Summer is a time of celebration, freedom, and joy. Americans recognize July 4th as the day marking their country’s independence. Unfortunately, there is still a powerful enemy threatening the life, liberty, and happiness of U.S. citizens. Over the past two decades, the adult obesity rate has doubled. Nearly 60 million people, equaling about 30% of the adult population, are obese. There are numerous contributors to this issue but there are also many solutions.
By understanding what is causing the body to retain excess body fat, what needs to be done to resolve it, and implementing techniques to improve weight loss, we can celebrate independence from weight in addition to the country’s freedom this 4th of July.
Fat is frequently demonized as a substance that does nothing but slow the body down and harm one’s health. Although this is true in excess levels, fat is actually critical for healthy bodily function. This naturally occurring substance can be divided into three general categories: organ protecting fat, easily utilized fat, and stubborn fat located in the stomach, hips, and thighs. If one is actively trying to remove excess fat but is seeing little to no result after multiple months of healthy diet and exercise, they may have an underlying condition that is inhibiting weight loss.
Basal Metabolic Rate
The body’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) controls how many calories are burned while at rest. Reckless or chronic starvation dieting can cause one’s BMR to drop significantly, meaning that they burn fewer calories overall. Furthermore, dieting of this nature can cause one’s BMR to stay reduced even after returning to a normalized diet. If one is experiencing inconsistent energy levels and has seen no weight loss results from proper diet and exercise, their BMR may be malfunctioning.
Leptin is a protein hormone that is a major component of weight regulation, metabolism, and energy intake. Part of this hormone’s responsibilities includes telling the body whether it should be storing or burning fat. Those who are leptin resistant are less capable of responding to these signals meaning that the body frequently continues to store fat even if leptin levels increase.
Leptin resistance can cause hypothyroidism at the cellular level, reduced secretion of TSH, inhibited T4 to T3 conversion, and increased Reverse T3 levels. Obese individuals frequently experience leptin resistance. Furthermore, those who consume processed foods and sugars, have nutrient deficiencies, and fatty acid imbalances often have poor leptin signaling.
Malfunctioning Set Point
The body has a physiologically established weight range that it tries to maintain. This parameter is called the set point. Much like the BMR, the body’s set point can be shifted through improper dieting. The set point can also be altered by numerous medications, thereby inhibiting weight loss.
Medications that negatively impact the set point include:
- Mood modulators
- Anti-seizure and pain medications, which increase insulin production
- SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors)
- Blood pressure medications
- And others
The thyroid is necessary for numerous bodily functions but perhaps its most notable trait is its power over the metabolism. An underactive thyroid causes a condition known as hypothyroidism, which can cause a variety of symptoms including depression, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and weight gain. Improper conversion, production, or balance of thyroid hormones can cause dysfunction that results in unwanted weight gain. There are other contributors that can cause one to develop hypothyroidism as well.
Iodine is critical for proper thyroid function because it is needed for constructing thyroid hormones. Reduced iodine levels can affect not only one’s ability to lose weight, but also cause malfunction throughout the body. The most reliable method for testing one’s iodine levels is through urine tests.
Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is one cause of hypothyroidism. This autoimmune condition causes the body’s natural defenses to turn on the thyroid and deal irreparable damage to it. This causes long-lasting thyroid malfunction resulting in hypothyroidism.
Liberation from Weight Gainers
Without recognizing underlying conditions, such as thyroid malfunction, dysfunctional BMR, or elevated set point, there is little hope of resolution. Symptoms of these conditions can manifest as vague frustrations that aren’t causing any immediate damage. However, the long-term weight gain and seemingly subtle damage to one’s body caused by underlying conditions can compound into severe health issues. Fortunately, there are ways to support healthy weight loss and combat these conditions.
Following a well-balanced diet can improve leptin and insulin resistance and rebalance a dysfunctional set point. A primary concern in modern diets is the overconsumption of processed foods, including sugars and grains. These foods promote inflammation in the body, which can cause autoimmune responses, leptin and insulin resistance, and thyroid dysfunction, all of which cause one to gain weight.
Recent studies have found that intermittent fasting may be a particularly effective method of losing weight for those with hormonal imbalance, inflammation, and autoimmune disorders. Data from these studies have shown that, unlike crash diets or chronic dieting, intermittent fasting does not cause long-lasting damage on one’s metabolism. A 2013 study presented in the British Journal of Diabetes and Vascular Disease showed that intermittent fasting may help prevent diabetes, heart disease, reduce blood pressure, and reduce insulin levels, which can be a significant boon for achieving one’s weight loss goals.
Treatment with human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) can be hugely beneficial in safely resolving weight issues related to thyroid malfunction, insulin resistance, and others similar conditions. HCG promotes the production of other hormones and activates difficult to utilize fat stores like those in the stomach, hips, and thighs. Careful and monitored usage of HCG can allow one to safely reduce their caloric intake to levels near 500 kcal per day because the body is able to tap into those hard to crack fat stores. It is not surprising that one is able to comfortably live on so few calories per day during HCG treatment periods because one pound of fat contains 3500 calories. HCG treatments should only be done under the supervision of a trusted physician.
Free Yourself from Unwanted Weight
If one has been practicing healthy dietary and exercise habits but losing weight still seems like an unwinnable war, it is possible that an underlying condition is inhibiting weight loss. Testing for and recognizing the presence of any of the unhealthy weight promoters such as a defunct BMR, thyroid dysfunction, hormonal resistances, is the first step in liberating oneself from unwanted weight. This July, celebrate our nation’s independence and your own freedom from excess weight by taking the appropriate steps to understand and treat underlying conditions that may be hiding just out of view.