I just finished listening to an amazing podcast conversation between Chris Kresser and Stephan Guyenet. When you put a world class L.Ac health practitioner and a world class researcher together in a room, what do you get? DYNAMITE!
The talk was fantastic and they broke a LOT of science down into everyday speak, which I love. What I was particularly interested in, and what I want to share today, was their discussion of how the body tightly regulates itself when it comes to everything from ions, electrolytes, blood sugar, even FAT LOSS.
So how does the body regulate its fat storage so tightly, and what does this mean for keeping the weight off?
As Stephan describes it, imagine the body’s fat control mechanism like a thermostat. Your house constantly measures the temperature; if it gets too hot the AC kicks on, too cold and the heater fires up. The same thing happens within your body! You lose some weight and the body thinks you’re in a famine, signaling you to put it weight back on with increased hunger, lower energy,and a slowed metabolism. Overfeeding will signal more energy expenditure output and less appetite and until you burn it off (even if it comes off from lean muscle mass).
That’s all fine and good for those of us who are at our ideal/desired weight and jeans size, but it can be a SERIOUS problem for people with goals and aspirations of becoming a lean mean fighting machine version of their former flabby selves. It can be equally disheartening for all you skinnyfats out there. The body can rip off all that hard earned muscle faster than you can say “pass the whey protein”.
The problem becomes an even bigger concern when you realize we live in a world where we constantly eat hyper-palatable foods that continue to keep the body’s blood sugar regulation function in fat-storing mode and appetite constantly increasing; that’s how we get the “fat ass creep”.
So what’s the solution? How do we send new messages to the body and fight to reach and MAINTAIN that hot sexy fighting weight we’ve worked so hard for? There are several issues to watch for and processes you can use to retrain your body to settle in to your new pattern once you get there:
1. The toxic truth about fat loss:
According to Chris and Stephan, if the body has stored toxins in the fat, the body will fight like hell to keep that fat locked safely away so it doesn’t enter into circulation where it can do serious damage to muscle and organs. This is a problem for anyone living a life full of industrial chemical exposure, bath/body/home products full of synthetic fragrance and chemical additives [many of which disrupt the body’s endocrine systems by simulating hormone function; a lot these chemicals are seen by the body as synthetic estrogen, yikes!], and most everyone who chows down on processed lab synthesized feauxed products (yeah I’m talking to you twinkie!) as well as meats pumped full of hormones and other drugs and fruits and vegetables laced with herbicides and pesticides. If you’ve been dieting and exercising your brains out and all you have to show for it is some pulled muscles and a cranky/hungry disposition, you may consider looking into your oxidative stress level and liver detox capacity. You may require digestive and detoxification support to reset your body’s natural set points and support the safe detoxification of chemicals that have been weighing you down (literally!).
These issues can be made even worse if you have a genetic abnormality such as MTHFR variations which decrease the body’s ability to detoxify and clear out free radicals properly.
2. Bacterial buggers:
They also discussed the idea of the gut microbiome as a main culprit of stubborn fat storage. Bad bacteria in the gut can also cause obesity and insulin resistance. They discussed a study where researchers injected bad bacteria into a healthy mouse and that deleterious bacteria made the mouse obese. What’s worse is that when the mice were denied food, they starved to death but left a fat corpse! It’s a scary thought to think that the body would rather metabolize muscle and organ tissue then let the fat go. Chris also pointed out that this bacteria can also create low grade inflammation which leads to leptin resistance.
As Chris points out, pathogens (such as parasites) can also increase cravings for certain foods that they thrive on but are no good for the host (that’s YOU!), especially sugary carbs which serve to feed the fat cells and keep fat locked away and unavailable for energy expenditure. They also exude toxins that can poison the body and may require further detox work to flush out their waste.
3. Be leary of Leptin:
The fellas also had a lot to say about the Leptin set point. Leptin is a hormone produced by the fat cells and its main job is to signal your brain that you are sated when your tummy is full. If you can’t register the Leptin signals, “Leptin resistance” will leave you waiting for the “I’m full” signal and can make you feel hungry even when you are overfeeding. This also sets off a major cascade of hormones that can lead to an imbalance making it difficult to impossible to shed those pounds, not to mention issues such as infertility, insomnia, low sex drive, depression, and a host of other most unpleasant sufferings.
4. Funky Foods:
The guys also mentioned that food sensitivities can lead to constant low-grade inflammation which can lead to significant weight gain and inability to drop those unwanted pounds, perform in the gym, recover and build healthy muscle.
To hear the complete podcast, check out Chris’ website. If you have struggled with stubborn unwanted weight weight, chronic fatigue, and ongoing inflammation, not to fear, there is much you can do to fight back. With Functional Diagnostic Nutrition, our goal is to look towards the root causes of your ill health and support the body’s systems, including digestion, hormonal balancing and detoxification. To find out more about these services, visit our consultation page.
Photo credit: skampy / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)