4 Sneaky Sabateurs to Weight Loss
Forum: Ask Dennis Hardy ND
- 4 Sneaky Sabateurs to Weight Loss
RR by dennishardyND
Ask Dennis Hardy ND
4 Sneaky Sabateurs to Weight Loss
Regardless of the food plan you choose (low-carb, low-fat, low-cal), it won’t work long-term if it’s composed primarily of processed, nonorganic foods. Why? Pesticides, hormones in meat, chemical additives, pollutants, even caffeine and white sugar can tax the liver and cause you to hang on to fat. “The No. 1 reason why most people don’t lose weight on diets is because their liver is so toxic,” says Ann Louise Gittleman, Ph.D., C.N.S., author of The Fat Flush Plan (McGraw-Hill, 2001). “When the liver is overloaded by having to detoxify coffee, alcohol, pesticide residues and chemical additives in food, it dumps many of these elements into the bile. The job of bile is to metabolize fat, but when it becomes congested by toxins, it loses its ability to metabolize fat.”
What you can do: Start with a cleansing and liver-supporting diet that includes diluted unsweetened cranberry juice to detox, plus extra fiber in the form of psyllium seed husk or ground flaxseed to help bind toxins and eliminate them from your body (see “Drink to Detox” above). Build your diet around organic foods, especially fresh vegetables and fruits, and free-range beef and chicken. Add culinary herbs such as turmeric, ginger, garlic and onions for extra liver support.
Imbalances in certain hormones, especially insulin, estrogen and cortisol, can cause you to hang on to weight despite your best efforts.
Estrogen » Estrogen dominance causes the body to hoard fat, especially in the hip area; it also promotes water retention, further adding to weight problems. An estrogen imbalance is especially common during menopause, but a low-fiber diet, commercially raised beef and dairy, and too much alcohol and caffeine also encourage estrogen dominance. Additionally, chemicals in plastic wrap and plastic packaging can find their way into foods and act as estrogen mimickers.
What you can do: Avoid foods in plastic packaging and plastic wrap; cut down on caffeine and alcohol; supplement with fish oil (1,000 mg three times a day), B-complex (1 supplement twice a day), zinc (15 to 20 mg per day) and the herb chasteberry (Vitex) to balance estrogen levels (30 to 40 mg per day); add ground flaxseed to your diet to bind with estrogen and promote its elimination from the body.
Cortisol » Chronic stress, overwork, lack of sleep and too much coffee causes a buildup of cortisol, which encourages the body to store fat and retain water. Additionally, high levels of cortisol create a cascade of inflammatory responses that lead to skin problems, tissue and muscle breakdown, bone loss and thyroid problems.
What you can do: Steer clear of coffee, and keep caffeine consumption to a minimum; try tai chi, yoga, meditation and deep breathing to reduce stress; get plenty of shut-eye; and supplement with phosphatidyl-serine (100 mg three times per day) and holy basil (500 mg one to three times per day) to balance cortisol levels.
Insulin » Even if you’re not a low-carb fan, you’ll want to factor insulin sensitivity into your weight-loss plan. “Insulin not only promotes fat storage, it also prevents the body from getting at stored fat for energy,” says Dallas Clouatre, Ph.D., a nutritional researcher based in Santa Monica, Calif. “And as people gain weight, they usually become more resistant to the actions of insulin and therefore produce greater amounts. Improving insulin metabolism is crucial for controlling weight.”
What you can do: Eliminate sugar and simple carbohydrates; moderately increase the amount of protein you eat; greatly increase your consumption of vegetables; try supplementing with chromium (200 to 600 mcg per day), biotin (300 to 600 mcg per day), vitamin E (200 IU per day) or the herb Gymnema sylvestre (150 mg two times a day) to control blood sugar.
3. Aerobic exercise
If you’re running, cycling or jogging to lose weight, here’s some news: Most research shows that aerobic exercise has only a minor effect on weight loss. Exercises that focus on building muscle are more effective. The reason: Muscle is active tissue, requiring more calories for maintenance than fat. So the more muscle tissue you have, the more calories you’ll burn—even at rest.
Studies have shown that a weight-loss diet coupled with resistance training preserves lean muscle mass and prevents a reduction in metabolic rate. And while resistance training builds muscle, aerobic exercise combined with dieting can actually decrease muscle mass.
This doesn’t mean you should avoid aerobics altogether. Studies have shown that aerobic exercise helps prevent the weight gain that’s typical after a period of dieting.
What you can do: Add resistance training to your weight-loss program, which doesn’t necessarily mean heading to the gym to pump iron with the big boys. A resistance band and a set of 2- to 10-lb weights is a great way to start. Other resistance-training options: riding a stationary bike, working out on a stair-climber and doing push-ups. Then include moderate aerobic exercise to maintain your weight loss (as little as three hours of walking a week can prevent weight gain).
4. Food sensitivities
Question: When is fat not fat? Answer: “When it is bloating and water weight caused by hidden food allergies and sensitivities,” says Gittleman. Whenever the body encounters an allergen, it mounts a full-blown immune response that may include itching, hives, difficulty breathing, and sudden bloating or weight gain. Food sensitivities or intolerances—more common than true allergies—typically cause such digestive problems as gas, diarrhea and bloating, and, over time, weight gain.
“It is widely believed that the body will sequester what it sees as toxins, storing them in fat tissue to keep them away from vital organs,” explains James. “When you eliminate foods you’re sensitive to, it really helps weight loss, even when calories aren’t reduced.” Some of the most common offenders are wheat, dairy, eggs, corn, soy, citrus fruits, nuts, peanuts, tomatoes, food coloring and preservatives, coffee and chocolate.
What you can do: If you think you might be sensitive to a certain food, eliminate it from your diet for two weeks, then try a small amount and notice your reaction. Keeping a journal of all you eat can help you identify possible food allergens. Digestive enzymes and regular use of probiotics can help with food sensitivities and intolerances.
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