The Health Alliance forecast on Obesity is alarming. It is reported that 69% of women and 76% of men may be overweight or obese within the next decade.
These are staggering statistics.
It is important for you to realise that the problem of obesity has many contributing factors. The “Eat Less And Move More,” mantra is far too simplistic to address this increasing problem. Whilst this is an excellent basic guideline, it is clear that there is much more to add to the equation. Many other lifestyle factors such as stress, sleep deprivation, the presence of chemicals in the environment or in the food you eat, as well as the over-use or mis- use of antibiotics, may all, individually or together, disrupt the gut microbiome, predisposing you to remain overweight.
Given that this is a little more complex, we need to take a closer look at the bigger picture
Many of my clients suffer from stubborn belly fat. Despite trying many different diets and trends to help eliminate this spare tyre, they often fail to get the desired results and become increasingly frustrated. But the reality is until they are able to find out the underlying reason as to why the fat is there in the first place, chances are, the outcome they want will be very difficult to reach.
Back to the SOURCE.
Here are 5 key reasons why you still hold on to your body fat :
1. Poor fatty acid metabolism
Fats don’t make you fat. We know that by now. In fact, a low-fat diet will be MORE likely to put you on the wrong path. However, certain gene variants like the APOE or the FTO gene may represent an obstacle to you in regulating your energy expenditure or your fat absorption. If your body is not able to use the fats as a fuel source (burning fat that gets into the cell), then it will have no choice but to store it away. If your cells lack a couple of important nutrients, then the process of burning fats to produce energy will not be effective. In order to burn fatty acids, our cells require Carnitine and Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin).
The first step- finding out what your gene variants are, and if you are able to burn fats correctly, will definitely be a big advantage.
The second- is to change the fats that you are eating from bad, inflammatory fats, to good sources of fat. Good fats do not promote inflammation and can be found in wild fish, organic coconut oil, avocado, cold-pressed olive oil and clarified grass-fed butter.
2. Poor gut health
Many people who are overweight and dealing with stubborn belly fat, are often also dealing with symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome- including bloating, constipation and diarrhoea. All of these symptoms, along with many more, can be signs of poor gut health. Humans normally have a population of bacteria present in their digestive tracts, located in their mouths and large intestine. Sometimes these bacteria can be overfed, and expand into the stomach and small intestine due to poor dietary choices and low stomach acid. While in the small intestine, the bacteria can steal the important nutrients in our foods, leading to a reduced level of nutrition entering our bloodstream. If you are eating well and still not losing weight, you may be dealing with a bacterial overgrowth leading to a lack of nutrients getting into your cells.
Probiotic and prebiotic treatments can then be applied, as well as a 12-week gut- health promotion "diet.”
3. Hormonal imbalances
There are countless people who are dealing with some sort of hormonal imbalance. This can include an imbalance in insulin levels, adrenal hormones, sex hormones and brain-based hormones. Again, certain genes- like the COMT gene among many others can give us an understanding of possible predisposition. Chances are you know someone who is dealing with Diabetes, Thyroid dysfunction, Infertility, or Adrenal fatigue. All of these conditions are often the result of hormonal imbalances. Our hormones control the metabolic processes of our cells, their ability and rate of energy production, mood, and storage or usage of fat and carbohydrates.
All this is part of a complex network that may impair your desired weight. A functional medicine approach can help you to complete the testing and determine if a hormonal imbalance is at the root of your persistent weight gain.
4. Not eating organic food and increasing your toxic loads
Pesticides and herbicides are all over the food you eat so that farmers can reach and surpass quotas set out by distributors. The adverse effects of these chemicals are numerous and are harmful both to the plants and your health. Some pesticides have been proven to impair hormones, causing them to function far less efficiently and wreaking havoc in regulating certain functions, such as the insulin level in your body. We live in a toxic world, and it is already hard for your body to cope. This is even more true for people with a predisposition of certain genes in relation to detoxification pathways, such as GSTM1.
If this is the case for you, it is a must for you to reduce your toxic loads, by avoiding pesticides and adopting a diet that supports the natural process/ pathways of your detox system. It is important to try to keep these chemicals from entering your body, so choosing to eat organic food can help you to lose the weight that you are having trouble getting rid of.
5. Diet high in sugar and wrong carbs
Let's make it clear, carbs aren't the enemy here, but processed carbs- ie, foods that contain high levels of sugar and refined carbohydrates are. These foods cause spikes in insulin levels, leading to fat storage if the sugars are kept in the bloodstream and not used for energy production immediately. If your gene variant predisposes you to struggle to regulate your insulin levels, over the years, this will become more and more of a problem and will cause imbalances. Choose unprocessed foods, foods higher in protein and good quality fat content, rather than high carbohydrate options.
If you are doing all the right things and do not seem to get results, always look at the source. Acquiring the knowledge and prioritising what is more likely to keep your unwanted fat at bay, is the key to optimum health. Maintenance is then all about living and promoting a healthy and active lifestyle.
To sum up: The basics of health do not rely on restriction and exercise but on a more personalised approach. Imbalances resulting in stubborn body fat CAN be fixed through appropriate diet, lifestyle and environmental intervention.
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