We all know that overeating and over drinking can cause weight gain but sometimes there are other drivers of the ‘betty back fat’, ‘tummy tube’, or ‘love muffins’ that are making our pants too tight. The following might be drivers of your extra weight that you have not considered and are worth addressing:
1. Liver – The liver is the main powerhouse in the body. It produces enzymes, balances sugar levels and for weight loss… it converts fat into energy. If it is over burdened with Christmas-itis the liver cannot keep up with all the body’s jobs and metabolism slows down.
Solution: One simple way to keep our livers working effectively is to give it a mini tune up. Eat foods containing sulfur compounds as they rid the body of chemicals which are consumed unintentionally from sources such as prescription medications and environmental toxins. Onions, garlic and cabbage are ideal but so are broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale for liver health.
2. Leptin – This funny little hormone is secreted by fat and is suppose to stop our hunger. Normally it tells our brain when we have eaten enough but if Leptin resistance develops, a constant hunger develops.
Solution: There is a lot of research being done on leptin and its counterpart, ghrelin, at the moment. Whilst we don’t have the whole leptin story just yet, we do know that leptin is increased naturally in the body with adequate and good quality sleep, which for most people is approximately eight hours. Get into bed by 10pm, sleep well, and take this variable out of the mix.
3. Set Point Theory – The set point theory states that your body has an internal thermostat that controls how much weight we keep on our bodies. According to this theory, body fat percentage and body weight are matters of internal controls that are set differently in different people. The internal thermostat likes to keep you where you are in terms of weight.
Solution: George Blackburn, Associate Director of the Division of Nutrition at Harvard Medical School says, “Lower your body weight by 10%, and then stop losing for a while. Fight instead to keep off just that amount. Stay at that level for at least six months to give your body a chance to adjust to its new, lower set point.”
4. Stress/Anxiety/Depression – Who hasn’t done a bit of emotional eating? Stress has a direct impact on our cortisol levels and our cortisol levels have a direct impact on the way our body utilises our insulin. ‘Belly fat” can often be a sign of insulin resistance due to high cortisol levels over prolonged periods.
Solution: Being aware of stress or comfort eating is half the battle when it comes knocking this reason off your list of why you cannot lose weight. Acknowledge you are stressed or depressed and do something about it. Seek out supportive friends, take up a new sport, learn yoga or mediation, and I love the idea of ‘handwork’. Take up something that keeps your hands busy like sewing, crossword, Sudoku, or anything that keeps your hands busy and unable to eat mindlessly.
5. Food Sensitivities – What do you crave? It is common to see cravings in the food that are often causing the problem. Really food sensitivities and /or allergies can keep you from losing weight! Inflammation puts stress on the liver and slows down metabolism, both adding to weight gain.
Solution: Watch for foods that you crave, make you bloat, give you sinusitis, or poor skin. Try a specific food elimination diet from your ‘problematic’ food for two weeks to see if one type of food is causing your problems.
All of our posts reflect our philosophy at A Healthy View www.ahealthyview.com. A whole real food perspective on food and life. Extremes do not work but clean, whole, tasty and easy food choices can create a lifetime of good habits that lead to a lean, happy, and healthy person. Contact us on our website for our next Low Sugar Lifestyle program or a nutritional consult. Article by Michele Chevalley Hedge