Many “dieting” and “fasting” programs may shed some instant pounds with most of it being a water loss rather then fat. In the long run, quick fix programs are not favorable to maintaining weight loss, nor overall health management. Aggressive dieting/fasting programs can shock the body and induce high stress on detoxification organs, the hormone system, and the brain. Strict calorie restrictions from all foods, deprives the brain from being nourished. This can cause the hormone system to send out panic signals to hold on to what it has. If the body/mind is consistently triggered in fight and flight responses it spikes cortisol, fatigues adrenals, and creates a chronic imbalance to the overall hormone system. Other unhealthy experiences that straight calorie restricting diets and fasting programs can induce, when the body/mind is not prepared for it, may look something like this:
- lack of energy
- reduced resting metabolic rate
- decrease of fat cell breakdown
- decreased muscle mass (versus fat reduction)
- reduced energy stores
- excess insulin triggering hunger pains, cravings, weight gain, and a feeling of failure
What can be helpful in achieving weight loss and maintaining a healthy weight first, is understand what actually causes weight gain. Secondly, weight loss should not be acted upon as a diet but rather a lifestyle that focuses on providing a nourishing diet, creating environments for a healthy mind, balanced hormone system (men and women), and exercise. The below information will touch on each of these subjects as well as provide steps you can begin to implement today to achieve and maintain healthy weight loss.
What Causes Weight Gain?
A few primary contributors:
Food Cravings / Food Addictions / A Starving Brain
Cravings come from our brain and our gut. As scientists are now discovering how signals from our gut trigger our brain, many are starting to view our gut as our first brain. So then what triggers our brain to crave, to be addicted, to have the sensation of starving?
1. A dehydrated body: the body produces histamine when it is both hungry and thirsty. Since most people believe the body is only thirsty when their mouth is dry, when they experience the “hunger sensation” they’ll turn to food before water. When in fact this “hunger sensation” is typically a signal the body is thirsty. In fact, the experience of a dry mouth is when the body is beyond thirsty and is rather dehydrated.
2. Insufficient proteins: due to either a diet deficient in protein or a digestive system that’s not breaking down and absorbing the protein. Either situation produces low amino acid levels (which come from proteins). Low amino acids will trigger hormones that create afternoon cravings for carbohydrates, comforting sweets (chocolates), even alcohol and drugs
3. Insufficient healthy fats: due to either a body overloaded with unhealthy fats and/or a diet deficient in healthy fats. The brain is made up of 60% fat. Healthy fats provide fuel and create a sense of satiety in the brain. When the brain does not reach satiety, it will continue to trigger, eat more!
4. Gluten and improperly prepared grains: gluten and grains not soaked and/or sprouted are difficult to digest and can create a Vitamin B deficiency. Vitamin B is essential to making a variety of hormones that support energy, good mood, contentedness and satisfaction.
5. Sugar addiction: Simple sugar foods (candy, flour, boxed cereal, bagels, pastries, Starbucks lattes etc) burns faster in the body then fat. When you eat more sugar then a body needs the brain will adapt to burning glucose for fuel instead of burning fat for fuel. This leads to weight gain, cravings, migraines, mood swings, weakness, drowsiness etc.
6. Food additives/preservatives: many food manufacturers utilize chemicals in processing and preserving foods that triggers the brain to crave
7. A starving brain: caused by low-calorie diet, a diet lacking healthy fats, a diet: of sugar, processed, manufactured, and/or highly cooked foods, and/or a weak digestive system that improperly digests foods. When the brain does not get satisfied it will constantly ask for MORE!
Steps you can begin today to…eliminate cravings, nourish the brain, and lose weight
1. Begin your day drinking a 24 – 32oz glass of clean water that contains ¼ tsp of Premier Pink Salt, lemon juice from ½ of lemon
2. Eat more raw vegetables throughout your day
3. If you eat meat: All meats should be clean of antibiotics and hormones and come from animals that were fed as nature intended so they will have all their nutrient levels present. Meats should also be prepared under low heat temperatures and not over-cooked to be best digestible and reduce free radicals. All meat proteins should be eaten before 2 p.m. (the digestive system starts slowing down after this time)
5. Take a 30 to 90 day vacation from all oils including oils* that come with chips, tortilla, salad dressings, breads, coconut oil etc…. Eat naturally fatty foods: mackerel,sardines, salmon, raw butter, raw cream, avocado, pasture raised raw eggs (place in smoothies) *acceptable oils that could stay apart of the diet Premier DHA and Premier EFA (for brain, kidney, neural, endocrine, and heart support).
6. Eliminate all commercially processed grains. When eating whole grains, always soak and if applicable sprout and ferment the grain). If necessary to cook, do so with low temperature heat
7. Eliminate all un-natural and processed sugar. Keep natural sugar (fruits, unheated honey, dates) to a minimum
8. Minimize/eliminate industrialized foods (that contain MSG, sugar, GMO, rancid oils, pasteurized dairy, food coloring, food preservatives etc) and stick with whole foods
9. Breakfast and lunch are the meals that will fuel your brain for the day and is when your digestive system is at its optimal working time. These meals should contain clean proteins healthy fats and lots of veggies!
Chronic Unmanaged Stress, Hormone Imbalance
Chronic physical mental emotional stress and inadequate quality sleep negatively impact overall health, contribute to hormone imbalances and weight gain. We all encounter stress, so the optimum words here are “chronic” and “unmanaged”. One of the key ways unmanaged chronic stress contributes to weight gain is its impact to the digestive system. The physiological response to stress can completely shut down the digestive system. So no matter how healthy you are eating, since the switch on your digestive system has been shut off, it will not effectively breakdown, absorb, or burn the calories you’re ingesting.
The second key that links unmanaged stress to weight gain is through lack of quality sleep. Either having too little, too much, and/or restless sleep can all contribute to weight gain especially around the midsection. Each organ and system in our body is amazingly designed to function and re-cooperate during certain times of a 24 hour period (circadian rhythm). When sleep is irregular and/or lacks quality REM time it can create an imbalance in hormones that trigger hunger and affect taste buds. Sleep deprivation can trigger a hormone that makes you feel hungry (especially at night when your digestive system has already slowed down). Studies have shown those who have inefficient sleep have a tendency to crave sweeter and starchy foods.
Hormones are also a major player in managing weight.(lets links this to hormone page) Chronic elevated cortisol drain adrenals, contributes to weight gain, and makes it more difficult to lose weight. Dr. Dale and expert in utilizing homeopathic remedies to re-educate the body to balance its own endocrine system has also identified how other organs of “your endocrine system plays a big part in weight management”
– Hypothalamus signals satiety at the end of meals; if it’s “off” you over-eat and gain weight
– Adrenals manage blood sugar; when they are run down it can swing blood sugar high or low, this swinging effect corresponds to an increase in weight
– Handle-bar weight at the hips is a sign of testosterone deficiency
– Thyroid runs the metabolism of the whole body; when it’s sluggish your metabolism becomes sluggish contributing to weight gain all over the body
– Low progesterone causes weight gain, and is why many women during menopause can experience a sudden increase in weight”
As you can see quality sleep, stress management, and proper support for the endocrine system are major components connected to long term healthy weight management. Listed below are a few simplistic but effective daily tools to begin implementing stress reliever steps that will improve digestion, quality sleep, and support a balanced hormone system.
1. Get a minimum of 10 minutes of sunlight per day (skin must be exposed and free from sunscreen)
2. Use curtains that keep your bedroom completely dark while you are sleeping
3. Walk in nature, go to a beach, work in the garden. Nature brings a natural euphoric sense of calmness
4. Laugh – daily
5. Practice a deep breathing exercise
6. Eliminate or minimize caffeine have no more then 4oz/day and complete by 10 am
7. Eliminate drugs and minimize alcohol and consume only organic sources
8. Minimize exposure to synthetic electric magnetic frequencies
A Sedentary Body
Numerous studies prove a sedentary body contributes to a number of health challenges including weight gain. On the flip side, there are also numerous studies on how a regular exercise routine has long term health benefits including: strengthening the immune, lower blood pressure, reduce elevated cholesterol, inhibit diabetes two, keeps bones strong, creates positive mood, slows your aging process, reduces stress, balances hormones, detoxifies harmful toxins, and yes supports weight loss! In speaking specifically to weight loss,
- Exercise strengthens and tones the muscles of your body, including the gastrointestinal tract à helps to mitigate a sluggish bowel
- Exercise increases circulation & perspiration When you sweat, toxins that are circulating in your blood and lymph and that are stored in the cells beneath your skin are released through your pores
- Exercise burns calories
Exercise does not need to be hard grueling and rigorous to gain the above benefits. Instead exercises should be enjoyable and combine cardiovascular (such as walking, tennis, swimming, biking, rebounding) as well as muscle and fascia strengthening movements (such as Pilates, yoga, walking, Tai chi). To learn more about the benefits of Pilates and weight loss click here.
By adjusting your daily diet, practice stress management techniques, and interact in a weekly exercise routine not only will this support weight loss, it will also be maintainable and you will experience improvement in your moods sleep energy and all around health.
Although the above components are primary contributors to weight gain they are not all encompassing. Some of you may have already implemented these steps but have hit a plateau in your weight loss. As unique individuals with unique backgrounds, lifestyles, and experiences there is not a one size fits all program. This is where Tracy’s one-on-one wellness consultations and use of QRA Quantum Reflex Analysis (link) (a cutting edge testing technique) to create customized programs have assisted many clients in correcting specific health issues and obtain physical transformation.
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