A Successful Approach to Weight Loss
Over 1 billion people in the world are overweight and almost 300 million are obese. During the past 20 years there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States. In 2008, only one state (Colorado) had a prevalence of obesity less than 20%. Thirty-two states had a prevalence equal to or greater than 25%. If this were only a vanity issue obesity would still require attention, however, obesity is a medical emergency. Obesity is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Obesity increases inflammation throughout the body, chokes off our energy production capability and accelerates the deterioration of our joints.
There is no shortage of weight loss programs, but there is a shortage of programs that work. Weight loss can be a very complex medical condition. But we can start with the basic concept of calories “in” versus calories “out”. The amount of calories you consume in food and drinks must be less than the calories you burn through exercise, non-exercise activity and your basal metabolic rate.
The basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of calories you burn just sitting on your duff. The greater your calories “out”, in comparison to your calories “in”, the faster you will lose weight. However, do not take this to the extreme. You do not want your body to go into starvation mode and start hibernating. In this case the body will spare energy by decreasing thyroid activity, your main center for metabolism. The best way to reduce calories is to remove the “empty calories”. These are low-quality foods and drinks that have a lot of calories, but little nutritional value. These “empty calories” usually come from refined carbohydrates, refined sugars and low-quality fats, such as chips, French fries, commercial baked goods, candy bars and soda.
The “empty calories” will increase your calories “in” while depleting the nutrients your body needs for a healthy metabolism. But there is another major problem with these foods; they result in blood sugar problems, such as hypoglycemia and diabetes. When we eat refined sugars and carbohydrates they quickly turn into blood glucose. Excess blood glucose is stored as fat. Therefore, it is the excess carbohydrates that make us fat. Healthy dietary fats, such as olive oil, fish oil, nuts, seeds, avocados and even butter and coconut oil, rarely make us fat. Our bodies work very hard to maintain the amount of glucose in our blood and brain. After years of trying to maintain balance in the face of “empty calories”, especially refined carbs, your tired body will be unable to do its job. Therefore, the first step toward healthy weight loss is to remove the “empty calories” from your diet.
Addressing Food Allergies
The next dietary change for successful weight loss is removing the common food allergens from your diet. Gluten-containing grains, soy, dairy, and corn are four of the most common allergens. These foods contain protein molecules, called antigens, which activate the immune system. Basically, our immune systems treat these foods like pathogenic invaders instead of foods. This immune activity creates inflammation which causes damage to the digestive tract and blood vessels. In addition, each person’s immune reactions are unique and can result in extremely varied symptoms, such as, fatigue, joint pain, skin reactions, brain fog, hyperactivity, and abdominal pain, to name a few. Over time, the immune activation can create a state of hypersensitivity where you over-react to many stimuli. Excessive inflammation will accelerate the aging process and must be stopped for healthy weight loss and graceful aging.
Calorie restriction as a stand-alone weight loss method is very difficult because stress and a poor diet deplete important brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters (NT). Neurotransmitters are chemical messenger molecules that are involved in regulating virtually every aspect of physiology, including mood, energy, sleep and pain. The cravings that sabotage our weight loss goals are generally related to low energy or a low mood. Through replenishing your NT levels you will be able to keep your energy and spirits up, while suppressing your hunger. This is an important key to successful weight loss. Without NT repletion, weight loss is a test of willpower, but with the repletion of these important neuro-chemicals, weight loss becomes a natural process.
The above steps are the foundation of a highly effective weight loss program which is long term and sustainable, and is currently being offered at The LaCava Center. Most weight loss programs stress the body through excessive dietary restriction and pharmaceutical over-stimulation. This stress creates future problems by damaging your metabolism, adrenal, thyroid and pituitary glands. Our program creates side-benefits by nourishing your body, balancing your blood sugar and decreasing inflammation.
Some people have health conditions that can impair their ability to lose weight. In cases of weight loss resistance, as well as for those seeking optimal health, a comprehensive medical assessment must be part of a long term program. The modern lifestyle puts tremendous stress on the body organs and biochemistry. Individual weaknesses must be identified and addressed for optimal weight loss and optimal health. Healthy dietary adjustments, neuro-transmitter repletion and correcting individual medical issues constitute the recipe to weight loss success.