Weight Loss: It’s way more than calories in and calories out!

Have you previously been losing weight and then you put it all back on again? When you are trying to lose weight are you always hungry? Are you struggling to lose the weight around your middle?

We are now a nation that is more likely to die from obesity than starvation – how has this happened? We are a nation that are overfed yet undernourished, causing a vicious cycle of a lack of vitamins and minerals to give us energy, therefore feeling tired, craving more food in the hope it will give us the energy we crave and putting on more weight.

What factors can influence a lack of weight control?

Stress and lack of sleep – both of these factors produce a hormone called Cortisol. When cortisol is raised it leads to increased blood glucose levels, thus insulin secretion. When insulin is secreted the body is in fat storage mode – not fat burning mode. Therefore, reducing stress and getting adequate sleep can reduce blood glucose levels, reduce insulin secretion and be beneficial for weight loss/ control (X-PERT Health, 2017)

Underactive Thyroid – hypothyroidism and sub-clinic hypothyroidism are more common than we may think, with about 1 in 20 people suffering from hypothyroidism. It is often misdiagnosed as depression and even ‘laziness’. However, without a proper functioning thyroid you struggle to make energy. When you struggle to make energy, you feel tired and lethargic and crave…what do you think? Sugar and carbohydrates. Thus, weight gain is a very common symptom of hypothyroidism. Without a proper functioning thyroid, you will always struggle to control your weight. Firstly, you need to ensure the thyroid has the right nutrients to create the hormones that give us energy, these include selenium, iodine and removing fluoride and gotriogens from the diet. (Durrant-Peatfield, 2006 and Kharrazian, 2010). When I think there may be thyroid dysregulation, I would recommend a thyroid test that would highlight TSH, T4 and T3 levels in the blood.

Gut Bacteria – ‘The diversity and composition of microbiota have both been shown to differ in obese vs non-obese individuals; although the mechanism for this is as yet unknown. For example, as previously mentioned, the Akkermansia muciniphilla bacteria is often present in greater abundance in obese individuals. It is therefore possible that weight loss could lead to a reduction in this species of bacteria. Additionally, this could mean that we could help promote weight loss by making other lifestyle changes that reduce the abundance of this particular bacteria. Further research is required to fully understand the mechanisms behind this’ (X-PERT, 2017)

Prescription Drugs – steroids, HRT and some prescription drugs can lead to weight gain. During your case taking history, I would obtain this information and where relevant talk to your Dr or ask you to talk to your Dr about alternatives, where necessary.

Yeast overgrowth – are you experiencing chronic thrush? Are you constantly stressed? Craving sweet things? Have you been on ‘the pill’ for years or numerous courses of antibiotics? All of these things are signs or risk factors for developing a yeast overgrowth or ‘Candida Albicans’. Candida is a yeast that feeds on sugar, hence we crave excessive amount of sugar/refined carbohydrates to feed the Candida.

Emotional Factors – Food can be an emotional crutch for many. That moment of eating can make you feel happy, euphoric even. If in other places in our lives we are struggling to cope or have a lack of happiness, food can be our go-to ‘drug’ of choice – which leads to a regular  over indulgence and inevitable weight-gain.

I may recommend a phased approach to weight loss, to ensure we remove anything necessary (i.e. Candida Albicans), restore the gut (increase the amount of good gut bacteria) and ensure stomach acid is optimal to absorb the relevant nutrients (as we are only as healthy as the nutrients we absorb)

Once any underlying health condition has been supported, I would most probably recommend a low-carb, Mediterranean or intermittent fasting approach – depending on various factors including carb tolerance, taste buds and metabolic type.

That said, 80% of the time individuals that struggle to control their weight are eating too many carbohydrates (especially refined carbohydrates) and not enough fat (monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and the right ratio of omega 6/3s).

*article first appeared on Rosie Tadman’s website