In today’s more informed health circles, it is understood that weight is not just about what you eat and how much you eat. Our weight issues that we struggle with on a daily basis are caused by internal and external factors asking our bodies to adapt.
This body-environment interaction is a key insight when we look into and talk about weight gain. The reasons for weight gain are far more complex than simply overeating calories. Weight gain and resistant weight loss come from an imbalance in the body’s chemical signals asking the body to store more calories due to changes in the internal or external environment. In this article, we will go through commonly missed issues that have a lot to do with increased weight.
The Hunt for Inflammation:
Apart from being just a number, think of weight as a response of your body to the environment. Weight can increase in the presence of inflammation. The most common causes of inflammation are: food sensitivities, nutrient imbalances, gut microbe imbalance, leaky gut, untreated infection, toxin exposure, hormonal imbalance, stress and anger, poor sleep (due to sleep apnea) and depression. By picking up on inflammation and seeing it as a sign that the body’s function isn’t optimal, you can immediately start your weight loss journey by investigating these things one at a time.
Quick tips to optimize weight:
The Elimination Diet is a 21-day program that identifies and removes the nine most common food sensitivities of an individual which are slowly re-introduced to an individual’s diet after 21 days to determine what the body reacts most negatively to.
Consuming nutrient rich, real food without the toxins allows the body to repair the gut lining, expand its microbe diversity and reduce total toxic load. Elimination is always the first step to any successful weight management program.
You can get our comprehensive guide by visiting our Products tab!
2. Optimize nutrients:
I normally ask my patients to get tests for Complete Blood Count (CBC), Homocysteine, Serum Vitamin D, Iron Panel and Gamma Glutamyl Transferase (GGT). Below are reasons to look into these:
a. CBC – look into the hemoglobin and check for anemia; pay special attention to the red cell indices markers – MCV or mean cell volume. A result approaching the upper limit of this marker signifies B9 or B12 deficiency.
b. Iron panel – check that all values are normal, aim for serum ferritin minimum of 80. If the markers are low you have an iron deficiency which needs to be treated.
c. Homocysteine – aim for less than 9; higher than 9 means a B9 and B12 deficiency.
d. Vitamin D – must be between 60-80 ng/mL.
e. GGT – marker for glutathione usage in the body. Aim for <10 U/L; if elevated, introduce cruciferous vegetables into the diet (broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy and mustard greens) and hunt for the source of the toxin. You may get these tests at LifeScience Institute.
3. Move your body:
Start with what you can do and aim to achieve the current American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guideline of 150 minutes of cardiovascular movement per week.
5-10 minutes of daily mindfulness 1-3 times a day with emphasis during your busiest work hours allows the body’s stress response to quiet down helping ease the hormonal causes of weight gain (cortisol spikes). Try out the free app Insight Timer - this is an excellent way to start a mindfulness practice.
Aim for what your body needs and support it by stopping all electronic device use 2 hours before bedtime. Get the number of hours of sleep that you feel effective throughout the entire day. The number of hours is highly personal and the key is to listen to your body.
Having a team or having a group of friends while on your optimal weight journey makes the experience more fun and sustainable.
7. Seek Functional Medicine help:
If after all my tips your weight still hasn’t normalized, it’s time to look for a Functional Medicine doctor to help you. There may be certain things that need tweaking, an infection that needs to be removed, a toxin that’s hiding in your body or a hormonal cycle that needs rebalancing.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I had writing it. Let us know if our tips worked for you. Share us your stories at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can grow this true-health community and allow more people to live high function optimal health lives.
Your partner in health,