I’d like to start off by telling you a quick story (I promise its relevant).
A couple months ago, I went to an OB/GYN to voice my concerns about hormonal imbalances and how I can tell my metabolism is really slowing down. I say “a OB/GYN” instead of “my OB/GYN” because my regular practitioner, who I love, was out of the office. Do you know what their response was to my concern?
You need to exercise more and eat less.
I am sure I don’t have to tell you, but that infuriated me. While this may be true for some people, this practitioner did not know me and never asked about my diet or exercise regimen. I wanted to scream in their face, I am training for a marathon and overall eat very clean. Do you really want me to exercise more and eat less?
Then, they preceded to ask me if I have ever heard of MyFitnessPal? And that weight loss is simply “calories in versus calories out”.
Of course my answer was yes I have heard of MyFitnessPal. Again, he never asked about me or my background in the fitness and functional medicine world.
After this experience, I now fully understand why my patients and clients come to be so frustrated after certain medical office visits. No matter who you are, I know one thing for sure. People want to be heard and they want individualized care!
Can’t lose weight?
I want to first expand on the old thinking that weight loss is simply calories in versus calories out. Science is so far past this! If this were true, I could eat a snickers bar (215 calories) every day for snack instead of raw almonds and a hard boiled egg.
NOT all CALORIES are created EQUAL.
The quality of the food we consume impacts our hormones, gut health, and can either reduce inflammation or trigger inflammation in our body. If we eat processed food that is higher in sugar, we are going to eventually develop some form of insulin resistance which will lead to weight gain. The Standard American Diet feeds the bad bacteria in our gut, which is not good since we now know that dysbiosis (or an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in our gut) is correlated with obesity. So not all calories are created equal. We need to take a step back and actually examine the quality of our food.
I want you to stop eating “diet food” and “low calorie” foods. Its time to start eating REAL food. I typically do not make calorie requirements for my patients and clients. I want you to learn to eat to feel satisfied. The only thing on food labels I want you to track is SUGAR. Sugar is a huge driver for obesity in America. Aim for LESS than 30-40 grams of sugar per day. Beware, this one is tough!
One of the best ways to prevent hunger, stabilize blood sugar, and balance hormones is to eat healthy fats. Yes, thats right. I want you to eat more healthy fats. If this is a new concept for you, I would suggest reading Dr. Mark Hyman’s book called Eat Fat, Get Thin. And to think we used to believe we were eating healthier with fat-free wheat thins.
Examples of good healthy fats include:
- avocados (or avocado oil– great to cook with too)
- coconut oil
- olive oil (make sure to store in a dark glass container and keep out of the sun to help preserve the health benefits)
- MCT oil (derived from coconut oil, great in tea or organic coffee)
- Nut Butters
- Seeds (sprouted pumpkin seeds are my favorite)
The second thing I want you to remember is hormones play a HUGE role on metabolism.
Here are a few hormonal imbalances that can cause you to have trouble losing weight
- Insulin resistance: weight gain primarily around the abdomen. Can be caused by high stress, missed meals, or a diet high in processed foods/sugar.
- Estrogen dominance (primarily in women): weight gain around the breast, hips, arms. This can be caused by endocrine disruptors in our environment (parabens, phthalates, hormones in meat and dairy, etc). There are also genetic, nutritional, gut/detox imbalances that can contribute to estrogen dominance.
- Low Androgens (testosterone and/or DHEA primarily): This makes it harder to gain muscle mass which helps boost your metabolism. Low androgens could be from zinc deficiencies, lack of exercise (primarily strength training), or high stress.
- Thyroid imbalances: This is a big one. Typically thyroid imbalances are from nutritional deficiencies or high stress/adrenal dysfunction.
It is important to remember that you DO NOT need to suffer. Check out one of my other recent blogs on hormonal imbalances to learn more. There are plenty of functional and integrative medicine practitioners that would love to hear your story and create a unique plan specifically for YOU.
I would love the opportunity to work with you. To hear your story and to help uncover the unique reasons why YOU can’t lose weight. Again, we need to step away from the calories in and calories out approach to weight loss.
I look forward to partnering with you soon!