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Is this your barrier to achieving a healthy body?

While weight loss plans routinely tout “scientific evidence” to back their claims, the fact is, any diet that results in a calorie deficit will produce weight loss. The problem is this: Depending solely on limiting your caloric intake while not including a healthy exercise routine will certainly help you lose weight, however, it will also slow down your metabolism – something counter-productive to healthy weight loss since a slower metabolism means you will burn less calories at a resting rate (the amount of calories being burnt when you are not exercising). As a result, with the proper exercise regimen you burn more calories even when you are not exercising. That being said, some people appear to be exercising and eating the proper caloric intake, but still can’t get their weight down. There are a number of things you need to consider if you have difficulty losing weight and I am going to give you some insight into this common problem:

The one thing I absolutely insist on with my patients: Stop measuring your health by the number on the scale!

If I were to ask you how you measure your weight loss progress, most people would say that they use their bathroom scale or the scale at their gym. You must not rely solely on the number on a scale to assess your progress! Why? Body weight alone (the number on a scale) is not an accurate measure of body composition, and therefore, is not an accurate measure of overall health. Your scale does not differentiate the amount of weight you lost from fat versus muscle nor does it tell you how much weight you lost from water and your hydration levels. In other words, you may not see the number on the scale change, but you could still be losing fat while retaining muscle. Imagine what happens on a yo-yo diet. Even after losing weight, you might still be considered over-fat if your weight loss occurred predominantly in muscle and not from fat. Having excess fat on the inside while looking normal on the outside may result in disease risks that are similar to those who appear to be overweight. What you want to do is this: preserve your lean muscle in order to increase your body’s metabolic rate. This allows your body to burn calories more effectively each day.

Here is what you need look at instead:

I always ask my patients to look at their body composition in order to measure their healthy body. I use a Bioimpediance Analysis to measure your body composition. It is one of the most accurate in-clinic tools you will find. Having an unhealthy body composition, in other words, carrying too much fat in comparison to lean muscle, increases your risks for developing chronic disease such as heart disease, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and certain forms of cancer. Even if your weight is within a normal range, you can still have unhealthy or altered body composition. What does body composition analysis look at? It measures the amount of body fat in comparison to lean muscle tissue and the distribution of water inside vs. outside your cells (your hydration status). This helps indicate whether or not you’re in need of essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals supplementation or other forms of nutritional support. This tool can be used to identify your baseline measurements, and then assess your progress as you start a healthy weight loss program. After I measure your body composition, we also begin to look beyond diet and exercise – I have to understand why a person is overweight. I go through the steps of addressing: thyroid disorders, elevated stress hormones (cortisol), low b-vitamins, low protein intake with high carbohydrate intake, inflammation, appetite control, and so on. When we begin to look at your health as being more than the number on the scale, I find that my patients begin to benefit in many ways, for example, healthy fat loss of 1-2 lbs / week, improved strength, more energy, better sleep and fewer aches and pains. Contact Dr. Reid or Dr. Thammasouk to find out more about how we can help you achieve measurable results.

“Why do so many people who feel chronically fatigued or burnt out are told there is nothing wrong with them?”

Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through the blood, enter tissues and regulate cell function. There are dozens of hormones in the body and many of these hormones work interdependently. The adrenal gland sits just above the kidney and it releases the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol as well as the androgen precursor DHEA-s. DHEA-s is eventually converted into either estrogen or testosterone. If the hormones from the adrenal glands are not produced or are not working efficiently, there can be a downstream negative impact on many systems in the body. Stress is becoming more and more of a factor in many peoples lives. Careers, family, finances are some of the most common stressors. However, diet or poor eating habits can also be stressors on the body. When we feel stressed, our body naturally adapts by increasing certain stress hormones so we can maintain our level of functioning on a mental and physical level. However, ask yourself what happens when we are faced with low grade chronic stress over a long period of time. Your body typically begins to develop a number of symptoms:

  • cravings for sugar and salt
  • feeling stressed and irritable
  • exhausted/fatigue or feel tired but wired
  • frequent infections (catching cold easily)
  • putting on weight around the mid section
  • foggy thinking
  • difficulty concentrating
  • dark circles under the eyes
  • hypoglycemia
  • low blood pressure
  • need to start the day with caffeine
  • non-restorative sleep
  • sleep problems – difficulty staying asleep or falling asleep
  • water retention
  • decreased libido or excessive libido
  • changes in menstrual cycle

This tells me that the adrenal gland hormones are being produced in an insufficient amount or in an excessive amount. This has been termed adrenal fatigue. In more serious cases, where a person is completely burnt out, adrenal fatigue can lead to adrenal exhaustion. Right now the concept of adrenal fatigue or exhaustion is not recognized in conventional medicine. With the thyroid gland, conventional medicine says it can be working within a normal range, overworking or underworking, or not working at all. With the adrenal gland, conventional medicine says it either works or it does not work. When it does not work, it is termed Addison’s disease. Yet I see many clients commonly with low DHEA-s levels, low or high cortisol levels in my practice. Dr. Thammasouk and I can often tell if someone is having adrenal issues just by doing a thorough intake during the first visit. However, we also like to confirm our suspicions by running blood hormone tests or saliva hormone tests. It is amazing to see how quickly clients respond to treatment when they are properly assessed and are determined to get adrenal support. Treating the adrenals usually includes a multi-factorial approach with specific herbal support based on the symptom picture (low DHEA-s, high cortisol or low cortisol), and vitamin, mineral and dietary support. If we do not get an appropriate response we may add low dose bioidentical hormone replacement for a short period of time which allows adrenal glands a rest to help them restore their proper functioning. If you feel you may be suffering from adrenal issues, please contact myself, Dr. Reid, or Dr. Thammasouk for further information on assessments and treatments for this common disorder.