It’s Not Your Fault That You Can’t Lose the Weight
Wellness, Not Weight Loss
I am often struck by the number of clients who come in looking for weight loss and when I spend time chatting with them, I discover that they are exhausted, have digestive issues, they might be cancer survivors, and they may have other significant health concerns. At Cambiati Wellness Programs, we believe feeling your best is so much more important than a number on the scale. That number doesn’t tell you that you will feel better, that you will live a long life with your children, or even that you will fit into your clothes more easily, yet so many women define themselves based on their weight loss achievements, and that one number in particular.
After our collective experience through COVID, people are recognizing more and more that they have to be responsible for their own well-being. I love talking with clients who aren’t focused solely on weight loss, but instead are focused on getting their energy back, healing their digestion, balancing their hormones, and looking at root causes rather than putting Band-Aids on symptoms. Of course, these issues are usually connected to their inability to shed those pounds easily, and we find people are so hard on themselves around this topic: “If only I had more willpower,” “I just can’t eat healthy consistently,” or “I struggle with sugar cravings.” Sound familiar? Well, we have good news: It’s not your fault you’re having a hard time losing weight. Let’s stop blaming people’s struggles with weight gain on aging, natural changes, or needing to eat less and move more. There is so much more to weight loss than just the calories in, calories out model. And exercise? Statistically, people GAIN weight (not that we’re discouraging movement and exercise)! New research even shows that people do not change their energy consumption with workouts. Instead, the body compensates and adapts to use energy better.
That’s right, I want them to release those messages saying, I was “good” or “bad” based on food choices. I want to see them connecting how foods make them feel and making decisions about what to eat from an intuitive eating standpoint, and I want to see them enjoying their food. Too many people go to salads or think that healthy food can’t be delicious. I just had a dinner party, and people were blown away with broccoli slaw with chicken, pesto, and sun-dried tomatoes. And it was easy. I served nut butter cookies and my favorite quote of the night was, “I normally don’t like ‘healthy desserts’ like this, but these are actually good. Can I have the recipe?”
People deserve so much more than weight loss. They deserve to be heard about their health issues. They deserve a practitioner looking at root causes rather than just giving them medication or solutions that address the symptoms and not the cause. They deserve full thyroid panels, hormone panels that are reflective of what is actually happening, and sophisticated gut microbiome tests when warranted. No one should have to make a case to a doctor that they deserve a test. And no one should have to be told by a doctor that all of the “tests are normal” and they can’t really do anything, or that his or her suffering is psychosomatic.
At Cambiati Wellness Programs, we focus on a holistic way of thinking about the whole person, how all their body systems are integrated, and how an imbalance may or may not affect weight loss as a result. All of our team members are passionate about this work, because we know how effective these processes have been in our own lives. We can’t wait to help you gain more confidence and radiance in your health journey! These are some of the underlying conditions we consider the full health picture for our clients.
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Are your Hormones Happy?
People often offhandedly blame hormone changes and aging for their weight gain without really understanding what that means. Although gaining weight as we get older is common and you might never quite be at your high school weight again, gaining significant weight is not “normal” or something that we should accept as “the way it is,” or something to just be expected as we get into our later decades.
Having said that, we do see hormone imbalances among our clients, and environmental, lifestyle and dietary factors can play a role in impacting these, as well as genetics. (By the way, this can happen at any age!) For example, handling BPA-laden cans and receipts, using conventional cleaning and personal care products, and microwaving food in plastic containers can all contribute to endocrine-disrupting estrogen dominance, which research shows is linked to weight gain, especially around the hips, waist and thighs (sound familiar?).
The thyroid gland is also the master of our metabolism, and when one or more markers are out of range, or your antibodies are high, this can indicate that this gland is not working efficiently and can start slacking on the job. Until we course correct, fat gain is common with a hypothyroid (underperforming) condition.
We have full hormone and thyroid panels that look at the full spectrum of markers so we don’t miss any hidden disruptions that can be contributing to your symptoms of fatigue, bloating, weight gain, and general blah-ness.
Gut imbalances in the form of dysbiosis, a weakened gut immune system, a lack of digestive enzyme function, leaky gut, parasites, or other challenges can lead to bloating, constipation, and a lack of nutrient absorption. These digestive problems can inadvertently lead to weight gain or a stagnation in your weight loss efforts, in a variety of ways.
For instance, metabolic disruptions can also be the result of an imbalance in the gut bacteria. Leaky gut and certain bacterial overgrowth can be tied to limited carbohydrate metabolism, all making fat loss an uphill battle. An increase in fat cells, in turn, can lead to higher levels of the hormone leptin, which is a satiety hormone letting us know when we’re full. Over time, this leptin resistance can prevent us from recognizing when we’re truly satisfied, and we might keep eating (and eating) despite having taken in enough calories. Cleaning up our gut can lead to a fine tuning of this system so it runs like a well-oiled machine, so you don’t have to fight as hard against your cravings–they’ll subside naturally.
There are several vitamins and minerals that have an effect on our ability to maintain a healthy weight. For instance, B12 plays an important role in our metabolism and the breakdown of fatty acids and protein, and iodine is a mineral that’s necessary for proper thyroid function, the director of our metabolism. There is also evidence that low vitamin D levels, which we see very often, is correlated with weight gain. It also looks at nutrients that support our mental health and stress levels, which are contributing factors to weight management. Our nutrient profile includes a look at carnitine as well, an amino acid that transports long-chain fatty acids into the mitochondria to be used for energy production. If we’re not processing this compound properly, then instead of using fat efficiently for energy, the pathway will essentially get backed up and we’ll end up storing the fat instead of using it.
Fraught with Food Sensitivities?
Our comprehensive food sensitivity panel looks at 170 foods and food chemicals that play a role in the levels of inflammation in our bodies. When we’re eating foods that don’t agree with us over and over, it’s like the body can’t relax–inflammation spikes, and we retain water weight. Long periods of inflammation with water retention will acquire body fat to safeguard the perpetually inflamed area.
It’s not about the Weight
Clients often ask us what they weigh when they hop on our body composition scale, and we typically reply with, “We don’t know.” We don’t look at the total number very often, because it doesn’t tell us much. We use a special body composition analyzer to track our clients’ fat and inflammation loss, rather than focusing on overall weight or BMI (body mass index), which are poor indicators of overall health. Someone who is technically considered to be obese and someone who is a body builder could have the same BMI, but it doesn’t tell us anything about their body composition–it just tells us their weight compared to their height. Those fine-tuned markers are much more relevant to your health status that your total weight.
Looking at a person’s fat and inflammation tells us much more about their health status and how well they’re detoxifying, which we strive to do with each of our clients.
The Puzzle Pieces: Pulling it All Together
When we meet with our clients, we take a look at their health history, their lifestyle, their goals and test results to put together a customized, individualized plan that makes the magic happen. It’s like being a health detective, making sure all the pieces fit to set someone up on a path toward success on their health journey. Come join us to feel your best