Overweight and obesity is a serious problem for Americans, and it’s at the root of some our more serious degenerative disease. But has it become so pervasive we are beginning to ignore it? Has overweight become the new “normal”? Patient comment: “I know, I’m overweight – but who isn’t?” or “I need to lose weight; I try but nothing seems to work…”
Are we resigned to our overweight and obese status? If the only problem was the size of jeans to purchase, it wouldn’t really matter. What makes overweight and obesity a health care epidemic is its direct association with conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, and impotency.
Why? When the body is overweight the very nature of our fat cells alter. They change from inert, rather harmless entities, to substances of downright destruction. When our fat cells grow larger, they release toxins and inflammatory substances. The fat cells themselves literally explode spewing out destructive chemicals. It sounds like a war, doesn’t it? It is! It’s an inflammatory cesspool and the longer it continues the more degenerative disease is created.
A mere 10 extra pounds of belly fat creates a negative health impact. Butt and thigh weight is different from belly fat, at least from a health perspective. It is called “brown fat” and it’s considered stable fat because it doesn’t infiltrate into your organs creating disease the way belly fat does.
Health Tip: Are you carrying excess pounds in your belly? Measure your waist – women should be less than 30 inches and men should be under 35 inches.
Are you having trouble losing weight? Do you often feel hungry or unsatisfied after a meal?
It’s next to impossible to shed the pounds when your body feels hungry and is demanding more food. Why might this occur? The body produces a hormone called leptin, it’s your satiety hormone, signaling your brain of a full stomach. It’s easy to not be tempted by more food when you’re feeling full and satisfied. However, there can come a point where the body no longer listens to leptin. In the presence of obesity, a resistance to leptin can occur whereby the body ignores leptin’s message and you continue to feel hungry despite a full tummy. This occurs when a high simple carbohydrate diet and/or excess calories has lead to a state of obesity. Excess fat in the body has created this nightmare scenario – hunger despite having eating adequate calories. Good news, however, there is a solution!
We’ve all had the experience when we’ve heard a car alarm go off. At first it gets our attention, but if it continues to go off, you begin to ignore it. The same thing is occurring with excess weight. The brain has simply come to ignore the leptin signals after a while.
Excess fat in the body can create all of the following:
• Inflammation – a precursor to most degenerative diseases
• Accelerates aging – the brain’s of obese individuals appeared 16 years older than healthy controls.
• Decreased brain and mental function with a potential of developing Alzheimer’s – called Type 3 Diabetes.
• Opposes the hormone insulin, resulting in weight gain and likelihood of diabetes
• Increases your stress hormone response, causing you to deal less well with stress
• Weakens your immune system, leading to a variety of potential disease states
• A resistance to leptin so you frequently feel hungry
• Shortening your lifespan
The above is a scary list, I know. But there truly is good news – we can reverse these tendencies beginning with a healthy lifestyle and diet. Some targeted healthy changes in lifestyle that promote healthy eating, truly can result in an ideal weight and decreasing your risk for the above conditions.
Where should you start?
Cease and desist consuming highly processed or fast food. Food scientists are clever. They have “engineered” such foods to be highly addictive. The reward center of the brain is affected by sugar in a similar fashion as certain drugs such as cocaine, pot, nicotine and alcohol. It is their effect on the brain that results in our addiction. Sugar is so highly addictive that when rats who were already addicted to cocaine were given the option of choosing sugar, 94% of them chose the latter, meaning it was even better at “rewarding” their brain and supporting their addiction.
Have you ever been addicted to sugar? I have, and I’m here to tell you it can be reversed.
Don’t adopt a “cheat” day or eat unhealthy during the weekend. I’m sorry; I know this is popular, but unfortunately one day of poor eating alters the brain’s signaling. Did you know that type 2 diabetes can be cured in a matter of weeks solely through dietary change? How is that possible?
A truly healthy diet literally affects the expression of thousands of your genes, regulates the function of tens of thousands of protein networks, and enhances dozens of hormones, all with the potential outcome of preventing, curing and even reversing most chronic diseases. What can a bad diet do for you? Exactly the opposite. Can it be that simple? Yes, it truly can.
Above I referred to reversing diabetes within just a few weeks. Did you know an individual receiving a gastric bypass due to morbid obesity can reverse their diabetes within just a few days? Is it from weight loss? No, not within such a short time span, but what has occurred is a dramatic change in quality and quantity of food, and that alone is enough to result in the genetic and hormonal changes mentioned above. It’s difficult to believe food can be that powerful, but this has been proven in research. What you choose to put on the end of your fork truly moves you toward or away from disease; from shortening your life or extending it, that is the power of food.
Unfortunately, we cannot believe what we hear from the media regarding food and what’s healthy vs. not. A misinformation campaign was launched by Coca Cola to confuse consumers about sugar’s association with obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary, they promoted the message that as long as you exercised adequately the types of calories you consumed didn’t matter. The takeaway was Coke, meaning sugar, was a part of a healthy lifestyle… Please don’t believe it.
The “studies” they quote as supporting their statements turned out to be funded by Coca-Cola itself, in the guise of their front group, The Global Energy Balance. For more on such deceitful practices read my blog “Why Do Doctors Push Drugs?”. Coke not only funded the studies but donated to the universities leaders of The Global Energy Balance are employed, to the tune of millions.
Trust me when I tell you there is no reason to ever include sodas, high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners in your healthy diet plan. I’d recommend a zero tolerance policy.
Consider intermittent fasting during part of your day. It’s not as scary as it sounds, but calorie restriction during a 14 to 16 hour period each day has a long list of positive health benefits associated with it. Calorie restriction is not recommended for children, women trying to get pregnant or if you have unstable blood sugar. I personally follow an intermittent fasting regimen most days and feel great.
Research cites the following benefits associated with being slender:
• The brains of slender individuals appeared almost a decade younger than those of “normal” weight
• Ability to handle stress improves
• Many organs function better, including heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and immune system
• Stronger libido
• More fertile
• Slows the aging process
• Life extension
• Enjoy life more
Exercise is a must. Find a form of exercise(s) you enjoy, or can grow to enjoy, and involve yourself with it 5 days per week for at least 3 to 4 hours total. Human bodies require exercise to maintain health and a proper weight and there really is no substitute for getting out and moving.
Feed your 10 trillion friends!
Did you know the microbiome, otherwise known as the good bacteria in your gut, can affect your weight through changing your metabolism?
Did you know thinner individuals have different organisms in their gut as compared to those who are overweight?
The microbiome is incredible and when you consider their are ten times more organisms in your gut than there are cells in your body, you begin to appreciate there is much yet to be learned about it.
Something we do know for sure is that what you eat affects the health of your microbiome. Specifically consuming organic fruits, vegetables, beans and resistant starch (learn more about resistant starch in the blog “Starch You Don’t Have to Resist”) provides healthy fuel to feed your gut flora.
Have you heard of Splenda’s not so “splendid” side effect. Much like certain drugs and antibiotics, this artificial sweeteners destroys your gut flora. Is that why the associate has been made between artificial sweeteners and weight gain? Perhaps.
Many patients ask if they can simply do a detox a few times per year that will negate all the bad food they’ve eaten. Unfortunately your body and digestive tracts can not be treated like a clogged pipe to which you add “drano” to clean it out. The body is a complex and miraculous machine and it needs to be treated with respect on a daily basis in order to maintain good health and optimal weight. You may not like to hear that, but I do always promise to tell you the truth and that is the truth as we know it right now.
A healthy weight comes from a healthy lifestyle and there are no “tricks” or shortcuts. We are happy to sensibly discover the best program for your body, taking into account your genetic makeup, while avoiding dangerous weight loss drugs. The “quick fix” weight loss “solutions” sound too good to be true because they are – lose weight sensibly; it’s the only healthy way to do it.
Is you health not to the level you desire? Would you like some help in achieving your ideal weight or body function?
Consider contacting us for a FREE consultation – call 408-733-0400. We’re here to help!
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To your fabulous health,
Dr Vikki Petersen, DC, CCN, CFMP
Founder of HealthNOW Medical Center
Author of “The Gluten Effect”