One of the most common complaints I hear in my practice is from patients who cannot seem to lose weight despite cutting calories and adequate exercise. I also hear from patients who initially lose weight only to become tired or sick which triggers them to eat the unhealthy food they have been avoiding. What is going on here?
There is growing evidence for the theory that toxins might be to blame for the inability of many people to lose and maintain healthy body weight. In his book “Clean Green and Lean” Dr Walter Crinnon outlines this theory and provides research supporting the health benefits of detoxification programs. This book is a helpful guide to anyone interested in learning more about the effect of chemicals on health and healthy body weight.
In summary, the way in which chemicals disrupt our body’s ability to maintain healthy weight involves toxin induced damage to our cells. We are all exposed to chemicals on a daily basis including pesticides, xenobiotics (such as BPA and acrylamides), heavy metals (such as lead and mercury) and solvents. These chemicals are found in our air, food, clothing, cosmetics and all over our homes and work places.
Many toxins directly damage the energy producing mitochondria in our cells and as a result our metabolism slows down. Some toxins disrupt our endocrine (hormone) system contributing to hypothyroidism, menstrual irregularities and insulin resistance. When our metabolism slows we can no longer efficiently burn calories for fuel and our weight increases.
Toxins accumulate in all our tissues but will be deposited in large amounts in our fat stores. When we go on a weight loss diet and begin to lose fat these chemicals are released and blood levels increase. This can cause the toxins to be redistributed if our body cannot process and eliminate them. This can cause us to feel worse and slow our metabolism further.
There may be a mechanism by which the body wants to protect against this further assault triggering an urge to eat large quantities to stop further weight loss and toxic assault. The result is another failed weight loss attempt.
To reverse this process you must reduce the toxins going into your body and then systematically reduce those that are stored in you body. In addition specific nutrients can be used to restore damaged mitochondrial function and support hormone balance.
A well planned detoxification program is a good start. Unfortunately, many “fasts”or “cleanses” that are marketed on the internet or health food store may be dangerous if they allow the release of toxins from cells without the proper support for the elimination of the toxins. Some of these programs are simply laxatative blends that do nothing more then cause an increase in bowel movements.
We recommend a thorough evaluation and work up with your naturopathic physician prior to a weight loss program or detoxification program. Nutrient levels can be tested to make sure you have the basic building blocks necessary to detoxify chemicals and provide energy. They can review your medications as weight loss and detoxification can affect how your liver metabolizes some prescription medications.
Once you have the OK from your physician you may want to enroll in our physician lead detox program.
Our cleansing program teaches you how to reduce your exposure to harmful chemicals and the fundamentals of healthy eating. In the process of the program you will use diet, lifestyle and supplements to reduce the toxic burden you have accumulated. You can incorporate these strategies that you learn into your ongoing weight loss program.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!