Many people consider weight loss as something that is purely aesthetic: ‘I’m following a holiday diet’ or ‘I want to drop a dress size before my wedding.’ However, so many forget that being at a healthy weight goes way beyond aesthetics. In fact, when you’re overweight, your chances of getting the top four causes of mortality go up exponentially and believe it or not, cancer is one of them.
When I recommend protocols or advice for weight loss, it’s to help my clients’ overall health – feeling confident in their clothes is just a bonus!
There are so many issues with ‘Diet Culture’, the main ones being that they’re built around deprivation or cutting out whole food groups, and only offer short-term success. They don’t focus on the underlying root cause for why you might be putting weight on, or struggling to lose it.
Education into what inhibits your metabolism, and into good nutrition and lifestyle choices, is essential to understanding how to maintain a healthy weight.
If you are following a detox program or diet and you lose a bit of weight but then plateau, or don’t lose any weight, it is a sign that there is something happening within your body which is causing your body to hold onto weight.
3 MAIN REASONS WHY THE WEIGHT ISN’T DROPPING OFF:
I have lots of people come to me in my practice and say that they lost weight initially on their diet, but then it just stopped working. The majority of these clients are women, and this isn’t a surprise as hormones have a huge effect on weight loss. Hormonal imbalance is not just limited to women though!
So, how does the endocrine system (hormones) lead to the inability to lose weight? When you have hormone dysregulation, this will have a domino effect on other hormones in your body. For example, if you are suffering from chronic stress and you have heightened levels of cortisol in your body, this will inhibit your thyroid function, which is a huge factor for maintaining a good metabolism.
You might not have been diagnosed with “hypothyroidism” yet because your TSH might be still within the ranges of conventional medicine. However, this does not mean that your thyroid is functioning optimally. Remember, you need a strong functioning thyroid for a boosted metabolism.
Another issue with cortisol is that it increases belly fat significantly. I went through the three stages of how this happens in my previous blog post “The relationship between cortisol and belly fat”.
Several other hormones, including estrogen, progesterone and testosterone have a direct impact on blood sugar.
If you have higher levels of blood sugar, your body is less able to burn fat. This is because your body is producing more insulin and glucose to deal with the higher blood sugar levels and breaking this down rather than breaking down fat cells.
Additionally, estrogen and progesterone imbalance (hello estrogen dominance) will affect your ability to lose weight – this goes for men and women! If there is stress in the body, whether this is external (work/life, relationships) or internal stress (toxins, heavy metals, GI issues…), then this will affect your estrogen and progesterone levels.
You might be even be stressed from your ‘diet’, as undereating and over-exercising is stress on the body!
The more stress you have in the body, the more your hormones are affected. Stress in the body will cause your progesterone levels to drop, leading to estrogen dominance. Why? Well, progesterone is a pre-cursor to cortisol and the body will always prioritise the latter for survival than the former for reproduction. This means that your body will break down progesterone to produce cortisol if it is under stress and therefore supplements and diet is not enough! Lifestyle modifications that nourish the adrenals and help reframe the mindset to change your response to these everyday stressors are necessary to truly balance your hormones. You can find more about these practice in the Morning Routine Protocol.
Been to the doctor and they said your estrogen levels are ‘within range?’ – that might be so, but you need your estrogen levels to be tested in relation to progesterone to get an accurate look at what is happening within your body!
Estrogen dominance can result in more irritability and low mood, weight gain around the mid-section, heavy/painful periods, breast tenderness, water retention, acne AND a slower metabolism.
For men, chronic stress can result in testosterone levels dropping leading to symptoms such as lower sex drive, low mood and lack of drive, fatigue and loss of muscular strength.
If you think that hormonal imbalance might be at the root of your weight gain, or inability to lose weight, then I recommend running the at-home weight loss management test + thyroid. Yes, I know it’s not cheap but honestly, it’s a life-changing test because it will reveal whether your hormones and metabolism are the root cause of your symptoms.
It cannot get more comprehensive than this; it looks at blood sugar imbalances, all thyroid markers (not just TSH!), estrogen dominance, androgens and vitamin D!
Inflammation is not a root cause in itself, but it is a factor in 90% of chronic health issues. Hormone dysregulation, gut dysbiosis, injury, leaky gut, parasites, heavy metals… so much causes inflammation, and guess what? Inflammation also can result in health issues – it’s a vicious cycle.
Inflammation is a factor in Type 2 diabetes, cancer, strokes, high cholesterol and obesity. We all need to be working to reduce inflammation for several reasons, but today we are talking about its impact on weight loss.
So, inflammation is stress on the body, this will lead to increased cortisol levels, which we have already discussed in relation to weight gain/inability to lose weight.
Additionally, Inflammation reduces mitochondrial output. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell which gives the cells in your body energy. Without energy, you are less likely to exercise.
Additionally, mitochondrial function gives the metabolism its energy – without this, it cannot burn fat at an optimal level.
Incoming: another vicious circle. The less mitochondria that you have, the more inflammation you have.
I have spoken a lot recently about how it’s impossible to avoid toxicities now: pollutants, beauty products, perfumes, pesticides, toxic cookware, foil, tap water, all of these are full of toxicities which we inhale or consume on a daily basis.
As a result, the liver is working overtime, as it’s having to detoxify more than it has ever had to before and more than human bodies were designed to process. Do you know what happens inside the body if toxins are not being expelled? They are stored inside fat cells because it’s a great way to keep them “locked in” and not have them circulating around the bloodstream. But guess what? Your adipose tissue (fat cells) is now becoming more and more “swollen” as it stores toxins and now it looks like you’re holding to more fat than you are when in reality it is just toxic water weight…
This is why my 21 Day Reset has been transformational for so many women (and men) because it unlocks these cells and converts these fat soluble toxins into water soluble for easy excretion.
What’s the result of that? Well, bloating and toxic water weight decreases significantly.
On top of that, a huge amount of toxins are estrogenic in nature, resulting in infertility, higher levels of estrogen, learning disabilities in children, breast and prostate cancer and, yep, weight gain.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT IS CAUSING MY WEIGHT ISSUES?
Test! I recommend taking a weight loss management test + thyroid, if you suspect hormonal imbalances.
A Toxicity Test will be able to give you a good idea on the amount of toxin build-up in your body.
Based on the results of your at-home functional lab tests, I would then recommend either following a protocol to rebalance your hormones, or a functional health detoxification, such as the 21 Day Reset, to detoxify the body.