Weight loss is a multi billion dollar industry. Now with online programs, and information overload most people are confused. Confusion leads to inaction.
Depending on where you get your statistics today we have the following:
Adolescent: 29 % are obese, 43% are overweight
Adults: 73% of men are overweight or obese, 63% of women are overweight and obese.
Therefore this is a great industry to be in especially if you can give the short term results most people want.
Why is this an epidemic?
People would say lifestyle but it is also this movement to tell people to be happy with their weight and love their body.
What if increasing weight is merely the body’s way protecting you from loss of health?
Are we getting too comfortable with losing our health?
Time to stop getting on the weighing scale
The way to deal with obesity is really one day at a time. Stephen Furst
So if we define increased weight gain as a symptom of losing our health it is easier to address it by understanding the science behind it.
How do you really define obesity?
Traditionally it was by calculating the body mass index.
Calculating the body mass is by measuring the weight in kilograms and dividing it by height in meters.Ideal range is 22 to 25 and anything over 25 is considered overweight.
Over 30 is obese.
However we have a new generation of people who are what we call
The Skinny fat.
As in the above picture the figure A and B have the same BMI within the normal range.
However the person in Figure A has more fat accumulation intra-abdominally that the body fat is higher.
So checking your body fat and the waist measurement is more an ideal way to predict health issues and even your self esteem. ( ask any woman she hates fat in her stomach, not in her breasts or buttocks)
I did so well on the diet but now it is not working
I blame my weight on poor genetics, I was born with a mouth and stomach
A very common call I get and a problem I hear is about why weight loss has been a challenge and a long treacherous journey.
People come to me having tried several diets and lost and gained 2 to 3 body weights in a life time.
The way the medical industry has responded to this is to make it a disease.
What if this were not disease but a physiological response to the environment?
One of our medical school textbooks says weight gain is merely from greater intake than expenditure of energy. Is that true?
To some degree there is an imbalance of input of energy and output of energy. However there are multiple factors that affect the input and output.
What if weight is actually protective?
Losing weight is a mind game, change your mind change your body.
The body tends to store fat because it is directed to.
The innate ability of the body is to protect itself.
So how does it protect us with weight gain?
When there is danger the sympathetic system or our “fight or flight ” system is triggered. In the past this sense of danger happened once in a while.
Now we are constantly in danger or so it seems.
Our jobs, our relationships our finances our health all are creating high stress.
Given this the body tends to produce a steady supply of the hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol creates increasing blood sugars so there is constant energy to draw from it, causes us to store fat as the future resource.
The most important hormone that creates this cascade of increased cortisol is the one and only INSULIN.
When we have a constant supply of glucose the sugar becomes energy. The currency of energy is ATP.
Every time we have ATP formed we also have waste products called free oxygen radicals formed.
The more glucose enters the more ATP( energy is formed)and the more free oxygen radicals( waste is produced)that can cause cells damage.
So the body resists naturally the action of insulin.
This causes a lot of glucose floating outside the cells creates stress so creates the the cortisol response.
This hormone then helps store the excess sugar by creating storage areas in the fat cells.
Fat cells cause further inflammation and keeps the cycle going.
Cycle of weight gain.
For us to have true insulin resistance these 8 steps should go wrong.
This is described as the ominous octet by Ralph A. DeFronzo
Step one: Liver dumps too much sugar
Pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin and produces too much glucagon( hormone that increases glucose).
Too many fats called fatty acid sare blocking the cell function.
The gut is inflamed and will not help with glucose reduction.
The fat cells are producing hormones that increase insulin resistance.
The kidneys are not disposing the extra glucose.
The muscle cells are not taking on the glucose as they are also blocked by fat cells.
The brain is not taking enough glucose and there is a decrease in the dopamine so depression and lack of motivation accompanies this.
The underlying causes that creates this cascade of insulin resistance is usually inflammation.
Inflammation can come from
Stress Physical Chemical or emotional.
Why is there insulin resistance?
Insulin resistance is the way the cells protect themselves from too much glucose.
When the glucose increases due to all of the above disorders it can go into the cells have all these following effects:
It can become energy. Every time an energy molecule is produced there is production of the waste products. Therefore the cell can get damaged from too much sugar entering the cells.
It can become fat and if too much glucose enters the excess fat formed can also damages the cells.
It can become an acid called sorbitol that can cause cell swelling and damage the cells.
It can attach to the proteins and cause direct damage.
So the cell to protect itself resists insulin and this leads to a lot of sugar in the blood that gets stored as fat. the cycle repeats itself because fat is a source of inflammation.
The 2 hormones that help with this fat storage are
So to combat this cycle we have to address the underlying cause.
Giving more insulin or reducing the cell resistance is counter-intuitive. This is what traditional medical care does and this is why diabetes is progressive.
Steps to take to address this resistance:
Reduce the stressor or respond better to the stressor.
This needs coaching or biofeedback, change in lifestyle.
It all begins with awareness that there is a problem we can solve. (journaling, breathing, exercise etc.)
Example: a stressful job, changing this. Most people do realize and know what they get paid to do a job but do not realize what it is costing them.
Address an underlying chemical toxicity by reducing the exposure, changing the diet.
Sleeping well on time and without distractions, reducing emotional and physical stressors.
Increasing muscle mass ( weight training) increases the ability of the glucose to be metabolized and not stored therefore decreases the insulin resistance.
In simple terms, it is not simply about diet and exercise but a step by step process of journey back to wellness.
Identify and address the stressor.
Change the diet to have a lot of fiber to reduce the amount of sugar that dumps into the system.
Get enough sleep to give the system enough rest.
Exercise focusing on improving muscle mass to reduce this resistance.
So if there is one hormone we need to hone in on to reduce fat and weight it would be insulin.
If you would like to have the list of blood work to be done to address this please click on this check list and download the list prior to you annual exam.
Disease is not inevitable it is purely a choice. When you choose not to manage stress ,when you choose to eat unhealthy , when you choose to not exercise you choose disease. -dR. Chellam