There is nothing easy about weight loss. I can tell you from experience that even for doctors, addressing a patient’s need or desire to lose weight can be intimidating. Unfortunately, most doctors are only able to offer their patients short term gains, and often the unintended outcome is greater weight gain in the future. That being said, it’s not an impossible task if you are ready to commit to a lifelong journey that requires real lifestyle changes to not only lose the weight, but keep it off.
Since the beginning of time, men and women have struggled with their weight. Men tend to gain more and more weight around the middle, often a result of increasing visceral adipose tissue (VAT) or interior belly fat, while women tend to put on weight in all the wrong places, gaining curves exactly where they don’t want them. Our weight issue often becomes a problem in young adulthood but progessively gets worse as we age for several reasons.
But it doesn’t have to happen, especially if you arm yourself with the knowledge of true health. It really is possible to lose weight—and keep it off—without starving yourself. There are many strategies to explore and we’ll look at them in a moment. But ﬁrst, it’s important to recognize the underlying truth about weight loss. Are you ready to look deep?
Hands down, the biggest challenge is… taking responsibility for the problem without beating yourself up. Perception is everything. Your beliefs lead the way and how you think and feel about the person you see when you look in the mirror can determine your success, for better or for worse.
Yes, you bear most of the responsibility for your weight. But that doesn’t mean you are a careless or bad person. And there could be many contributing factors for your individual weight problem including health, heredity, stress, age, and physical limitations.
But these are the questions you must answer before we begin: Are you willing to deal with these factors, including your mental and emotional pain? Are you willing to make powerful, lasting choices to ensure a healthy future? If so, you’ve jumped the biggest hurdle on your journey.
Is there a medial cause for your weight problem?
When it comes to weight loss, it’s not uncommon for there to be underlying medical factors that are making it more difficult for you to lose the weight. If you don’t address the health problem, you could waste years banging your head against a wall, and wondering why it’s just not working for you. I would highly suggest you start with a comprehensive medical workup. There are many, many tests that you and your doctor can discuss. Let’s discuss a few here:
Glandular, hormonal, and blood sugar imbalances
Most of go through life without giving our thyroid a second thought. Not a good idea since it helps regulate vital hormones. If you can’t lose weight no matter how active you are or how well you eat, your thyroid hormone may be low. This medical condition is referred to as Hypothyroidism. In blood tests for thyroid hormone, you want your numbers to be in the high end of the reference range, since the “normal” reference range is derived from generally unhealthy people.
Unwanted weight gain can also result from stressed adrenal glands, which overproduce cortisol — also known as the stress hormone — and adrenaline, or low pancreatic enzymes which interfere with proper digestion. In fact, an obese person may appear “overfed” but they could easily be “underﬁlled” because they lack important nutrients. I hope you see the trend here… imbalances.
To evaluate your potential imbalances, I would recommend the following blood tests:
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and Free T3
- Free Testosterone
- Progesterone and Total Estrogen
- DHEA Sulfate (adrenal function)
- Fasting lipid panel
- Fasting glucose
- Highly sensitive Creactive protein (marker of inﬂammation)
There’s a very interesting and non-invasive test speciﬁcally to check your thyroid. Because it affects 1 in 10 women it’s a good place to start. Your doctor can apply a tincture of iodine to your inner arm and, if it’s absorbed rapidly (in less than 12 hours), it signals a dramatic iodine deﬁciency—a contributor to low thyroid production.
Once you’ve discovered your imbalances, you can usually reverse them under the care of your physician. There are many possible treatments to choose from depending on what may work best for your particular situation, including:
- Natural remedies to feed your thyroid gland with iodine.
- Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.
- Herbs to balance your estrogen and progesterone.
- Herbs to support the adrenal glands so they can normalize androgen levels.
- Herbs to promote androgen activity and prevent the conversion of testosterone into estrogen.
- Supplemental DHEA. (5% of women may get new acne or facial hair, but this too is reversible.)
- High density nutrition. This is a lifestyle that is essential to learn and keep.
Cravings and emotions
If you’re worried, stressed or depressed, you can gain weight. How? By ﬂooding your system with fat attracting stress hormones from your adrenal glands. In addition, toxic emotions can trigger food cravings that are difﬁcult to control. This often times creates a vicious cycle that makes it even more difficult to lose weight.
However, here are some powerful strategies for controlling your food cravings:
- B complex and B12 injections.
- The herb gymnema sylvestre to help block sweet receptors on the tongue.
- Acupuncture to stop cravings. This usually lasts three days per treatment.
- Stress Reduction Therapy to boost self image and rekindle personal power.
When excess calories are consumed, a substance called brown fat produces heat to utilize calories instead of socking them away as storage fat (which is also known as white fat). The problem is, your brown fat becomes less active with age, leading to — you guessed it — weight gain. To reactivate your brown fat, you can try these safe and effective “brown fat boosters:”
- Natural herbs like capsicum, green tea, and gotu kola
- CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) with guarana
These natural remedies can also help you increase your energy and lower your appetite so the cravings are eased enough that you can regain control.
Poor lifestyle habits
Simple lifestyle changes can have a powerful inﬂuence on your ability to lose weight. For example, one important step is to eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. Believe it or not, this one new habit is proven to reduce weight by about 14 pounds in a single calendar year.
Another strategy is to limit sedentary activities like watching TV. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American spends ten hours every day watching television, surﬁng the web, and listening to music. Approximately half of that time is spent just watching television. That equates to more than 1,500 TV hours per person per year!
What’s worse, watching TV can lead to eating harmful junk foods, like buttered popcorn and chips. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), a child’s weight increases based on the number of hours they spend watching television each day. This is why it is so important for healthy habits to start young.
Just consider these scary facts for yourself, your children, or your grandchildren. Watching too much TV:
- Inﬂuences your food choices
- Promotes materialism
- Entices you into more debt to get the things you want now
- Encourages aggression
- Exposes children to unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking, and taking unrealistic risks
No question, it’s important to get everybody in your family off of the couch and away from the television set. Take a walk in the morning or right after dinner. Pick up an old hobby or sport. Join weekly clubs that put you in positive social contact with other people. These activities will promote a more positive frame of mind and contribute to lasting health and happiness. You may find a nice side effect of your weight loss activities to be a closer family!
The only diet that really works
The best “diet” for weight loss? Eating nutrient rich whole foods. This is hard for many people to understand. Quite frankly, it’s human nature when it comes to weight loss to focus on the foods you “shouldn’t” eat. However, diets based on restriction don’t usually work over the longterm. In fact, they often lead to rebound weight gain.
Instead, the key for weight loss is shifting your lifestyle to a permanently healthy one.
Yes, natural supplements can be extremely helpful in this process, but they are only part of the answer. Cravings must be controlled by replacing them with the desire for healthy whole foods. This is accomplished much more successfully if you begin with a water fast or a fresh lemonade cleanse.
Add these new strategies to your health tool kit. It takes learning and practicing the principles of self empowerment, self awareness, balancing your body, moving your body, liquid cleansing, and whole foods nutrition and preparation to make a real lifestyle change to lose weight for good. I know you can do it!