Tips to a Normal Weight -- Part 3
Here are some other contributors to weight retention that should be considered.
1. How is your liver function? If your liver is overloaded you tend to have mood swings, irritability or anger, wake up at night between 1-3 AM, have skin rashes or itchy skin, eye floaters or ringing in the ears. If you drink more than 2-3 cups of stimulants- coffee/black/green tea/herba mate/honeybush/rooibos or Pop per week your liver will be congested with toxins. The liver can only detoxify if your body is alkaline, and since stimulants are acidic, they will tend to overload the liver. So, minimizing acidic foods and drinks will lessen the load. As I’ve explained before, most vegetables, fruits and non-gluten grains are alkalinizing, so, you want to balance that with your protein to stay neutral most of the time. Remember lemons/limes, oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, anything white, cow or pork products and stimulants are all acidifying. I often have people do a cleanse at this time of year to “empty the wheelbarrow”, which really minimizes seasonal allergies. Look at my previous articles on cleansing for guidance. Supporting the liver with a combination of milk thistle, artichoke, burdock, yellow dock, dandelion, black radish, beets, Schizandra, rosemary, nettles, fenugreek, alpha lipoic acid, curcumin or cayenne will improve liver function and increase detoxification.
2. How are you handling stressors? We all have stressors in our lives that we have to manage, whether they are good or bad. Your body will release cortisol from your adrenal glands to respond to stress with increased heart rate, blood pressure, blood sugar, insulin, energy, muscle response, alertness, mental acuity, pupil dilation and decreased sensitivity to pain. This is essential for any threatening situation, but, if it’s released repeatedly, for instance from drinking coffee, rushing in the morning, watching a “shoot-um up” movie and the news, being woken at night, having an unpleasant interaction with someone or going for a run that you haven’t conditioned for, your body will eventually show signs of too much cortisol. These may be anxiousness, nervousness, tension, irritability, temper, easily teary, poor focus, concentration, memory, lack of motivation, difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, not waking rested, decreased energy, fatigued by exercise, lack of drive, motivation, heart palpitations or skipped beats, high blood pressure, headaches to name a few!
The increased cortisol will hold weight because the body perceives this as a dangerous situation and will hold on to fat in case it needs it for fuel. Consequently, minimizing stressors is an important part of losing weight.
You can support your adrenals with Siberian ginseng, Ashwaganda, Ziziphus Withania, licorice root, Holy Basil and any calming herbs, as well as B complex with extra B5, non-citrus Vitamin C and pregnenolone (which helps provide DHEA, the balancing hormone.) Yoga, meditation, relaxing with a good book, stretching, positive interactions with friends, enjoying a good meal certainly assist in re-building your adrenals.
3. Are your hormones balanced? One of the most common reasons for weight retention is estrogen dominance. This happens often at menopause, since the 1st hormone to typically decrease is progesterone, but, can be an issue from the start of menarche. If you have heavy, long or variable periods, clotting, cramping, water retention, swelling in your hands or feet, bloating, constipation, fibroids or ovarian cysts, you are probably producing too much estrogen.
Rotating seeds (look at the seed chart), using Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids (EFA’s), indole-3-carbimol, DIM, resveratrol or herbs such as blue and black cohosh, red clover, chaste berry, wild yam, licorice root, angelica, saw palmetto, motherwort or squawvine will all contribute to balanced hormones.
4. Is your Candida count high? Candida is an yeast that can over-populate in certain area of your body, for instance vaginal yeast infections or become systemic if your body is out of balance. Candida is never the cause, but, the result of an imbalance of good bacteria in the body. Too much Candida can cause weight gain.
I often have to use a combination of herbs, such as garlic, black walnut, Pau d’arco, oregano, Echinacea, suma root with capryllic acid or boric acid to remove the yeast and re-build the good bacteria with Probiotics at 50 Billion per capsule.
5. Are you getting enough activity? You need to be doing at least 5 hours/week of something that elevates your heart rate to your cardio range. This could be any combination of dancing, cycling, skiing, soccer, hockey, hiking, walking or anything else you enjoy.
These will give steps in evaluating why your weight is not where you want it to be.
If you would like an individualized evaluation of any of these possibilities, consider an appointment with Dr. Brenda Gill at 250-362-5035.