We’ve all heard the old adage about weight loss: it’s calories in and calories out….eat less, exercise more! So why is it still so darn hard to shed even a few fat pounds sometimes? It turns out that there are a variety of factors that can contribute to fat gain, some of which set up a vicious cycle that makes it increasingly difficult to break out of and shed the fat.
Let’s take a look at the 6 big players:
Arguably, the biggest factor when it comes to fat loss is inflammation. We simply cannot shed fat if we are in a state of inflammation, and unfortunately, once inflammation starts, it can continue to feed on itself. The problem with inflammation is that there never seems to be a shortage in the various ways we can become inflamed! Let’s consider some of the ways:
- Chronic conditions: All of them are rooted in inflammation – ie: arthritis, diabetes, Alzheimers, hypertension, cancer
- Poor digestive system: If the digestive tract isn’t functioning well, not only will it be a source of direct inflammation, but it also means that it can become “leaky” and let in particles and toxins into the body that normally would be kept out. This creates even more inflammation. Signs that indicate the gut needs support could be any one or all of the following: gas, bloating, poor stool form, reflux, belching, indigestion, constipation, mucous, undigested food.
- Food Sensitivities: These are so common and so important they need their own bullet point! Sensitivities to foods not only inflame the digestive track, but also aggravate the immune system and the whole body. They can be sneaky too because sometimes there are no noticeable digestive problems, but instead they present as other symptoms in the body such as headaches, joint pain, skin conditions, fatigue, sleep problems, etc.
- Wonky immune system: About 65% of our immune system is in our digestive tract so if that’s compromised, immune function will be as well. Allergies, sensitivities and autoimmune conditions all ramp up inflammation so it’s important to keep them in check. Ie: Psoriasis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hashimoto’s Disease
- Inflammatory diet: You don’t need a food sensitivity to still increase inflammation through diet. Sugar, gluten, genetically modified foods like soy and corn, artificial preservatives/additives, food colouring, processed foods…this why eating clean, whole foods is so important, regardless of how much one exercises.
- Obesity & Insulin Resistance: The more fat we accumulate, the more inflammation fat cells produce, and the more insulin resistant we become. And the more insulin resistant we become, the more fat we accumulate and the more leptin resistant we become! It’s a vicious cycle. Leptin is a hormone that tells us when we’re full and also helps us burn fat. The good news is that this can be reversed, and one of the best ways is through weight resistance training.
- Toxic Body Burden: Our environments are toxic. It’s in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and the products we use on our bodies. Many of these toxins are hormone disruptors, compromising cell signaling and metabolic function, burdening liver detox pathways, and shuttling inflammation throughout the body. At least once a year, everybody needs a thorough detox!
- Stress: This creates another level of inflammation, increasing stress hormones, affecting hormone function, sleep, recovery, blood sugar regulation, immune function, gut health…. A daily practice of mindfulness is critical in keeping this in check.
2) HORMONE IMBALANCE
With age, there is a natural decline of hormones that maintain muscle mass and metabolism, which is why weight resistance training is so important to help maintain those hormone levels and fat-burning muscle mass. A sluggish thyroid will slow metabolism, and stress hormone cortisol, and other hormones like excess estrogen, insulin and leptin can all lead to increased fat mass. Assessing and correcting hormone imbalances are key to fat loss.
3) INADEQUATE NUTRITION
Without good nutrition, the body cannot possibly build, repair and maintain healthy muscle cells, nor can it produce the necessary hormones, enzymes, and molecules for healthy body function. Good nutrition also means that there are natural phytochemicals being ingested that help to dial down inflammation in the body and optimize cell function.
4) pH IMBALANCE
An alkaline environment is best for all metabolic, immune, and repair functions. The Standard American Diet (the “SAD diet”) of white foods, processed foods, excessive protein, pops, coffees…all lead to a more acidic body environment.
5) LACK OF EXERCISE
Without exercise, insulin and leptin resistance will not resolve, metabolism drops, muscle mass drops, and detoxification is reduced.
6) POOR SLEEP
The body cannot recover and valuable fat-burning hours are lost as sleep is a primary time when fat burning occurs. Poor sleep scheduling, inadequate hours and late bedtimes (anything past 11pm), impacts natural hormone rhythms, leading to imbalances, and promoting hunger and weight gain.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- GET INFLAMMATION UNDER CONTROL & BALANCE HORMONES!!
- Optimize health and cell function: Renew yourself with a medically supervised detox program
- Replete lost nutrients: Eat well, supplement, and consider giving your body a quick and nutritious boost with Intravenous Therapy!
- Effective stress management: Meditation, yoga, hypnotherapy, relaxing hobbies, exercise
- Nutrient dense menu: Clinical nutrition to reduce inflammation & promote wellness
- Focus on greens, lean & clean proteins, and healthy fats like avocado and olive oil
- Get active: Anything that makes you move! (zoomba, walking, dancing, swimming, tennis, hiking, etc)
- Sleep well: Target 8 hours/night; you should wake rested without the need for an alarm clock
BONUS FAT BURNING TIPS:
- Exercise first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and drink a cup of coffee before hand!
- Try intermittent fasting, targeting 16 hours (ie: no food from 6:30PM – 10:30AM)
- Use aggressive interval training as part of your exercise program – 30 minutes – 5x/week
- Do aggressive weight training 3 x/week – more is better! 5-6 sets of 8-12 reps, with short breaks in between, and make sure you feel the burn!
- Take fish oil – it reduces inflammation and when combined with exercise it increases fat burning and muscle retention (2 grams/day)
- Take ALA – it’s an antioxidant that improves insulin sensitivity and helps burn fat! (1 gram/day)
- Take 2 grams, 2 x/day of L-carnitine, especially during exercise – it shuttles fatty acids in to be burned for energy
- Train your arms and deltoids! They have the highest concentration of glucose receptors and are the most insulin sensitive so it helps reverse insulin and leptin resistance!
- Cold temperature showers can help you shed fat
- Consume your carbs post training to refuel and blunt cortisol (cortisol rises with exercise but can compromise muscle growth if it stays elevated)