Obesity is a major health issue affecting huge numbers of Canadians, and it is a key factor in the development of numerous diseases, including Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and cancer (1, 2).  And unfortunately for many overweight people, the primary treatment recommendations are largely missing the mark (2).

Let’s face it, if it were all about ‘less calories and more exercise’, we would not have the epidemic of obesity that we do in North America today. According to the latest from Stats Canada, 25% of all adult Canadians are obese, and this does not count those who are simply overweight and the numbers are rising (3).  

So, why the weight?

I’ll tell you something that I’ve found to be a huge secret for those struggling to lose weight – based on scientific studies and my clinical practice, the #1 reason people can’t lose weight is this: they do not truly understand why they gained it in the first place…

Fat cells have a purpose.

They have a job to do. Understand their job and remove their purpose, and you can effectively lay them off.

Here are 3 of the unspoken reasons we gain weight:

Toxin storage (4,5,6).

Inflammation (7,8,9).

Hormone Imbalance (10-13).

TOXIN STORAGE

Our fat cells store toxins as a means to protect the body from damaging substances (4,5,6). To effectively and permanently lose weight, you need to detoxify first. Otherwise, you pound it out on the stairmaster at the gym, lose two pounds, high-five yourself all the way home, only to return two days later and you’ve gained four pounds back.

What happened is this: When you squeezed off those two pounds of fat, you pushed the toxins stored there into the blood. This triggered your body to produce more fat in order to re-store the toxins and prevent damage to the body. Smart. But not what you were looking for.

The solution? DETOX first, then begin your weight loss program. Remove the reason you have fat and the fat doesn’t need to exist!

Quick detox tip: Clean up your diet.  Decrease the amount of fast food, processed foods and high sugar foods in your daily grazings, and replace these with more vegetables, more whole foods and drink at least 2 litres of fresh, clean water throughout the day.

INFLAMMATION

Obesity is an inflammatory disease (7,8,9).  Inflammation may be caused by a multitude of things such as food sensitivities (14,15), imbalanced gut flora or blood sugar dysregulation.  Work with your doctor to figure out what’s causing the inflammation in your body – address this, and your weight will likely shift as the inflammation resolves.

Quick Inflammation Tip: Eat the foods that work for your body. No matter how healthy a diet may be, if your body doesn’t tolerate it, the food creates inflammation which ultimately, contributes to your weight gain (14,15). Figure out what food works best for you, and then build your healthy weight loss program around that.

HORMONE IMBALANCE

Fat tissue is hormonal tissue. If your hormones are out of whack, your weight may be out of whack. There are numerous players here: reproductive hormones, thyroid hormones, sleep hormones, blood sugar hormones, but perhaps the biggest player, is the adrenal hormones – our stress hormones. Why? because they call the shots. Cortisol, our primary stress hormone, significantly impacts the balance of blood sugar, thyroid, sleep and reproductive hormones (10-13). Address your stress and you begin to unwind the cascade of hormonal imbalances that alter your weight.

Quick Hormone Health Tip: Take a look at your stress. Where is it really at? How long has it been this way? There are many great tools for getting your adrenals and other hormones back in the game, but perhaps the most profound, is to carve out a few moments for yourself every single day.  This shifts the balance from sympathetic, or stress mode, to parasympathetic where we rest, digest and rebalance. It sounds simple, but taking five for yourself can be difficult in our buzz-crazy world. But it’s worth it. You’re worth it.

References

  1. Barnes, A.  2011.  The epidemic of obesity and diabetes.  Texas Heart Institute Journal, 38(2); 142-4.
  2. S. F. Kirk, PhD, R. Tytus, MD, R. T. Tsuyuki, MD, A. M. Sharma, MD.  2012.  Weight management experiences of overweight and obese Canadian adults: findings from a national survey.  Public Health Agency of Canada, 32(2). www.publichealth.gc.ca
  3. Nanvaneelan, T & T. Janz.  2014.  Adjusting the scales: obesity in the Canadian population after correcting for respondent bias.  Statistics Canada, 82-624-X.
  4. Grün, F. & B. Blumberg.  2007.  Perturbed nuclear receptor signaling by environmental obesogens as emerging factors in the obesity crisis.  Reviews in Endocrine & Metabolic Disorders, 8:161–171.
  5. Ruetsch O, Viala A, Bardou H, Martin P, Vacheron MN.  2005 Psychotropic drugs induced weight gain: a review of the literature concerning epidemiological data, mechanisms and management.  Encephale, 31:507–516.
  6. Stahlhut, RW., van Wijngaarden, E., Dye, TD., Cook, S. & SH Swan.  2007. Concentrations of urinary phthalate metabolites are associated with increased waist circumference and insulin resistance in adult U.S. males.  Environmental Health Perspectives, 115:876–882.
  7. Ohtsuka, Y.  2015.  Food intolerance and mucosal inflammation.  Pediatrics International: Official Journal Of The Japan Pediatric Society, 57 (1): 22-9.
  8. Hotamisligil, G. S.  2006. Inflammation and metabolic disorders. Nature 444: 860–67.
  9. Junxian, L., Abishek, I., Liu, L., Suen, J., Lohman, RJ., Seow, V., Yau, MK, Brown, L. & D. Fairlie.  2013.  Diet-induced obesity, adipose inflammation, and metabolic dysfunction correlating with PAR2 expression are attenuated by PAR2 antagonism.  FASEB, 27(12).
  10. Pasquali R, Vicennati V, Cacciari M., & U. Pagotto.  2006. The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis activity in obesity and the metabolic syndrome.  Annals of the New York Academy of  Science, 1083:111–128.
  11. Grün, F. & B. Blumberg.  2011.  Minireview: the case for obesegens.  Molecular Endocrinology Journal, 23(8).
  12. Grün F. & B. Blumberg.  2009. Endocrine disrupters as obesogens.  Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology,  304:19–29.
  13. Achard V, Boullu-Ciocca, S., Desbriére, R. & M. Grino.  2006.  Perinatal programming of central obesity and the metabolic syndrome: role of glucocorticoids.  Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, 4:129–137.
  14. Cani, PD., Amar, J., Iglesias, MA., Poggi, M., Knauf, C., Bastelica, D., Neyrinck, AM., Fava, F., Tuohy, KM., Chabo, C., Waget, A., Delmée, E., Cousin, B., Sulpice, T., Chamontin, B., Ferrières, J., Tanti, JF., Gibson, GR., Casteilla, L., Delzenne, NM., Alessi, MC. & R. Burcelin.  2007.  Metabolic endotoxemia initiates obesity and insulin resistance.  Diabetes, 56(7): 1761-72.
  15. Wilders-Truschnig, M., Mangge, H., Lieners, C., Gruber, H., Mayer, C., & W. März.  2008. IgG antibodies against food antigens are correlated with inflammation and intima media thickness in obese juveniles. Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology and Diabetes Journal,116(4):241-5.