Are diets the answer?Most of us also know that there are an endless number of "diets" out there, each claiming to be the best diet for weight loss and or promoting a long, full and healthy life. But how many people start these diets, progress to a point and then put all their weight back on a again - plus some? And how many people actually enjoy being on these diets? Well one reason these diets don't work is because they are not addressing the CAUSES of the obesity.
Calorie restriction alone is not the answerHere are 5 reasons why many of us find it difficult to lose excess body fat and keep it off:
- Believing that dietary fat is responsible for making you fat. In short, it is not fat but sugar that makes you fat. Clever marketing by big junk food companies has ingrained this belief in society.
- Lack of physical exercise. This is a no brainer. We are meant to be physically active - everyday. Body fat is the body's preferred fuel source for us to burn during physical work. It yields twice the energy that fat or protein yield when burned for fuel. So we have been provided with sophisticated storage, release and transport mechanisms for fat.
- Some degree of reduced insulin sensitivity (also called insulin resistance). Insulin is a hormone whose job is to allow the body to use blood sugar by letting the blood sugar into the body cells. It is also a "storage" hormone and is responsible for body fat accumulation. If you consume too much sugar or refined carbohydrates, the insulin works less efficiently, leading to reduced sugar transport into cells and so less fuel for cellular energy, including in the brain. This leads to the brain thinking it is being starved of fuel. So the brain asks the pancreas to pump out more insulin. This leads to increased fat storage and leads to a vicious cycle of further reduced insulin sensitivity and further storage of fat in the tissues. Insulin levels are usually assessed when a doctor suspects diabetes, in which case insulin levels can be higher than a standard reference range. Lower levels of insulin resistance are rarely discovered because unless it is suspected you have diabetes, it will not normally be assessed. So insulin levels may be much higher than ideal, leading to constantly increased rates of fat storage, but not bad enough to be suspected of diabetes.
- Systemic toxicity. Body fat accumulation has been found to be a means that the body uses to segregate certain environmental toxins. So the higher the levels of toxins are in your body, the more likely you are to have excess body fat.
- Undiagnosed reduced metabolic rate. A sub clinically underactive thyroid (due to nutrient deficiencies, toxicity and/or inadequate testing of thyroid function) can lead to a chronically underactive metabolic rate, which can encourage excessive fat storage and reduced urge to exercise. Interestingly some environmental toxins act as "endocrine disrupters" which means they interfere with your metabolic rate in various ways. These last two points partly explain the phenomenon of "plateauing" - you lose body fat at a good rate and then suddenly the rate of fat loss drops right off. This is partly due to the toxins stored out of harm's way in your body fat are re-released into circulation and resume their metabolism disrupting effects, leading to slowed metabolic rates and re-storage of these toxins as body fat.