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14 Feb 2017 By AMC

Struggling to Lose Weight?

Weight loss is probably the most popular New Year’s resolution in Australia. But what are the success rates? Weight loss is not as simple as it once was (energy in verse energy out). We now understand that weight loss is a complex process and often there are a number of obstacles that must be considered. Below I have listed some of the more common roadblocks to weight loss.

Blood sugar dysfunction:

Your blood sugar levels will fluctuate throughout the day, changing with the foods you eat, timing of your meals and activities that you do. A drop in blood sugar levels will stimulate a hunger or craving for fast energy, otherwise known as sugar. Consumption of these fast-energy foods can result in fat storage, high cholesterol, mood swings and digestive issues. Continued consumption of these foods will result in further blood sugar dysregulation (prompting more sugar cravings/hunger) and can often lead to insulin resistance and eventually diabetes.

Solution: Speak to the naturopaths at the Australian Menopause Centre to identify if this is a problem for you.

Insulin resistance:

Insulin resistance can be defined as “The diminished ability of cells to respond to the action of insulin in transporting glucose (sugar) from the bloodstream into muscle and other tissues”. This means that a higher production of insulin is required to effectively communicate with and utilise glucose.

Insulin resistance makes fat loss particularly difficult as high insulin levels inhibit the metabolic pathway that allows the body’s fat stores to be burnt. Further to this, individuals with insulin resistance do not burn their food properly, making them feel tired and making weight loss extremely challenging.

Solution: Speak to the naturopaths at the Australian Menopause Centre to identify if this is a problem for you.

Inflammation

Excessive or persistent inflammation leads to tissue destruction, disease and weight gain. Reducing inflammation is an absolutely vital step in allowing the body to lose unwanted fat. Studies have shown that elevated levels of inflammatory cytokines predict future weight gain[1]. Infusion of inflammatory cytokines into healthy, normal weight mice caused insulin resistance. Until recently, fat was considered an inert tissue with no biological activity. We now know that fat is a metabolically active endocrine organ that secretes hormones and inflammatory cytokines. Long story short, chronic inflammation impairs the body’s ability to communicate with our fat burning hormones. Further to this, excessive fat storage (obesity) drives and adds to this inflammation.

Solution: Speak to the naturopaths at the Australian Menopause Centre to identify if this is a problem for you.

Cortisol:

Cortisol is a ‘fight or flight’ hormone that is released every time you are stressed by anything. The immediate response to cortisol includes increased energy, mental clarity and heightened responses, increasing your chances of surviving that stressor. Part of cortisol’s purpose is to then replenish your energy after exerting yourself through fighting or fleeing your perceived threat. Cortisol affects your weight in two ways. Firstly cortisol is released whether or not your stressor requires you to physically respond. Many of our modern stressors involve sitting and stewing and rarely involve running or fighting. This means that the delayed hunger that cortisol produces will fill the body with excess calories rather than replenish the calories that were perceived to have been spent. Secondly, while in the initial stage of the cortisol response, the fight or flight stage, the body will not stimulate any fat burning processes as this fat is considered to be a critical energy supply. Unfortunately, there are lots of chronically stressed people who move from the first response to the second response and back again, too regularly.

Solution: Speak to the naturopaths at the Australian Menopause Centre to identify if this is a problem for you.

Thyroid:

Your thyroid sets the speed of your metabolism. If your thyroid is under functioning or sluggish, so is your metabolism and therefore your fat burning. This leads to stubborn fat and challenging weight loss. Your thyroid can often be sluggish without being ‘obviously abnormal’ in your pathology results. Additional symptoms, history and further test results can often indicate your thyroid health.

Solution: Speak to the naturopaths at the Australian Menopause Centre to identify if this is a problem for you.

Menopause:

Menopause is a time of sex hormone dysregulation. This dysregulation can often lead to dysregulation of other hormones within the body; particularly the thyroid hormones and insulin. Menopause is a time of change women will need to embrace with an open mind and educated brain. Certain dietary and lifestyle habits will need to be adjusted to suit their hormonal changes. Left unchanged, menopause can often lead to weight gain.

Solution: Speak to the naturopaths at the Australian Menopause Centre to identify if this is a problem for you.

Toxins:

Toxins are substances that can be harmful to the environment and to human health if inhaled, swallowed or absorbed through the skin. Ideally toxins are neutralised and eliminated from the body efficiently. If the body can not immediately neutralise the toxin it will store the toxin within a fat cell, isolating it, reducing it from causing any further damage. When a person loses weight or burns fat, this toxin is released back into the system before being neutralised or stored within another fat cell. If a person was to lose a significant amount of weight and they are quite toxic, i.e. fat cells can contain a stored toxin, they will need to neutralise the toxin, or it will remain reactive until the body can neutralise it. When this occurs, the body would rather make more fat cells from whatever food is being consumed than let the toxin loose to cause more damage. This can often lead to a plateau situation.

Solution: Speak to the naturopaths at the Australian Menopause Centre to identify if this is a problem for you.

If any of these roadblocks for weight loss sound familiar to you, please let us know so that we can investigate and develop a dietary, lifestyle and supplementary treatment plan for you.

[1] Engstrom G, et al. 2003, Inflammation-Sensitive Plasm Proteins Are Associated With Future Weight Gain, Published in Diabetes Journal, Vol 52, August 2003