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Why Can’t I Lose Weight – 8 Weight Loss ‘Stoppers’? By Doreen Schwegler Naturopath, Medical Scientist & Weight Loss Specialist

Have you:
• Tried “eating healthy” but the weight doesn’t shift?
• Tried lots of weight loss programs that either don’t work, are too hard, don’t fit in with your lifestyle or are too expensive, and still struggling to fit into that lovely dress or nice pair of jeans?
• Lost weight successfully but had it all go back on again?
• Hit menopause and no matter what you do, that muffin top won’t budge?

You are not alone – weight loss is tricky business. Many factors are involved and some of them include being too busy for proper food prep, poor habits, lack of understanding of what works for you, emotional issues, learnt behaviours, unbalanced hormones, stress, genetics, traditional ways of eating and beliefs.

You may look in the mirror and not be happy with what you see, have been told by a health professional to lose weight (for improved health, fertility or some other reason), or want to look good for a forthcoming holiday, wedding or job interview. What can you do? You may succeed with the latest ‘diet’ craze, then find your weight plateauing for no logical reason. Or worse still, you find your weight returning to where it was before you started, plus extra.

The traditional calories in versus out (food and drinks versus exercise), does not work for many people. Diet books abound, weight loss pills and injections are touted, gym boot camps promise much, but still there is no cure-all that fits everybody. And rightly so – we are all different. As a Naturopath and Natural Fertility Specialist a significant part of my work involves helping clients lose weight. I will share some useful information gleaned from current research, books, colleagues, seminars and over 30 years’ experience about 8 common ‘weight loss stoppers’ that can slow down or inhibit weight loss success:

My 8 Weight Loss Stoppers.

1. Inflammation: Aches and pains, poorly digested food (e.g. diarrhea), infections etc. can be a sign of inflammation which increases cortisol levels in the body. This can increase the likelihood of fat storage, particularly in the abdominal region. Allergies or food sensitivities (that you may be unaware of) can also be a source of inflammation; food that you may think is ‘healthy’ may be contributing to weight issues. It is important to address underlying inflammation for weight loss. This might include clearing a low-grade infection, identifying and removing allergenic foods or environmental triggers (like mould)

2. Stress: this can increase fat storage by increasing adrenaline and cortisol. Stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga or Tai Chi can be useful, learning to say “No” effectively and looking after yourself and getting enough sleep, water and exercise are good long term strategies to stay healthy.

3. Toxins: PCB and pesticides in food, heavy metals (from large fish, amalgam fillings, tap water etc), drugs (including recreational ones like cigarettes and alcohol), pollution and environmental toxins like plastics can act as hormone disruptors and can adversely affect your metabolic rate adversely. Ideally eat organic eggs, fruit and vegetables, free-range chicken and small fish like sardines as opposed to large flake or tuna. Some people find that by completing a personalised detoxification programs not only has the beneficial side-effect of losing weight but also can make weight loss much easier afterwards. I suggest you use stainless steel or glass water bottles and don’t leave them in the car to get hot or freeze. Minimize microwave use, using a glass dish for the food and a paper towel or another plate to cover the food. Ideally heat up food on the stove or in the oven. Store food leftovers in glass containers and take your leftovers in these for lunch or wrap in beeswax wraps rather than plastic wrap.

4. Hormone imbalance: Low thyroid function, low oestrogen post-menopause, polycystic ovarian syndrome, pre-menstrual food cravings and some less common hormone imbalances (like Adrenal tumours such as ’Cushing’s syndrome’), can wreak havoc even with people with the best diet, exercise program and intentions. The thyroid controls metabolic rate and under activity can lead to weight gain and fatigue, among other symptoms. Sometimes thyroid screening tests from your GP may not pick up more subtle under activity, and may need to be investigated more thoroughly by your Practitioner.

5. Nutrient deficiencies: Vitamin D deficiency and insufficient minerals like iodine, magnesium, zinc and calcium can impede weight loss. Iodine, zinc and selenium are essential for healthy thyroid functioning. I suggest measuring Vitamin D levels, getting some sensible sun exposure and eating 10 Brazil nuts a week (for selenium)

6. Low Muscle Mass: For some people, walking as their only exercise is just not enough. As we age, unless we incorporate some resistance exercise into our life, we tend to lose muscle mass. This is especially so when we follow “fad” diets and fasts that do not contain enough protein to maintain muscle mass. Healthy muscle mass improves metabolic rate. It is wise to incorporate exercise like yoga, Pilates, weights or a pump class, or simply use your own body weight with push-ups, dips and sit-ups at home.

7. Emotional blocks and Addictive Behaviours: Poor body image, eating disorders, a past history of sexual abuse, or an upbringing that used food as a reward can result in fat offering a ‘protective’ layer to avoid looking deeper into our current and past issues. Counselling, hypnotherapy and flower essences prescribed by a Naturopath are some of the approaches that may assist. We have an excellent Hypnotherapist who works at All Degrees of Health. She has helped numerous people overcome their emotional roadblocks to healthy eating.Our Medical Intuitive and Healer Jasmine Fricker, can also help release past blockages to help you heal and move forward in your quest to a healthier weight.

8. Genetic Predispositions: Unfortunately there is no “One size fits all’ eating plan. Some of us do better on low-carbohydrate eating plans, some low-fat, and some on a Mediterranean style diet depending on your genetic make-up. Some people have issues with ‘Leptin’ – the hormone that regulates appetite and tells us that we have eaten enough. Some people have a genetic variation in a gene called the “MTHFR’ gene, meaning that they require more folic acid metabolites, B6 and B12 than others, and also have increased risk of weight gain, stroke, and cardiovascular conditions should they refuse to eat greens. There is also some suggestion that certain blood groups respond better to some foods than others. For example, group ‘O’ types can feel better eating meat and vegetables, avoiding wheat and dairy products.

Testing that can help:
1. Tests via an integrative practitioner (such as our Investigative Naturopaths) include:
• IgG Food allergy testing. This can be done in-clinic, takes about 45 minutes and uses a small pinprick of blood to check for IgG antibodies to 59 foods. This costs around $252. Alternatively, a referral to a Functional lab can check for 96 foods for $260 + postage/handling
• Bioimpedence assessment (also known as Quadscan, MetaScan and “Vitality, longevity and anti-aging test’). A useful assessment similar in accuracy to a DEXA scan (what they use for bone density screening – see: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324553.php)and Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) approved which gives information on muscle, fat and fluid levels. You don’t feel a thing as a gentle micro current is passed down one side of the body and various measurements such as weight, height, waist and activity levels are entered, and a 3 page colour report is generated.See our FB video to demonstrate a Quadscan in action: ok.com/AllDegreesofHealth/videos/896574467407294/
• Omega-3 test: Low omega 3 index results are associated with higher cardiovascular risk, poorer mental health, inflammatory conditions and an overall lower level of health and wellbeing. Around 4 out of 5 patients are not getting enough omega-3 intake, therefore assessing omega-3 status can either validate what you are doing or flags the need for supplementation, as well as identifying the risk of certain health issues. Results are predictive of total mortality and this test can see if your dietary and supplementation is adequate.
• Oxidative Stress Test: There is a tug of war going on all the time inside our bodies between the ‘good’ guys (antioxidants in fruit, green tea, red wine, salads and veggies) and the ‘bad’ guys – (from excessive fat, low vitamin D levels, inflammation, insufficient or excessive exercise, toxins, heavy metals etc.) If you have elevated level of free radicals and not enough antioxidants to balance them, cellular damage results from oxidative stress (OS). If this is unaddressed it can seriously affect health and performance from mild complaints like fatigue to numerous health issues.

2. Pathology tests via your GP includes:
• Thyroid function tests including T3/4 and antibodies.
• CRP (C – reactive protein), assesses levels of inflammation in the body
• Fasting glucose levels – screens for diabetes.
• Insulin Levels – assesses if insulin is being effectively utilised. Insulin helps glucose get converted into energy. If insulin is elevated, it is likely that you are a candidate for ‘insulin resistance’. Unlike juvenile (or Type 1 diabetes) where there is insufficient insulin, someone who is insulin resistant does not respond to insulin, akin to an anemone being constantly prodded that stops responding.
• Zinc levels (also copper and ceruloplasmin
• Vitamin D: Low levels can impact weight, mood, bone health and immune function
• Cortisol levels. High levels may indicate elevated stress.
• Blood group.

3. Genetic profiling.
This involves a cheek swab or saliva sample assessed at a lab for 64 genetic variations (SNPs). Useful advice can be obtained for long-term weight management, as well as cardiovascular osteoporosis risk, healthy ageing and optimal exercise plans. For more details about this cutting-edge assessment tool see: http://www.alldegreesofhealth.com.au/genetic-profiling.html

Optimal weight management is an interplay of many factors and requires thorough assessment to address many possible contributing factors. Long term healthy weight maintenance requires long term healthy eating incorporating strategies targeted at your individual requirements.
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All Degrees of Health, Essendon Victoria
341 Buckley St Essendon Victoria Australia
Updated November 2019
www.alldegreesofhealth.com.au (03) 93310951