Ever notice what happens at the beginning of the year? The New Year’s resolution. This is the year you vow to get healthier, to lose those extra pounds, and to keep them off. The health clubs are jammed with others making the same resolution. There are lines of people waiting to use the stepping machines and the exercise bikes. But, within a few short weeks the crowds disappear and there are no more lines.
Why does this happen? You’ve cut back on the alcohol, are eating salads for lunch, skipping a meal here and there, and are working out hard at the gym. Yet the pounds are not flying off. This is not uncommon as over 95% of all diets end in disappointment. However, don’t be discouraged. If you read on you’ll learn how you can get lasting results.
We are told the formula is simple – less food plus more exercise equals less weight. Truth be told, the formula is much more complex. You may be what is termed by leading nutritionists as “weight loss resistant.” What does this mean? Put simply it means having difficulty or an inability to lose weight. There are several factors that contribute to this and here’s how:
•Chronic stress – raises cortisol which breaks down muscle, puts sugar in the blood stream, and promotes fat storage which increases the likelihood of insulin resistance; and lowers DHEA (an anti-aging, libido stimulating, and fat burning hormone).
•Insulin resistance – blocks the burning of fat, causes fat storage around the abdomen, and causes inflammation.
•Hormone imbalances – imbalances of estrogen and progesterone in women promote fat storing; low DHEA and testosterone in men and women reduce the ability to burn fat and build muscle; high estrogen in men promotes fat storage; and high progesterone in women promotes insulin resistance.
•Hypothyroidism – muscle building is slowed, metabolism is slowed, sex hormones are not produced sufficiently and are out of balance, and general low energy and fatigue.
•Brain chemical imbalance – neurotransmitter imbalances cause cravings and inappropriate eating behaviors.
•Chronic sleep deprivation – increases cortisol, creates sugar cravings, lowers thyroid function, lowers energy, and increases appetite.
•Low Fat Free Mass – a low muscle mass to fat mass ratio keeps metabolism slow (this is often a result from chronic dieting).
•Food allergies – can cause cellular fluid retention or “false fat” and create cravings for these foods.
•Gut dysbiosis and yeast overgrowth – healthy bacteria is an important part of digestion as they consume calories, otherwise an increase of fat storage.
•Toxic burden – disrupts pH balance in gut, blood, and tissues; slows metabolic rate; disrupts absorption of minerals; disrupts hormone receptor sites creating imbalances; and lowers thyroid function (hypothyroidism).
Most programs just measure pounds lost and are successful in that realm. However, that is only part of the picture. Soon after the program is completed the weight begins to come back on. The reason – the underlying behaviors and lifestyle have not changed. With the metabolism slowed from dieting and a return to prior habits, the pounds quickly come back on.
The best program for long term health and vitality will be one that addresses your individual needs. Working with a qualified nutrition consultant you can determine your areas of weight loss resistance and develop a plan to address them. As these areas are brought back into balance your metabolism will improve, enabling you to lose weight in a healthy manner. It may take some time to get the body back on track. The body has built-in healing mechanisms and with proper nutrition and healthy behaviors the body will heal. As the body heals you will lose fat and weight.
Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Mequon, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.