Losing Weight the Healthy Way
People frequently enroll in a Stronger-Leaner-Better Personal Program to lose weight, increase their energy levels, and feel better. They’ve usually tried the classic combination of calorie restriction and excess cardio. Their diets often include a lot of shakes, bars, and other processed foods. This approach frequently leads to short term weight loss, followed by the inevitable rebound. Once the rebound occurs, frustration sets in, followed by another bout of calorie restriction and cardio.
The reality is that this tired old approach doesn’t work because it doesn’t address the underlying function of three key body systems.
If you want to finally lose weight and keep it off in a healthy way, you need an integrated approach to getting fit. For most people there is no simple, single solution for losing weight, all three body systems need to be addressed along with a program incorporating intelligent exercise and lifestyle changes. If you’re using fad diets and spending mindless hours in the gym, you’ll eventually hit the wall.
The three body systems and their role in healthy weight loss
The three body systems are:
1. The hormonal system
2. The digestive system
3. The detoxification system
The hormonal system regulates your metabolic rate and controls how you burn body fat. The digestive system provides you with the nutrients you need to burn body fat. And the detoxification system helps keep you from storing excess fat.
Most weight problems are brought on by years of poor lifestyle choices such as eating crappy processed foods and not getting enough sleep. These lifestyle issues add up to hormone imbalances, digestive trouble, and detoxification problems.
The Hormonal System
Most weight gain can be traced to the adrenal hormones, known also as the stress hormones. The adrenal hormone cortisol, best known for its pivotal role in responding to stress, also promotes the burning of body fat, helps regulate emotions, and counters inflammation – all part of the body’s “fight or flight” response to threatening situations.
Cortisol levels rise under stress, but if stress continues without enough rest for recovery, which is common these days, the adrenal glands become exhausted and cortisol levels drop. This has a chain-reaction impact on metabolism, slowing down your metabolic rate. The result: a fatter you. The more stress you’re under, the more body fat you store.
With stress, a surge of cortisol prepares the body to fight off an attack or flee. For millennia this mechanism operated under conditions that would be followed by long periods of rest and full recovery. Today, however, we are essentially locked in a 24/7 “fight or flight” state. Poor diets, lack of exercise and sleep, and long work hours leave your body in a chronic state of stress, with many restorative functions perpetually lagging behind.
Adrenal exhaustion leaves people feeling lethargic and fatigued. It also impacts:
Muscle and joint function, leading to a series of aches, pains, and injuries.
Sleep quality, causing trouble falling asleep and staying asleep
Immune function, resulting frequent colds and/or illness
Reversing adrenal burnout requires a well-designed exercise program, improved sleep habits and stress reduction. If left unchecked, fluctuations in cortisol have a profound impact on the sex hormones, leading to problems in women such as PMS, and to low sex drive in both women and men.
The Digestive System
The second body system, the digestive system is sometimes referred to as the “mother” system because it feeds your body the nutrients you need to function. A perfectly functioning digestive system is an important first step in any weight loss program, as your body needs to absorb proteins, key vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids to properly regulate metabolism and burn fat. In many patients I have treated, weight gain has been connected to hidden infections in the GI tract.
Sensitivity to gluten (found in many grains) is the most common food reaction triggering hormone imbalance and weight gain, yet it often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. If untreated, gluten intolerance can bring low energy, depression, obesity, and diabetes as well as high risk of osteoporosis.
The Detoxification System
Detoxification pathways remove harmful chemicals generated from normal body functions such as physical exertion and breathing. If you are taking in more toxins than you can flush out through the liver, kidneys, stool, and skin, you will have a backlog of waste products in the body that can cause a number of symptoms including fatigue, skin problems, irritability and poor concentration or memory.
Toxic build-up also leads to weight loss resistance. Toxins are stored in fat tissue in your body. People who are overweight will hold on to fat tissue tenaciously in an attempt to protect the body from the damage that would be caused by the release of these stored toxins.
Toxins build up in the body as by-products of what you consume including alcohol, prescription drugs and over the counter medications. Additionally in your daily life you are exposed to environmental toxins in the air, water and food supply. These chemicals accumulate over the course of your life and contribute to over-burdening the liver detoxification pathways.
Improving the Three Systems
All three body systems – hormonal, digestive, and detoxification – can be improved by applying the principles of the Stronger-Leaner-Better Programs. Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Reduce stress with relaxing activities like yoga, tai chi and walking. Make sure you get enough high quality protein (3-5 ounces) at each meal. Look for lean, all-natural meats as your primary protein source.
And last but not least get regular exercise. All of these sensible approaches let your 3 key systems heal and rebalance themselves.
I’ve written 33 Days to a Stronger-Leaner-Better You to help more people apply this approach to healthy weight loss. The 33 Day program is a step-by-step, day by day to changing the way you look, the way you feel, and the way you live. It addresses the 4 fundamental pieces of a healthy lifestyle: nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress. It’s a great starting point for building a Stronger-Leaner-Better you. The 33 Day program is in the final stages of production, and will be available within the next few weeks.
It certainly takes some honest-to-goodness work to get to the root causes of weight gain. And it takes some commitment to apply a lasting solution. But what better reward is there than a Stronger-Leaner-Better you?