipid (fat) metabolism issues. These issues include diabetes and poor fat metabolism. These are the last things you want to hear when you are trying to lose weight as they will lead to potential weight gain. In addition, the synthetic estrogen you are adding to your body may cause estrogen dominance which can lead to further weight gain.
As you can see, hormones have a major effect on the way we look, feel and function. They are often closely interrelated and when one is out of balance it may cause a downstream disaster for other hormones and your goals.
How do we balance hormones?
Because of the synchronicity of hormones, balancing them is incredibly hard. However, there are many things you can do to help:
There are many different environmental and emotional reasons for weight gain. This includes our obsession to regain a body we once had (in our younger years) or the body of a fitness model we may never have no matter how strict we are with our nutrition and training. It is important to realise that our bodies change with age, but we can make them healthier and fitter with what we eat, what we drink, how we move and how we treat ourselves and others emotionally.
Try to focus on the positive changes that you can control and maintain. Move more often and make it fun, choose to eat real unprocessed food and try to reduce stress. Small healthy habits added together can see big results. Not to mention, you will feel healthier and happier and that is surely the most important thing after all.
Disclaimer: The above article is merely a guide and is in no way a recommendation or a treatment protocol for any health conditions or diseases. You should always consult with a qualified health care provider before changing your supplement, training or nutritional strategy. Supplementation should not be attempted by pregnant or breastfeeding women, anyone on prescription medication or children under the age of 15 unless advised by your qualified health care provider.