Why is weight loss so hard? Why does the weight we lose keep coming back? Is there a formula for healthy weight loss?
Most, if not all of us, have felt this at some point. Weight is one of the most common metrics people measure themselves by these days. Many of us are unhappy with the number the scale reflects and want to bring that number down. In fact, Boston Medical Clinic says:
An estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, and Americans spend $33 billion each year on weight loss products. Yet, nearly two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese.
Sometimes our weight loss goal is a couple of pounds, but more often that magic number is a couple tens or dozens below where we currently are. For better or worse, the numbers the scale gives you isn’t an accurate reading of how healthy you are–it simply measures how attractive you are to the earth.
The Weight Loss System is Built Against You
We’ve been taught to measure “obesity” based on BMI, but that system is flawed if you look closely at it. BMI is weight divided by height. The problem with this formula is that muscle weighs more than fat. If you use the BMI to assess someone who is conditioned for strength, their BMI will suggest that they’re overweight and obese when that isn’t necessarily true.
We are told that the solution to weight loss is to simply eat less or work out more. A lot of the time, though, your weight isn’t from excess fat, but from roadblocks to your health and your body functioning well. If this is the case, and you don’t address those roadblocks, you end up hurting your body as you try to make it healthier.
We are also told that if this method of weight loss–starving and running ourselves into the ground–doesn’t work, there’s nothing to be done about it. Boston Medical clinic even says:
Obesity is a chronic disease that requires lifelong treatment and medical care.
This viewpoint is a dangerous one. Obesity itself is not a chronic disease, and with the focus of restoring health, will not require lifelong treatment and medical care. Healthy weight loss is attainable, and sustainable.
Healthy Weight Loss Starts With Functionality
You can’t tell how healthy someone is just by looking at them. Someday–for better or worse–the outside will catch up with the inside. Therefore, your goal shouldn’t be just to weigh less; it should be to gain health and help your body to function better. A side effect of a healthy, well-functioning body will often be weight loss. Why? Excess weight gain is an inflammatory response to traumas, toxins, and thoughts. A healthy body won’t store excess water weight because of inflammation, or excess body fat–your body will only do so if it has to keep you safe. When you start to get healthier, and your body functions better, you won’t have to depend on a scale to see if you’ve lost weight. Your clothes will start to fit better, and it’ll be easier to lose weight and keep that weight off.
If your goal is weight loss, then, you have to identify where the roadblocks to your body functioning as it should show up in your life. A few of those roadblocks being stress, inflammation, hormone imbalances, and your lifestyle. Your body works like a Swiss watch—each gear or system impacting the others.
Dorland’s Medical defines stress as:
“a physical or psychological stimulus that can produce mental or physiological reactions that may lead to illness. Technically speaking, stress is a disruption of homeostasis (balance), which may be triggered by alarming experiences, either real or imaginary. Stress can be physical, chemical, or emotional.”
Stress can make you sicker than just about anything else. The thing is, it doesn’t matter so much what the stressor is. For one person, a dog could be a source of anxiety. For another, a dog is a source of stress relief. Exercise can be a stressor to one person, and a healthy stress release to another. It’s not what the stressor is, it’s that the thing is a stressor and how your body responds to it.
What is Inflammation, and How Does It Connect to Weight Loss?
Inflammation leads to more weight gain than anything else on the planet. What causes inflammation? Traumas, toxins, and thoughts. Traumas are things that happen physically, such as bad posture or not being allowed to recover from something strenuous. What happens when you hurt yourself—twist your ankle, stub your toe, get a bug bite, etc.? The brain sends messages to the body, and tells it that the trauma needs to be taken care of. The spot gets red and swollen—held immobile and serving as a signal that the injury needs time and space to heal.
The same thing happens within your body. If you eat something you’re allergic to and it triggers a response, your immune system targets it. The inflammation flares up and serves as a beacon for the immune system. If you have enough inflammation, it can easily show itself as excess weight.
Hormone Imbalances and Weight Loss
Hormones can directly affect weight loss and weight gain.
For women, stress is the biggest impact on the delicate hormone balance. Cortisol is the stress hormone, and when a woman experiences chronic stress, that hormone skyrockets, leaving massive imbalances in its wake. A man’s system is mostly affected by sugar, as sugar converts testosterone to estrogen.
Hormone imbalances can lead to multiple problems, excess weight among them. All hormones come from cholesterol. If you stop eating cholesterol—which is what most of us are told to do these days—your body can’t easily make the hormones it needs. Anytime your body isn’t readily given what it needs, it starts to make do and create it within. What, then, produces hormones? Fat. If your body doesn’t receive cholesterol to make hormones, then, it clings to fat, which produces them. Trying to lose weight if your hormones are out of balance, then, becomes just about impossible.
The Food We Eat
Of course, the food we eat has a massive impact on weight and weight loss, but not the way you might think it does at first blush.
We’re told that the way we should adjust eating for weight loss is to simply eat less. While this makes sense on paper, it’s not so simple in practice. The amount you eat matters less than what you eat. Our bodies are made to digest real food—what you’d find in nature. Lean meats, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts. Fast food isn’t real food—it’s chemicals designed to fool your brain into thinking it’s food. It cannot, however, fool your body.
The Wellness Way did an experiment, at one point. We bought a burger from a popular fast food franchise, put it out on a shelf, and just let it sit. Over a decade later, it hadn’t changed much at all, except for the bun starting to cave in a little. Your body isn’t made to be able to break that down—it can’t gain nutrients from these imposter “foods”.
Within the realm of “real food,” there are also a few things to watch out for. Namely, allergies. Most people think that if a food doesn’t cause you to swell up or feel tingly, it’s not an allergy. This isn’t true. An allergy is simply a substance that got into your blood stream at one point, and that your immune system marked as an intruder. It sent antibodies to fight it, and those antibodies are now in your body’s database, ready to be summoned any time that substance shows back up. This, again causes inflammation.
Of course, the reason we lean toward fast food is that it’s fast and easy. Eating real food and preparing meals free of allergens can be daunting at first, but it doesn’t have to be hard.
To find out more, check out The Wellness Way on YouTube. To get your hormones, stress, or allergies tested, and get started on your own healthy weight loss journey, contact a Wellness Way Clinic today!