If you feel like you are swimming against the tide when it comes to weight loss, you ARE. Weight loss is not just about calories in, calories out - if it was that simple, it wouldn't be the 50 billion a year industry it is today.
Most programs or products on the market don't deliver long term results, so my question for you is:
👉Do you ‘just’ want to lose weight or do you want to be healthier overall?
If you want to achieve better overall health, with lasting weight loss results – you are in the right place. When you mention the word weight loss everyone thinks of ‘dieting’ – it is the commonest way people try to lose weight and yet studies have shown that dieting rarely works long term.
95% of the people using a ‘diet’ will temporarily lose weight and then gain it all back again months down the line. When that happens, they are made to feel guilty because they fell off the wagon and started slacking…but,
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
It has nothing to do with willpower, and everything to do with a wonky body physiology that is telling the body 'hey, we don't like what you lost - you need to gain that weight back' - so your body's weight thermostat cranks up your appetite, cravings, and lowers your metabolism SO THAT you gain the weight back.
What causes this wonky body physiology?
Weight regulation is such a complex area, so I will try and simplify it for you here. Think of your weight as being set by a thermostat in the brain – think of it as the body weight set point. This is like the thermostat in your house.
Just like how the thermostat switches the heat on when the temperature drops, so the body weight set point will increase appetite and REDUCE your metabolic rate if you started to lose weight.
So, stubborn weight is not merely a lack of will power. It is instead due to a hi-jacked body weight set point that has been pushed up by various factors e.g. your genes, medication.
Here are commonest factors: (this list is not exclusive)
📌 Hormonal disturbance – Insulin resistance is such a common problem now – 2/3 of Americans are either diabetic or pre-diabetic. Insulin resistance is a condition where your body’s tissue stops responding to the hormone insulin. In order to get the same effect and maintain a stable blood sugar, the body has to secrete more insulin. A high circulating insulin level will push up your body weight set point.
Other hormonal factors may be at play too e.g. estrogen (think about BPA and many endocrine disruptors like pthalates that interlace beauty and body care products, cleaning products. Let’s not forget about the biggest hormone disruptor in our modern, fast paced lives – STRESS! Stress increases cortisol (a hormone) which then raises the body weight set point (think about the drug cortisone, the commonest side effect of taking cortisone is weight gain).
📌 Inflammation – This is a huge topic and one which I can write a whole book on. However, to make it simple, inflammation produces chemicals in our body which can affect how well the hormones and nerves work, and therefore have an effect on our weight. Inflammation is can be caused by our food and our environment. Environmental toxins, stress, sugar, trans-fats, too much omega 6, processed foods – all lead to inflammation in the body which then leads to insulin resistance (and metabolic syndrome).
📌 Gut health and our microbiome – have you heard of fecal transplant? The friendly bacteria in our gut can affect the way our bodies digest food, handle calories, absorb nutrients and therefore our weight. Studies have shown that when fecal matter from an overweight human (the overweight discordant twin) is transported into a mouse genetically programmed to have no friendly bacteria, that mouse became fat. Conversely, when they transfer the fecal matter from the thin twin to a mouse with no friendly gut bacteria, that mouse becomes thin. In addition, when they then transferred the fecal matter from the thin mouse to the obese mouse, it stopped the progression of obesity features. Gut health is important when it comes to weight loss.
Each of the three factors above also interact with each other e.g. an unhealthy gut microbiome can lead to increased inflammation, and inflammation can lead to insulin resistance.
So dieting with calorie restriction is really an uphill struggle, fighting with the body’s innate body weight set point that is most likely going to fail. The body will simply make you more hungry, or reduce your metabolic rate to compensate for reduced caloric intake.
Therefore, in order to lose weight – and maintain this over the long term, you need to reset your body weight thermostat.
Two steps to take today that can help:
1. Reduce your body's toxic load - studies have shown that when people undergo rapid weight loss, the amount of toxins in their blood goes up. Some of these can affect thyroid function, leading to a slower metabolism and weight being regained after weight loss. Also, obesogens can sabotage your weight loss efforts.
2. Reduce processed foods, animal products, and include more plants. Instead of counting calories or macros, count fiber and the number of plants on your plate instead. Fiber helps you stay fuller for longer, is essential for gut health and can therefore aid weight loss efforts.
If you want healthy, plant-rich recipes that are also mouth watering, check out my e-cookbook Plate For health and How to Eat More Plants.