The 5 Pillars of Weight Loss
There are many programs out there when it comes to losing weight. While these programs have something to offer, they only hit one or two of what I call the 5 pillars of weight loss. In order for a weight loss program to be healthy and complete, it must contain all five of the following:
1- Gut health and immune system function
2- Brain health
3- Blood sugar balance
4- Hormone balance
5- A positive mental attitude
1- Lets talk about your gut and immune system function. This is the most important factor in weight loss. Your immune system is the system designed to keep you from getting sick. 70-80% of your immune system lines the hollow tube known as your gastro intestinal tract (GI). The body is designed this way because of pathogens found in food. Whenever food is put in your mouth, the immune system is challenged.
Our lifestyles are toxic to our gastrointestinal tract! The Standard American Diet (SAD), undiagnosed food sensitivities, high stress lifestyle, over use of prescription and non- prescription drugs, and chemical stress all erode the lining of your GI. Once this happens, undigested foods cross the GI barrier and enter the blood stream directly. Once in the blood stream, two things happen: nutrients are lost, and the immune system mounts an inflammatory attack which travels to all systems of your body. This is the root of all auto immune and chronic conditions! If the proper nutrients aren’t achieved from food, your body goes into starvation mode causing it to pack away every nutrient it can for a rainy day.
So how do we address this issue? Being tested properly for food sensitivities, especially gluten (a protein found in wheat) and dairy, intestinal pathogens, and a proper metabolic work up to address other nutrient deficiencies is the first step. The gut must also be treated with an anti-inflammatory diet, including quality meats, whole fruits, and vegetables, while avoiding all grains, and proper supplementation to allow the gut to heal. Seek out a qualified provider like myself, who is trained in functional nutrition to determine how long this may take.
2- So what does brain health have to do with this? Everything! Think of it this way. The brain uses roughly 30% of all the nutrition consumed. If blood sugar (glucose) levels fall out of a functional range, brain cells die. If you don’t believe me, try fasting for 24 hours without being grumpy or having brain fog. Your brain knows what’s at stake. Therefore it dedicates an entire lobe to the health of your gut. It’s called the insular lobe. Having a healthy brain is dependent on a healthy gut and vice versa.
3- Blood sugar balance is crucial for a variety of reasons. The most obvious reason is that excess sugar is turned into fat. Less obvious are the effects of blood sugar and insulin on brain pathways. Each time insulin surges up or down, inflammation occurs causing brain cells die. The functional ranges for fasting glucose are between 85 and 99. Anything above 99 is considered hyperglycemia. Anything below 85 is considered hypoglycemia. Anytime blood sugar falls outside of those ranges, brain cells die. What’s the result of this? The gut is compromised sending us back to #1 on our list.
4- Hormones play a crucial role in the puzzle. It’s important to note that testosterone has a neuro-protective role in the male brain and estrogen has a neuro-protective role in the female brain. Fluctuations in these levels cause brain and gut inflammation and can cause you to gain weight.
5- Having a positive mental attitude seals the deal. As you go through this process, surround yourself with positive people. Your inner world creates your outer world. Those around you can help keep your inner world on track. I highly recommend that you work with someone like myself to help encourage and keep you going through this process!