Are you struggling to lose weight? Have you tried different diets and exercise, but nothing seems to work for you? If this sounds like you, then keep reading! I see countless patients who tell me “I have not eaten any carbs in 3 months and have been working with a personal trainer 5 days a week and I haven’t lost anything!”
What could possibly be causing weight loss to be so difficult?
Here are the TOP 3 CAUSES I have found in clinical practice that prevents patients from losing weight.
Diabesity (insulin and blood sugar problems)
Low thyroid function
#1 Chronic Inflammation
I am going to talk about chronic inflammation and how it affected my favorite little fury friend…Molly. She is my 8-year-old Boston Terrier and she means the world to me. I noticed that she was getting a little chunky and so I put on my functional medicine doctor hat and had some blood tests done (by her veterinarian) and looked at her diet. Her blood labs looked good, including thyroid and blood sugar, so I focused on her diet. I was feeding her very good quality food, but something was obviously wrong. I looked at the ingredients and found some foods that a dog probably does not need; things like tomato, potato and peas; etc. So, I switched her food to one that was what I considered to be less inflammatory (for example no nightshades like tomato and potato) and sure enough, she started to lose weight and her energy went through the roof! I tell this story because when people (and dogs) eat a diet that is compatible with their body chemistry, good things happen, and health can be restored.
I believe Molly was suffering from chronic inflammation and this was causing her weight gain. I had seen it so many times with my human patients, so I applied the same principle to her, and it worked beautifully. So, this is point #1 above. Chronic inflammation is a very common cause for weight gain and difficulty losing weight. I typically run blood tests on my patients and measure their level of inflammation and then I run blood tests to measure their immune response to different food groups. If your diet is triggering your immune system, you are will suffer with chronic, low-grade inflammation that will make it very difficult to lose weight.
I wrote about diabesity in last week’s blog. The word is combination of Diabetes + Obesity. The cause of this problem really starts with poor insulin regulation and you DON’T have to be diabetic to suffer from it. I find that many patients can’t lose weight because they are producing to much insulin. Insulin unlocks your cells so the food you eat can enter your cells to be used as energy. Your ability to take in food and use it as energy is your metabolism! If you are producing too much insulin, your cells start to ignore insulin so right away your metabolism (and ability to lose weight) will be affected. But there is more to this story; once your cells start ignoring your insulin, your pancreas starts making even more insulin and the downward spiral occurs. In addition to getting food into your cells; insulin triggers your body to store your food as body fat. Very few of my new patients have had their insulin tested, in fact I can’t even remember the last time I had a new patient walk into my office that had their insulin tested by their doctor. Insulin is usually ignored by traditional medicine until a person has diabetes. Diabesity and insulin problems might be the reason you can’t lose weight. It should be in an ideal range and looked at with your inflammation level, fasting blood sugar and your average blood sugar over the past 3 months (this is called HbA1c).
#3 Low Thyroid Function
I have written numerous articles about thyroid; so if this does not provide enough information, go to my website napervilleintegratedwellness.com and put in a search for “thyroid”… but let me give you the key points and how it relates to weight loss. Your thyroid is like the thermostat of your body and it regulates your metabolism. Many people have what I call “functionally low” thyroid. This means your thyroid function is not yet bad enough to be diagnosed as “hypothyroid” but it is low enough to hinder weight loss. In traditional medicine you are either have “hypothyroidism” or you don’t. It is very black and white with no shades of gray. A functional medicine doctor like myself if VERY INTERESTED in the shades of thyroid function. This is why I typically run 10 different tests for the thyroid and not just 1 or 2. With a thorough thyroid test panel you can isolate many different factors that can interfere with thyroid function.
I hope this article gives you some new ways of looking at your weight loss plan. You might be eating what many would consider a “healthy” diet, but it might be inflammatory for YOU. Maybe your blood sugar is normal by medical standards, but your insulin levels are not. Insulin problems are what lead to blood sugar problems in most cases. You can have insulin problems for years before it starts to affect your blood sugar test results. Maybe your TSH and T4 or fT4 thyroid tests are “normal” by medical standards but that does not mean your thyroid function is normal. In fact, I have had 3 patients in the past 2 weeks that had normal TSH, normal T4 and normal fT4 but had medically-low T3 levels…this is really low! Your T3 thyroid hormone is the active form of thyroid hormone; much more biologically active than T4 is.
If you are having problems losing weight, contact our office and talk to our functional medicine consultant and see if our office is good fit for you.
I wish you health, happiness and a better quality of life!
If you would like more information about functional medicine and integrative medicine or Dr. Sexton go to www.napervilleintegratedwellness.com
Do your own research, inform yourself and ask lots of questions. When collecting information, you MUST consider the source. There is no shortage of false, misleading, outdated, profit-driven and utterly biased information in healthcare today; even from the most respected sources and organizations.
This approach to healthcare is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate, or prevent any disease. Why? The FDA enforces its position that these words can only be used with drugs. This approach does not use drugs.