What extra weight is trying to tell you

Weight is a symptom- not a disease, an imperfection, something to be shamed, or beat yourself up about. I can relate because in the middle of medical school I gained 20 pounds in 4 months, and just told myself I was bloated and the clothes shrank in the drier. Amazing how defense mechanisms kick in.. In any case, what really happened was that there were many more concerns going on that had to be healed, because clearly this did not happen overnight, but through a culmination of many processes that went unnoticed until well, they were.

I so badly wanted a magic pill to make me feel like myself again, but instead through changing habits that got me there and different types of supplements to help expedite healing, I received so many more benefits like losing even more weight than anticipated, clear skin, and better energy, to name a few. In changing how we got there, we’re going to change our outcomes both now, and in the future. This is also why sometimes after liposuction, radical cleanse, or a gastric bypass people gain the weight back- they never changed how they got there, so then they’ll end up in the same place. Instead, we need to get curious about what that extra weight means, because the many reasons ranging from lifestyle and nutrition, to genetics and emotions (yes, we store emotions in our cells) it can be different for everyone.

Physiologically, cortisol, our stress hormone leads to weight gain because it turns our inactive thyroid hormone T4 into reverse T3, another inactive version, instead of the active T3. Further, elevated cortisol jacks up insulin, which brings sugar into cells, so the more sugar brought into cells the more we need right away to replenish what was removed. And then extra sugar gets stored as fat. Fun cycle, right? In addition, fat cells are their own hormone organ and make more cortisol. Carrying weight in the abdomen? Well that place really likes cortisol! However, it’s not all cortisol’s fault- one of our sex hormones, estrogen, has been increasing over the decades in both men and women causing all sorts of issues. Those fat cells turn testosterone into estrogen- one of the reasons men have low testosterone, and may be overweight. Ladies, you’re not off the hook either- those hormone imbalances, especially with estrogen and progesterone mess with insulin levels and lead to cravings.

Unfortunately these cycles are not mutually exclusive, as this was literally scratching the surface. Extra weight can also be due to the body’s inability to detox (aka liver health), gut health (i.e. gas, bloating, IBS), emotions, chronic pain, insomnia (messes with signals that affect our ability to feel hungry/full), etc. And drugs that outright contribute to weight gain include birth control, psych meds, diabetes medications (ironic how losing weight helps prevent diabetes…), beta blockers, and allergy relievers. Same thing- if you’re on any of these medications, many of these are due to processes that we can work on, so we change how you got there, that changes your outcome and potentially no more meds!

In the meantime, here are some tips you can implement to address whatever may be going on. Hint: our body really really likes routine. 

  • Fast 12 hours between dinner and breakfast - At least 12 hours helps reset blood sugar issues, and gives our digestion a rest. Also consider going at least 3-4 hours between meals, as that helps our digestive system chill out too. The more the pancreas has to pump out insulin, the more cranky it gets and can lead to type 2 diabetes.

  • Go to bed between 10:30pm/11pm, latest - Our body makes the most melatonin, our most potent endogenous antioxidant, from 11pm-3am. Antioxidants help clean up the crap that our liver has been trying to detox (i.e. alcohol, environment, sugar, overall toxic metabolites made in our body), reduce inflammation (fat cells are also inflammatory), and improve those signals that keep us full. We also get better ideas/thoughts, because that’s when our body rests to repair/regenerate all those hormones like thyroid, testosterone, etc.

  • Live your life anyways - Seriously- we can’t change our lives if we’re focused on the negative. Envision who you want to be, and then work backwards to what it takes to get there- what processes do you need to change? What habits need to come in? I commonly hear, “I’ll do this when I’m thin.” Do it now!! You’re awesome and amazing just the way you are and deserve to live life however you decide. In finding joy we let go, destress, and we find so many more health benefits than we originally envisioned.

Weight is tricky, and general, and can mean many different things. However, the more we learn about ourselves and our values and live from there, usually the extra weight comes off, with guidance around the fancy physiology in terms of tests and type of supplements to help expedite healing. I’m happy to chat more to get a better understanding of your unique concerns, as we’re also all very different. We’re in a time and place where two people can have the same concern, but for different reasons. Happy living!