Weight Loss Beyond Calorie

weightloss-other

If you have not read my previous article about weight loss and calorie, I suggest you do that first. The article will give you good background information about the caloric theory of weight loss that is rarely discussed.

So, you cut calories to the bone, exercise till you drop, you watch the scale three times a day, all you lose is 5 kilos in months, and the weight just won’t come down any more. You feel frustrated, stuck, tired, hungry and lousy all around. And the moment you stop exercising, your weight is slowly creeping back up. Your weight loss journey just hit a brick wall.

You are not alone. Thousands of people are on a similar road just like you. They are crunching the caloric number and seemingly doing everything right, but the weight just won’t come down!

Even though calorie has some role to play in weight loss; however, the calorie theory of weight loss does not work the way the conventional wisdom tells us. There are so many other factors beyond calorie that contribute to weight loss, ignoring them can stop your weight loss journey dead in its track.

Although the list below is far from being exhaustive, they are the commonly overlooked factors when it comes to weight loss.

Factors that may hinder your weight loss:

1. Lack of sleep

Other than making you feel tired and sleepy. Sleep deprivation putting stress to the body and increases the cortisol level, which is the body’s primary stress hormone. The problem with having abnormally high cortisol is it will increase the “hunger hormone”, ghrelin (1, 2). As a result, being sleep deprived, you will end up feeling hungrier and finding yourself reaching for the quick and cheap energy source, Carbohydrates—exactly the kind of nutrient that causes weight gain.

2. Prolonged stress

Still related to point #1. Have you ever wondered why in the time of stress, we have an uncontrollable craving for carbohydrate-rich food such as ice cream, chocolate or pizza? The reason being is, a spike in cortisol level will also spike ghrelin production (3). It makes sense. Despite the modern conveniences, human biology to this day still ties to the hunter and gatherer time. The human body cannot tell the difference between the stress of being behind in mortgage payment vs stress of being chased by a Sabretooth tiger. To our primitive brain, Stress is Stress.

In the time of stress, the body enters the Fight-or-Flight mode. It will find a way to increase the energy reserve quickly in order to outrun a “Sabretooth tiger”. As far as a quick energy concern, what is better than carb and sugar?

3. Insulin resistance

Frequent and heavy consumption of simple carbohydrate and sugar for a long period will result in insulin resistance condition. Due to the blood insulin level being constantly high, the body becomes desensitised to insulin. Consequently, it will take a higher amount of carbohydrate and blood insulin level to curb hunger. As a result, the person is functionally ‘addicted’ to an ever-increasing amount of carbohydrate and sugar consumption to satisfy their hunger pang. This condition is called Metabolic Syndrome, and it is a precursor to diabetic status. Lowering carbohydrate consumption is essential to return the body to insulin-sensitive state and reversing Metabolic Syndrome. Weight loss is very difficult in the insulin resistance state because it tricks the body into thinking it is starving, even though the person is overweight (4).

4. Toxic load

Do you know that excess toxin that the liver cannot get rid off will get stored in the fat tissue? The fatty tissue is a dumping ground of toxic waste of the body (5). Quite often, an overweight person with a diet high in processed food and chemical additives is unable to lose weight by diet and exercise alone. The reason for this could be a highly toxic body where the toxins are stored in the fat cells (6). As part of a defence mechanism, the body refuses to let go of the fatty substance because doing so will cause the toxins to be released back into the body. Detoxification should always be part of any weight loss program.

5. Thyroid health and Iodine

Iodine is an essential component for thyroid hormone synthesis. With the iodine depletion in the soil and the lack of iodine element in the food supply, there is a widespread iodine deficiency among the western population (7, 8, 9).

World Health Organization (WHO) recommends a daily iodine intake of 150 micrograms for adults (10). However, a study of Japanese iodine consumption shows adult Japanese regularly consumes iodine between 1,000 – 3,000 micrograms primarily from seaweed daily (11).

Iodine deficiency is the primary cause of hypothyroidism. Some of the most common effects of under-functioning thyroid are fatigue, constipation and weight gain.

6. Sunlight and Vitamin D

Sunlight is the source of life on planet Earth. The plant uses the Sunlight for photosynthesis to produce energy. Similarly, the human body also undergoes photosynthesis by using Sunlight to synthesis Vitamin D. Vitamin D is not only crucial for healthy functioning immune systems; it is also essential for blood sugar regulation. Insufficiency in Vitamin D is a common culprit for insulin resistance and diabetes, both type 1 and type 2 (12). Research shows Vitamin D improves impaired glucose intolerance and insulin secretion (13, 14).

Vitamin D synthesis is drastically hindered during autumn and winter months when UV ray is greatly diminished. If you are darker-skinned individuals, you may need to be in the Sun more frequent and longer than light-skinned individuals. Our modern indoor lifestyle is one of the main reason why most people in developed countries are deficiency in vitamin D.

7. Chromium

Chromium is an essential mineral often overlooked in weight management. Study shows optimising chromium level may improve blood sugar regulation and assist in losing weight (15). Those who are having trouble losing weight must consider chromium as a factor in their weight loss program. However, if you are planning on supplementing with chromium, you must ensure not overdose on it.

8. Probiotics

Last but not least. No weight loss program is complete without considering the gut microflora health. Healthy gut microflora is essential for good digestive function, robust immune systems and stable mood. Additionally, a balanced gut microflora is a make and break factor in the success of weight loss afford.

The role of probiotic bacteria in our gut and weight management has been a subject of interest and research in recent years. In 2015, it was discovered that obese individuals have starkly different gut microflora balance than lean individuals (16). Researchers from Japan found consumption of probiotics in the form of fermented milk products help to reduce abdominal obesity, body weight and metabolic syndrome (17, 18).

In conclusion

There is an incentive for us to over-simplify things and reduce everything into a single factorial causality. It is simpler this way, and as humans, we like simple things. But as the saying goes, “sometimes the truth is not so simple”. If weight loss is that simple, obesity would not be such a big problem in the world today.

As I already showed above, there are numerous contributing factors to weight gain than simply eating too much calorie and not hitting the gym often enough. And by the same token, these factors will also hinder weight loss if not resolved.

If you are struggling with your weight, contact our Naturopath Bernard Chu at 0412 723 823 or email bernard@greenheartnaturalhealth.com.au for an obligation free discussion about your health challenges.

Online consultation is also available for your convenience.

 

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weightloss-other

So, you cut calories to the bone, exercise till you drop, you watch the scale three times a day, all you lose is 5 kilos in months, and the weight just won’t come down any more. You feel frustrated, stuck, tired, hungry and lousy all around. Your weight loss journey just hit a brick wall.

There are so many other factors beyond counting calorie that contribute to weight loss, ignoring them can stop your weight loss journey dead in its track.

1. Lack of sleep

Sleep deprivation putting stress to the body and increases the cortisol level. The problem with having abnormally high cortisol is it will increase the “hunger hormone”, ghrelin.

2. Prolonged stress

Have you ever wondered why in the time of stress, we have an uncontrollable craving for carbohydrate-rich food such as ice cream, chocolate or pizza? A spike in cortisol level will also spike hunger hormone ghrelin. In the time of stress, the body enters the Fight-or-Flight mode. It will find a way to increase the energy reserve quickly and what is better than carb and sugar?

3. Insulin resistance

Frequent and heavy consumption of simple carbohydrate and sugar for a long period will result in insulin resistance condition. This condition is called Metabolic Syndrome, and it is a precursor to diabetes. Lowering carbohydrate consumption is essential to return the body to insulin-sensitive state and reversing Metabolic Syndrome.

4. Toxic load

Do you know that excess toxin that the liver cannot get rid off will get stored in the fat tissue? As a result, the body refuses to let go of the fatty substance because doing so will cause the toxins to be released back into the body. Detoxification should always be part of any weight loss program.

5. Thyroid health and Iodine

Iodine is an essential component for thyroid hormone synthesis. With the iodine depletion in the soil and the lack of iodine element in the food supply, there is a widespread iodine deficiency among the western population. Iodine deficiency is the primary cause of hypothyroidism. Some of the most common effects of under-functioning thyroid are fatigue, constipation and weight gain.

6. Sunlight and Vitamin D

Vitamin D is called the Sun vitamin. It is not only crucial for healthy functioning immune systems; it is also essential for blood sugar regulation. Insufficiency in Vitamin D is a common culprit for insulin resistance and diabetes, both type 1 and type 2. Research shows Vitamin D improves impaired glucose intolerance and insulin secretion.

7. Chromium

Chromium is an essential mineral often overlooked in weight management. Study shows optimising chromium level may improve blood sugar regulation and assist in losing weight.

8. Probiotics

No weight loss program is complete without considering the gut microflora health. In 2015, it was discovered that obese individuals have starkly different gut microflora balance than lean individuals. Researchers from Japan found consumption of probiotics in the form of fermented milk products help to reduce abdominal obesity, body weight and metabolic syndrome.

In conclusion

As I already showed above, there are numerous contributing factors to weight gain than simply eating too much calorie and not hitting the gym often enough. And by the same token, these factors will also hinder weight loss if not resolved.

If you are struggling with your weight, contact our Naturopath Bernard Chu at 0412 723 823 or email bernard@greenheartnaturalhealth.com.au for an obligation free discussion about your health challenges.

Online consultation is also available for your convenience.