7 Factors in Healthy Weight

Manage Your Weight

7 Factors in Healthy WeightPeople who are looking into creating healthy weight are facing a long painstaking journey in front of them. There are a lot of well meaning but conflicting information when it comes to choosing the right path in achieving healthy weight.

What to eat and how much to eat for optimum health and your ideal body shape and size can seem like a confusing, and at times overwhelming area to explore.

How do you work out a way of eating that fuels you with great energy all day long while burning fat is the big question. According to Dr Libby Weaver, there are a number of factors that need to come together for humans to be able to access fat to burn for energy, factors that are both biochemical and emotional.

Kilojoules:

If you eat well and exercise regularly and body fat still poses a problem for you, then your answer is probably not in the kilojoules department. There will be other aspects of your biochemistry that need to be addressed. If you do overeat at times, even though you know you’d be better off not doing so, then getting to the bottom of why you do this could change your life. The reason may be biochemical, emotional or both. Most people who overeat do not do so due to a lack of knowledge, so often the reason is emotional.

Stress Hormones:

The human body makes two dominant stress hormones: adrenalin and cortisol. Adrenalin is our acute stress hormone, while cortisol is our chronic stress hormone. In other words, when we are stressed for a long time, it is cortisol that tends to take over as our dominant stress hormone.

Historically, cortisol was designed to help save your life when food was scarce, so even though food may be abundant for you today, cortisol sends a message to every cell of your body that your metabolism needs to be slowed down so those precious fat stores can keep you going until the food supply returns. Cortisol lays fat down around your middles, on the back of your arms and you grow what I lovingly call a “back verandah”. Most people’s response to fat accumulation around their tummies is to go on a diet. But eating less only confirms to your body what cortisol has driven your body to believe is true – that is that food is scarce. When you restrict your food intake on a “diet”, you slow your metabolism even further making it feel like you only have to look at food for weight to pile on!

So if cortisol is a contributing factor to your weight gain, going on a kilojoule-restricted diet is not your answer. Sorting out your cortisol is!

Sex Hormones

The major sex hormones for both men and women are estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. The balance of these hormones influences whether you are storing fat or burning it.

Estrogen lays down fat. Progesterone, on the other hand, is essential for us to be able to access body fat to burn it. Reproductively for a woman, progesterone’s job is to hold the lining of the uterus in place after estrogen has laid it down. Biologically though, progesterone has many functions. It is one of our most powerful anti-anxiety agents, it is an anti-depressant, it is a diuretic – meaning it allows us to excrete any excess fluid we may be carrying and it is essential for burning body fat. I think most people want bucket loads of it forever.

If estrogen is far too high for the amount of progesterone being processed, body fat will be stored. It is essential to get to the bottom of why there is either poor progesterone production or why estrogen is in excess. Some people have excellent progesterone levels but their estrogen is simply far too high to balance the progesterone.

The liver plays a central role for both men and women in whether estrogen levels are appropriate or too high for body fat to be burned. Getting this hormonal balance right can change a woman’s life, for not only will she burn body fat far more easily, but her menstrual cycle will cause her far less PMT grief. Hormonal imbalances can also be magnified after pregnancy. Getting on top of your hormonal balance can change your headspace as well as your body.

The Liver:

The liver is the second largest organ in the body after our skin. One of its primary roles is detoxification – essentially a cleaning process with two phases. During this process the liver decides whether to fully process a substance or recycle it. The liver has to process things we consume such as alcohol and caffeine but also things we absorb through our skin. You only need to think about the way nicotine patches work to realise how effectively we absorb substances through out skin.

The liver also has to detoxify substances the body naturally makes, such as cholesterol and our sex hormones, and picks up any shortfall in digestion such as constipation or Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) creating additional workload. The best way to imagine liver functionality is to compare it to a motorway. When you first drive onto a motorway, you want to go 100km/hour but sometimes you have to crawl along at 30km/hour due to heavy traffic in the liver gets banked up that it can impact on how we feel and function every day, including our hormonal balance. Sorting out liver function can also change your life and lead to far more effective fat burning.

The Thyroid:

The thyroid is a little butterfly shaped gland that sits in your throat area. It makes hormones that play a very important role in controlling your metabolic rate as well as your temperature regulation. The thyroid gland can become overactive or underactive and it is the latter scenario that can lead to weight gain that is incredibly difficult to shift until this issue is addressed. The thyroid gland is also susceptible to auto-immune diseases, meaning your immune system, which is supposed to defend you from infection and/or poor liver function are two factors that can initiate this process. It’s important to work out if you have irregular thyroid function because this will greatly affect your fat burning ability.

Gut Bacteria:

Recent research has found two distinct groups of gut bacteria inhabiting the colon that can influence whether you are storing fat or burning it. These are Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes. People with more Bacteroidetes in their large bowel ave been shown to burn fat more readily, while those with more Firmicutes are more likely to store fat. Even if two people eat the same amount of kilojoules, the dominant gut bacterial species can make those kilojoules seem almost like a much larger amount for people with more Firmicutes. Addressing gut health and digestion can change your chemistry to one of fat burning rather than storage.

Emotions:

It’s not usually a lack of knowledge that leads us to overeat. People don’t polish off a packet of chocolate biscuits after dinner because they think it will help their health. They generally start eating and then can’t stop. Why? Emotions. The meanings you create from the situations you are a part of every day determine how you then feel. Without realising it, many people unconsciously create meanings of rejection or failure from conversations, looks on other people’s faces or their own thoughts. When you unconsciously touch on these emotions numerous times throughout the day, you might make lousy food choices. This is a key reason why diets don’t work – they never get to the heart of the matter as to why someone was over eating in the first place. Food is how some people cope.

For lasting change with weight loss to occur, it’s important to address the meaning of  food to an individual, and the meaning that individual creates.

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