EAT ANYTHING YOU WANT AND LOSE WEIGHT
By Dr. Jon Repole, D.C., N.C., H.H.P., C.P.T.
I was at the gym the other day and a TV advertisement came on boasting, “Eat anything you want and lose weight.” Nothing was off limits! Cheeseburgers, cakes, breads, desserts, alcohol, candy and the like were all on the menu.
Because the issue, according to the advertisement, was more to do about how you combine various foods and control your blood sugar rather than about the quality of the food itself. And, of course, there were dozens of before and after pictures of customers who were so happy about their results and overjoyed with the fact that they didn’t have to change any of their previously held unhealthy food choices or lifestyle behaviors. Sounds like a prescription and representation of our society’s quick-fix mentality.
My initial thoughts were – did the distributors of this propaganda really believe this was an effective and ethical strategy for weight loss? Or did they all just lose their way in the capitalistic mentality of making money “no matter what the cost” regardless of the advice.
This brings us to our first common sense dictum in the ever increasing world of weight loss confusion, “Your intention and focus should not be on weight loss to become healthy but rather a focus and desire to obtain health and ultimately the weight loss will follow.” Excess weight is a symptom (the smoke) ringing a bell to warn you to look deeper for causality. The goal, therefore, is to find the cause (the fire) and smother its deleterious effects on our body’s physiology.
The most common assumption is that gluttony and slothfulness causes obesity. In other words, when we look at someone who is overweight, we oftentimes assume that they are inactive, lazy and over-eating. Although there is a lot of weight-related issues surrounding these problems – this does not come close to painting the entire picture.
I hope we can all agree that the most important place to start is with our diet and lifestyle. I will refer to these as our core foundations. Thus, if gluttony and slothfulness are the true causes, then the aforementioned anecdotes/foundations will, in turn, become the cure.
For the remainder of this post, however, I would like to focus my attention "above" the fundamentals and look to other areas that have not been given their respectful due diligence.
OUR RELATIONSHIP TO FOOD
Our relationship to the food we eat is, for some people, a mirror to our overall relationship with life itself. The following questions can serve as examples:
- Do you eat with awareness (where does my food come from)? Do you live with awareness? Do you question your daily choices?
- Do you eat in the present moment? Do you eat on the run? Do you live in the present moment? Are you always living for tomorrow?
- Do you eat to live? Or live to eat? Are you eating dirty pleasures? Are you addicted to certain foods? Are you living just to get through the day? Are you addicted to your current circumstance? Relationship?
- Do you eat for self-love? Do you eat to suppress pain? To suppress guilt? Do you take time to nurture yourself throughout the day with activities that will fuel your soul? Are you the archetypal caregiver?
For example, Jenny a 42 year-old mom, rushes to get her breakfast down while driving in the car. The type of foods she selects is not taken into consideration simply because what matters most to her is not the “health” of the food but rather whether it is quick, easy and convenient so that it won’t make a mess as she drives to work. During her work day, her mind travels to the thousands of errands awaiting her in the evening and on the weekend. She tries to stay present with her work but simply can’t wait until the clock rings to signal her break and later to go home. On her way home she is so distracted with her thoughts and is in a mad rush to pick up dinner, get home, and eat. Once home, she becomes supermom and frantically rushes to take care of the kids and finish with household chores so she can go to bed and start again the following morning - the typical "Groundhog's Day."
As we can see with the above example, Jenny’s relationship with life is exactly the same relationship she has with her food – eating on the run (not living in the present moment), eating to live (living to get by), not nurturing her body with healthy foods (not nurturing her soul with self-care activities and quality time with family).
Food is not about calories. Food is information. Dr. Gabriel Cousens calls food, “a love letter from God.” We need to eat with acknowledgement that the food we choose dictates the conversations it will have with every cell, tissue, organ and ultimately our genes through the hands of epigenetics (influence of environment on gene expression).
So the take home – begin looking at your relationship with food and treat it with the respect it deserves. It offers us a window into aging gracefully, increasing longevity, and participating in the mysteries and interconnectedness of all life. Eating is actually more intimate than sexual intercourse – simply because we literally become that which we eat. Therefore, don’t forget – if you put junky food in, you make a junky body! If you put health food in, you make a healthy body!
Lastly, we must try and move our relationship away from subtraction towards addition. Most people concentrate all their mind’s attention like a laser on all the bad and unhealthy foods they must give up – they see their relationship with food as DEPRIVATION. We must, however, focus our attention on the concept of "addition" – as we choose healthier foods we are literally shouting life-giving affirmations to our body.
HORMONES (THE ROAD BLOCKS)
If you have been struggling with your weight for years, it is important to obtain diagnostics to look at some of the following hormones in an effort to help you with unlocking the hormonal code.
Adrenals and Cortisol: Cortisol, the stress hormone, is produced by the adrenal glands and whether it is low or high it will, in turn, interfere with your chances of being able to lose weight. In addition, when it is out of homeodynamics it can also disrupt blood sugar, thyroid hormone conversions, sleep patterns, ability to gain muscle and much more! A significant portion of our physiological stress signaling is inherited through our consumption of factory farmed animal products and the imprinted macro and micro physical and metaphysical toxins that permeate their flesh (animals produce cortisol in much the same way we do) due to horrid mistreatment. We then ingest the meat along with the hormones.
Insulin and the Pancreas: Insulin is produced by the pancreas and is directly related to sugar metabolism. When insulin levels are elevated, sugar levels elevate and this drives metabolic pathways for lipogenesis (fat generation and accumulation). In addition, insulin resistance can lead to a host of problems including heart disease and diabetes.
Thyroid: The thyroid glands produces what we will collectively call the thyroid hormones which directs our body’s metabolism. With decreased production of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism), our metabolism will slow and our weight will increase. Most conventional testing does NOT go far enough in looking for the most common causes of hypothyroidism called autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s) or subclinical hypothyroidism (a diagnosis whereby you have all the signs/symptoms of thyroid dysfunction but the labs are coming back “normal.") You must insist on having your doctor run a complete thyroid panel including thyroid antibodies.
Imbalances in Leptin, Adinopectin, and Ghrelin: Leptin, the satiety hormone, regulates energy balance by inhibiting hunger. Adinopectin is produced by adipose tissue (fat cells) and is similar to leptin. The two hormones seem to perform complementary actions with synergistic effects. Ghrelin, is the hunger hormone, which regulates energy balance by increasing hunger. When the three hormones are out of sync, a condition called leptin resistance can follow leading to an inability to detect satiety despite high caloric intake.
Stretch and Nutrient Receptors: Although not technically hormones, they do play a critical role in our body’s signaling mechanisms. When our stomach is sufficiently “stretched” (by intact whole foods rich in fiber) a signal is sent to the brain as part of a feedback loop and, in turn, helps to convey satiety. Nutrient receptors can be likened to baseball gloves and nutrients to baseballs. Imagine, all your vitamins and minerals (from fruits and vegetables) to be the baseballs whereas the gloves are likened to receptors along the small intestines (where nutrients are absorbed). If you eat high nutrient dense foods (such as whole plant foods) all the gloves will be filled and once again a signal will be sent to the brain to convey satiety and the like. So now we can catch a glimpse into how processed foods (stripped of their nutrients and fiber) and animal products (lacking phytonutrients and fiber) can easily be overeaten despite the fact we are consuming increased calories. They are in fact nutrient poor (unable to fill the baseball gloves) and lacking bulk/fiber (unable to participate in “stretching”).
Toxins are stored in adipose tissue (fat). If the body is functioning efficiently then the pesticides, for example, in the foods we eat will follow along the digestive system (as intended) and ultimately find their way to the liver for processing (called Phase 1 and 2 Detox reactions) to ultimately be excreted by the body. If, however, there are not enough nutrients (fruits and veggies), increased stressors, and other deleterious factors – the liver will be unable to cope with the onslaught and as a protective mechanism will initiate storage of these toxins to the fat cells in order to “deal with it on a rainy day.” After decades of poor dietary and lifestyle choices, the fat tissue no longer feels safe (not having a healthy environment to deal with excretion) to release the toxicity. For each year that passes, the fat/toxin storage mechanisms become stronger and stronger and holds on the toxins like prized possessions. They are protecting the body because they know that if they were to release the toxins, the liver would be unable to cope and the toxicity, in turn, would wreak havoc on other parts of the body.
The answer, of course, is to make the body feel safe by targeted detoxing, elimination of processed foods, elimination of animal products (highest on the food chain and thus, highest in toxins), embracing a whole foods plant-based diet, along with various lifestyle modifications. In time, the storage signals will loosen and the toxins will release and the fat stores decrease.
The number one cause of disease, in general, has been linked to systemic inflammation. Weight gain is NO EXCEPTION. By far, the number one way to decrease the inflammatory load on the body is by elimination of processed foods, animal flesh, and animal secretions. Again, adhering to a whole foods plant-based diet is the secret to success!
The gut is the seat of our health. Make sure to look into possible areas such as: leaky gut (intestinal permeability), food sensitivities, biotoxins (yeast, bacteria, parasites, etc.) by having your doctor order a CDSA (Complete Digestive Stool Analysis).
Step 1: Get your mind right, bring awareness to your life, and give yourself a strong enough WHY by focusing on intrinsic rather that extrinsic goals
Step 2: Most people look in the mirror and don’t believe they can actually lose weight! Their negative self-talk actually dictates a cocktail of hormones and neurotransmitters that signal the body to hold onto weight. This is an act of facilitation through a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. It is an addictive pattern of self-loathing. Begin to look in the mirror and say, “I am in the process of becoming healthy to fulfill my ideal weight.”
Step 3: Detoxification that targets the toxic fat.
Step 4: Whole Foods Plant-Based Diet
Step 5: Addressing the Road Blocks. Make sure to obtain the correct hormonal and GI-related diagnostics, for example, to gain a complete picture of your body’s distress signals.
Step 6: Lifestyle and Behavior Modifications such as starting an exercise program.