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It is that time of the year where food, drink and entertainment abound. Some look forward to this festive season with much excitement and others find it a stressful time and do not enjoy the hustle and bustle.

However, one spends their festive time the subject of ‘weight loss or weight gain’ seems to creep up on many occasions. We are all aware that we have a ‘fat’ problem in the West. I am not referring to fat in food but fat in/on the human body. ..….the message of ‘eat more healthily, cut out the junk and exercise more’ is ancient news….BUT is it really that simple? ….

Well it is proven that the so called ‘yo-yo DIEting;’ does not work. This viscious cycle of weight loss, weight gain, weight loss, weight gain leads to long term ‘fatness’.  I do not know a single individual who is overweight who has not tried DIETing. I do not prescribe to DIETs, whatever shape or form they come in. I passionately encourage healthy eating as explained in the book “Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat’.

Restricting calories results in an increase in fat composition in the long term and unfortunately fat has a lower metabolic rate than muscle, so not only does one get fatter, but to add insult to injury their metabolism slows down too! So the next round of calorie restriction will not work unless the calories are restricted even further. Why put yourself into this situation? Calorie restriction also puts the body into ‘starvation mode’ so the body burns up muscle first NOT fat and muscle is the tissue that actually burns fat. This leads me onto the most recent starve, feed, starve, feed type of DIETing, ready?

Recently I have had quite a few clients go on this partly calorie controlled DIEt, they seem to reduce their calories for a few days then eat as usual for a few days, then restrict their calories for a few days and then eat as usual for a few days, it is what I call the starve-feed-starve-feed cycle. Of course they lose some weight but at the same time their cholesterol increases (a marker of stress on the body) as well as increases in C-reactive Protein (CRP) and homocysteine. Did you know that these latter two markers are indicators for an increase in susceptibility to heart disease? This is apparently the new Anti-age-ing DIEt…but an increase in markers for heart disease does not mean anti-age-ing to me.

The human body is not a machine that can be taken apart like a car, it is a dynamic spiritual miracle…don’t worry this is not a new age spiritual blog just trying to portray the amazing wonder of the human body without getting religious or ‘wacky’.  So in essence simple calorie reduction does not suit a dynamic system.

Generally with children when addressing weight we are looking at the basics, which are one, the quality of their food and two, their happiness. Most children that tend to be overweight are either eating unhealthily or they are unhappy…it is usually that simple with kids.

With adults we have a whole host of factors and one major factor is hormones. Now for you men don’t switch off, you have hormones too,  one major one is insulin which plays an important role in weight management.

I see clients who have tried boot camp, hired personal trainers with some excrutiating work outs (well I think they are), tried various DIEtary fads, from the protein type diet through to the sugar plummeting fasting one that includes apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, lemon and ginger (personally, I prefer a meal with all three food groups at least three times a day). However after all this, any weight that was lost is re-gained with a few additional kilos as a bonus.  So what is the answer? The answer definitely is not in a magic pill or in a DIEt. BUT…….

The art of losing weight is in achieving physiological balance….balance a word that we in the West think is over prescribed by people like naturopaths and therapists of all sorts…..this balance includes addressing…

  1. Hormones, such as insulin, oestrogen, testosterone, progesterone, cortisol, thyroid hormones…to name the basic ones
  2. Nutrients, nutrient deficiencies are common in our Western diet, from the basic low in protein through to minerals that include chromium, magnesium, selenium, zinc etc
  3. Emotions….being happy, not your ra ra ra happy but authentically happy…this is a big one…and has to be mentioned as it is just as important as the above
  4. Inflammation….it is well researched that inflammation can be the cause of weight gain or the inability to lose weight, this includes dealing with viral infections such as EBV (sometimes called post viral fatigue virus), candida,  arthritis, on going sinusitis as well on-going stress that can also contribute to inflammation.

Next month I will discuss how you can start to address the above factors, but in the meantime I hope I have provided you with some food for thought this festive season.

Happy Holidays and may your new year be one full of love and vibrant health !

Khush