Unlock your Weight LossFor some, despite repeated weight loss programs, countless hours sweating away at the gym and following whichever new super diet is the fashion at the time, efforts to lose weight never materialize. You’d be justified in feeling frustrated. You may wonder, “How can I not be losing weight?!” If this is you, the problem may not be a lack of trying or a lack of willpower. For many, there are problems in the core, interrelated systems of the body, keeping the weight from coming off. In our last newsletter, we reviewed the three hidden obstacles to successful weight loss. In today’s article, we’ll cover strategies to address each of these concerns using only diet, lifestyle changes, and commonly available supplements. In our final piece in this series, we’ll cover a basic diet template that is remarkably effective, once these three obstacles have been addressed. First, let’s review briefly the three weight loss obstacles that we covered in our last newsletter.
First, blame goes to our chemical laden environment. Compounds like BPA, and brominated flame retardant actively interfere with hormone signaling and metabolism to cause weight gain, and impede weight loss. These compounds deposit in fat stores, where they are so potent in interfering with weight loss that a new term was coined to classify them: “obesogens” (meaning: “make obese”). The second cause is latent inflammation: by driving up stress hormones, latent inflammation makes the body resistant to insulin and drives the body to store more energy as fat. The third common underlying obstacle to weight loss is hormonal imbalance. Most often, this relates to elevated estrogen compared to progesterone, however, imbalanced thyroid, and dysregulated adrenal hormones can both also hinder weight loss. Any, or all of these three basic physiological imbalances could be getting in the way of weight loss for you, and without addressing them first, weight loss can be very difficult.
When we work with patients, frustrated with repeated attempts at weight loss, we usually start with a blood panel that identifies how severe these underlying issues may be. This is a valuable step to save time and money. It ensures that our efforts are being focused at the most important aspects. But, even without the insight from a panel of blood tests, there are still some clues that may indicate that one (or more) of these core problems exist for you, which in turn indicates the need for steps you can easily do on your own, with dietary change, some lifestyle interventions, and some simple supplements you can obtain from your local supplement store. Each of these topics are vast, and an entire series could be compiled on each, but in this short article we’ll give you the most effective steps that you can take without getting professional help.
Excessive Burden of Environmental Toxins
In our last article we looked at how an excessive burden of certain types of chemicals called, “obesgens” can interfere with hormone signalling and metabolic function. The best approach to finding out if this is a concern for you is reviewing your personal history. If you have an occupational history or exposure to a wide variety of industrial chemicals, live, or lived, in close proximity to an industrial area, or use a lot of mainstream cosmetic or personal care products, then addressing your body’s detoxification pathways is a worthwhile step towards your weight loss goals. While the links between occupational and industrial areas is clear, the concern around personal care products may be less obvious to some. Many of the personal care products and cosmetics used today contain a variety of synthetic, petroleum based ingredients that are absorbed readily through the skin. Some of these compounds, such as parabens and pthalates are established obesogens. Other compounds are toxic to liver cells and directly affect the ability of the body to clear toxins. These compounds include Hydroxymethylpentylcyclohexenecarboxaldehyde, often referred to, for obvious reason, by its tradename, “Lyral”. Lyral and other compounds like it aren’t directly listed on the ingredient list,they are all clumped together under the heading: “fragrance.” It is an extremely common ingredient, used in the majority of mainstream personal care products, including deodorant, perfumes, shampoo body wash, shaving gel and cosmetics. The accumulated burden of Lyral and related compounds continues to increase over years and decades. Switching to higher quality brands that only use natural ingredients is the only way to be sure that you are not continuing to be exposed to these chemicals.
When you embark on a new weight loss program and begin liberating fat from storage, you are also liberating the toxins stored in that fat. When these toxins return to circulation they further impeded the weight loss process. The more fat you lose, the harder it is to make any progress.
You eliminate fat soluble toxins through the liver. The liver converts these compounds into less harmful forms and expels them through the bile into the intestines to be carried out. Less commonly, the liver also converts them to water soluble forms which are filtered out of the body by the kidneys. Another important pathway for detoxification is through sweating. Both in preparation for, and as you are losing weight, make sure to follow the steps to ensure the burden of toxins isn’t slowing down your process.
Address any sources of Latent Inflammation
Even without doing more in-depth testing, there are still some general steps you can take to reduce your background inflammation level. The two main causes of underlying latent inflammation are: smoldering low grade infections (often dental or digestive) and nutritional deficiencies (the body’s ability to quell inflammation is dependent upon the presence of several key nutrients). Here are some simple steps you can take:
Balance your Hormones
Even without knowing which hormones are out of balance, there are three steps you can take that will have a general effect on balancing your hormone levels.
If you are embarking on a process of weight loss, it would be best to follow these recommendations for a period of time prior to initiating that weight loss program. Depending on how influential any of these three obstacles are for you, taking 1-4 weeks focussing on the above recommendations before starting would be appropriate. If you want to work on these at a deeper level consider seeing a practitioner to get a closer look at where exactly your system is going wrong.
Okay, so now you know how to unlock the weight loss process. In the next article we’ll cover a basic template that will result in rapid and easy weight loss for you.
I'm Kieran, clinician and founder at The Parani Clinic. I'm an acupuncturist, herbalist, and functional medicine practitioner for the past 10 years. I have a deep curiosity in health, biology, culture, medicine, history, and a healthy obsession with the pursuit of the perfect state of health.