Memorial Day weekend has past and summer has unofficially begun. Now is the season to enjoy shorts, flip flops, BBQ, baseball, and the beach. Is your body beach ready? If you've slacked off on your New Year's resolutions, don't give up. There is no better time than the present to lose weight, get in shape, and regain your health.
Currently in the US, 30 percent of adults are obese, with Arkansas having the highest rate of obesity at 35.9 percent. This epidemic places tens of millions of Americans at an increased risk of complicating health factors such as, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer which cost hundreds of billions of dollars to manage every year. Our country has reached a critical point in our health and we have to make some major change in our health. The answer isn't in new drugs and better medication, it's in a shift in our lifestyle habits. Below, I have assembled my top five reasons why people struggle with weight loss and what you can do in the future to achieve success.
- Low calorie and low fat diets don't work.
Many people try low calorie and low fat diets, but let me tell you why they're not successful at achieving permanent weight loss. Whenever you drastically reduce your caloric intake, your body is going to go into survival mode. Your adrenal glands are going to secret a hormone called cortisol that is going to cause your body to store more fat. Your body will always using fat as a last resort for energy reserves. As you decrease your calories, your body is going to respond by lowering your demand for energy. In other words, your metabolism is going to slow down and make it even more difficult to lose weight. Any weight loss achieved on a low calorie diet is most likely going to be lean muscle mass. Now that your metabolism has slowed down, you will inevitably get tired of starving yourself and go back to your normal eating habits. Your body will store those increased calories as fat. This is why low calorie diets don't work.
- Healthy Hormones are the key to healthy weight loss.
Hormone imbalances in the body can lead to many negative health problems, including weight gain. There are three organs in the body that are intimately associated with your bodies ability to lose unwanted weight. These glands are the adrenal glands, thyroid gland, and your pancreas. The adrenal glands secret a hormone called cortisol, which is your bodies stress hormone. When you have too much stress in your life, you will have an excess of cortisol in your body which will cause you to store fat and make it difficult for you to lose weight. The thyroid secretes two different types of thyroid hormone that regulate your bodies metabolism. Many people in our country suffer from hypothyroidism, a decrease in thyroid hormone in the body, which causes their metabolism to slow down and their bodies to gain weight. The last organ, and probably the most important, is the pancreas. Your Pancreas secretes insulin when you consume simple carbohydrates and sugar. Insulin then delivers the carbohydrates to the cells to be stored as fat until you need the energy at a later time. However, when you consume to much sugar and have to much insulin released in your body, your cells become insulin resistant and lead to your blood sugar increasing. This can cause Type II diabetes. There are some simple ways to test if your body is suffering from hormone imbalances, and, if you are, then there are natural ways to correct the problem.
- The food you eat either fuels your body or feeds disease.
The old adage that your mother told you is true -- "You are what you eat." Your body needs over 90 essential nutrients that it cannot produce on its own. These nutrients come from the earth, not from a food science laboratory. A good rule of thumb to remember when reading nutritional labels is, if you can't pronounce whats in your food and it didn't come from the earth, then you probably don't need to eat it. Likewise, it is important to eat organic foods as much as possible and drink filtered water because there are thousands of toxic chemicals that make their way into our food and water supply that can cause serious health problems. Toxic chemicals cause free radicals in your body, which can destroy your cells and cause cancer. The body combats these toxic chemicals by surrounding them with fat, which leads to weight gain. So, just remember, next time you go to the grocery store, if it's not feeding your body, then it's fueling disease.
- Exercise is your ally.
This one is a no brainer. We are all familiar with the many numerous health benefits of exercise, but did you know that most of your bodies metabolism occurs in the muscles? This means that the more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you're going to burn. It is for this reason that it is important to include weight bearing exercise (weights, body weight exercises, strength training, etc.) into your weekly workout routine to increase your bodies lean muscle mass.
- Get out of pain.
Most people probably would not associate getting out of pain with their ability to lose weight, but this is the number one reason I see in my practice. Throughout our lives, we accumulate traumas and stress to our bodies from falling off our bikes as kids, wrestling with brothers or sister,s sports injuries, falls and car accidents. When we are younger, we can bounce back from these injuries, but, as we get older, these traumas start to manifest as pain in the body. This begins a vicious cycle of pain causing decreased activity, which leads to weight gain, which then leads to more pain. As a chiropractor ,my mission is to educate my patients on preventative things that they can do to move better without pain. Just like having routine maintenance done on your car to avoid major problems, your body needs the same attention.
If you're interested in learning more about fine tuning your body, losing weight or building strength, your care providers are your best resources. Our office doors are always open to new patients that are interested in living a healthy life. We'd like to help you achieve your goals with chiropractic care, our workshops or our new medical weight loss program.