The trajectory of worldwide obesity rates has been on a steady climb for more than 30 years. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the federal agency charged with tracking the incidence of disease in America, more than 35 percent of U.S. adults are clinically obese. This translates to more than 80 million people.
Obesity-related medical conditions include heart disease, stroke, Type-2 diabetes and certain types of cancer and these are some of the leading causes of preventable deaths. Plus, the cost of obesity is staggering. The CDC estimated the annual medical costs of obesity in the U.S. was $147 billion and the medical costs for people who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight.
Sterile statistics often obscure the human misery of obesity. Being chronically overweight takes a serious toll on the health and happiness of those it affects.
Just ask one of my patients, Brandy Prince of Rockwall, Texas.
“I tried just about every program you could try in order to lose weight,” Brandy told me. “I tried Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, diet pills and had some success, but I had trouble sticking with anything. I just got to the point where I felt terrible – a lot of body aches and fatigue. Plus, I was seeing a physical therapists, acupuncturist and chiropractor to deal with the muscle and joint stress from that extra weight I was carrying around. Since I have two young children, I wanted to be present and active for them, even after a long work day.”
Brandy told me the part of the Hormonal Health & Wellness (HH&W) program that she liked was its individualized approach. We figured out what would work for her specific situation and we took into consideration what her goals were.
Many people wonder what part did unbalanced hormones play in their struggles with obesity. For Brandy, who actually works with me at HH&W, she not only understands the role hormones play with obesity, she understands the importance of support, the right approach and finding and sticking with the right diet.
“We know that when hormones are out of whack, any efforts to lose weight will have us hitting our heads against the wall,” she said. “In my case, getting the thyroid hormone optimized was helpful. Plus, getting my testosterone levels up gave my lean muscles the opportunity to burn fat.
“Cleaning up my gut was also important. The first thing I had to do was clean up my diet and get some good probiotics on board. I started with a 10-day detoxification program.
“About six months ago, my weight was 208 pounds,” she said. “And I was miserable! After cleaning up my diet, I went into the ‘Healthy Transformations’ program, which is a “Paleo” type diet supported by supplements.
“After 12 weeks, I had lost 59 pounds,” Brandy said. “It has been transformative, to say the least! The best part is how I’m feeling. I’ve gotten off of all kinds of medications that were needed for sleep, mood and anxiety. I am thrilled to have had the support to lose the weight and keep it off. There’s not an area in my life that did not improve!”
I was privileged enough to lead the team that helped Brandy lose almost 60 pounds. She is really the poster-child for everything we do. Brandy had tried that “one trick pony” approach to weight-loss and it didn’t work. She realized she needed to take an integrative approach which took into consideration all of the factors which were affecting her body weight.
“A recent study at the University of Copenhagen noted that obese people have low levels of appetite-inhibiting hormones called GLP-1 and PYY.”
Her challenge was greater than just the food she was eating and her lack of physical exercise. She needed to optimize her hormones. When the hormones are out of balance, the cortisol levels go up and insulin resistance increases. This makes it very difficult to lose weight.
Because some of the food we eat causes inflammation in our body, it is important for us to go through the detox program, like the one Brandy completed. This allowed her to jump-start her lifestyle change.
Our program also includes emotional and mental changes. This is the “mind shift” aspect of the process which is so critical to success. It’s a whole-body approach.
A recent study at the University of Copenhagen noted that obese people have low levels of appetite-inhibiting hormones called GLP-1 and PYY. With weight loss, these hormones can be increased and this allows the individual to stop being hungry. Another important fact of this study is that the weight must be kept off for least one year.
This study shows why the people who take longer to lose weight keep the weight off. They have a very successful lifestyle change. If you notice, the people who do these quick diets and lose 50 pounds in six months, gain it all back after another six months. It just happened too fast.
Quick-fix diets negatively affect the thyroid. The thyroid hormone is the key to metabolism. When the thyroid is unbalanced, as it was with Brandy, you are not going to lose weight and it’s going to make it that much harder.
“I am thrilled to have had the support to lose the weight and keep it off. There’s not an area in my life that did not improve!” -Brandy Prince of Rockwall, Texas
Even if we don’t think of it as a hormone, Vitamin D has mechanisms that act as a hormone in the body, Terri noted. When Vitamin D levels are low, weight loss is more difficult and there are increases in the risk for Type-2 diabetes.
Testosterone and estrogen are also important for weight-loss. All of the sex hormones are very important to this process. When we age and the testosterone levels decline and cortisol levels go up, the belly fat increases, especially among men.
When our hormones are depleted, we’re tired. We don’t feel like getting up and exercising. This also decreases the body’s serotonin level, which affects sleep. The primary message is this: there are many more factors to weight-loss than just “calories in and calories out.”
There are many types of foods should be consumed and conversely avoided by someone who is trying to lose weight. Obviously, anything in a package, that you can unwrap, is not good for our bodies. We were not created to consume “processed” food.
The most beautiful trend I have seen in healthy living and weight loss is the “Paleo” diet. This diet comes closest to the way our bodies were designed to eat. It’s fresh, seasonal food. The modern food production methods have caused a challenge. We now have access to all foods, year round. Our bodies have evolved over millions of years and they were not “designed” to eat all types of food at any time of the year.
We offer Metagenics Medical Foods which are FDA-approved as a medical food and has gone through intense scrutiny from the FDA. Metagenics has a team of doctors and nutritionists who create this food and their supplements go through a rigorous testing. It’s important to note that these supplements come from impeccable sources. It’s very dangerous to buy supplements such as fish oil at a big box retailer. You don’t know where it’s coming from.
Another good rule of thumb is this: If you have a hard time pronouncing a word on a label, it’s probably not good for you!
Losing weight is not easy, but it is possible with some professional guidance, lifestyle changes and emotional support. Please call Jordan Henderson, Director of Clinical Operations, Evexias Medical Centers (formerly Hormonal Health & Wellness Centers), at 817.328.8376. For more information visit www.hormonalhealthandwellness.com.