Why does weight loss have to be so difficult? First thing to understand is the basic mechanism of food in, exercise out, still applies. If you are eating too much of the wrong foods and not moving your body enough then you can stop reading this article now. But if you are doing the right things and still nothing is happening, then this article is for you.
Basically you will be suffering from one or more BLOCKS that are stopping you from losing weight.
Let’s have a look at the main offenders quickly first before exploring them in more detail.
- Thyroid and Adrenal function
- Hormonal imbalance and/or Hysterectomy
- Fat metabolism
- Digestive function and microflora balance
- Poor sugar metabolism or INSULIN Resistance
- Poor liver function leading to toxin accumulation
- Medical interventions
- Synthetic hormones
THYROID and ADRENAL FUNCTION
Thyroid deficiency often triggered by Hashimoto’s is an epidemic these days in 40 to 60 year old women. There are many causes with gluten leading the list but also prolonged stress, synthetic hormone use, nutrient deficiency, and hormonal imbalances being the main contributors. Prolonged stress in particular is a common malady for modern day women who need to work full time, run a house, manage children and everything else that comes with our fast paced society. Stress is a natural mechanism designed for short periods however long term stress leads to adrenal exhaustion. When the adrenals are trying to cope with stress the thyroid function is automatically reduced to balance out the effects of adrenaline and cortisol. Prolonged exposure to stress reduces thyroid function which in turn leads to reduced metabolism and weight gain.
Both thyroid and adrenal insufficiency then compound the issue by causing chronic fatigue making it difficult to exercise and move the body. Depression and lack of motivation also go hand in hand with this as part of thyroid and adrenal insufficiency.
If you already have thyroid issues and are taking medicines, then consider more bioavailable options like thyroid extracts as well as kelp and iodine to stimulate better thyroid function. Your levels may be balanced but your body may be not utilising it properly.
Could your hormones be blocking weight loss? Well the simple answer is ‘yes’ your hormones are making you fat. Whether you are a teenager, suffer from PMS, PCOS, endometriosis, perimenopausal or suffering from menopause it is important to understand why and then how to minimise the impact of your hormones on your waist.
“Among several hormones, estrogens promote, maintain, and control the typical distribution of body fat and adipose tissue metabolism through still unknown mechanisms.” PMID: 18473908
The first thing to understand that one of the mechanisms of hormones, particularly oestrogen is to increase weight. It’s a genetic and evolutionary quirk to enhance fertility because fat cells assist during pregnancy to allow adequate nutrition in times of famine and scarcity. Genetically our metabolism is programmed for scarcity and having to work hard to find our food. The simple process of finding and preparing food prevented us from getting fat so evolution stepped in and assisted women.
This can be seen as a girl moves into puberty how she develops breasts and hips and men have traditionally seen women with ‘childbearing’ hips as attractive mates. Fast forward to the modern era and women no longer need to work so hard for food and as our diets have become removed from the way nature intended, weight gain and managing weight has become a constant battle for many modern women.
If you are wondering how to test if you have a hormonal imbalance, we have a free hormone symptom profile assessment which is very helpful in determining if your symptoms are linked to hormonal imbalance.
With millions of hormone receptors in the body, the level of environmental hormone mimics from petrochemicals, pesticides, plastics and cleaning products effect endocrine function. These chemicals bind to hormone receptor sites effectively creating an overstimulation of these receptors activating one of the hormones functions to gain weight. Women are extremely sensitive to the level of environmental toxicity.
The early development of young women in todays society is also a sign that our children are being exposed to sex hormones not only during conception but their development as well.
REDUCED CAPACITY TO METABOLISE AND EXCRETE HORMONES
Hormones are not easily broken down in the body and go through several processes in the liver via methylation and conjugation. Women with chronic hormonal imbalances often have genetic predisposition to poor methylation and conjugation of hormones. Women exposed to high sugar levels is another increasingly common cause of liver disease. When the liver does not metabolise our own internal hormones and synthetic hormones as also prescribed then these hormones recirculate causing a ‘double whammy’.
To make matters worse if in conjunction with poor metabolism the bowels are not working regularly, hormones are further reabsorbed into the blood circulation creating a ‘triple whammy’. This can happen due to poor bacterial balance or constipation through low fibre diets from to over processing of the food chain. Healthy bacteria also play an important role in the breakdown of hormones in the bowel as well as the production of certain feel-good hormones such as serotonin. If serotonin levels drop then depression and emotional eating can develop.
Women have double the incidence of gall bladder issues than men. It is not well understood why but the mechanism is proposed to be linked with oestrogen tightening the sphincter of ODDI in the gall bladder. With this occurring bile does not flow correctly creating stones and gall bladder malfunction. The gall bladders primary function is to metabolise dietary fats. Poorly metabolised fats can lead to weight gain.
Interestingly there are many studies linking the contraceptive pill to an increased risk of gall bladder disease.
Providing livestock with synthetic hormones is a well known and previously wide spread method to increase growth rates and fatten the animals. It is also well know that synthetic hormones also contribute to weight gain. But its not as simple as the purely hormonal action.
There is the action upon fat metabolism via the gall bladder as mentioned. Then there is the disruption of the entire endocrine system. Synthetic hormones signal to the body to reduce its own supply of natural healthy hormones. The false signaling at the wrong times of the month also further disrupt the endocrine systems balance. The result of this is a sluggish metabolism with hard to move fat stores.
Pharmaceutical companies claim the PILL, HRT, MIRENA, IMPLANON does not increase weight and of course every women is different. The biggest factor in the amount of weight comes from two sources. Firstly, is how well you metabolise the hormones. And then secondly the amount of fluid retained. Synthetic hormones are well known to create fluid retention which is temporary once going off the hormones however the larger endocrine imbalance remains long after and requires intervention with natural medicines to correct the imbalance.
BLOOD SUGAR AND INSULIN RESISTANCE
Excessive exposure to refined sugars leads to imbalances in blood sugar levels and insulin resistance (meaning it becomes difficult to metabolise sugars). The sugar and carbohydrates are then stored as fat rather than being used for energy consumption. This is a very common phenomenon in ladies that suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome whom find it extremely hard to lose weight despite dieting and exercise. The insulin resistance needs to be corrected before the weight can shift. For women without PCOS insulin resistance from too much refined sugar will have the same impact on losing weight.
The circadian rhythm which controls the sleep cycle is intimately connected with the endocrine system. In fact the hypothalamus controls the circadian rhythm. The same endocrine gland in the brain that is involved with hormone control. The hypothalamus also controls appetite amoung other things.
Studies have shown that people who get less 7 hours sleep are more likely to be obese or overweight, have imbalanced blood sugar levels and insulin resistance, and more likely to have thyroid issues. From clinical observation women who do not sleep well and shift workers almost always have hormonal imbalance as well.
Our body is not made up of independent pieces. Everything is connected and the sooner we understand this the better treatment options will develop for the whole range of diseases linked to endocrine imbalances, one of which is hormonal conditions.
Often surgeries are necessary however it does not change the fact that weight gain is often an unexpected side effect of Hysterectomies and tubal ligation which is not explained before the procedures. In a study published in the Journal of Womens Health in 2009 they found that 36% of women gain 2.5 kilograms the year after a hysterctomy and 23% gained 5 kilograms. The same phenomena is also reported by vets following sterilisation of animals.
The seemingly innocuous tubal ligation has also been linked to weight gain via a syndrome called Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome. The disruption of the endocrine system as a result of the chemical mediators produced in the fallopian tubes leads of a wide range of conditions, one of which can be weight gain. Again this will not occur in all women however is interesting to note.
DIGESTIVE CAPACITY and MICROFLORA BALANCE
An increasingly interesting area of research is investigating the human micorbiome. In other words the symbiotic relationship in our bodies to bacteria and foreign organisms. The microbiota in the GUT has a large role to play in appetite, metabolism and digestion of certain foods.
When the natural healthy state that develops from birth, actually it begins during the birthing process and caesarean children do not benefit from the bacteria exposure during birthing. One study showed when mice where inoculated with bacteria from obese mice they then developed obesity and vice versa when obese mice where inoculated with bacteria from thin mice, they began to lose weight independent of the
diets they received.
Genetically modified foods have the same antibacterial influence on our GUT ecology as antibiotics and animals fed exclusively on GM foods show weight gain, development of allergies and systemic inflammation and eventually premature death.
One of the functions of fat cells is to neutralise systemic toxins because fat is a safe medium to store toxins like heavy metals and pesticides/herbicides. In many cases the body cannot excrete these toxins safely so it prefers to store them in fat cells. Same goes for oestrogen. When you release these toxins then the body will natural reduce the volume of fat stored in these fat cells.
It can be this simple but more often than not it involves the above elements. Move more and eat less. The above factors all play a role in the development of weight gain however one of the major causes is as women age they tend to become more sedentary as children grow up and our working environments are more often than not desk based for women. Sitting all day at a desk has been considered more dangerous to your health than smoking.
We have a very quick and simple program of plyocentric exercises which can be done everyday to help boost metabolism.
A word on DIET’s
Fads come and go. One of the most common is a food group restriction. I.e low carb, low fat, high fat, low protein, etc. Restricting any one food group just does not make sense and is not sustainable. What does make sense is to avoid any processed form of these food groups. I.e avoid refined fats, processed grains and sugars, commercially farms meats. Any food which is removed from its natural state or enhanced in terms of taste, texture or stimulated growth factors is not good for you.
The most sustainable and balanced diet is a plant based, unrefined diet with small amounts of fish. Here is a full article on the sense of dieting and comments on different FAD diets.
WHAT CAN I DO?
After reading the above information it can be depressing because more than likely you have been effected by several of these situations on your health. Don’t worry though we have a solution.
The answer lies in recreating the environment your body needs to flourish. By doing this with the right kind of foods which are fundamentally alkaline and high in antioxidant in nature, low in refined foods and sugars. This is our 8 week dietary program. As part of the program we encourage a lot of fermented foods which up-regulates liver function and digestive function.
We then suggest a combination of natural medicines to balance the endocrine system imbalance which is at the core of the stubborn weight gain. If the endocrine system is imbalanced then no matter how much exercise and a healthy diet, the weight will not shift. By correcting the hypothalamus and pituitary axis which Happy Hormones does then things start to move.
Step 1: Follow our 8 week program
Step 2. Complete our 28 Day Detox
Step 3: Take Happy Hormones to deal with the hormonal issues
Step 4. Take Liva detox to encourage healthy release of toxins and support hormone metabolism
Step 5: Avoid Synthetic hormones in any capacity. Whilst you still take synthetic hormones as either HRT, Bio-Identical HRT, the PILL, A MIRENA, IMPLANON or Deprovera you will always struggle to lose weight.
Step 6. Take Kelp everyday and apply liquid iodine to your skin twice a day to stimulate thyroid function. If you have insulin resistance then take additional chromium and zinc.
It really can be that simple. Balance and avoid synthetic hormones, eat a balanced alkaline and antioxidant diet, exercise regularly, get enough sleep, manage stress, rebuild the gut and liver function and the weight will shift. Be patient and it will be sustainable once the blocks clear.
If you have not joined our private groups for hormonal balance and detoxification, then here are the links