I know that you have probably heard as many diet fixes and calories regimens to fill a book, just as I had when I was trying for years, and to very little, if any, avail, to lose weight.
Extra pounds on the body is a phenomenon that misses very few people in our country.
So, I won’t go over all of the alleged cure-alls again here.
There is a way, though, to end the struggle with the scale without dieting, without excessive exercise, simply by eliminating some foods that are wreaking havoc on your hormones and your metabolism. I know that if you do, in fact, have a food sensitivity, the information here will be helpful to you.
I’m not talking about a temporary fix. Millions of Americans have some type of food sensitivity, and most people are unaware of it, which is sad. Trust me, I know what it is to struggle with weight loss, and I deal with it often in my health coaching practice, as well.
To begin a discussion on this important issue, let me make a few clarifying points about food sensitivities.
There a difference between a food sensitivity and an allergy.
If you have a food allergy, your immune system reacts immediately when you eat it. You may get a rash, hives, swelling, trouble breathing, or itching, or some other overt symptom. It’s all very quick. Allergic food in, outward reaction – now.
Food sensitivities are more difficult to diagnose. The adverse reaction may not be noticeable to you, and because it may not show up for a couple of days, you may not make the connection. Rather, you endure not feeling up to par and engaged with the never-ending weight struggle.
When you have a food sensitivity it causes a delayed hypersensitivity reaction anywhere from a few hours to a few days after the problematic food is eaten. This reaction, causes systemic inflammation, (and this is a key word), which leads to a range of symptoms such as weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, irritable bowel syndrome, joint pain, headaches, infertility, acne and more.
If, for example, one of the symptoms you experience is fatigue, it would be difficult to start or maintain an exercise program. Fatigue that occurs as a result of the food that you are eating requires your body to rest and recover.
There is often a relationship between sensitivities and weight problems regardless of the number of calories that are eaten or not eaten.
Under normal circumstances, your hormones will function to regulate your appetite and your metabolism. Leptin is one of these hormones, which is released after you eat. It helps you to feel satisfied and burn more calories.
When chronic inflammation is present, (because of a sensitivity), it impairs the brain’s ability to receive messages from leptin. Many people these days are leptin-resistant and are thus susceptible to many health problems. High leptin levels have been linked to things like high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, stroke, and high blood sugar problems. Some studies suggest that fertility and aging may be affected as well.
If you can’t stick you your ideal weight, the cause may be leptin resistance. Because your brain is having trouble receiving messages from leptin, you are left feeling constantly hungry and your metabolism – the rate at which your body uses calories -slows down.
Inflammation also makes your body less responsive to insulin, another hormone, and increases your risk for insulin resistance. Leptin is also directly tied to insulin levels.
Insulin resistance occurs when our cells fail to respond to the normal calling of the hormone insulin. The body produces insulin, but can’t use it effectively, which can lead to hypoglycemia.
In other words, if you have insulin resistance, you have a decreased ability to respond to insulin. To compensate, your pancreas will produce more insulin – enough so that your blood sugar leaves drop way below normal. This is hypoglycemia.
What all this means is that when you experience cravings for sugary or starchy foods, there’s a good chance that hypoglycemia is the cause, because the cycle of high and low blood sugar that often leads to overeating.
It gets worse. Not only does inflammation directly affect your appetite, cravings, and metabolism, but it also leads to symptoms such as fatigue and joint pain. This is a problem if you’re trying to make it to the gym with achy knees and are otherwise exhausted.
There are foods that are known to cause inflammation, which is the heart of many health issues, including unwanted weight and the accompanying achiness and sluggishness that goes with it. I’ll cover those culprits, and why they are troublesome, in my next newsletter/blog.