By Dr. Katherine Birchenough
No one would argue that a healthy weight is a key component of wellness. Not only does your blood pressure normalize, but you feel better and look better, which helps with psychological wellness. If you’ve ever struggled with your weight, you’ve probably tried many diets over the years in an effort to shed pounds and improve your health. The problem is that for most of us, the weight seems to come back once we start relaxing a little bit.
This is characteristic of fad diets, which advocate unrealistic,non-sustainable rules for short-term rapid weight loss. They are easy to spot once you know what to look for. They lure us in because they speak to our need for control when we feel that things are out of control. Ultimately, these diets can damage your metabolism, making it even harder to lose weight the next time you put it back on. Here’s what you need to know: There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to real, sustainable weight loss. You can’t follow your trainer’s diet and expect to get the same results, because your trainer’s metabolic needs are likely very different than yours.
What’s the underlying cause of gaining extra pounds? Is it really that you eat too much and exercise too little? Or is there something more going on, such as inflammation, sluggish liver function due to toxin overload, hormonal imbalance or food sensitivities? The magic truly happens when you accept that you are an individual, and there may be more to the story. Sustainable, permanent normalization of weight requires metabolic repair. As we age, we become subject to a variety of things that impair normal metabolic function. Hormones change. We develop fatty liver due to a poor diet. Thyroid problems occur. We become insulin resistant. Our fat burning becomes inefficient. Stress raises our cortisol levels. Our sleep quality decreases. As a result of not feeling well, we become less active. We may feel worse and worse—to the point that our motivation suffers and we feel overwhelmed. Believe me, I’ve been there!