Tag Archives: Weight Loss

Drop the Wheat, Drop the Weight

It’s a new year and with it comes renewed motivation for change and resolutions.  One of the most prevalent goals for the new 365 day cycle is to shed those pounds that may have been accumulating for sometime now.

With all of the quick fixes and abundance of conflicting information out there, it can be difficult to know which way to go.  Well, a simple, free way to get the ball rolling is by eliminating all wheat from your diet.  Now this may sound way too simple, but there is a physiologic explanation for this and here it is:

The first concept that needs to be understood is that for the most part it is not dietary fat, but rather the carbohydrate that is mostly responsible for increased deposition of body fat.  This includes everything from bread, sugar, pasta, and even too much fruit.

This is due to the fact that these foods break down to glucose in the body, which then prompts the release of insulin.  Insulin delivers what glucose is needed to fill stores in tissue like the liver and muscles, with the rest being stored as fat.

You see this mechanism came in handy for our Paleolithic hunter and gatherer ancestors who encountered real periods of feast and famine due to the unavailability of food supply.  It was at these times that the fat stores would be utilized to survive.  For the most part this is not the case today as we live in an age of availability and relative abundance.

The issue arises when, due to high carb meals, insulin is constantly triggered by elevated blood glucose levels.  When no more is needed for fuel, the storage of fat begins.  The difference being, most people do not fast or skip meals at this point, but rather eat another carb heavy meal when hungry or even out of habit.  The fat storage continues, the pounds pile on and the waist circumference balloons.

The higher the carb content of the meal, the higher the blood sugar rises, the more drastic spike in insulin, and the more fat being deposited; mainly around the waist and abdominal region.

This creates a vicious cycle as a high carb meal will lead to a high insulin response from the pancreas.  This aggressive clearing of glucose from the blood can then leave you tired and hungry for another ride on the blood sugar roller coaster.

This is also the mechanism behind type II diabetes, as repeated spikes of blood sugar from high carb meals and subsequent surges in insulin in response to the blood sugar spikes leads your tissues to become insulin resistant, not wanting to accept any more glucose. At this point the only place for your body to dump the glucose load is around your waist as body fat.

So why is wheat public enemy #1 if you are diabetic, trying to lose weight or simply interested in overall health?  Well if we comprehend the physiologic process laid out above, we understand that the higher the carb load, the more insulin is secreted and the more fat is stored for a rainy day; or better yet a beach day when it’s really appreciated.

Wheat is special due to the fact that it breaks down into a complex carbohydrate (a string of glucose molecules) in the body called amylopectin A.  This particular carb has the distinguished honor of spiking the blood sugar more than actual table sugar.

If you are familiar with the glycemic index, you know it is basically a scale or measurement showing how readily absorbed a food is and the effects it will have on the blood sugar levels.  Wheat ranks higher on the glycemic index than actual table sugar.

If we combine that knowledge with the knowledge of the carbohydrate digestive process that leads to fat deposition and the road to diabetes that we described above, we know that this is a big, bad deal.  It also is essential, empowering knowledge of you are looking to drop the weight.

In addition to leading to weight gain and the metabolic dysfunction described above, wheat packs one more diabolical punch in that it is actually chemically addictive.  You may hear people joke about their addiction to bread, but chemically it breaks down and serves as an exorphin to your brain that stimulates the same pleasure generating opioid receptors as heroin or morphine.  There is a reason for the overeating of this mind altering, comfort food, and now you hopefully have another reason to kick it to the curb.

Two points in closing:

Many people resist the notion that wheat, or any food they were raised on can have such a negative impact. What needs to be fully understood is that the food, and wheat in particular, of today is not the food of the past.  Cross breeding, hybridization and genetic modification has created a new product not in line with our genome, of which the long term effects are not known.

What is known is the basic human physiology and systemic impacts of elevated blood sugar (which wheat is king at causing), as far as weight gain and the path to diabetes.  The fact that a diet consisting of heart healthy grains is still suggested to anyone, but especially those with the aforementioned two conditions is outright shameful.

The second point is that while kicking wheat (and all wheat, not just the obvious bread; read your labels) can have a strong impact on weight and blood sugar control, it needs to be accompanied with an intelligent diet.  It seems obvious, but if you avoid wheat, but continue to drink soda, eat a high sugar diet (excess fruit included), and high carb/sugar gluten free alternatives, results will in all likelihood be hindered or outright negated.

However, beginning to phase the wheat and gluten out of your regular regimen can have benefits well beyond those covered in this brief post, but is essential if you are looking to drop some weight or regain control of your blood sugar.

If you have questions, need help getting started, figuring it out or devising an implementable and practical plan, please do not hesitate to contact us. (321-848-0987)

Make a move.

The Time For Change is Here

Over the past few years I’ve had the privilege of speaking with a large number of diverse souls.  Due to my profession and personal interests, many of these conversations have been about health, namely that of the other party.

I will  usually hear a laundry list of complaints and presumed reasons for these issues.  Many times the individual will even verbally acknowledge the importance and impact that lifestyle changes could play in their life.

However, for whatever reason, the disconnect between talk and action remains and the path towards sickness and breakdown continues.  Knowledge without action is useless, and in this case, detrimental to your health.  Rather than going off and making this a psychoanalytical piece on why people don’t help themselves, let’s keep it positive and focus on how to get moving in the right direction.

First thing that needs to be done is to keep it real with yourself.  Take a good look in the mirror and decide what you really want.

Do you really want better health?

I would imagine so.  We all do.

Are you willing to WORK for it?

I mean really work. Not for show. Really work on yourself physically, mentally and spiritually.  This requires a discipline that keeps you in line and on track when no one else is looking. These are the times that the real changes occur.

What’s your goal?

Is it to kick the meds, normalize your levels, get rid of pain, drop some weight, do all you can to elongate this one shot at life?  Be clear on your goal as this will serve as your motivation to start and stick with it, especially early on in the process.

And be clear, this is a process. A marathon and not a sprint.  Living like no one else now so later on you can live; no, thrive like no one else.  Although drastic results are experienced by some early on, this is no quick fix. The “quick fix” mentality has got us in this mess to begin with by way of pill-popping per symptom and never really investigating or attempting to remedy why the symptom emerged in the first place.

Once you have your goal, investigate the means to achieving it.  What needs to be done and in what fashion in order not only achieve but sustain the achievement?

When it comes to healthcare, 90% of the time we are talking about lifestyle changes. Breaking the routine or the accustomed norms. This is where the “keeping it real” with yourself part comes into play.

Is your goal and the means by which to achieve that goal worth more to you than coming out of your comfort zone and breaking the habit?

Is it worth investing the time to plan and prep meals for the week ahead?

Will you follow through and set the alarm earlier or skip that 60 minutes of TV time in order to get that workout in?

Keep it real now. Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Although objectively speaking they do, ultimately this comes down to subjective perspective.

If you find that you are tired of the current state of affairs in your own life and you’ve decided enough is enough, the next step is to formulate a realistic, practical plan.  I find this to be another major stumbling block for people.  A sense of overwhelm sets in along with analyzation paralyzation.

The trick here is to get with your trusted healthcare provider and come up with a plan together.  Never be afraid to start small, as any change, any momentum in the right direction is better than sitting idle.  While sustained sweeping changes across the board would be ideal, studies show longer lasting changes occur more often as a product of smaller changes, cultivation over time.

A perfect example of this is my own personal anatomy of a “cheat meal.” This is that meal that diverges from the norm, an indulgence if you will. (In order to have a cheat meal you need to be sticking to clean eating for 80% of your meals or better.)

Through years of cultivation, the cheat meals have evolved from pizza and ice cream to a meal with gluten free rice, or a smoothie with organic peanut butter and heavy fruit. The latest “cheat” dessert has become a bowl of chia seeds with nuts, fruit, peanut butter and chocolate almond milk.

I say all this not to induce hunger, but to illustrate where you can wind up if you simply get started.  Make a change here and a change there. Implement another one as you learn more.  Once you get that ball rolling down the hill, it can be a powerful thing.

The other initial hurdle is that it is never a good time. Well, when it comes to core lifestyle changes there really never is an ideal time.

Again, they idea is to simply bite the bullet and get rolling.  In most cases it doesn’t have to be all or nothing all the time. Just do it.  Constantly talking the talk, while constantly finding excuses will leave you wondering where the time went and how on Earth things got so bad.

Believe in the power of lifestyle changes.  Resolution of every issue does not have to be another drug.  Every issue should not be blamed on genetics, making us all helpless victims.  Embrace the empowerment behind epigenetics and realize that lifestyle choices play a significant role as to whether or not certain genetic traits are expressed.  We’re talking about everything here from hair loss to cancer and auto immune diseases.

One shot.

One body.

That’s all we get.

The time is now to respect this opportunity and treat your body right.  Pick somewhere and get started today.  If you would like assistance on this journey, call us at anytime.  As we continue our own journey, we would love to be a part of yours.

5 More Reasons to Drop that Weight

In a culture obsessed with image and appearance, it’s no wonder that the weight loss industry continues to reign supreme.  We are inundated with images of slim supermodels, shredded athletes, and air-brushed celebrities creating an often unrealistic and unattainable perception of the ideal.

While this has the potential to lead to frustration and unhealthy habits, on the other hand it can serve as motivation to drop that extra baggage.  You see in a society fixated on superficial aesthetics, unfortunately, health winds up taking a back seat.  If striving to fit into that bathing suit can serve as a catalyst for those slowly dying due to the extra baggage to take steps toward a healthier life, then so be it.  (Call that your alkalizing lemonade out of organic lemons or your colloidal silver lining.)  Provided of course, it is done in a healthy and controlled manner.  No fad diets or quick fixes here.

The truth of the matter is the dangers of living life overweight or obese stretch way beyond the outward appearance.  Here are 5 more hazards you may or may not have already been aware of that will hopefully spark you or someone you love to wake up and change before it’s too late.

In order to appreciate these hazards, it needs to be acknowledged that a fat cell is not a benign cell, but rather an endocrine cell; that is, a cell that secretes hormones classified as adipokines.  Hormones are secreted throughout our bodies to serve as communicators and messengers in carrying out various tasks and functions.  This is vital for life, but when not functioning correctly, can be severely detrimental to our health.

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

I know we’ve all heard being overweight can lead to increased blood pressure, but why?  Other than the fact that the body needs to work harder to do everything due to the surplus of lbs., fat cells (aka as adipocytes) actually secrete a hormone called angiotensin.  Release of this hormone normally occurs due to the kidney to control blood pressure, but an excess of fat cells leads to an excess of angiotensin, leading to high blood pressure and all the well documented risks that come along with that.

INCREASED INSULIN RESISTANCE

Another hormone secreted by fat cells is called resistin.  This hormone causes insulin resistance, which is one of the key factors involved with type II diabetes.  Mounting research implicates the fat cell’s release of resistin as the linking factor between obesity and diabetes.  Insulin resistance also is involved in hypertension and atherosclerosis.

INCREASED INFLAMMATION

You can’t read anything health related these days without seeing the word inflammation being named as the common denominator involved with virtually all disease processes.  So what do you think the fat cells have the ability to secrete?  You guessed it, numerous inflammatory mediators (i.e. PGE, TNF, IL-6) that increase pain and cause internal destruction.

INCREASED RISK FOR BLOOD CLOTS & STROKE

The hits just keep on coming here.  Fat cells release something called plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1).  This is a protein that essentially diminishes the body’s natural ability to breakdown clots, and enable continuous blood flow.  Too much PAI-1 and you’re prone for sluggish circulation, which can culminate in clots and stroke.  This poor circulation can also lead to swelling and other symptoms such as pain, numbness and tingling due to the lack of blood flow to our peripheral nerves.

This protein is also produced in the cells that line our blood vessels (endothelial cells).  It is normal and quite necessary for these hormones to be present in our bodies.  The main issue here is with excess fat cells comes excess presence of these hormones, leading to a loss of balance (homeostasis) and subsequent pathology.

ESTROGEN DOMINANCE

The last issue we will touch on here is the fact that fat cells produce estrogen.  The more fat cells you have, the more estrogen will be produced.  Male breast cancer continues to rise congruently with obesity.  An overweight male taking part in testosterone therapy is simply providing the fat cells more fuel to convert into estrogen and all the other issues correlated with elevated estrogen levels (infertility, erectile dysfunction, enlarged prostate, cancer, etc.)  Excess estrogen in females can also lead to various forms of cancer, hair loss, hypothyroidism and uterine fibroids.

Obviously the consequences of carrying excess fat extend way beyond these mentioned, but add these to the continuously enlarging list.  I also realize that losing weight is exponentially more difficult than simply saying the words and the degree of difficulty varies on an individual basis.  However, research, evidence and history have shown us that it can be done.

If you’ve tried time and time again to no avail, and are somewhat lost at this point, but willing to truly sacrifice today in order to invest in the future, consult a healthcare professional.  If you’d like to begin your path in the right direction with a nutritional consult, feel free to contact me at anytime (contact information at the top of the page to the right).

A consistent commitment to exercise and a diet overhaul can be life changing and in many cases, saving.  Add the assistance of someone trained to identify functional imbalances that may be impeding your progress, and some serious momentum in the right direction can be attained.  We only get one shot down here and one body to carry us through the journey.  Respect life and make the investment in your future today.

REFERENCES

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23839524

http://www.abcam.com/index.html?pageconfig=resource&rid=12300&pid=10694

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14671216

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15049878

http://www.diabetesdaily.com/wiki/Resistin

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11201732

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11450024

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23011535