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Get Healthy Guide 2024 | Part II

Part 1 of a 3 Part Series

The Safe & Effective Way to

Permanent Weight Loss

The Safe And Effective Way to Permanent Weight Loss

If you're trying to lose weight, you're not alone. Nearly 60% of us are in the same boat. But, despite our best efforts and the ridiculous amount of money we spend each year ($72 BILLION), only 10% us keep the weight off for good.

Welcome to part 1 of 3 segments on sustainable weight loss. You'll learn tons of information that will help you lose weight and keep it off for good.

I struggled with my weight for 35 years. I tried every diet you can name, embraced different exercise programs, and even took weight loss medications. In the end, nothing helped me keep the weight off. There are several reasons for this, only some of which had to do with my diet and activity level.

I'll use the HCG Diet as just one example of the zillions of other ways I desperately tried to lose weight. As I usually do, I started out following the plan religiously. I lost 30 pounds and got down to 120 pounds in three weeks. But guess what? Living on only 500 calories per day was not only dumb, but it also wreaked havoc on my body chemistry. It took me two years to lose the weight I regained (all plus five pounds)...even though I tried everything to get it off. very important thing I learned during the process of losing weight and keeping it off (finally!) was this: My weight did not rely simply on my diet and level of activity. There were other hidden factors sabotaging my best efforts. Had I not continued my education in Functional & Integrative Medicine, not only would I still be on the weight loss roller coaster, but I would've also never have been able to help my patients to the extent I'm now able.

In part 1 of this edition of my Get Healthy Guide 2024, I'll teach you the "what's and why's" of safe, sustainable weight loss. I'll also review in detail many of the hidden factors that may be derailing your weight loss journey. In the next few weeks, you'll receive another e-mail highlighting general information on what you can do to get rid of those pesky pounds for good. I'll also be sharing some of the personal strategies I used to lose weight once and for all.

Why the Scale Resurges

We spend a lot of time and money to lose weight, so why's it so hard for us to keep it off? Aside from individual health conditions, genetics, and environmental circumstances, here are some of the reasons why the scale resurges:

  • Behavior and Lifestyle Factors-: If sustained weight loss is your goal, you must be willing to implement realistic, long-term goals. This often requires a lifelong change in mind set and behavior. Making short term changes isn't nearly as difficult as maintaining them for the long haul.

  • Following Unrealistic, Unsustainable Diets: Crash diets, very low-calorie diets, and diets that restrict specific types of food (i.e. Keto or Paleo) are unsustainable in the long term. Once you go back to your old eating habits, the pounds will come right back on and "bring friends".

  • Social and Environmental Influences: Social gatherings, holidays, and family events are another major reason we 'fall off the wagon'. I'm not sure about you, but I have a really tough time getting back on.

  • Psychological Factors: Emotional factors such as stress, anxiety, depression, and body image issues can also impact women's eating habits and contribute to recurrent weight gain.

  • Loss of Motivation: Sometimes staying motivated seems impossible. This is especially true if you're doing all the right things, but your scale isn't cooperating. "Keeping your eye on the prize" is essential to staying motivated. If you give up or give in, it's harder to maintain the healthy habits you worked so hard to develop.

  • Lack of Support: Having a support system, whether from family, friends, or healthcare professionals, can be crucial for maintaining weight loss. The absence of support can make it more challenging to sustain healthy habits.

  • Return to a baseline 'set point' body weight determined by your basal metabolic rate and genetics.

  • Not Identifying and Treating Other Modifiable Factors. There are countless physiologic reasons which make it difficult to achieve sustained weight loss (see below).

Beyond Diet & Exercise

Countless patients have told me they've tried discussing weight loss with their health care providers. The typical response? "Eat less and exercise more". But what if you're already doing all the right things and the scale still isn't budging?

Unless your health care provider digs deeper into the other hidden factors that can sabotage your weight loss efforts, you'll just keep banging your head against the "weight loss wall".

Some of the Factors Influencing Weight Loss

Here are some key factors affecting your body weight and ability to lose weight:

(1) Chronic Stress. Chronic stress wreaks havoc on every single organ and tissue in our body. The explanation is fairly simple...the human body was physiologically designed to "fight or flee" when faced with any kind of stressor. Over thousands of years, our stressors evolved and become more complex (mental, emotional, environmental, physical, etc.). However, the human stress response system hasn't evolved much which is why chronic stress not only makes us fat, but it also makes us sick.

I'm sure you've heard of the stress hormone, cortisol. It's the primary adrenal gland stress hormone, and it's the "boss" of all the other hormones your body makes. If your adrenals make too much or too little cortisol or make cortisol at the wrong time of day/night, nothing in your body will work the way it's supposed to.

Here are just some of the ways chronic stress can make you fat:

  • It Increases your appetite.

  • It makes you crave foods that are high in carbs, sugar, and fat.

  • It makes you eat when you aren't hungry (i.e. emotional or "stres" eating)

  • It changes when and how you eat (i.e. skipping meals, eating later in the day, etc).

  • It wreaks havoc on your sleep.

  • It makes you less motivated to exercise (which is fueled by lack of sleep and fatigue).

  • It creates global hormone imbalance throughout your body. Other hormones, like thyroid, will not work as well.

  • It causes chronic inflammation.

Conventional testing for cortisol (i.e. serum) is very unreliable and is intended for diagnosing extremes in cortisol levels (i.e. Cushing's or Addison's Disease). A much better way to test the health of your stress response system is with saliva testing.

(2) Female Hormone imbalances. Women often have more difficulty losing weight than men. This is mainly due to differences in their levels of sex (estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone) and stress hormones (cortisol and DHEA). Women are particularly vulnerable to weight gain during hormonal transitions, especially during the transition from perimenopause to menopause and beyond. Fluctuations and eventual deficiencies in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone are primarily to blame. Here are a few eye-opening statistics:

  • Up to 70% of menopausal women gain 1 to 2 pounds per year between the ages of 50 and 60. This is independent of their initial body size! Shifts in fat distribution and in body composition that occur during the menopausal transition are associated with increased cardiometabolic risk factors, including elevated blood pressure, elevated low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and obesity.

  • Up to 88% of women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome are obese or overweight. While insulin resistance plays a major role in weight gain, estrogen dominance, progesterone deficiency, and elevated levels of DHEA +/- testosterone are also to blame.

Please Note: Blood testing is notoriously unreliable for checking female hormone levels. If you want to check your hormone levels accurately, you can go here to order a Female Hormone Saliva Test Kit.

(3) Thyroid Hormone Imbalances. Women are at greater risk of developing hypothyroidism because they have a higher incidence of autoimmune diseases. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition affecting the thyroid gland. If not properly treated, hypothyroid women can gain up to 10 pounds which they can't lose.

Conventional medical doctors typically check only a TSH level when assessing thyroid hormone levels. This misses the boat on a lot of other hidden issues that can contribute to hypothyroidism. If you want to get a complete picture of your thyroid, order the Elite Thyroid Function test kit here.

(4) Imbalances in Brain & Gut Hormones. Other key hormones that directly impact basal metabolic rate and weight include Ghrelin, Leptin, Insulin, and Growth Hormone. Many of these hormones can be tested with simple saliva and/or blood tests.

Conventional testing of brain chemicals ('neurotransmitters') is unavailable and/or unreliable. If you're interested in testing your neurotransmitter levels, order the Neurotransmitter kit here.

(5) Chronic Underlying health issues. Having certain health conditions can also affect body weight. Some examples include metabolic syndrome, diabetes, Cushing's Disease, depression, obstructive sleep apnea, and congestive heart disease.

(6) Nutrient Deficiencies. Nutrient deficiencies are quite common, especially as we age and our gut absorption becomes less efficient. Some key vitamins that affect body weight include Vitamin D, magnesium, iron, iodine, Vitamin D, and B vitamins. The levels of most of these nutrients can be determined with a simple blood test.

(7) Sleep Disturbances. 25% of women suffer from insomnia (40% increased risk compared to men). This number rises to over 50% when a woman is in her menopausal transition. Numerous studies show a clear relationship between sleep deprivation and body weight. It does so mainly through disruption of hormone balance, misalignment of the circadian rhythm, and promoting systemic inflammation.

(8) Chronic inflammation. The link between chronic inflammation and every known disease on the planet has been well established. But did you know that chronic inflammation can also affect body weight? Anything that revs up your immune system can cause inflammation (diet, lack of sleep, stress, chronic infections, allergies, etc.). Ask your doctor to check inflammatory markers in your blood, such as hs-CRP. (Doing a detox really helps with reducing inflammation!)

(9) Prescription medications. Many women don't realize many prescription medications cause weight gain and/or make it much harder to lose weight. Unfortunately, most health care practitioners never even consider this in their patients seeking help with weight loss!

Take for example, antidepressant medications. Women are twice as likely as men to take antidepressant medication, especially after the age of 60. Antidepressant use in women has risen significantly (especially since the COVID pandemic), and nearly one in four women take at least one antidepressant medication.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor's (like Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, Lexapro, etc.) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medications. Taken long term, they can cause a woman to gain as much as ten pounds.

(10) Gut Health. The health of your gut is probably one of the most important things affecting body weight. There's a lot going on in the 15 feet of tubing in your belly. Your gut contains over 85% of your immune system and houses trillions of bacteria (known as the gut 'microbiome'). It's also responsible for the production of key hormones (like histamine and serotonin) and nutrient absorption. With so many functions and connections, it's no wonder it plays such a monumental role in body weight!

There are countless scientific studies supporting the fact that the gut microbiome affects body weight and tendency towards obesity. An unhealthy gut microbiome can disrupt energy balance, promote the production of fat cells, promote fat storage, control appetite and eating habits, and trigger chronic inflammation (which also causes weight gain).

There are other conditions affecting the gut that can contribute to weight gain and/or difficulty losing weight. They include increased intestinal permeability ("leaky gut"), intestinal Candida overgrowth, histamine intolerance, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth ("SIBO" for short), and inflammatory bowel diseases (i.e. Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis).

I recommend all my patients complete my 8-day detox to start healing their gut. It's a great way to support liver health, reduce inflammation, and start the scale moving the right direction.

(11) Food sensitivities. It's very possible one or more things you are eating and/or drinking is making it impossible for you to drop weight. This is where things get really interesting!

Many women mistakenly believe that eating more healthy foods (like fruits and veggies) will help them lose weight. Well, surprise, surprise when the opposite happens! That's because any food, even if it's healthy', can create an intestinal immune reaction, especially if eaten frequently. Other things that can make you more susceptible to developing food sensitivities include chronic stress, alcohol, certain medications (especially antibiotics and stomach acid reducers), and an imbalanced gut microbiome.

Not only do food sensitivities make it more difficult to get and keep weight off, but they can also negatively affect sleep, mood, memory, pain syndromes, and skin. Do you want to find out if you have hidden food sensitivities?? Go here to order the blood spot kit.

(12) Chronic Infections. I can't tell you the number of women I've diagnosed with mold related illness, chronic Lyme disease, chronic mono/EBV infection, toxoplasmosis (from cats), and long COVID.

How do chronic infections make you fat? In addition to causing chronic inflammation, they create imbalances in female sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, & testosterone), they promote stress response system ("HPA Axis") dysfunction, and they can cause damage to the adrenal glands, thyroid gland, GI system, and other organs and tissues.

(13) Heavy Metal Toxicities. We are exposed to countless toxins in our environment. They enter our bodies through the lungs (inhaled pollutants), through our gut (contaminated food, water), and through our skin. The most common heavy metal toxins are mercury, lead, and arsenic, but there are others.

Chronic, subacute heavy metal toxicity can lead to a wide range of health problems. These include dementia, infertility, diabetes, and cancer. They are also known to cause damage to the liver, kidneys, and brain, as well as the cardiovascular, nervous system and endocrine systems.

Heavy metal toxicities not only contribute to weight gain through the above-mentioned mechanisms, but they also cause chronic inflammation and nutrient depletions. In addition, the body attempts to protect the tissue from heavy metals by storing them in fat tissue. This can lead to weight gain and retention.

The Comprehensive Heavy Metals & Essential Elements test kit will check not only heavy metals butalso some of the essential nutrients that can be depleted by heavy metals.

(14) Other Things to Consider: Genetic predisposition, Impaired liver detoxification, Systemic candidiasis, environmental toxin exposure, and decreased metabolism from crash diets, yo-yo dieting, etc.

If you're having a tough time losing weight, your weight loss has plateaued, and/or you keep regaining weight even if you're doing all the right things, work with your healthcare provider to uncover and properly treat these hidden factors.

Also, keep your eyes peeled for upcoming e-mails and posts

where I'll give you more information and guidance on

how to address some of these "scale saboteurs".

Tips & Tricks for Sustained Weight Loss

Me in 2018

Me since 2019

Stay tuned to part 2 of the weight loss series as part of my Get Healthy Guide 2024. The next installment will outline general recommendations for maintaining a healthy weight. I'll also briefly discuss what the science shows with respect to injectable weight loss medications, like Ozempic.

I choose to live by example. So, in part 3 of this three-part series on weight loss, I'll be sharing details of my weight loss journey. I'll fill you in on what my hidden health "scale saboteurs" were, and how I fixed them. I'll also be sharing the personal strategies I used to lose weight and keep it off. Stay tuned....

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