The Importance of Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Our desire to lose weight isn’t just about physical appearance, carrying around excess weight can have serious implications for our overall health and well-being. Even as little as ten extra pounds can increase the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke, fatty liver disease, and some kinds of cancer — especially if that fat has accumulated around the midsection. There is no doubt that excess body weight is a significant driver of disease. In fact, research published in the Lancet found that being overweight “is the sixth most important risk factor contributing to the overall burden of disease worldwide.”
Be that as it may, many have found in their attempt to shed unwanted pounds that losing weight and keeping it off presents its own set of challenges. Undiagnosed autoimmune disease, leaky gut, adrenal fatigue, and other factors can make it difficult to achieve your weight loss goals. Before we can make a lasting change, we need to address any underlying issues that may hamper our weight loss efforts.
How Underlying Conditions Can Thwart Weight Loss
If you have decided it’s time to shed excess weight once and for all, it is important to establish you do not have an underlying condition that may be responsible for the extra weight, such as:
- An autoimmune disease
- Candida overgrowth
- Heavy metal, chemical, or environmental toxicity
- Thyroid disease
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Hormonal imbalance
- Hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA axis) dysfunction (otherwise known as “Adrenal Fatigue”)
If you discover you have an autoimmune disease, have a look at the healing protocol I use every day to manage my multiple sclerosis which has reportedly helped with other autoimmune disorders as well.
Leaky gut syndrome responds well to several medicinal herbs that help to soothe and heal the gut. These include reishi, turkey tail, and lion’s mane mushrooms, along with plantain, slippery elm, and marshmallow. Each of these botanicals is found in my easy-to-use Balanced Gut Blend Tincture. Read more about the symptoms and solutions to this common ailment in “Why Healing a Leaky Gut Should be a Top Priority for Health; Plus: 6 Herbs for Leaky Gut“.
For hormonal imbalances and HPA axis dysfunction, adaptogens and stress-relieving herbs are crucial for healing and bringing the body back into equilibrium. My favorite four are reishi, cordyceps, and lion’s mane mushrooms, as well as ashwagandha. Lemon balm is an outstanding stress-reducing herb and provides a wonderful dose of calm in an uncertain world. Many of these botanicals are helpful for autoimmune disorders as well. Managing stress to reduce fat-storing cortisol production, dietary interventions, and associating with those who have a positive attitude is key for healing. If you would like to learn about how to overcome hormonal imbalances and/or HPA axis dysfunction, see this post for detailed supplement and lifestyle information.
Environmental toxicity is a serious issue for many in our modern age. Heavy metals, chemicals, and other toxins often make their way into our food and water supply. Using a reliable water filter to remove toxins, bacteria, and pharmaceutical waste is vital. Consuming an all-organic diet is also helpful for reducing our chemical exposure.
Many times our liver becomes sluggish and overburdened from the sheer amount of toxins we are exposed to on any given day. When this important detoxifying organ isn’t working properly, we begin to gain weight and jeopardize our overall health. Top liver detoxifying herbs include: dandelion, greater burdock, lemon balm, milk thistle, and stinging nettle.
Diet, Exercise, and Lifestyle Tips
Contrary to popular belief, we don’t need to starve ourselves in order to lose weight. In addition to addressing underlying conditions and supporting the liver, ketogenic and anti-inflammatory diets can help you shed unwanted pounds, especially if you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. I personally alternate both to manage my multiple sclerosis.
Depending on your health status, good forms of exercise for weight loss range from walking and pilates if you are just starting out or have joint issues, to high intensity interval training (HIIT) which burns the most calories with the lowest time investment. This latter type of exercise is for people who are already somewhat fit.
Lastly, as surprising as it may sound, don’t underestimate the power of nature, gratitude, awe, and clearing clutter in reducing stress, lowering cortisol levels, and calming inflammation to support healthy weight loss. These three activities also help us to cultivate an incredibly important aspect of health: deep happiness.