If you have been that someone who has tried diet, after diet, after diet with no real results or maybe you have managed to lose a few extra kilos yet you just can’t seem to sustain it, you would know the forever ending frustration.
Despite all your efforts to eat healthy and exercise regularly, weight loss just seems like a never ending battle.
So while eating healthy and exercising are important, the truth is for some its not quite as simple as black and white.
Its important to understand that in many circumstances weight loss can be much more complex than calories in calories out, despite what anyone has made you believe.
This may especially be the case as we get older. So before you go beating yourself up and viewing yourself as a failure, please know that its not what you are doing wrong, but rather a likely case of the unknown. It is likely that there are hidden underlying issues that may just be the missing pieces of the puzzle you have been looking for.
Not quite sure what I am talking about? Let me break down for you, the possible missing pieces of the puzzle, that have been holding you back to achieving a healthy weight.
Your Mindset is all wrong
No matter how healthy you eat, I hate to break it to you but if you don’t fix the shit going on in your head this is going to either slow down your progress or affect your ability to lose weight altogether.
Making the decision that you are ready to make changes and prioritise your own health is just the first step to a healthy mindset. The most challenging part is keeping that healthy mindset all the way through your health journey, even when you have slip ups or challenges along the way. If mindset is something that you know you need to work on, my beautiful friend Jess Hooley, Mindset and Empowerment Coach, can help you to release any mindset blocks, reprogram your mind and help you to let go of any limiting beliefs that are holding you back from the health you desire.
Another thing I see when it comes to mindset, is way to many people go in with the thought that they are going on a diet, rather than looking it as a lifestyle change.
Its clear enough to say that diets don’t work long term.
Did you know studies show that 80% of people who lose weight, will put it back on within 12 months of losing it??
And that is because the focus is too much on a diet and as soon as that diet stops, the weight just comes straight back on.
Another problem I see is, too many people are too focused on losing weight, when we really should be putting our main focus on health. When we shift our main focus from weight loss to overall better health, the weight naturally falls off.
While yes you may want to lose weight and yes this may be your goal but ask yourself, what will losing weight do for your health? What is your true why? What is your intent behind losing weight? Is it you want to have more energy to be able to run around after your kids? to reduce your blood pressure? to have more confidence in yourself, or to be able to feel comfortable enough to wear a bathing suit and jump in the pool with your kids?
When you really dig deep and understand your true why behind your actions you are planning to take to lose weight, then it becomes easier. Using your why as a constant reminder of what is on the other side of the tunnel if you invest in your health, can be that real driver to reaching for your health goals.
Remember a healthy body, starts with a healthy mind.
Having adequate levels of nutrients and minerals are absolutely essential for overall good health.
Without the correct amounts of nutrients, your ability to burn fat may be affected while you may also have unstable blood sugar.
Many vitamin and mineral deficiencies can be linked to metabolic disorders.
Some of the most common nutrient deficiencies linked to weight gain are magnesium, vitamin D, potassium, sodium.
Now just because you have had a recent general bloods test and your doctor has told you, you are all fine, this does not necessarily mean your nutrient levels are optimal.
Your GP will review your results and providing its in the supplied reference range, you will be told your all good. If your results sit somewhere in between the reference range, then its seen as adequate levels, not taking into consideration if levels are sitting closer to one end of the reference range. If this is the case, this could be showing that you are only borderline adequate.
So why should this be a concern? As as nutritionist and natural healthcare practitioner, I go that one step above and rather than aiming for adequate base line levels of nutrients, we aim for more therapeutic levels that indicate optimal health, rather than just surviving. Just because a nutrient is in reference range, that does not necessarily mean you have the right amounts to be functioning at a true optimal health level.
In today’s fast paced modern world, full of stress, poor lifestyles, poor diet, foods grown in nutrient depleted soil and an excess in chemical exposure in our day to day lives and environment, hormonal imbalances are becoming more and more of a problem.
The most common seen hormonal imbalances when it comes to weight problems are:
Insulin is the hormone secreted by the pancreas to digest carbohydrates and sugar. When your body becomes resistant to insulin, it starts producing excess insulin that is stored as fat in the body. The excess insulin makes it hard for you to burn fat, hence the reason it can cause weight gain. While insulin resistance is associated with diabetes, pre-diabetes is now becoming more and more common. If you eat a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates, frequently crave sugar and suffer from feelings of fatigue, you may be suffering from some insulin sensitivity, also known as pre-diabetes.
This is when there is an excess in estrogen comparative with your other sex hormones. Too much estrogen can wreck havoc on your whole body, including your weight. Estrogen dominant weight gain is seen usually seen around your hips, midsection and thighs and can be accompanied by PMS, painful and/or heavy menstruation, bloating, fluid retention, headaches, and anxiety, just to name a few. While many diet and environmental factors can influence an excess in estrogen production, being overweight can also be responsible for producing more estrogen as estrogen loves to store itself in fat cells.
Your thyroid is responsible for managing metabolism and is a common hormonal imbalance seen after giving birth and having kids, often in the case of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is the name used to determine when the thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormone, also known as an under active thyroid. An under active thyroid can cause weight gain along with feelings of fatigue, depression and anxiety.
So before your doctor jumps straight to diagnosing you with post natal depression, it’s important that your thyroid is checked. A thyroid imbalance can often go undiagnosed, particularly in younger women as it tends to be more frequently tested in more older people.
Cortisol is a steroid hormone produced by the adrenal glands (often referred to as the stress hormone) as it is responsible for controlling the stress response. When there is prolonged long term stress in excess present, cortisol levels increases. As the stress continues, the adrenals get worn out and there now becomes a dysfunction in cortisol regulation. When cortisol is no longer functioning properly, feelings of fatigue and burnout occur, while it also affects metabolism and the immune system.
Serotonin is best known as a mood stabilising hormone that affects the brain, yet what is not so well known is that serotonin also is an important hormone responsible for bowel movements and appetite. Antidepressants interfere with this important neurotransmitter, increasing hunger, which makes sense why weight gain is so commonly seen with people on antidepressants.
Leptin is responsible for regulating fat storage, and sends signals to the brain to help you control when and how much you eat. As leptin is produced in fat cells, the more body fat you have, the more leptin your fat cells produce. So while someone who is overweight tends to have enough leptin stored, the problem that occurs is when the leptin signalling stops working. This is known as leptin resistance. So while your body has enough energy stored to stop eating, your body does not recognise this and instead thinks it is starving, hence the need to overeat.
Poor Gut Health
This is such an important one.
Our gut health has a strong correlation with all three of the above mentioned. This is why gut health is an area we always focus on when we work together, even if you do not specifically have gut symptoms present.
While there are a number of things that may affect your gut health some of the most common problems are:
Low stomach acid: When we do not have enough stomach acid in our gut, our food cannot be broken down properly. This leads to nutrient deficiencies due to poor absorption, while the undigested food can rot and putrefy leading to a build up of unwanted bacteria in the gut.
Imbalances in gut bacteria: our guts contain a trillion species of different gut bacteria both good and bad, the problem occurs when there is an override in bad bacteria over the good. This imbalance of bacteria can lead to a host of problems, including weight gain and an inability to lose weight.
Leaky gut aka intestinal permeability: is the name given to an impaired gut lining. The gut lining is no longer in tact, allowing undigested food and toxins to leak out of the gut and into the blood stream causing an inflammatory state which can show up anywhere in the body. In this case, weight gain or an inability to lose weight.
When all of these are present, this may affect:
our ability to absorb the nutrients from our food properly
our ability to regulate hormones and excrete excess hormones like estrogen, which can be damaging in high amounts.
our ability to make and store serotonin and dopamine (our happy hormones) which may affect our brain, mood, mindset and our appetite.
When our gut is healthy and our gut bacteria is present in a healthy balance, we are better able to absorb and utilise nutrients we are taking in through our diet, we create the environment for healthy gut bacteria to flourish, hormonal imbalances improve, we find ourselves better able to deal with stress, we have more balanced moods and we find that the stubborn unwanted weight starts to naturally drop off.
OMG, who would have thought, that there was so much more to weight loss than diet and exercise.
When you work with me, we look at all these areas mentioned to help you gain the foundation required for long term sustainable healthy weight loss and management.
So if you have been struggling with your weight, I urge you to get in touch.
Book your complimentary discovery call today to find out how I can help you improve your overall health and lose that unwanted weight once and for all.
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Here’s to good health and happiness x